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College Hockey:
UNO’s forward corps will be working overtime in season’s second half

With only four matchups this weekend, the biggest news in the past seven days came from off the ice. Nebraska Omaha coach Dean Blais dismissed senior forward Alex Hudson last week after his second violation of team rules. With Hudson gone, where does that leave the Mavericks up front?

Hudson (4-6–10) was scoring on around the same pace (.62 points per game) this season as he has for his career and he’s been on the ice for 23 out of UNO’s 53 goals. Hudson was the Mavericks’ first-line center when rejoined the Mavericks lineup after he served a four-game suspension to start the season.

Sophomore Brock Montpetit and freshman Jayson Megna are the only two natural centers left in the lineup, otherwise the Mavericks will use wings to center their lines. Blais told Rob White of the Omaha World-Herald he probably won’t have the manpower to roll four lines when UNO resumes play Dec. 30 against Quinnipiac.

“Because of (Hudson’s dismissal), I don’t think we’re strong enough to play four lines the second half,” said Blais in the World-Herald story. “We’re going to have to be in tremendous physical condition in the second half.”

Jensen’s quick goals killed Denver’s chances

Hats rained from the seats early into the second period of St. Cloud State’s 5-1 win over Denver after defenseman Nick Jensen scored his third goal of the night, 20:21 into the game. As enjoyable as it had to be for Jensen on a career night, even more important was the timing of his goals.

The Pioneers were down 1-0 34 seconds into the game when Jensen’s slapper put the Huskies up 1-0 and Jensen made it 2-0 13 minutes later. Just when Denver may have regained a little momentum with a late second-period goal by Shawn Ostrow, Jensen struck again, 21 seconds after intermission.

Colorado College surging at the break

After they were swept at North Dakota Nov. 25-26, the Colorado College Tigers, a team picked by many to finish at or near the top of the conference standings, found themselves barely above .500 and tied for sixth in the WCHA.

To make matters worse that week, they learned that leading goal scorer Rylan Schwartz—he of back-to-back hat tricks against UND—would be unavailable for the upcoming weekend’s single game against in-state rival Denver.

It wasn’t the best of times, it wasn’t the worst of times, but times were unquestionably not good.

But CC’s sweep at Minnesota State last weekend gives them four wins in their past five games (4-1-0). The four-points earned in Mankato allowed the Tigers to break their tie with North Dakota and leap frog past both Denver and Nebraska-Omaha into the third spot in the WCHA standings as the last of the conference’s teams completed the season’s first half.

Schwartz, who missed just that Denver game with an undisclosed injury, has scored six points (3-3-6) in the past four games and his 16 goals overall rank second in the country. But the key may be goaltender Josh Thorimbert who likely earned a long look as CC’s starter once the Tigers resume play with a pair of Dec. 30-31 home games against Union and Air Force.

Thorimbert stopped 61 of 64 Minnesota State shots on Friday and Saturday while raising his record to 6-1-0 with a 2.76 goals against average and .912 saves percentage.

With 12 of its final 14 games against teams currently sitting at .500 or better, life won’t get any easier for the Tigers in the second half. But Schwartz told The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Brian Gomez that he feels the Tigers are “in a good spot” and Thorimbert agrees.

“We’re within striking distance for the second half of the season, and we’ve just got to keep pace.” Thorimbert told the Gazette, “This weekend showed our depth, missing Jaden and Scott (Schwartz and Winkler who are each competing internationally). It showed we have guys that can step up and play roles and fill in for those guys.”

The following is a self-policing forum for discussing views on this story. Comments that are derogatory, make personal attacks, are abusive, or contain profanity or racism will be removed at our discretion. USCHO.com is not responsible for comments posted by users. Please report any inappropriate or offensive comments by clicking the “Flag” link next to that comment in order to alert the moderator.

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  • rcbb22

    I hate when you guys do a beginning, mid, and late season report and only put half the teams in at most!

    • Rob

      This is about the past weekend, it isn’t a midseason report

  • Simon

    I thought this was a mid-season review?

    • durf

      it doesnt say anywhere that it’s a mid-season review. Just thoughts on the weekend games

      • Simon

        The homepage headline was “Thoughts Before the Break” so I guess I thought they would have thoughts on more than two teams.

        • Anonymous

          Copy that.  It wasn’t even a weekend recap as UNO didn’t even play.  No mention of BSU a team that actually played,  You would think a freshman goaltender recording back to back shutouts would be worth a sentence.  True, against UAH………but still………….

          • Simon

            BSU doesn’t matter to USCHO just like all the other small schools no one cares about. College hockey is starting to turn into college football, driven by money and less about the sanctity of the sport. The best part about college hockey is that it was not like all the other big name college sports. Now it will be and will more than likely be ruined.

          • guest

            If you asked the average hockey fan in Minnesota what team they really don’t care about in Minnesota, they would probably say BSU.

          • nogofer

            After umtc…

  • OccupyTheRalph

    still can’t understand why if there’s no story, no one can write about the man whose name is on the rink at UND and how bad this guy really was.  While everyone is worried about the name on the jersey, no one wants to talk about the name on the rink, and anytime anyone mentions any of the things Ralph did, it gets deleted

    • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

      haha, please enlighten all of us on what horrible things he did? I didn’t realize having a nazi hobby was criminal…..

      • Simon

        Well, being a Nazi sympathizer and “celebrating” one of the worst dictators who lived in the modern era certainly isn’t something to be proud of. Especially if any of your family are Holocaust survivors, it is pretty insulting.

      • Siouxicide

        actually sexually harrassing your female employees and not paying them overtime I guess are hobbies too, and celebrating Hitler’s birthday is cute. 

    • nogofer

      Next time you are in Vegas stop by the HOSPITAL with Ralph’s name on it…

    • FightingSioux4Ever

      Where is that coming from?  As if the NCAA imposing it’s politcal agenda wasn’t enough, people like you say stupid things like this.  I’m still spun about the whole nickname and logo mess.  But I have to sit back and take it, much like the 99% have had to take it the last 4 years.  And if that commen doesn’t have any place in ths forum, than taking pot shots at a benfactor that has been dead for 10 years doesn’t, either. 

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    so people get paid to write this?  I put more time and effort in my daily Comp 2 essays  LOL

    • guest

      In order to validate your claim, I would like to see you write an article. 

  • Big Al

    It is OK to be a holiday or vacation, just say so.  I think you are only allowed to “call in dead” once in your life as a legit excuse at work.  Tyler and Brian, this is your one, “call in dead”!