The 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.”
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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.”
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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.