Weekend of Feb. 11-12

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. Whether or not you celebrate, take today as an excuse to eat chocolate. Unless you hate chocolate. In which case … I don’t know.

Anyway, I don’t think many of us correctly predicted what would happen this past weekend. I know I didn’t. Oops.

Minnesota State and Colorado College split
– I unfortunately missed this series due to the “death plague” (or nasty cold; either way) that’s been going around, so I have to rely on the internets for this one.
– CC was without Rylan Schwartz on Friday due to a sprained ankle the forward suffered earlier in the week.
– The Mavericks played Austin Lee instead of goaltender Phil Cook, who had been getting the lion’s share of starts, on a hunch from coach Troy Jutting, according to the Mankato Free Press‘s Shane Frederick.
– MSU also had two power play goals in Friday’s game … the first time they’ve had multiple PP tallies since Dec. 10.
– On Saturday, it was the story of the back-ups once again, as Lee got another start as did CC back-up, freshman Josh Thorimbert, who ended up getting the win.
– Another interesting stat from Frederick – “For the second time in four games, MSU’s forwards failed to register a point.” Not good since your forwards are typically your offense.
– Fun quote of the weekend comes courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette‘s Joe Paisley:
Senior wing Stephen Schultz came close once again to recording an empty-netter against Minnesota State-Mankato, sending the puck in milliseconds after time expired on Saturday. He came close in the 1-0 road win back in October.

“Mankato will be the death of me,” he joked after Saturday’s win.

Bemidji State took three from Michigan Tech
– Carnival magic worked slightly for the Huskies … they were successfully able to avoid breaking the league record losing streak (which was 18 games).
– However, if you’re counting along at home, their winless streak still stands at 26.
– As has been the story for the Huskies all season, they suffered an injury on Friday to co-captain Brett Olson.
“It’s been the story of the year,” coach Jamie Russell told USCHO’s Daver Karnosky. “This is the healthiest we’ve been since October … [Olson] goes out in the first period and we’re down to 11 forwards.”
– On Saturday, the Huskies almost got another point, but BSU’s Jordan George had other ideas, scoring a breakaway goal with 1:33 left in the contest.

St. Cloud State took three from Minnesota-Duluth
– Like this result. Who of us saw this?
– If you did, props to you. Seriously.
– On Friday, seven different SCSU players (Ben Hanowski had two) found the net to crush the Bulldogs, 8-2.
– Several players had multiple point games, too – Hanowski, Garrett Roe, Nick Jensen and Oliver Lauridsen all had three points while Jared Festler had two.
– Funny result in a game where the home Bulldogs scored on their first shot on goal.
– For you stats people, it was both the most goals allowed by UMD and the most scored by SCSU this season.
“It was a game that just felt out of our control,” UMD’s Mike Montgomery told USCHO’s Kevin Pates afterward.
– Saturday, UMD came back from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 3-3 tie.
– As a result, the Bulldogs still haven’t lost back-to-back games this season.

Denver and Minnesota split
– The weekend’s results were arguably better for the Gophers, who narrowly lost Friday and then crushed the Pioneers on Saturday.
– From the sounds of things, Friday’s game was a goaltender’s battle, with both netminders playing well.
– On Saturday, however, the Gophers snapped the Pioneers’ seven-game winning streak over them.
– Quite fitting, as it was Hockey Day in Minnesota.
“The story was all about Minnesota tonight,” DU coach George Gwozdecky told USCHO’s Brian Halverson. “I’m just glad Hockey Day in Minnesota is only once a year.”
– The scoring was well spread out for the Gophers, as Cade Fairchild had four points, Patrick White got his first since Halloween, Nick Bjugstad ended a 10-game scoring drought and Taylor Matson ended a 14-game one.
– The quotes from this game were awesome, so I’ll finish with those.
“We read the offensive manual and shared it today.” – UM coach Don Lucia.
“For a team that needs a game as badly as they did, you couldn’t have scripted it any better.” – Gwozdecky.

North Dakota swept Alaska-Anchorage
– On Friday, the Sioux showed that the off week was a good one in terms of recuperation, as six different players scored to beat UAA 6-1.
– As for the fact that they were down a few players? Pshaw, said coach Dave Hakstol.
“We’ve had guys out of the lineup all year,” he told USCHO’s Patrick C. Miller. “We’re not shorthanded. We had 20 guys in the lineup, and those 20 guys had to go out and do a job.”
– For a Seawolf team that has been performing admirably lately, the game was understandably a disappointment.
“With us, it has to be a mindset of competing better,” said coach Dave Shyiak. “I didn’t think we won any of the puck battles or stick battles. They were a lot better in that area. They deserved to win; they were the better team tonight.”
– On Saturday, the Sioux netted a goal in each period to complete the sweep.
“It was a complete weekend,” said Hakstol. “That’s what you have to do at this time of year.”
“… I think we’re a much better team than what we played and showed this weekend.” – Shyiak

Nebraska-Omaha swept Wisconsin
– This. This was another result that surprised me.
– Something that might have helped the home Mavericks on Friday was the record attendance crowd of 15,137 – the most to ever attend a hockey game in the state.
– Although coach Dean Blais was smart in preparing his players for the atmosphere.
“The players were ready for this type of crowd every day,” he told USCHO’s Matthew Semisch. “We kind of told them what they’re trying to do and how many tickets were sold, and when it finally hit between 14,000 and 15,000, the players were fired up, but when we have that crowd, you’ve got to yell more and can’t get caught up in emotion, but we played the game we wanted to.”
– Saturday’s game was closer (4-3 as opposed to 4-1) and helped UNO in terms of the league race (probably have home ice; still not out of the race for first).
– Badger coach Mike Eaves was much more pleased with how his team performed on Saturday, coming back in the game, despite the loss.
“Maybe because we were put into a desperate situation, we had to get it done,” he told USCHO. “And our guys made some good plays in the end there. As a result, we scored some goals, and we had some opportunities, even when we pulled our goalie.”
– The win, I should add, was Dean Blais’ 300th career victory.

WCHA teams in the PairWise Rankings
North Dakota – 3rd
Denver – t-4th
Minnesota-Duluth – 6th
Nebraska-Omaha -t-7th
Wisconsin - 15th
Colorado College – 18th
Minnesota – t-19th
Minnesota State – 23rd
St. Cloud State – t-26th
Alaska-Anchorage – t-28th