North Dakota, St. Cloud State Stay Even
Denver, UMD Fighting For Final Home-Ice Slot
CHN Staff Report
North Dakota defeated Western Michigan, 2-0.
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North Dakota and St. Cloud State, coming off their battle against each other last weekend, each won Friday to remain tied atop the NCHC standings with one game remaining.
North Dakota holds the tiebreaker by virtue of having more conference wins, despite losing three of four to the Huskies during the season.
Zane Gothberg recorded his second shutout for North Dakota as it defeated Western Michigan, 2-0. Stephane Pattyn and Luke Johnson scored 18 seconds apart in the second period to account for the game's only goals.
"I was just doing my job getting my big butt in front of the goalie so he can't see anything, and it ended up going off my stick," Pattyn said. "Lucky play for me."
Just 18 seconds later, Johnson roofed a shot from in tight that ringed around the inside edge of the crossbar for Johnson's eighth goal of the season. The goal was initially waved off by one referee before quickly being ruled a goal on video review.
Since Nov. 30, though, UND is 16-3-1.
"Probably the only people that believed in us was ourselves in the lockerroom," Pattyn said. "We had a bit of a rough start, and it was ugly. But I think stuck together."
The loss dropped Western Michigan from contention to host a quarterfinal-round playoff series next weekend.
The victory was the 20th of the season for UND (20-10-3 overall), the 10th time in his 10 years as coach that Hakstol's teams have logged at least 20 wins.
Meanwhile, St. Cloud State saw Colorado College rally from a three-goal deficit, only to respond with three goals of its own in a 7-4 win over the Tigers.
“The big thing was our poor defense tonight," SCSU coach Bob Motzko told the St. Cloud Times. “We just made colossal mistakes ... and then just gutted it out and it was a big win. Jonny Brodzinski is hot. ... We made some offensive plays, but we have to be a better hockey team than that getting ready for the playoffs.”
Brodzinski had the hat trick, capping it with the final goal of the game. Before that, Joey Benik had a power-play goal with 11 seconds remaining in the second period, which stopped CC's run of three straight goals and gave the Huskies a 5-4 lead headed into the final 20 minutes.
“There’s a lot of excitement, but we weren’t even thinking about how things were going to shake out,” Benik told The Times. “We’re going to get our sleep and come ready to play (Saturday).”
Elsewhere in the NCHC
Tony Cameranesi and Justin Crandall each scored two goals as Minnesota-Duluth won its third straight game against Nebraska-Omaha this season, 8-2.
Despite the loss, UNO wrapped up a home-ice spot for the league quarterfinals. Duluth would get the final spot with a win Saturday, but can still be caught by Denver.
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Denver stayed in contention for a home-ice bid for next week's playoffs by defeating Miami, 5-2. Five different players scored for the Pioneers, while Blake Coleman had both of the RedHawks' goals.
Denver got a boost with the return of defenseman Joey LaLeggia to the lineup, but were still without Josiah Didier and Quentin Shore (Denver, Colo.) because of injury.
Denver needs a win and a Minnesota State loss or shootout loss to capture fourth place.
The Pioneers, which have hosted the opening round of the conference playoffs for 11 consecutive seasons, are looking to avoid having to go on the road to start the postseason for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign.
"I was really happy with all our three periods. In 60 minutes, there wasn't really any lapses,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “We got scoring throughout the lineup, which was nice. And our top line did not score, so that bodes well for tomorrow night.”