Five highlights from around the country:
1. Michigan’s Derek DeBlois scored the game-winning goal with 6:07 left to lift the Wolverines to a 4-3 win over Omaha and a series split. Omaha continues to shuffle goalies, playing Reed Peters in this one. Ryan Massa started Omaha’s win in the opener.
2. Grafton’s Chad Demers scored two goals to lead Air Force to a 4-3 win over Robert Morris. Demers now leads Air Force in scoring with 12 points in nine games. He’s also the second-leading scorer in Atlantic Hockey.
3. Denver got a power-play goal from defenseman David Makowski in the second period and that was all the Pioneers needed as they beat Western Michigan 1-0. That’s already shutout No. 3 on the season for Sam Brittain, who stopped all 26 Bronco shots.
4. Minnesota will certainly retain its No. 1 national ranking after sweeping MSU-Mankato. The Gophers won 3-0 on Saturday and allowed just one goal on the weekend. Michael Shibrowski earned a 25-save shutout in the series finale.
5. Wisconsin used back-to-back goals in the third period to rally for a 3-2 win over Miami in Oxford. The teams split their series. Michael Mersch and Joseph LaBate scored the third-period goals for the Badgers.
NCHC top performers
Shutout — Sam Brittain, DU, 26 saves
3 points — David Morley, SCSU, 1 goal, 2 assists
3 points — Tony Cameranesi, Duluth, 3 assists
2 points — Adam Krause, Duluth, 2 goals
2 points — Austin Czarnik, Miami, 1 goal, 1 assist
2 points — Austin Farley, Duluth, 1 goal, 1 assist
2 points — Joe Basaraba, Duluth, 1 goal, 1 assist
Duluth 6, UND 3
The Bulldogs used key goals at the end of the first two periods to pull away from UND and earn a series split in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Game stories:
- UND coach Dave Hakstol pointed to the late-period goals as the difference in the game. The Bulldogs got two in the final 2:28 of the first period, one in the final 1:12 of the second period and the empty-net goal with 1:02 left. That’s four of Duluth’s six goals.
- Another key point in the game was right after Paul LaDue made it a 3-2 game. Then, UND got an extended five-on-three power play but was unable to score. UND generated some chances on the advantage, but couldn’t tie the game. Soon after that, Duluth regained the two-goal lead.
- As Miller wrote in his column, UND just can’t afford to take bad, behind-the-play penalties. This team’s margin for error isn’t great, and those put them behind the eight-ball a couple of times.
- UND’s Mark MacMillan could barely skate and was in obvious pain. Hakstol said the team needs to give him time off. It’s hard to imagine him playing in Boston this weekend with the way he was moving.
- Prior to the season, I said that I thought the junior class would be the key to this season. Right now, UND is essentially without two of the three big scorers from that class. They need to get those guys healthy and producing.
- We still don’t know who UND’s No. 1 goaltender is. Every time someone appears to be taking control of the job, he ends up getting pulled. This time, it was Clarke Saunders who got pulled after playing two outstanding games.
- Hakstol didn’t think his team was able to generate enough off the rush in this game. That’s how UND generates a large percentage of its offense.
- Right now, almost all of UND’s goals are being generated by the defensemen, whether it’s a rebound of a point shot or a point shot that goes in. Two blue liners scored in the series finale — Dillon Simpson and LaDue.
- UND hasn’t won a Saturday game yet this season (remember, Omaha was a Saturday-Sunday series, so Game 1 was on a Saturday). UND is 0-4-1 on Saturdays.
- Duluth’s Tony Cameranesi, who was off to a slow start this season, finally broke out with a 3-point game.
- It’s hard to know how much of an effect the flu-episode had on UND this weekend, but the team didn’t appear to have a ton of energy on Saturday night. So, winning on Friday night ended up being pretty vital.