November 6, 2016 PRINT Bookmark and Share

College Hockey Weekend Roundup

Big Games for UMD, WMU, Vecchione

Minnesota-Duluth had a big weekend in St. Cloud and sits atop the early Pairwise.

Minnesota-Duluth had a big weekend in St. Cloud and sits atop the early Pairwise.

CHN Staff Report

The heated rivalry between Minnesota and North Dakota was subdued somewhat when the old WCHA split and the teams went to two new conferences three years ago. They met in the Frozen Four in 2014, but not in the regular season then.

The two finally got back down to business, and the two games at Mariucci Arena this weekend lived up to billing. Friday, the teams were never more than a goal apart, and finished in a 5-5 tie. Saturday, Eric Schierhorn made 33 saves including a late penalty shot for his fifth career shutout as Minnesota pulled off the 2-0 win.

The penalty shot came against Hobey candidate Brock Boeser with 40 seconds left in regulation.

Meanwhile, the Gophers (4-2-2) recorded goals from Mike Szmatula and Vinni Lettieri. North Dakota is 5-3-1 after a 5-0 start.

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Though Minnesota-North Dakota was an interesting rivalry renewal, perhaps more important to the standings and early NCAA race were the games between Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State, teams that represent the last two CHN Teams of the Week. Both games over the weekend, played at St. Cloud's Herb Brooks Arena, were close throughout, but both times, UMD pulled out late wins, on the road.

Down 3-1 on Saturday, UMD started a comeback when Dominic Toninato, who had snapped an early-season goal-scoring slump Friday, got a late second-period goal. From there, Carson Soucy tied it, and Parker Mackay put in the game winner with just over five minutes left, finishing up a great rush from defenseman Neal Pionk.

Conceivably, Duluth could be CHN's TOTW again. We'll see. But what they are, for now, is No. 1 in the ridiculously early Pairwise, the system that selects and seeds the NCAA tournament participants.

Hunter Miska got both starts again for UMD, as coach Scott Sandelin is riding the hot hand from among his three freshmen. Conversely, SCSU's two freshmen goalies now both have a sub-par .867 save percentage.

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With sophomore Matt Jurusik faltering early, freshman Jack Berry got his first career start Saturday, and came through with a shutout as Wisconsin topped Northern Michigan, 2-0.

“I thought 60 minutes from start to finish we were pretty solid,” Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said. “There might have been a little lapse there at the end of the first period when we weren't on the attack, we weren't on our toes, but for the most part I thought we got contributions from everybody.” 

The Holly, Mich., native came on in relief in Friday night’s 5-2 loss to NMU and stopped all six shots he faced in a period and a half of play. Granato gave him the nod for his first career start following the game.

"I didn't really sleep last night much,” Berry said. “The guys did great in front of me. They did an unreal job, so I got to give it to them."

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Of all the high-pedigree talent on Boston University's roster, it's 5-foot-9 freshman Patrick Harper leading the way so far with a team-high 11 points. Now, Harper is no slouch — a fifth-round NHL Draft pick of Nashville last June — but on a team loaded with first and second rounders, he doesn't stand out at first.

But Harper scored two goals Saturday, as BU defeated Northeastern, 3-0. It wrapped a three-point weekend for the Terriers, which played to an intense tie with Northeastern on Friday.

Freshman goalie Jake Oettinger did the bulk of the work in the shutout, though he was replaced briefly when he got banged up before returning. One player who did not return to the game after leaving was BU's Clayton Keller, one of the aforementioned first-rounder freshmen. His status is unknown.

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A pair of goals from senior Austin Ortega, a Hobey candidate, key Nebraska-Omaha's 6-4 win over Colorado College, and a split of the weekend. It was UNO's first NCHC win of the season.

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Boston College ventured into hostile territory and skated away with a 3-2 victory at Maine. Along with a 6-1 win Friday, that curbed a four-year winless drought in Alfond Arena. Freshman Mike Booth accounted for his second goal of the season and first-career game-winning goal. BC is still without head coach Jerry York, whose absence has been longer than originally anticipated following an eye procedure.

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Charlie Finn stood on his head for the second straight night, but couldn't help Colgate come away with any points this time in a 2-0 loss at Dartmouth. The night before, Finn single-handedly got a point for the Raiders in a 2-2 tie with Harvard, a game in which Colgate was out-chanced almost 3-to-1.

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Massachusetts-Lowell held off Vermont for a 4-2 Hockey East victory on Saturday at Tsongas Center to sweep a weekend series. UVM dropped to 4-3-1 (1-2-0 HEA), while the River Hawks improved to 6-2-2 (2-0-0 HEA).

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Rensselaer's rough start took another blow Saturday when Yale rallied for three late goals to win in overtime in Troy, all three coming on the power play. Yale got one goal with just under three minutes remaining, John Hayden then tied it late, then Hayden scored again in OT to win it.

Twenty-three seconds into the overtime, on another advantage, the Yale captain Hayden came through. Ryan Hitchcock had moved the puck to Joe Snively, who sent it toward the net. The shot was stopped by Rensselaer goalie Chase Perry, but the rebound came out to the edge of the crease. Hayden, with defenders on both sides of him, got the backhand of his stick on the puck and flicked it inside the right post.

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St. Lawrence's Kyle Hayton, a preseason All-CHN goaltending selection, had a rough weekend a couple of weeks ago, getting pulled in two games. So last weekend, he didn't get the start Friday. But Hayton bounced back with a tie against Minnesota, and this weekend pulled off back-to-back shutout to signify a return to form. Saturday's win was even more impressive, coming against Quinnipiac. And St. Lawrence killed off all six of the Bobcats' power plays.

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Western Michigan was able to pull off a pair of impressive wins at home against Miami, 6-3 and 5-2, to improve to 5-2-1 on the season. The Broncos got two goals from Matheson Iacopelli, a sophomore and 2014 third-round pick of Chicago. Iacopelli struggled as a freshman, as 6-foot-3 highly-touted recruits often do, scoring just one goal and putting up a minus-19 rating. But this year, he has nine goals in eight games to lead the Broncos to their fast start.

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Mike Vecchione's hot streak shows no signs of slowing down. The senior Hobey candidate scored four goals this weekend, including a hat trick against Yale and one Saturday (along with two assists) in Union's 6-4 win over Brown. Brown is winless at 0-4, and Union is now 8-2-1. Vecchione has 14-10—24 in 11 games.

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Freshman defenseman Yanni Kaldis set up three power-play goals, but Cornell's rally came up short against rival Harvard in Cambridge. Lewis Zerter-Gossage had a hat trick for Harvard (3-0-1, 1-0-1). The sophomore had just four career goals before that game.

“We had too many turnovers in the neutral zone against a good hockey team that can burn you in transition. They did a tremendous job with it,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “But I’m very proud of our guys. We’ve got a lot of guys on the shelf right now with injuries, so it was a really good game for us to find our identity.”

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Michigan Tech earned a non-conference series split at Michigan State with a 5-1 victory Saturday at Munn Arena. Mark Auk and Reid Sturos each had a goal and an assist, five different Huskies scored, and goaltender Angus Redmond had 17 saves.

"It was a much better effort tonight and you could tell right from get go," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "We played with more urgency and the two goals early really helped us."

Joel L'Esperance added to the lead 11 seconds after the first Tech goal. He took a stretch pass and buried a hard shot.

"That was a big time shot by Joel," mentioned Pearson. "I liked his physical play, his defensive play, and his shot blocking. He did a real good job tonight, and I really liked his whole line."

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Providence tied Merrimack at Schneider Arena, 2-2, in the home Hockey East opener for the Friars. The Friars move to 3-3-2 (0-1-1 HE) and the Warriors move to 4-4-2 (0-1-2 HE).

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Minnesota State used a pair of special-team goals in earning a 2-1 win at Lake Superior State and a split of the weekend. Minnesota State took a 2-0 lead 8:41 into the second period on a shorthanded goal by senior Jordan Nelson. Jason Pawloski stopped 19 shots in evening his record for the season to 1-1-0.

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Alabama-Huntsville survived a third-period charge from Alaska-Anchorage, as the Chargers dispatched the Seawolves, 3-2, in overtime to pick up a weekend sweep. The Chargers (4-7-1, 4-3-1 WCHA) took a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, before the Seawolves (1-7-0, 0-4-0 WCHA) used two of their own in the third to force extra minutes. Matt Salhany had the game winner in OT.

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Bemidji State knocked off Alaska, 3-1, in Fairbanks. The Nanooks are now 3-7-0 (2-4-0 WCHA), while the Beavers improve to 8-2-0 overall and remain undefeated in WCHA play (8-0-0).

“That was a hard one to lose. We, as a staff, even sat in the room and were trying to figure out what the message to the team was going to be,” Alaska assistant coach Lance West said. “We had a lot of scoring opportunities but Bemidji is one of the best defensive teams in the country right now with one of the hottest goaltenders. I thought it was a well-played hockey game by our guys tonight but special teams came back to haunt us once again.”

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One night after handing Ohio State its first loss of the season — in Columbus — Robert Morris followed it up with a solid 4-4 tie against the Buckeyes.

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Sophomore Dan Bailey’s first career goal was the game winner as Air Force defeated Army, 3-1. The two teams split the two-game series as Army won game one, 4-2.

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Senior goaltender Charles Williams tied his career-high in saves with 43, while freshman Casey Jerry scored his first career goal, as Canisius defeated RIT, 2-1, in Rochester. Canisius remained unbeaten in Atlantic Hockey play at 3-0-1.

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