Friday night rewind

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:

Grand Forks Herald

Grand Forks Herald column on Knight

USCHO

Mining Gazette

UNDsports.com

Other notes:

  • 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.

8 thoughts on “Friday night rewind

  1. Looks like this team has the second half mode kicked in already. They could very easily be unbeaten in their last 5 with the way they have stepped up their game. Need the sweep tonight going into the break and as far as the lineup goes I wouldn’t change a thing for tonight.

  2. Tough decision to be sure, but I would put mattson in. After all, Gleason has had some brutal games this year and got back in.

    Gothberg, IMO, won’t improve without playing time. Michigan tech is a good opportunity for playing time.

    Then again, Saunders is clearly the better right now and played well. It wouldn’t surprise me any permutation that hak makes

    • May be time to see if he has learned anything. Great offensive skills but has been suspect defensively and more concerned with the pretty play (often coughing up the puck), than the simple, direct play. Could certainly use his skills if he plays the right way. Looks more gopher than Sioux recently leading to his sitting.

  3. I believe Michigan plays in the CCHA, not the WCHA. That is, unless they have actually played 12 WCHA games.

    I’d give Gothberg the go. He could be critical for us down the stretch, and frankly has had some pretty good outings to go with his questionable ones.

  4. Good Morning Brad & our Sioux-per fans,

    I still follow the Fighting team on this site thanks to you & our relentless fans. I’m sure you know that we’ve have a little bit of an easier schedule so far a little like MSU. UND’s pre-Christmas WCHA foes have a 28-33 record with the post-Christmas WCHA foes a 45-37 record. We’ll see how well we play winning hockey during our stretch run. Happy Holi-daze from Cincy, Ohio
    PS Used to run the UND banner around the inside of the Winter Sports Arena when they’d score in the late 70′s (seems like yesterday! LOL). Tell Virg Foss Hi! GOOO SOOOOOOO 4 Ever!

    • Don’t forget that our Strength of Schedule is currently ranked 3rd in the country according to USCHO so we haven’t exactly had a cupcake schedule.

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