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December 5, 2006 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Week in Review

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

WCHA

The Tigers picked up the weekend sweep of rival Denver, winning 3-2 at Denver and 5-1 at home. It was a sweet feeling for CC after taking it on the chin a few times recently. There was a scary play Saturday when Denver forward Aaron Veideman lost his helmet and hit his head on the ice. He was taken off on a board, but seemed to suffer no serious damage other than a concussion (which is not to say a concussion isn't serious). "I was really pleased with our approach to the game tonight and the adversity of being down 2-0," said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. "I was proud at how we battled back and tied the game up. I really felt that we gave ourselves a great chance to win." Nevertheless, CC gets the sweep and moves up the polls.

It was a rough and tumble series, between Minnesota and Minnesota State, but the Gophers showed why perhaps this is a team that has what it takes this season, surviving by getting three points on the road. Saturday was not a typical Gophers game, with all the scoring came in the first 9:30 of the game. But again, it says something about this group. After all, Minnesota now has a 16-game unbeaten streak, and is unbeaten in the WCHA. Kyle Okposo scored a highlight-reel goal in the first period, which proved to be the game winner. Okposo fought off two defenders in the corner, got it to Ryan Stoa in front. Stoa beat one man, and by the time Okposo was headed to the net. Okposo got it, and then dropped it between his legs, reached behind him and flicked it past Mavericks goaltender Mike Zacharias.

Kellen Briggs, who got the start for the second straight night, played perhaps his best game of the season, stopping 28 shots. He got the start over Jeff Frazee, according to coach Don Lucia, because Frazee didn't have a strong week of practice. It is the same reason why Tyler Hirsch, who recently sat out games because Lucia was concerned about his academics, sat out these two games as well. Lucia said that he's laying down the law this year in terms of practicing, as per his policy, after being too lax on it last season. There's always concern when Hirsch is involved though, after his temperamental departure two seasons ago led to last year's medical redshirt. He's a gifted playmaker and adds a lot to the lineup when he's there.

St. Cloud State swept Michigan Tech, taking Saturday's game when Andrew Gordon scored with 11 seconds remaining in overtime, keeping alive a nine-game unbeaten streak. SCSU stayed two points back in the WCHA of Minnesota, the only team in the nation hotter than the Huskies. Bobby Goepfert further emphasized his impressive turnaround from early-season struggles, making 35 saves.

CCHA

In danger of getting swept in the series, Michigan scored three goals in a 4:12 span, late in the second to take a 4-3 lead Saturday against Western Michigan. WMU tied it, but Michigan got two more in the third to win and stay two back of Miami. Steve Jakiel got his first career start, playing in place of Billy Sauer in the Michigan net. Sauer had let up 13 goals in his last two games, and coach Red Berenson thought he was tired. Jakiel wasn't great, but he did make a key late save to keep the game tied. Michigan lost defensemen Jack Johnson and Jason Dest to shoulder injuries during the course of the game.

Notre Dame kept right on rolling, sweeping Alaska-Fairbanks. Notre Dame set the tone, down 1-0 after two periods Saturday, scoring three straight in the third to win. "They (Alaska) are a tough team to play against," said ND coach Jeff Jackson. "They make it tough to get pucks through to the goal, to get rebounds and second chances. We were fortunate to break it open with a shorthanded goal. That was a momentum goal that led to another goal a few seconds later."

Sunday, the teams combined for just 12 shots in the first 20 minutes. "We weren't happy with the way we played in the first period," said Mark Van Guilder, who had the ND goal. "They (Alaska) dictated the tempo quite a bit and slowed the game down a lot. That's not what we wanted. Coach got in our ear a little bit between periods and we started to pick up the tempo, move our feet and started creating more off the rush and off the cycle." Junior Evan Rankin, playing in his first game since Nov. 10, jump-started the Irish with his first goal of the season. Alaska then changed goaltenders, and Notre Dame exploded.

Bowling Green is down and out after getting pummeled by Nebraska-Omaha in two games. Friday, Bryan Marshall had a hat trick for UNO, and Saturday was Scott Parse's turn. Miami also swept Ferris State to stay in first place all alone. Saturday, Ryan Jones scored twice (14) and Nathan Davis added his 14th.

Friday, LSSU's Jeff Jakaitis made 31 saves for his 10th career shutout, a Lakers record, breaking a mark set by Blaine Lacher.

HOCKEY EAST

Vermont's hot streak continued last week, as the Cats tied idle UNH for first place by defeating Massachusetts-Lowell. But facing UNH in a battle for first on Sunday, the Wildcats won 4-1 to extend its recent dominance. Mike Radja scored twice for UNH.

Saturday, one night after fog at Conte Arena forced the postponement of the first meeting of the season between Boston College and Boston University, the Eagles got a shorthanded goal from Nathan Gerbe in the first period, and made it stand up at Agganis Arena. Actually, Gerbe was merely the closest to the area, as BU put it into its own net. On a power play, and trying to start a breakout, Peter MacArthur sent a pass that went off the leg of goalie John Curry and into his own net. Cory Schneider stopped 34 shots for the shutout, outdueling Curry. For BU, it's back to an old story of not being able to finish, something that seemed to have been overcome late last year and early this year. The Terriers have just seven goals in their last five games, not including Saturday's "own goal."

Merrimack got swept by Northeastern. It has scored five goals in its last eight games. Ouch.

Maine's only game of the week was a 3-0 win over Providence, which snapped the Black Bears' three-game slump. Hard to believe, but this was the first shutout in the college career of Ben Bishop. Captain Michel Leveille did suit up in the game, after he hurt his back last weekend.

ECAC

Mike McKenzie had two goals as St. Lawrence earned a split on the weekend. Yale lost both games at home — to Clarkson and SLU — cooling off its fast start. Yale has lost three in a row after a 6-1-1 start. Kain Tisi stopped 30 shots, including a dozen in the opening period, to earn his second win of the year. "It was closer than the score indicated. I thought we had them on the ropes in the second period and then got into a little funk," said Yale coach Keith Allain. "All of a sudden we are down three goals."

Cornell plays its most complete game of the season, defeating Union 6-0, following up a three-goal comeback over RPI a night earlier with a 42-22 shot edge. Six different players scored, and Ben Scrivens, who got the tie in relief a night earlier, picked up his first career shutout — perhaps creating a rare goaltending controversy in Ithaca.

OTHER

American International finally breaks the 12-game season-opening losing streak, coming on the heels of the heroic efforts by two of its players to save six people from a burning people (a story featured on the College Hockey News front page). It was karma. Mercyhurst won the next night, though, 8-3.

WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT

Hot
1. Ryan Jones, Miami — Had five goals on the weekend as Miami swept Ferris State, giving him 14 on the season.
2. Scott Parse, Nebraska-Omaha — Hat trick Friday as UNO gets back on track.
3. Kevin Regan, New Hampshire — The goaltender has had his ups and downs his first two years, but the junior is playing consistently well.

Not
1. Ken Roche, Boston University — Top returning scorer was benched recently as BU's offensive woes return.
2. Geoff Paukovich, Denver — Still no goals this season.
3. Billy Sauer, Michigan — Sophomore goalie allows 13 goals in the last two games and is benched for the first time this season.

NCAA TOP 10

1 Minnesota (13-1-3)
The Gophers are officially a juggernaut after a three-point weekend.

2 Miami (13-5-0)
A sweep of Ferris State keeps the Hawks here.

3 New Hampshire (11-2-1)
Wins over Lowell and Vermont move the Cats up.

4 Maine (9-3-1)
The Black Bears right the ship after three straight losses.

5 Notre Dame (12-3-1)
Two more wins, these against Alaska.

6 Boston College (8-4-1)
A win over BU, but still a lot of inconsistency.

7 CC (10-5-1)
Impressive sweep of Denver, the Tigers finally get their due.

8 Michigan (12-5-0)
Defense has been hurting, and Jack Johnson might be out a while.

9 Boston University (5-3-5)
Scoring woes return.

10 St. Cloud State (8-3-3)
Another week like this, a look for a big move up.

GAMES TO WATCH

St. Lawrence at Clarkson
December 5
The North Country battle features two teams playing well, this time around.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan
December 8, 10
A Friday-Sunday home-and-home for CCHA supremacy, a battle that Notre Dame is currently winning, as unprecedented as that sounds.

Wisconsin at North Dakota
December 8-9
Both teams have been doing some soul searching recently.

Thanks to Mike Machnik for contributing to this report.

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