So, we have one last trip to Ralph Engelstad Arena this season. Michigan Tech forced a Game 3 with a late goal, just as the team did five years earlier in 2008. This time, it was speedster C.J. Eick with a highlight reel play to score the winner with 2:02 left. Game stories:
- UND dropped to No. 8 in the Pairwise with the loss. If it loses the series finale, it will likely fall to No. 11 or No. 12 according to SiouxSports.com. UND would likely be in the NCAAs if it stayed there over conference championship weekend, but it’s not guaranteed and it would be an uneasy weekend of scoreboard watching for sure.
- UND has won seven straight Game 3s. For a recent summary of those, go here.
- Pheonix Copley obviously had, by far, the most success of any Tech goaltender against UND this season and I’m sure he will start in the series finale.
- Clarke Saunders was solid for UND, only allowing a tipped shot and a highlight play by Eick. Saunders made 29 saves for the game.
- Speaking of Eick, it has been apparent in the four times I’ve seen Tech this year that he has absolutely blazing speed. I have no idea how he only has three goals on the year with those wheels.
- I’m curious whether there will be any lineup changes for the series finale. UND coach Dave Hakstol indicated earlier in the week that there won’t be any overhauls at this time of year, but we could see one or two.
- UND’s only home sweep this year was over Holy Cross. This was the first time since 1974-75 that UND did not sweep a WCHA foe at home, in large part because of the high number of ties. UND did have four three-point weekends at home. In 2006-07, UND didn’t get a home sweep of a WCHA team until the playoffs.
- Michigan Tech’s Milos Gordic, who was not a factor at all in December, has been much more active this series. He has a huge frame and when he starts cycling with linemate Jujhar Khaira, they can be tough to take off the puck.
- The first goal of the game tonight is going to be a huge key. I think that was a big advantage for UND on Friday – to play with the lead – and a disadvantage on Saturday – to play from behind.
- This is the final game in Ralph Engelstad Arena for the seniors and they say that they are aware of that.