Roundup: Western Michigan Sweeps UND
Tolvanen's Shutout Streak Crashes Against Minnesota State
CHN Staff Report
Western Michigan was outshot 46-19 but held off North Dakota on Saturday for a 3-2 and the completion of a weekend series sweep at Lawson Ice Arena.
Freshman goalie Ben Blacker made a career-high 44 saves and Matheson Iacopelli scored twice for the Broncos. It was the first-ever sweep for WMU over North Dakota.
Blacker made 32 of his saves in the second and third periods. Western Michigan also blocked 20 shots on the night, led by Scott Moldenhauer and his team-high four.
The wins also all but assure Western Michigan of making the NCAAs at this point. The Broncos are fifth in the Pairwise. Their last NCAA appearance was in 2012, Andy Murray's first season as head coach.
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For the first time since the formation of the NCHC in 2013, Denver swept Miami on the road, capturing a 5-2 victory Saturday to complete it. Winners of seven straight, the Pioneers remain atop the NCHC Standings with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
“We’re really playing great hockey right now,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “Miami came out with a lot of emotion tonight but we were able to stay focused on the task at hand, play with great poise and get our first in-conference sweep of the season. Throughout the year we’ve been able to respond well to each and every challenge placed in front of us and that bodes extremely well for us as we head towards the conference playoffs and the NCAA Tournament.”
After freshman Carson Meyer scored to give Miami an early 1-0 lead on Saturday, the Pioneers registered two quick goals midway through the opening period to pull ahead on the scoreboard. Sophomore forward Troy Terry scored a highlight-reel goal during a Denver power play to tie things up, and senior Emil Romig beat starting Miami goalie Ryan Larkin from a sharp angle a moment later.
"For a period and a half we were in the game and going back and forth, then I thought our details of the game — faceoff goal against — started to not make hard plays with the puck," Miami coach Rico Blasi said. "Give them credit for a lot of what they do and pressure they put on, but we're not making hard plays. They probably outplayed us for five of the six periods and deserved to win. That's a good hockey team and maybe it's something we can learn from going forward."
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Last-place Colorado College played the nation's top-rated team, Minnesota-Duluth, tough all weekend, but only came away with one of a possible six league points to show for it.
Friday was a 2-1 loss, and Saturday, the teams battled 2-2 through overtime. UMD picked up the extra point thanks to a goal by Alex Iafallo in the shootout, which kept the Bulldogs two points behind Denver for first place in the NCHC. UMD remained first in the Pairwise by percentage points over Denver.
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Sophomore goalie Darren Smith stopped 23 shots as Ferris State shut out Alaska-Anchorage, 3-0.
The win moved the Bulldogs into a tie for the fourth and final home-ice spot in the WCHA playoffs with one weekend remaining.
Ferris State plays two games at Lake Superior State next weekend, while Bowling Green has two at home with Alabama-Huntsville.
"It's fitting the last regular-season game at home, (the seniors') fingerprints were all over that win," FSU coach Bob Daniels said. "They've given us some great memories and hopefully a few more still in store. ... We're trending up at the exact right time."
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Minnesota State made Atte Tolvanen's near-record shutout streak seem like a distant memory this weekend, as it blitzed the sophomore goaltender to the tune of 12 goals on 85 shots.
Tolvanen entered the weekend with five straight shutouts, and 39 minutes short of the all-time NCAA record, set 23 years ago by Blaine Lacher. Minnesota State ended that run about three minutes into Friday's game and continued scoring all weekend.
As a result, they are now 18-10-4 overall.
Northern Michigan remained one point ahead of Alabama-Huntsville for the final playoff spot in the league. NMU finishes the regular season with two games against Michigan Tech.