Roundup: North Dakota Sweeps at Lawson
Minnesota State Wins 5th Straight; Huntsville Earns First Win
CHN Staff Report
North Dakota swept its first-ever road weekend NCHC series against Western Michigan. In both cases, North Dakota grinded out 3-1 leads, then held on for 3-2 wins.
Saturday, Rocco Grimaldi had the game winner in the second period. Friday, Luke Johnson led the way with two goals.
"Western Michigan plays hard. They're hard on pucks," North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. "This is the way you've gotta win in this building."
"That's three games in a row that our team has played hard. Maybe it didn't go as well as we wanted to last Saturday, but tonight we got good contributions from everyone in the lineup. ... I really liked our third period. There's not a whole lot I would change. We pressured pucks in all zones. We didn't give up very much."
The Broncos dropped back below .500 with the two losses, at 6-7-3.
“We played a hard working, determined North Dakota team that we knew would battle us tooth and nail all weekend and we are unhappy that we did not get a win here tonight, that is the bottom line," WMU coach Andy Murray said. "From about when they made it 3-1, we believe they had three shots the rest of the hockey game from that particular point on. But we wasted some valuable minutes, we wasted a 5-on-3 opportunity and that is simply not good enough.
"Their goaltender had a tremendous weekend, he played very well against us but we can’t keep crediting the goaltender, ultimately we need to take responsibility ourselves. We will battle, fight, scratch and claw to try to score some goals but when you don’t get it done there are not moral victories.”
No. 1 WMU goaltender Frank Slubowski was removed after allowing three goals on 14 shots, replaced by Lukas Hafner.
“Taking Frank out of the game was not anything relative to Frank, it was the fact that we had given up 14 shots and had 3 goals against and I cannot fault him on the goals," Murray said. "Bottom line is, we needed to change something in the dynamic of the hockey game and that is why we changed goaltenders. Lukas I think faced 3 shots and certainly one of them was a break by one of the best players in college hockey (Grimaldi). He played well certainly under tough circumstances, our team raised the level of their game actually over the first half. We are having trouble finding that recipe for the full 60 minutes and we need to find it.”
Minnesota State defeated Northern Michigan, 3-0, for the series sweep and fifth straight win. Cole Huggins stopped 16 shots for the shutout.
All of the scoring came in the third period. Minnesota State had the game's only three power plays to that point, and finally converted on a goal from Zach Lehrke. Fourth liner Jordan Nelson scored 1:41 after that to provide a cushion.
"I'm really excited about how they've accepted their roles," Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said of the line of Nelson, Brett Knowles and Max Gaede. "They really have taken a lot of pride in how they're playing, with the puck and without it. It was nice to see them make a play and be rewarded for it."
The shots were 29-13 in favor of Minnesota State after two periods, but there was no scoring to that point.
"We played a good first period," Hastings said. "They're banged up and they were looking to defend a little bit, and they did that. They did a good job keeping us to the outside.
"Trying to get second and third opportunities against them is difficult. Two of their team come back to the middle real hard, they pay a price blocking shots. A couple things happened in the first period, where it's offsides and it gets in the net, we hit a post on the poewr play — you wonder if one's ever going to get by them. So it was nice to get one by them."
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Miami bounced back from Friday's loss, getting a split with Denver after a 4-2 win, snapping the Pioneers' seven-game unbeaten streak.
Miami turned the tables on some recent bad third periods, scoring three third-period goals to pull out the win.
Miami took control with a pair of scores just over two minutes apart by Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly. The RedHawks outshot the Pioneers 15-7 in the final period (9-1 over the opening 10 minutes of the third) after only outshooting Denver 17-14 previously.
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Alabama-Huntsville won its first game of the season, and got its first-ever WCHA win. Frank Misuraca scored with four seconds left in overtime to defeat Bowling Green, 4-3.
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Nic Kerdiles had the game winner, breaking a 3-3 deadlock, as Wisconsin swept a weekend series against Penn State. It was the teams' first meeting as Big Ten opponents. Last season, Penn State had an upset win in Madison.
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One night after losing a shootout to Michigan State, Minnesota got a win over the Spartans on Saturday. Seth Ambroz scored his eighth and Adam Wilcox made 19 saves for the Gophers.
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Ferris State remained unbeaten (10-0-2) in the WCHA after a weekend road sweep at Lake Superior State. Alex Robertson and Matt Globke each scored their eighth goal of the season en route to the win.