Weekend of Dec. 3-4

I’m still in Vegas as of writing this, thanks to a partial weekend off for running, but work is always calling, so here we go.

– Props to Tyler for going with some history and calling a Mankato sweep. Let’s hope the Mavericks have the same kind of success this time around as they did two years ago.

– Minnesota continues to have trouble scoring goals … a problem that has seemingly been going on forever now.

– Phil Cook had a great night on Saturday, with a career-high 49 saves in MSU’s 2-1 win.
“I think we know who the player of the week is,” remarked Gopher coach Don Lucia to the Mankato Free Press.

– Fun quote of the weekend came from Friday’s number-one star, Adam Mueller:
“We all watched [Ben Youds’] shot go through and hit the water bottle and we were all like, ‘No way,'” he told USCHO’s own Tyler Buckentine. “It was so cool to see the water bottle explode in the first goal of a big series.”

– Raise your hands if you thought the Beavers were going to sweep the Mavericks. Anyone? Yeah, we kind of screwed that one up.

– On Friday, Tom Serratore said it was his team’s best game of the year. Conversely, Dean Blais said it was his team’s worst.

– Quotable Serratore:
“We needed to start establishing ourselves at home. We dug a hole for ourselves the first part of the year, and we’re trying to dig our way out of it. It’s not necessarily that we’re looking to sweep, or anything like that. We’re just trying to play good hockey, that’s all we need to do.”

– Quotable Blais:
“We have four more WCHA games before the Christmas break. Then the second half, that’s what it will be all about. But we definitely have to recover from these two losses. I thought we worked hard tonight, and it was one of the few times we haven’t really been rewarded  for our hard work. Maybe that was due to last night’s effort carrying over to tonight’s lack of execution. You can’t just turn it on and off. We saw it coming the last few days in practice, where we weren’t sharp. If we’re real good in practice, it usually carries over to us being real good in games.”
(Thanks to Eric Purcell at Mavericks Today for the quotes.)

– Am kind of surprised that Michigan Tech didn’t get at least a point out of the weekend, but give credit to CC.

– Four of CC’s five goals on Saturday came in the last 13:14 of play. That’s kind of impressive. Even more-so? The four came in a 9:02 span and the final three were all within 4:03 of each other.

– Anchorage continues to be pesky, earning a split … this weekend, in dramatic fashion, scoring with 8.1 seconds left in the third in Friday’s game.

– For Saturday’s game, Wisconsin took advantage of the special teams game, scoring all three of their goals on the power play.

– Drew Shore continues to shine for the Pioneers, scoring the game-winning goal Friday night to help his team beat Duluth. Freshman Jason Zucker also got a hat trick in the game.

“Duluth has an explosive team and we knew they were going to respond at some point,” DU’s George Gwozdecky told USCHO afterwards. “They got a fortunate bounce on one of their goals and we got a bounce off a skate, and maybe it’s the way it should’ve been decided, in overtime.”

“Now we have the feeling that other teams have had against us, and we don’t like it,” said Duluth’s Kenny Reiter, who suffered his first loss of the season.

– Duluth came back the next night with another close one against Denver, winning in the last-ever game at the DECC.

“We had a whole week to think about this game; we know how momentus it was for everyone connected with UMD and we wanted to give the best performance we could,” said Reiter. “The biggest thing for us is that if you want to be a champion, you have to beat championship teams like Denver. It was a great experience for us to win a game like this.”

“This series went the way most people thought it would – two close games between two good teams,” said Gwozdecky. And that’s about right.

– I wasn’t exactly surprised to see North Dakota sweep St. Cloud; what I was surprised to see was them sweep so convincingly.

– Funny quote from Brad Malone, who had two goals on Friday night:
“I usually don’t tap my stick on the ice … it’s kind of embarrassing, now that you say that,” in reference to being asked by media after the game about him tapping for a pass from Chay Genoway. While many players often tap their sticks on the ice for passes, it’s also often coached to NOT do such things because it gives away one’s position on the ice.

– Kind of surprising was the fact that SCSU only had one power play in the game, and a late one at that. Still, Bob Motzko really wasn’t too disappointed about it, from the sounds of things:
“I don’t even think we should’ve had the one we got. I thought that was not a very good call.”

– On Saturday, the Sioux exploded for five goals in the first period en route to a 6-2 win.
“Holy mackerel, that wasn’t something we wanted to see,” Motzko told USCHO afterward. “We just let them freely come into our zone and we didn’t pick any checks up in the first period. We were standing around. It’s awfully tough to dig a hole like that.”

– Hakstol was fairly succint about the whole thing.
“We played good hockey,” he said. “We played hard, we played fast and we played pretty straight up. That’s the reward from it.”