Saturday reading: AFA, upsets, WCHA recaps, CCHA, M. Schwartz

SCSU_KossilaThe Falcons’ special teams came up big as Air Force moved from fourth to a tie for second place in the AHA with a 2-0 home win Friday over Robert Morris. Goalie Jason Torf (30 saves) is why Falcons fans can again hope for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Around college hockey, it was a tough night to be a top 5 team. Only idle No. 2 Quinnipiac did not lose. Here are recaps from the WCHA and about those upsets.

No. 15/16 St. Cloud State 3, No. 5 North Dakota 1

GRAND FORKS —  No. 15/16 St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (15-10-0, 12-5-0 WCHA) took advantage of a dominant defensive performance to score a 3-1 victory at No. 5 North Dakota (13-8-4, 8-5-4 WHCA) on Jan. 25 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The victory helped the Huskies move into sole possession of first place in the WCHA with 24 league points thanks to a 2-1 victory by No. 14 Minnesota State at No. 1 Minnesota on Jan. 25.  The Gophers fell into second place tie along with Nebraska Omaha at 22 points.

SCSU outshot UND 33-16 in the contest and also held it scoreless until a third period power play goal broke the shutout for the Huskies.  In the first period, SCSU set the tempo by giving up only three shots on goal and followed with five shots allowed in the second period.

SCSU freshman Jonny Brodzinski opened the offense with a goal at 4:15 of the first period while senior captain Ben Hanowski added the game winner with his ninth goal of the season at 16:36 of the first period. Freshman Kalle Kossilla assisted for his 11th of the season.

No. 14 Minnesota State 2, No. 1 Minnesota 1

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s 10-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Friday night after No. 14 Minnesota State’s Brett Knowles tallied the 2-1 game winner with 44 seconds left in regulation.

For the first time in Minnesota’s last 10 games, the Gophers failed to reach the four-goal plateau although freshman goalie Adam Wilcox did his best to try and pick up the win regardless of the offensive production. The rookie netminder (16-3-4) made 31 saves – one off his career high – for his first loss of 2013. MSU goalie Stephon Williams recorded 37 saves to move to 13-6-2 this season.

Despite Minnesota State’s third period goal, the Gophers held a 38-33 shot advantage and rallied from what would have been only the third time this season an opponent outshot the squad with 20 shots in the third period (the Mavericks had nine in the final stanza).

Minnesota returns to action on Saturday in Mankato for the series finale against Minnesota State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS.

No. 13/14 Nebraska Omaha 5, Bemidji State 3

BEMIDJI —  Nebraska-Omaha got two goals and an assist from Matt White while Johnnie Searfoss and Jaycob Megna each pitched in a goal and helped on another to help the Mavericks hold off a late charge by Bemidji State and earn a 5-3 WCHA victory at Sanford Center Friday.

No. 20 Wisconsin 5, Alaska-Anchorage 2

MADISON — Junior forward Michael Mersch posts two goals and an assist while Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles scored a goal and an assist each to lead Wisconsin to a 5-2 victory against Alaska Anchorage on Friday night at Kohl Center.

Maine 4, No. 3 Boston College 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — On paper, it was a mismatch – Hockey East’s top team against the league’s cellar-dweller.

Maine flipped that mismatch on its head, however, in defeating third-ranked Boston College 4-1.

In pulling off the upset, Maine spoiled the return of BC coach Jerry York to the bench after missing four games while recuperating from surgery for a detached retina.

Martin Ouellette stopped 34 of 35 shots including all 20 in the second period when BC threatened on three power plays. He also benefited from a goaltender’s best friend, the pipes behind him, as the Eagles twice clanged iron.

The Black Bears, who hadn’t scored more than two goals in 20 of 23 games this year, took a 2-0 first-period lead, expanded it to 3-0 in the second, and after BC closed the gap to 3-1 in the third, added an empty-netter for the final margin.

“Frankly, we got some puck luck, which we perhaps haven’t had a lot of,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “It could have been very different if we hadn’t had some of those bounces.

“Marty [Ouellette] was fabulous. A lot of guys made some key blocks. Any time we didn’t make the block, Marty was able to bail us out.”

Here is the rest of the article.

Merrimack 3, No. 4 New Hampshire 2

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — After taking a brief 2-1 lead in the second, UNH allowed two unanswered Merrimack goals. The game-winner came from freshman Brian Christie, who started the third period by winning the opening faceoff, driving the middle and netting a marker through a defender’s legs just seven seconds into the final frame from captain Jordan Heywood and junior Mike Collins.

Collins and Christie both finished with three points on the night and Merrimack held the Wildcats scoreless for the remaining 19:53, winning 3-2.

“I didn’t even see it go in,” Christie said. “Fortunately, it did.”

Here is the rest of that article.

Of note from the CCHA: No. 9 Western Michigan defeated Michigan to take sole possession of first place and Miami beat Bowling Green to give RedHawks’ head coach Enrico Blasi his 300th career win. The RedHawks are now in second place while Notre Dame, losers in its last five, fell to third.

Also, this columnist tells us why Mandi Schwartz still matters to her teammates, loved ones and Yale.

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Saturday reading: UND, Eveland, UNO-MSU, game notes, Duluth

UND Grimaldi actionA bored NHL writer for Sports Illustrated found himself in Hockey Shangri-La when he went to Grand Forks.  Whatever you think of North Dakota, fans of other teams, his description of the vibe at the Ralph is spot on. This is definitely an article worth a click.

Here is more on UND’s 6-1 win at Michigan Tech and on Minnesota State’s 6-3 win at Nebraska Omaha.

Here is a feature on retired Tigers player Dakota Eveland and the game story on CC’s road loss.

The Miami goalie tandem is profiled.

It was a strange reunion for former UNO assistant, now MSU head coach Mike Hastings, and former MSU head coach, now UNO assistant Troy Jutting on Friday.

Minnesota Duluth 5, Alaska-Anchorage 1

ANCHORAGE — Sophomore defenseman Chris Casto (his first of the season) and freshman forward Tony Cameranesi each scored two goals to lead Minnesota Duluth to a 5-1 win against Alaska Anchorage late Friday night at Sullivan Arena.

Saturday reading: WCHA roundup, Miami, NHL lockout

From the WCHA …

No. 4 North Dakota 4, Alaska Anchorage 1

GRAND FORKS — Senior forward Danny Kristo registered an assist on three of North Dakota’s four goals to help lift his team to a 4-1 victory against Alaska Anchorage at Engelstad Arena on Friday night.

No. 5 Denver 5, Michigan Tech 1

DENVER — Junior defenseman David Makowski and junior forward Nick Shore each had a goal and an assist to lead Denver to a 5-1 victory against Michigan Tech at Magness Arena on Friday night.

Wisconsin 2, No. 14 Minnesota Duluth 0

DULUTH — Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel made 29 saves and junior forward Mark Zengerle had a goal and an assist to lead the Badgers to a 2-0 shutout against the Bulldogs on Friday night at AMSOIL Arena.

Bemidji State 3, Nebraska Omaha 3 OT

OMAHA — Senior forward Aaron McLeod scored a goal and an assist while sophomore netminder Andrew Walsh made 39 saves to help lift Bemidji State to a 3-3 tie against Nebraska Omaha on Friday night at CenturyLink Center.

St. Cloud State 5, Minnesota State 1

ST. CLOUD — Ben Hanowski scored a pair of goals and Drew LeBlanc added a goal and three assists to lead St. Cloud State to a 5-1 win against Minnesota State on Friday night at National Hockey Center.

No. 2 Minnesota 2, USA U-18 2 OT (exhibition)

MINNEAPOLIS — Junior forwards Tom Serratore and Nick Bjugstad each scored a goal to help Minnesota skate to a 2-2 tie against the USA Under-18 Team on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.

From the CCHA …

No. 6 Michigan 4, No. 3 Miami 2

ANN ARBOR — Michigan senior forward A.J. Treais tallied two goals to power the Wolverines to a 4-2 win over Miami. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and sophomore forward Alex Guptill both recorded 1-1-2 scoring lines while freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba had two helpers.

For the RedHawks, sophomore forward Cody Murphy scored a goal on the power play and sophomore forward Austin Czarnik netted a short-handed tally. Michigan freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 30 shots, while Miami’s tandem of freshman goaltenders Jay Williams and Ryan McKay combined for 31 saves.

In the pros, frustration continues to mount as more NHL players are giving up on the season to find work overseas, as former Tiger Mark Stuart points out.

Friday reading: WCHA features and previews, military appreciation

No. 19 Colorado College takes on a strong No. 7 Cornell team in its first road trip of the season (No, Air Force does not count).

Minnesota State readies for its final campaign in the old WCHA. They travel to St. Cloud State.

Here is a look at the Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth series from a Bulldogs perspective. Wisconsin senior Derek Lee, UW’s power play quarterback, is out this weekend after a scooter-car collision.

Nebraska Omaha goalie John Faulkner is playing well so far. UNO hosts Bemidji State.

Hockey brought in big money to the Denver economy last weekend. Look for goalie Sam Brittain to start Friday against visiting Michigan Tech with Juho Olkinuora. Here is a preview focusing on Michigan Tech.

Here is all you need to know about Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

Minnesota plays the USA U-18 team tonight and Canisius, which tied Air Force 1-1 on Thursday,  on Sunday. The Gophers will rest a few dinged up players.

In pro hockey, the ECHL Colorado Eagles are asking fans to nominate their family members or friends who they feel qualify as “Hometown Heroes” as part of Military Appreciation Night.

If you know of someone who deserves to be honored and recognized for their incredible efforts of military service, please fill out the attached form and return it for consideration to the Colorado Eagles by the end of business on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Three nominees will be chosen from the forms received, and honored (one per period) during our annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Budweiser Events Center.  The honorees will receive free tickets to that night’s game, along with admittance for select family/friends.

Thursday reading: WCHA column, Air Force, preview notes, Duluth

North Dakota’s loss at Alaska in Fairbanks could help down the road along with other notes from around the WCHA.

Air Force must regroup as it hits the road for league play.

Here are the preview notes for No. 19 Colorado College at No. 7 Cornell.

Other league series include: Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha; Minnesota State at St. Cloud State; No. 2 Minnesota hosts USA U-18 and Canisius, including news on injuries and the goalie rotation; Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth; Michigan Tech at No. 5 Denver; and Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

The 1993 MacNaughton Cup championship team, coached by Mike Sertich, will be honored by Minnesota Duluth this Saturday.

CC remains No. 19 in USCHO poll

Colorado College’s loss to a solid UMass-Lowell team on Saturday did not cost it in this week’s USCHO poll with the Tigers remaining at No. 19 for the second straight week.

As expected, there was a change atop the rankings with Boston College retaking the No. 1 spot, followed by No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Miami and shorthanded North Dakota which fell to fourth from second after losing at Alaska-Fairbanks late Saturday.

Denver’s convincing wins over Air Force and Lowell pushed it from No. 7 up to No. 5. Minnesota Duluth dropped one spot to No. 14.

Michigan Tech’s win over Minnesota and close loss on Saturday garnered it some respect and an appearance in the receiving votes section along with St. Lawrence which pulled off a road sweep at Maine.

Minnesota State, Nebraska Omaha,  St. Cloud State and Wisconsin all picked up some votes while Air Force and Alaska-Anchorage received a couple.

 

Wednesday reading: Honors, Crabb, Hillen, DU, UND, schedule

Two future NCHC foes garnered weekly CCHA honors.

The recent NHL proposal has desperate NHL bloggers excited enough to post depth charts, including former Tigers Joey Crabb, pictured, and  Jack Hillen in Washington.

Denver has a new  director of media relations after Eric Bacher left for the assistant athletics director for public relations at Virginia. His replacement is Nicole Bostel, who was DU’s associate director of media relations. Congratulations to Nicole on the promotion.

Here is an injury update for shorthanded North Dakota.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Thursday, Oct. 18: Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame (NC), 7:35 pm ET.

Games for Friday, Oct. 19: Minnesota at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame (NC), 7:35 pm ET; Lake Superior at Bemidji State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Rensselaer at Minnesota State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Alabama-Huntsville at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Northern Michigan at Nebraska Omaha (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Colorado College at Air Force (NC), 7:05 pm MT; * North Dakota vs Alaska Anchorage (NC), 5:05 pm AT; UMass Lowell at Denver (NC), 7:37 pm MT. * Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK).

Games for Saturday, Oct. 20: Minnesota at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; * Merrimack vs Alaska Anchorage (NC), 4:05 pm AT; Lake Superior at Bemidji State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Rensselaer at Minnesota State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Alabama-Huntsville at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Northern Michigan at Nebraska Omaha (NC), 7:07 pm CT; UMass Lowell at Colorado College (NC), 7:07 pm MT; Air Force at Denver (NC), 7:07 pm MT; * North Dakota at Alaska (NC), 7:05 pm AT. * Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK).