Roundup: CC Upsets UMD; Happy Returns for North Dakota Pair
CHN Staff Report
Fresh off an inspiring win at the Florida College Classic tournament before New Year's, Colorado College came into Duluth primed for an upset of the Bulldogs.
CC was denied Friday with late heroics by UMD, but Saturday, the Tigers were able to hold on for a 2-1 win, its first-ever victory at AMSOIL Arena and a four-point weekend against the NCHC-leading Bulldogs.
Mason Bergh and Teemu Kivihalme scored for the Tigers and Alex Leclerc continued his excellent recent play in net with 26 saves as CC earned its first win over No. 1-ranked team since March 22, 2013. Colorado College (6-12-2, 2-6-2 NCHC) evened its win total from each of the last two seasons and is 3-1-2 in its last six games.
“This is a huge win for our program,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “We played hard for six periods this weekend and this was a total team win tonight.”
Bergh opened the scoring with his team-leading 10th goal of the season just 3:46 into the contest.
“That was a huge goal by Mason,” Haviland said. “It really settled us down and gave us a lot of confidence. The first period was so important tonight. We said ‘Let’s go at them and see how they respond to us.’”
After a couple of penalties to freshmen Kade Kehoe and Alex Berardinelli, Minnesota Duluth (12-4-4, 8-3-1 NCHC) evened the score when Adam Johnson scored a 5-on-3 goal at the 4:45 mark of the second period. Johnson’s wrister from the right circle went over the left shoulder of Leclerc.
Kivihalme then scored a similar goal that turned out to be the game-winner. During a 5-on-3 opportunity after a couple of Duluth penalties, Kivihalme took a drop pass from Bergh and placed a wrister from the right circle above Hunter Miska’s left shoulder into the upper right corner for his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 14 against Massachusetts-Lowell.
“To respond the way we did after they scored with the two-man advantage was huge,” Haviland said. “The difference the last eight games for us is our confidence and that we fully believe in each other.”
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A couple North Dakota players returned this weekend, and combined to make a nightmare for Nebraska-Omaha.
Brock Boeser and Tyson Jost each scored three goals in two games, a combined 16-4 score in the wins.
Jost was coming off a silver medal performance with Team Canada at the World Juniors, was playing his fourth game in four days. He had a goal Friday in a 9-1 win on barely any sleep, and two more Saturday. Boeser, who was supposed to be on the American team that defeated Canada for gold but has been out injured, had a pair Friday and an empty netter Saturday.
"I was a little more tired this game," Jost told the Grand Forks Herald. "It caught up to me a little bit. Last night, I was running on adrenaline. My legs felt more heavy. I thought our team did a great job, though. It's awesome to get that sweep. I like where our team is going right now."
"That's the kind of kid he is," UND junior Trevor Olson told The Herald. "He's going to go to war for you. There was no question in our minds, whether he won gold or silver, that he was going to be on that plane coming back to play with us Friday-Saturday. We look up to that kind of kid as a Sioux guy. We're happy we had him."
The 9-1 loss Friday was the worst in the coaching career of UNO's Dean Blais, the one-time coach of North Dakota.
"Don't ask about goaltending," Blais said about goalie Evan Weninger in the post-game press conference. "He was just off. Had a bad night. Last night, the whole team had a bad night in front of him."
The Mavericks were swept for the second time this season, falling to 11-8-3 overall and 4-6-0 in the NCHC, putting them in seventh place. North Dakota improved to 12-6-3 overall and 5-4-1-1 in the conference, moving it into sole possession of third place.
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Unlike most of the players, the return to NCAA hockey wasn't as good for one member of Team USA: St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko, who just led the U.S. to gold.
Motzko's Huskies were swept on the weekend by Miami, though Saturday's was not as dramatic as Friday.
On Friday, St. Cloud's Jacob Benson was called for a five-minute major for contact to the head late in the third period. Miami proceeded to get the tying goal from Josh Melnick in the final minute, and Melnick followed it up with the game winner in overtime on the same power play.
Melnick added another power-play goal Saturday to help seal a 4-1 win.