Around the WCHA: Mankato downs UNO; CC stays alone in third

A tight league race got even tighter with 11th-place Mankato’s win over fourth-place Nebraska Omaha keeping the red Mavs a point behind third-place Colorado College with 10 games remaining for most WCHA teams. Five points separate third-place CC and St. Cloud State, which is tied with Michigan Tech for seventh.

Here’s the Gazette’s look at the Tigers’ chance at the WCHA title. Road points at No. 1 Minnesota Duluth will be tough to come by though. Here’s the game story on the 2-1 road loss for CC at No. 4 Minnesota.

Capsules compiled from school web sites …

Minnesota State 5, Nebraska Omaha 4 OT

MANKATO — Sophomore forward Johnny McInnis scored at 3:05 of overtime to help Minnesota State earn a split of a weekend series with at 5-4 victory against Nebraska Omaha on Saturday at Verizon Wireless Center. UNO won in OT Friday.

On the game-winning goal, Joe Schiller grabbed a loose puck at center ice and fed Johnny McInnes who beat UNO’s John Faulkner with a wrist shot from the top of the circles.

The goal capped off a wild, back-and-forth game that saw UNO take three one-goal leads and then have to score with an extra attacker in the final 10 seconds to send the game to overtime.

Wisconsin 3, Alaska Anchorage 2

MADISON, Wis. — A goal by freshman Joseph LaBate with just over four minutes remaining in the game broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the Badgers (12-10-2, 7-9-2 WCHA) to a win Saturday night and a weekend sweep over Alaska Anchorage (6-14-2, 3-14-1 WCHA) at the Kohl Center.

With the game tied at two and just over four minutes left in the third period, junior Justin Schultz and LaBate took off on the rush. After LaBate got the puck from linemate Mark Zengerle inside the UW blue line, he skated through center ice, then dished off to Schultz streaking down the right wing. Schultz skated behind the goal line, then gave it back to LaBate in front for the score.

“Coach just told us to get pucks in the net and get pucks in deep and go from there,” LaBate said. “I got the puck in the center from (Mark) Zengerle, a great pass from him, and I gave it to (Justin) Schultz who was streaking down the wing and I just went to the net, he put it on my stick and I put it in.”

The goal lifted a tense crowd into celebration and a charging Badger team two games above .500 as the defense held strong for the final minutes of the contest. Wisconsin improved 7-2-1 in its last 10 contests.

No. 17 North Dakota 3, St. Cloud State 2

ST. CLOUD — The St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team suffered a tough 3-2 loss to #17 North Dakota at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MInn. on Jan. 21. The loss moves SCSU’s record to 10-12-4, 7-8-3 WCHA, while North Dakota improved its record to 13-10-2, 9-9-0 WCHA.

Corban Knight recorded two goals an assist to pace North Dakota.

The results of the weekend in WCHA play moved the Huskies into a tie for seventh place along with Michigan Tech (17 points each), while North Dakota moved into sixth place with 18 points on the season.

No. 1 Minnesota Duluth 4, Alabama Huntsville 3

DULUTH — The No. 1 team in the nation got another three-point night from the No. 1 scorer in the nation Saturday and equally as important, got a clutch third-period goal from rookie left winger Caleb Herbert en route to a 4-3 win over the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Minnesota Duluth wasted little time getting to work, striking first on senior center Jack Connolly’s 14th goal of the year 1:07 into the opening period. A power play tally by the Chargers at the 1:55 mark and a full-strength marker less than a minute later gave Alabama-Huntsville a brief 2-1 lead. The defending NCAA Champion Bulldogs knotted the score three minutes later on a one-time goal by sophomore right winger Joe Basaraba (with an assist to Connolly) and went into the first intermission in a 2-2 deadlock.

Connolly’s second goal of the evening put UMD back in front 2:12 into the second stanza before the Chargers tied it back up with 12:11 to go in the period. Connolly, who now has 40 points on the year, extended his personal scoring streak to 22 games, equaling the UMD single-season record set by another All-American center, Mark Pavelich in 1978-79.

“I’m just trying to go out there and help the guys,” said Connolly, who has recorded three or more points on seven occasions this winter. “Hopefully I can keep this streak going for a couple more games. It’s nice to share this kind of record.”

Northern Michigan 5, Michigan Tech 2

HOUGHTON — Freshman forward David Johnstone scored twice but the Michigan Tech Huskies were defeated by the Northern Michigan Wildcats, 5-2, on Saturday night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Bemidji State, Denver IDLE

Current standings follow …

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
18
13
5
0
26
61
35
17
9
1
103
56
Minnesota Duluth
16
11
3
2
24
66
37
17
4
3
95
56
Colorado College
18
11
7
0
22
69
57
14
9
1
84
68
Nebraska Omaha
18
9
6
3
21
57
56
12
10
4
79
76
Denver
16
8
5
3
19
56
50
13
8
3
85
67
North Dakota
18
9
9
0
18
47
49
13
10
2
73
70
Michigan Tech
16
8
7
1
17
53
49
11
12
1
70
71
St. Cloud State
18
7
8
3
17
54
52
10
12
4
80
77
Wisconsin
18
7
9
2
16
51
55
12
10
2
76
68
Bemidji State
16
5
9
2
12
41
55
11
11
2
66
67
Minnesota State
18
4
13
1
9
46
70
8
17
1
70
90
Alaska Anchorage
18
3
14
1
7
37
73
6
14
2
54
82
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About paisleyhockey
I am the college hockey writer for the Colorado Springs Gazette focusing on the Atlantic Hockey Association, National Collegiate Hockey Conference and Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

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