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Three things we learned: MTU can’t be overlooked, made No. 1 Minnesota pay for mistakes

It’s out in the open now. No team can sleep on Michigan Tech.

No. 1 Minnesota made the trip to Houghton, Mich. to play the Huskies in the only WCHA matchup of the weekend and took a surprising punch in the mouth from the home team Friday night.

The Huskies beat the Gophers, 5-3, using three first-period goals to set the tone.

Despite Minnesota’s 31-26 advantage in shots on goal, Michigan Tech kept the Gophers from setting up quality offensive chances because the Huskies had the edge in one-on-one battles, beating the Gophers to loose pucks in the Huskies’ end.

Michigan Tech’s high-pressure defense forced the Gophers blue-liners into turnovers, which led to a pair of goals in the first period. Four of Tech’s seven goals this weekend were in transition and the forecheck was also active.

The Huskies took advantage of Minnesota’s mistakes in both ends Friday and that’s what took away the effect of the Gophers’ shots advantage. The Gophers limited those mistakes Saturday and won 3-2 to give coach Don Lucia his 600th win.

Nic Kerdiles can play for Wisconsin this season…

…but as of Sunday night, the University hasn’t released an official statement that he will.

Anaheim Ducks Senior Vice President David McNab said Kerdiles will stay put at Wiscsonsin. That’s according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal by Andy Baggot.

Kerdiles was the 36th overall pick of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Ducks and was ruled ineligible for the 2011-12 season by the NCAA before Wisconsin’s opener against Northern Michigan.

Rumors that Kerdiles’ agent made purchases on his behalf, spurred an NCAA investigation over the summer.

Friday, the suspension was reduced to 30 percent of Wisconsin’s regular season games, meaning he’ll miss the first 10. Two games of the suspension have been served so Kerdiles is cleared to make his collegiate debut Nov. 30 at Denver.

His other option is to play for the major-junior team that owns his rights, the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, where he could play immediately and play a longer season.

Kerdiles has practiced with the Badgers through the suspension.

Goalies making early-season impressions

Clarke Saunders, a junior transfer from Alabama-Huntsville, looked good in his debut for North Dakota at the Alaska Goal Rush. He stopped 51 of 53 shots this weekend (.962) against Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska.

Saunders has proven in the past he’s able to shut an offense down. He stopped 58 of 59 shots for UAH against Nebraska-Omaha in Jan. 2011.

Let’s see what he can do with a good defense in front of him.

Bemidji State’s Andrew Walsh saved 63 of the 64 shots he faced this weekend against Lake Superior State, replacing three-year starter Dan Bakala.

 

 

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