Gameday final: Denver 5, UND 1

TODAY’S VIEWING: NCHC.tv (single-day subscription) only. No TV. Lineup notes: UND switches three of four forward lines, keeping only the Gaarder unit together. Murphy comes in for Olson on the fourth line. Denver is holding out Joey LaLeggia and Daniel Doremus.

First period

UND 1, Denver 0 — Connor Gaarder (Brendan O’Donnell, Tucker Poolman) 14:34. O’Donnell pressures Jaillet behind the net, forces a turnover and sends a backhand pass to Gaarder in the left circle. Gaarder one-times it past Jaillet to give UND the lead.

UND 1, Denver 1 — Josiah Didier 15:07. UND gets disjointed in the defensive zone and the puck eventually gets out high to Didier, who has space. As everyone collapses around the net, Didier fires one through the maze of bodies and it beats McIntyre stick side.

Denver 2, UND 1 — Quentin Shore (Nolan Zajac, Ty Loney) 17:50. Denver has a four-on-three rush. Zajac, on the right side, drops a pass to the trailer, Shore, who one-times one past McIntyre from the left circle.

Second period

Denver 3, UND 1 — Matt Tabrum (Matt VanVoohris, Nolan Zajac) 10:27. VanVoohris finds Tabrum at the top of the left circle with a cross-ice pass and Tabrum blasts it in with a one-timer.

Third period

Denver 4, UND 1 — Nick Neville (Grant Arnold, Matt Tabrum) 6:02. Neville blasts a point shot that goes off of LaDue’s leg and in for his first-career goal.

Denver 5, UND 1 — Emil Romig (Trevor Moore) 17:50. Mattson fans on a one-timer at the point, Moore takes it on a 2-on-1 rush. He executes it perfectly, feeding Romig for the easy goal.

UND’s lines

9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–8 Nick Schmaltz–3 Tucker Poolman
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–7 Wade Murphy

4 Keaton Thompson–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
20 Gage Aumsus–2 Troy Stecher

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Denver’s lines

8 Trevor Moore–20 Danton Heinen–18 Emil Romig
26 Evan Janssen–27 Quentin Shore–12 Ty Loney
16 Zac Larraza–9 Gabe Levin–23 Matt Marcinew
6 Matt VanVoorhis–25 Matt Tabrum–38 Grant Arnold

7 Will Butcher–11 Nolan Zajac
28 Adam Plant–4 Josiah Didier
3 Tariq Hammond–2 Nick Neville

36 Tanner Jaillet
31 Evan Cowley

Final day before Selection Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS — There are seven college hockey games left to be played before the NCAA tournament begins Friday.

There are several spots to be claimed in the field, several seeds to be nailed down.

For UND, there’s not much possible movement. It will be the No. 1 seed in the West Regional in Fargo. That much we know.

The only thing that will be determined today is whether UND is the No. 1 overall seed or the No. 2 overall seed.

In order for UND to re-claim the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, UND needs to win or tie AND it needs Michigan Tech to beat MSU-Mankato in the WCHA championship.

If MSU wins or if UND loses, it’s a lock that the Mavs will be the 1 overall and UND will be 2.

If UND re-claims the No. 1 overall seed, it would likely face the Atlantic Hockey champion in the first round — Mercyhurst or RIT. If it’s the No. 2 overall seed, it opens up a number of doors for a first-round opponent, but two distinct possibilities are Michigan (if it beats Minnesota) or Providence.

*****

Some other notes:

  • According to Jim Dahl, St. Cloud State is now a lock for the NCAA tournament. That means the NCHC will get six of its eight teams in the NCAAs.
  • Many are asking whether Minnesota will be in the Fargo regional. If the Gophers beat Michigan, their chances seem far more likely that they will be as a No. 3 seed. If they lose, they fall into that area where I just don’t see it as likely.
  • Minnesota isn’t a lock yet. There are some scenarios that leave the Gophers out (Michigan, Colgate, Lowell and Miami all have to win, I believe), but it is very likely that they are in, win or lose.
  • Miami can bump up to a No. 1 seed with a win and a MSU-Mankato win. If this happens, I think they send Miami to South Bend and ship the Mavs out East.
  • There’s a possibility of a logjam of NCHC teams near the middle of the pack, from the Nos. 6-9 area, which means there’s a distinct chance that the Committee will not be able to avoid an all-NCHC matchup in the first round. These are very rare, but with six teams in the tournament, they could get away with it.
  • Since the NCAA went to its current format in 2003, I believe there has only been one intra-conference matchup in the first round. That happened in 2008 in Madison (many of you may have attended that regional as UND was there). Wisconsin played Denver in the first round.

Gameday final: SCSU 3, UND 1

TODAY’S VIEWING: CBS Sports Network. No webcast. Lineup notes: Colten St. Clair and Mark MacMillan out for UND. SCSU will play without Kalle Kossila and Andrew Prochno. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, St. Cloud State 0 — Keaton Thompson (Tucker Poolman, Johnny Simonson) 15:02. A strong shift by the fourth line eventually leads to a goal. Poolman and Pattyn get on the ice after a change, dig a puck from the end wall and get it to Thompson at the point. His slap shot gets through tons of traffic — Pattyn and Simonson camped out on top of the crease.

St. Cloud State 1, UND 1 — David Morley (Jonny Brodzinski, Ethan Prow) 19:35. The Huskies sustain some pressure, Brodzinski circles the net and finds Morley camped on top of the crease. He easily taps it in to tie.

St. Cloud State 2, UND 1 — Joey Benik (Patrick Russell) 19:54. The Huskies tack on a second goal in the final :25 seconds of the period after a turnover. Benik feeds Russell in the slot. Russell gets tied up by a pair of UND defenders, but the puck deflects to the side of the net, where Benik has tons of room to shoot.

Second period

No scoring.

Third period

St. Cloud State 3, UND 1 — Joe Rehkamp 18:55 (en). Rehkamp puts one into the empty net to seal the victory for the Huskies.

UND’s lines

28 Stephane Pattyn–27 Luke Johnson–3 Tucker Poolman
9 Drake Caggiula–8 Nick Schmaltz–15 Michael Parks
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–11 Trevor Olson

4 Keaton Thompson–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

St. Cloud State’s lines

42 Blake Winiecki–22 Jonny Brodzinski–16 Jimmy Murray
9 Joey Benik–13 David Morley–63 Patrick Russell
4 Ben Storm–37 Joe Rehkamp–17 Judd Peterson
6 Daniel Tedesco–27 Nick Oliver–21 Brooks Bertsch

7 Niklas Nevalainen–12 Ethan Prow
5 Nathan Widman–40 Tim Daly
26 Mike Ilvonen–2 Jarrod Rabey

35 Charlie Lindgren
45 Rasmus Reijola

Friday morning reading

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s the crazy time of year in college hockey with seasons on the line, championships up for grabs, early signings and awards being handed out all at once.

For UND, there’s no man busier than goalie Zane McIntyre.

It’s not just because he’s bidding to become the first North Dakota netminder in nearly 50 years to play in every game of the season. In the last 48 hours, he has been named a finalist for the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s top goalie, a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the country’s best overall player and he has won the NCHC goalie of the year award.

Yes, it has become clear to everyone in Grand Forks this season that McIntyre is elite at stopping the puck.

But there’s a story behind the scenes that many probably don’t know: Zane was raised in a Thief River Falls trailer by a single mother who worked as many as three jobs to support the family.

His mother and grandmother have been deeply influential in his life and hopefully this story better explains why he decided to change his last name.

After today’s NCHC awards banquet, I also caught up with injured UND forward Mark MacMillan, who was named the league’s top defensive forward. Seems very appropriate for a guy whose career ended because he was making a great defensive play.

MacMillan tells us all about what happened on the play and what exactly happened to him in this piece here.

Speaking of the awards ceremony, here’s a quick rundown of the award winners with a lot of photos and some video of the event.

Today’s game is an afternoon semifinal at the conference tournament against St. Cloud State. I actually remember the last afternoon semifinal in the conference tournament against St. Cloud State.

It was 2007, and an 18-year-old kid named Jonathan Toews [who is still held in high regard at North Dakota, says ESPN] sniped a goal top shelf from in tight.

Today, the Huskies won’t be trying to stop a player like Toews. No, it will be trying to slow down UND’s forth line, which has outproduced every other line by far in the last three weeks. Read about that here.

Another player that the Huskies will try to slow down is Nick Mattson, the team’s leading scorer since December. Interestingly enough, Mattson says that “mindful meditation” played a big role in turning his season around. Read more about that here.

On the St. Cloud State side of things, Roseau’s Nick Oliver (who committed almost a decade ago) has been part of lifting the Huskies to new heights. He’s determined to get a win this weekend and keep the season going.

UND won’t be the only team missing a key player. The Huskies will be without defenseman Andrew Prochno, and could be without center Kalle Kossila. Mick Hatten of the St. Cloud Times details that in this story.

Kossila has dominated UND centers on draws this season, so both teams could be without their top faceoff men today. Prochno has been steady since his freshman season.

There was a lot made out of UND and St. Cloud State getting the early start time. Commish Josh Fenton explains it here.

UND and St. Cloud State have met four times this season, but a few things could be different without key players today.

Keys for UND:

1. Stay out of the penalty box. SCSU has the NCHC’s top power play and one of the top power-play units in the nation. They move the puck extremely well with the extra man and have hurt UND in those circumstances.

2. Win faceoffs. This goes hand-in-hand with special teams. They’ve been absolutely dominated by the Huskies at times in draws this season.

3. Get top players going. Michael Parks and Drake Caggiula have 3 points in the last 6 games. If they are on a line with Nick Schmaltz, they have to produce.

Keys for SCSU:

1. Goaltending. Yes, that’s always a key, but Charlie Lindgren needs to be better than he was in Grand Forks.

2. Match up better with the fourth line. The Huskies have been dominated by UND’s fourth line in 3 of the 4 matchups. They can’t let the Johnny Simonson unit do that today.

3. Play with the lead. UND has been miserable to play against this season once it gets leads. The Huskies can change the game if they get some early goals.

That’s about it for now. Check back on the Herald site often for more videos, photos and updates this weekend.

Also, check out College Hockey News’ wonderful Pairwise predictor to try to figure out where everyone will end up this weekend.

And check out Jim Dahl’s Twitter account for the best Pairwise info anywhere.

Catch you all soon.

UND wins several NCHC awards

UND won several NCHC awards, presented at the Muse Events Center on Thursday afternoon.

Dave Hakstol won the league’s coach of the year honor; Zane McIntyre is the league’s goalie of the year; Mark MacMillan is the defensive forward of the year; and Nick Mattson is the scholar-athlete of the year.

Here’s a list of the major award winners:

MVP — Joey LaLeggia, Denver

Herb Brooks coach of the year — Dave Hakstol, North Dakota

Forward of the year — Trevor Moore, Denver

Defenseman of the year — LaLeggia, Denver

Goalie of the year — Zane McIntyre, North Dakota

Defensive forward of the year — Mark MacMlilan, North Dakota

Offensive defenseman of the year — LaLeggia, Denver

Scholar-athlete of the year — Nick Mattson, North Dakota

NCHC sportsmanship award — Nick Oliver, St. Cloud State

Zane named Hobey Baker finalist

UND junior goalie Zane McIntyre is a Hobey Baker finalist.

McIntyre was named one of the top 10 on Thursday morning. He is the only goaltender among the group and one of two NCHC players.

The Thief River Falls product has a 27-7-3 mark with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.

There’s a full story on the Herald site here.

Here’s a quick rundown of the candidates:

Jack Eichel, fr, f, Boston University
The no-doubt front-runner to be the second freshman to win Hobey Baker (Paul Kariya, 1992). With two more points, Eichel will have the most prolific season by any freshman since Kariya.

Zane McIntyre, jr, g, North Dakota
McIntyre, a finalist for the Mike Richter Award, is the only goalie finalist on the list. He is on track to become the first goalie at UND in nearly a half century to play in every game of the season (Lefty Curran, 1966-67).

Joey LaLeggia, sr, d, Denver
LaLeggia decided to stay for his senior season and he’s had a huge one. He has 13 goals and 38 points, two shy of the NCHC overall leader. And he’s a defenseman.

Mike Reilly, jr, d, Minnesota
The Columbus Blue Jackets pick is the top defenseman scorer in the nation with 42 points in 36 games. He is a two-time Big Ten defenseman of the year selection.

Zach Hyman, sr, f, Michigan
After tallying 35 points in three seasons, the former Canadian Junior A player of the year has racked up 49 points in 34 games for the nation’s top-ranked offense in Michigan.

Matt Garbowsky, sr, f, RIT
The senior is one goal off the national lead with 26 and has tallied 50 points for RIT. Garbowsky is Atlantic Hockey’s player of the year.

Cody Wydo, sr, f, Robert Morris
Wydo, a second pick from Atlantic Hockey, has scored more goals in the last two seasons (50) than any other player in the country. He led Robert Morris to an AHA title this season.

Tanner Kero, sr, f, Michigan Tech
The former Fargo Force forward is Tech’s first Hobey finalist in a decade — since Colin Murphy in 2005. He won the WCHA’s MVP award and tallied 45 points in 38 games.

Daniel Ciampini, sr, f, Union
The senior forward has 26 goals and 50 points for the defending national champs. With Union’s season being over, Ciampini has already signed with the Worcester Sharks.

Jimmy Vesey, jr, f, Harvard
Vesey leads the nation with 27 goals — his latest was an OT winner to keep Harvard alive in the ECAC tournament. He also has 53 points for the Crimson.

McIntyre a finalist for Richter Award

UND junior goalie Zane McIntyre is one of five finalists for the Mike Richter Award, which goes to the nation’s top goalie. Here’s a look at the five finalists, which includes Lake of the Woods’ Alex Lyon:

Zane McIntyre, junior, North Dakota
27-7-3, 1.97, .932

Alex Lyon, sophomore, Yale
17-9-5, 1.58, .939

Jake Hildebrand, junior Michigan State
17-15-2, 2.12, .930

Jamie Phillips, junior, Michigan Tech
27-7-2, 1.61, .938

Kyle Hayton, freshman, St. Lawrence
20-12-3, 1.90, .939

ESPN’s John Buccigross, who has a vote for the Richter Award, tweeted earlier today that he voted for McIntyre. The UND junior also could be a Hobey Baker Award finalist. The top 10 will be announced Thursday.

Frozen Faceoff practice times

If you live in the Twin Cities and want to watch practice Thursday, it is open to the public. Three of the four teams will skate at the Target Center on Thursday. St. Cloud State is opting to practice at home before making the short trek to Minneapolis.

Miami practice — 11 a.m. to noon

UND practice — 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Denver practice — 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Should the NCHC name its second trophy?

One of the best, somewhat subtle moves that the NCHC made early in its existence was naming the trophy that’s awarded to the league champion.

After just two years, the Penrose Cup already has a ring to it among fans. You’ll hear them talk about chasing the Penrose Cup and trying to win it. It’s important for branding and to help increase interest in the race for championships.

This weekend, another one of the NCHC’s trophies will be awarded to the champion of the Frozen Faceoff. Once again, it was a good move by the NCHC to name its league championship, brand it and try to grow it. It will probably take a bit for fans to get the name down because the Final Five was so ingrained, but it’s definitely a good start down the right road.

That brings us to today’s question: Should the NCHC name its second trophy?

I don’t think it’s 100 percent necessary since the league already branded the tournament, but I vote ‘yes.’ I think giving the Frozen Faceoff trophy a name helps brand it even more and gives the award a little extra visibility.

Yes, it’s difficult to come up with a name that’s not tied to a particular school in the conference. Maybe the Scherr Trophy after the league’s first commissioner, Jim Scherr, and his longstanding dedication to the conference and the sport. No? Okay then.

Can you think of any suitable names out there for the playoff trophy? Or does the league even need the trophy to be named at all?

Let’s hear your thoughts.