Roundup: Wisconsin Sweeps Minnesota on Kerdiles Goal
North Dakota Stays Hot
CHN Staff Report
For the first time in 15 years, Wisconsin swept Minnesota at home, pulling off a 2-1 win for the second straight night before a sold out crowd at the Kohl Center.
The sweep, impressive in its own right coming against the team that was atop the Pairwise coming into the weekend, also gave the Badgers a 12-1-0 record in the past 13 home games.
Minnesota was swept in a series for the first time in almost two years. The Gophers have only scored one goal each of the last three games.
Nic Kerdiles sniped in a long shot from the blue line for the game winner, which came early in the third. For Kerdiles, it was his first goal since Dec. 13. Grant Besse, who assisted on the winning goal and also scored the other Badgers goal, has all 12 of his points this season at home.
Wisconsin overcame the loss of defenseman Jake McCabe, who was ejected for a hit to the head of Minnesota's Kyle Rau. Minnesota scored its only goal on the ensuing five-minute major, but that was all.
North Dakota is 10-1-1 in the last 12 after defeating Nebraska-Omaha, 4-2. Goaltender Clarke Saunders has a 2.03 goals against average and .933 save percentage in his three starts since taking over for the injured Zane Gothberg.
With St. Cloud State's shootout loss, North Dakota moved into a tie for first in the NCHC with nine games left.
UND's go-ahead goal in the third period came just 35 seconds into it. Michael Parks took a feed from Mark MacMillan and cut sharply across the slot in front of the net. He then lofted a backhander into the net before Omaha goalie Reed Peters (18 saves) could move over to his right.
At 8:48 of the period, UND's Brendan O'Donnell scored his first goal in the last 16 games when he grabbed a loose puck in the faceoff circle, whirled and fired it past Peters to make it 3-1.
But perhaps the play of the game came two minutes after Parks had given UND its first lead.
Omaha's Dominic Zombo, son of former UND defenseman Rick Zombo and coming off a hat trick in his last game, whipped a backhand from in front that appeared destined to go into an open net. But UND rookie defenseman Paul LaDue stuck out his stick at the last second, knocking the puck away, preserving the lead and perhaps saving the game.
"I didn't touch that, it was Paulie," Saunders said. "It was a heckuva save, probably the save of the year. It's just kind of funny that a goalie didn't do it."
MacMillan credited Saunders for bailing out UND in the second period, when the Mavericks had a 15-2 shot advantage at one point.
"I think the second period was all Clarke Saunders show," MacMillan said. "It was big for us."
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Western Michigan won at Miami for the first time since 2004, 5-2.
Miami dropped to 1-6-1 in its last eight games, and is now in last place in the NCHC. Western Michigan bounced back from two losses to Minnesota-Duluth last week, and moved within four points of first place in a tightly-packed NCHC race.
Shane Berschbach scored twice for WMU.
WMU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals just 16 seconds apart to open the first period. Thomas Nitsche intentionally shot wide of the net and the puck bounced to Berschbach on the left side. The senior forward threw the puck into the crease and it banked off a Miami defenseman and into the net for his 11th goal of the season.
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Minnesota-Duluth stayed hot. The Bulldogs are 7-1-3 in the last 11 after playing 2-2 with Colorado College, then winning in the shootout. UMD outshot CC 52-22.
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With two power-play goals in the final 1:34 of regulation – including the game-tying tally with 1.7 left on the clock – Ohio State rallied for a 2-2 tie at Michigan State. The Buckeyes then won the shootout. Junior Tanner Fritz put Ohio State on the board at 18:26 of the third and senior Alex Szczechura netted the game-tying goal. Fritz also scored the shootout winner.
“I like the never-give up attitude we showed,” Steve Rohlik, Ohio State head coach, said. “We didn’t have our best night but I’m proud of how we battled to the end. We know we’re in for another tough test tomorrow.”
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Andrew Copp and Zach Hyman scored twice, JT Compher had a goal and two assists, and Mac Bennett matched a career-high with three assists to help Michigan earn a 7-3 win over Penn State in the first-ever meeting between the two teams at Pegula Ice Arena.
With the win, Michigan head coach Red Berenson moved into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time Division I coaching wins list, passing Rick Comley (Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, Michigan State).