Roundup: DU Recovers in Oxford
Maine, North Dakota Earn Shutouts
CHN Staff Report
The thing about Denver's recent struggles is it hasn't been any particular part of its team failing it time and time again. The shots didn't fall one night. The goaltending wasn't great the next. It'll happen.
Saturday night, the Pioneers got contributions from every part of their lineup. And they needed them. DU earned a weekend sweep with Miami, defeating the RedHawks, 4-1.
Jarid Lukosevicius scored two first-period goals to stake DU to an early lead. Dylan Gambrell made it 3-0 35 seconds into the third period.
"We left nothing to chance tonight," DU coach Jim Montgomery said. "There was no gray area in our purpose. We played with great pace. Our special teams weren't denied. Our net-front battles weren't denied, and we had a great game.
"We have to continue to build upon this, but, if we keep building this way, it's the first time I can honestly say that ... I'm excited about where we can go."
However, at that point, Miami really turned it on. Miami coach Rico Blasi pulled goaltender Ryan Larkin for an extra attacker with 15:04 left in regulation in search of a spark. As a result, Miami put 20 shots on Denver goaltender Tanner Jaillet in the period. Only one goal would come of it, though.
Kiefer Sherwood scored at 9:52, but Jaillet was up to the rest. Henrik Borgstrom's empty-net goal sealed the win for DU at 19:23.
Entering the game, DU was 3-3-2 in its previous eight games. Most teams would take a cold streak like that any day, but the Pioneers aren't just any other team. With the win over Miami, DU put itself back in the race for the NCHC regular-season title. DU is a point back of leaders St. Cloud State. However, the Huskies have two games in hand on the Pioneers. North Dakota is also level on points with SCSU after the weekend.
Miami had just as much on the line. The RedHawks are currently on the Pairwise bubble and five points back of Western Michigan for the fourth and final home ice spot in the NCHC tournament.
Lowell 8, UMass 3
As it so often as for Massachusetts against Massachusetts-Lowell in recent years, once it went wrong — it went horribly so.
UMass-Lowell defeated UMass, 8-3, Saturday night as Tsongnas Center. The River Hawks scored five third period goals, including two into an empty net to earn the win.
After Philip Lagunov scored at 8:09 of the second period to tie the game, 2-2, Ryan Dmowski scored at 19:26 of the second period to put Lowell back on top. From there, it went as it usually does for UMass against Lowell. The River Hawks took advantage of every mistake.
Chris Hernberg made 26 saves for the River Hawks.
For Lowell, sweeping both Hockey East games from the weekend put it just two games back of leader Boston College. However, the Eagles have a game in hand on the River Hawks. Nationally, UML still has an uphill battle. The River Hawks end the weekend 22nd in the Pairwise.
Maine 3, BU 0
As the first half wound down, Maine started to turn some heads with a weekend sweep of Quinnipiac. With the second half now under way, the Black Bears are starting to make a few more people pay attention.
Maine has now won six consecutive games after defeating Boston University, 3-0, Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
Nolan Vesey and Ryan Smith each scored in the second period, and Brendan Robbins added another in the third to put the game away for the Black Bears.
Jeremy Swayman made 31 saves to earn the shutout for the Black Bears. The freshman, back from his bronze medal as the No. 3 goaltender for U.S. team at World Juniors, now has a .932 save percentage in 13 appearances for the Black Bears this season.
The win puts Maine just a game outside of the bye places in the Hockey East tournament, and the Black Bears have four games in hand on fifth-place BU. Even more surprisingly, Maine is just outside the Pairwise bubble.
BU, on the other hand, continues to struggle. An At-large bid to the NCAA tournament is essentially out of the question for the Terriers at this point. BU has not won consecutive games this season.
Providence 5, Merrimack 2
A couple tough shots early in the game Saturday could easily have set Providence back for the whole night.
However, the Friars found a way past their early mistakes and defeated Merrimack, 5-2, Saturday night at Schneider Arena.
Brian Pinho's goal at 15:48 of the second period tied the game, 2-2, and Kasper Bjorkqvist put PC ahead for good at 18:35. Erik Foley doubled the lead midway through the third period before Bjorkqvist sealed the win late in the third.
The Friars dominated play throughout Saturday night. Despite leading Merrimack entering the third period, PC held the Warriors to only three shots on goal in the final 20 minutes.
PC is now on a four-game winning streak heading into next weekend's crucial trip to Boston for games with both Commonwealth Avenue powers. The Friars are currently fourth in the Hockey East standings, five points behind BC. However, PC has a game in hand on the Eagles.
North Dakota 7, Omaha 0
North Dakota didn't exactly deserve its fate Friday night, dropping a 4-1 decision to Nebraska-Omaha. So, Saturday, UND made sure to leave nothing to chance.
The Fighting Hawks scored the game's first goal then erupted for six more, cruising to a 7-0 win over Omaha in Grand Forks.
"Vastly different from (Friday night)," Berry said. "In the spectrum, last night, we were on one end of it. Tonight, we're at the other end of it. That's what we have to do is play at this end of the spectrum. I told the guys after the gfame that we have to remember both games and what it takes to win a game in a tough leave. ... This is going to be in the back of our minds."
Rhett Gardner got UND started at 17:54 of the first period. Five more UND players would score to before the night ended.
The win lifted UND into a first-place tie with St. Cloud State in the NCHC standings. However, SCSU has two games in hand on UND.