Five highlights from around the country:
1. In typical fashion, Dean Blais apparently threw five defensemen on the ice at the same time at one point and pulled his goalie with 8 minutes to go in a two-goal game. It didn’t end up working out as MSU-Mankato won its seventh straight game 6-3 over Omaha. Mankato scored on its only two shots of the third period.
2. Denver’s winless streak has hit seven games after a 1-1 tie against Bemidji State. The Beavs tied the game on an Aaron McLeod goal midway through the third period. Chris Knowlton scored Denver’s lone goal. The Pioneers again played with 10 forwards as Larkin Jacobson is suspended and Jarrod Mermis was out again. Mermis had been termed a “coaches decision.”
3. Michigan’s hole continues to get bigger after a 4-1 loss to Western Michigan. The Wolverines are 5-9-2 overall and 3-7-2 in CCHA play, while the Broncos improved to an impressive 11-3-1.
4. Impressive rookie Tony Cameranesi scored twice to lead Duluth past Anchorage 5-1 in Sullivan Arena. The Seawolves have just 1 win in the last 11 games. Since leaving Grand Forks, the Bulldogs are 4-2-1.
5. Wisconsin finished off its first sweep of the season with a 4-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville. Michael Mersch, who entered the game with 11 goals and 2 assists, tried to even that out a little bit by getting a pair of helpers. Wisconsin is now 3-0-3 since Nic Kerdiles has become eligible.
WCHA top performers
4 points — Corban Knight, UND, 2 goals, 2 assists
3 points — Joe Gleason, UND, 1 goal, 2 assists
3 points — Danny Kristo, UND, 1 goal, 2 assists
2 points — Tony Cameranesi, Duluth, 2 goals
2 points — Chris Casto, Duluth, 2 goals
2 points — David Morley, SCSU, 2 goals
UND 6, Michigan Tech 1
For as much as we’ve discussed slow start, slow start, slow start… UND now has the best winning percentage in the WCHA and is in the driver’s seat in the chase for the MacNaughton Cup after beating Michigan Tech on Friday night. Game stories:
- It’s no secret that UND has had a lot more success in the second half than the first half under coach Dave Hakstol. But if UND wins the series finale against Tech, it will head to Christmas break in the driver’s seat in the WCHA for the second time in three years. So, it’s a big opportunity to shake that reputation for now.
- Also, as much as we talked about UND’s struggles for offense, it now is tied with Colorado College for first in offense in WCHA games.
- How much confidence did Hakstol have in the fourth line? There was a point in the game where Tech had its top line on the ice and there was a faceoff in UND’s defensive zone. Hakstol threw his fourth line out there. they proved their coach right, too, by getting possession, taking the puck down the ice and playing the whole shift below the goal line in Tech’s zone.
- The fourth line was finally rewarded with a goal when Derek Rodwell scored from the slot area on a rebound. He was due.
- Quietly, Clarke Saunders had a nice 34-for-35 save performance. Saunders improved his save percentage to .921 and his goals-against average to 2.28.
- Derek Forbort was the only player in the lineup without a shot on goal.
- Tech’s top line registered just one shot on goal. UND’s registered 12.
- UND has outscored Tech 23-4 in its last three games in Houghton.
- There will be two tough lineup decisions for the coaching staff today. Do you put Nick Mattson back in the lineup for Andrew Panzarella? And do you give Zane Gothberg a start?
- I’m guessing Michigan Tech will have some changes in its lineup. The Huskies haven’t won a game in regulation since Oct. 19 against Minnesota.