Weekend of Feb. 25-27

Well, I never like to call things before they happen (unless I’m made to predict weekend series, of course), but it turns out Tyler was right – it ended up being a foregone conclusion and North Dakota did clinch (at least a share) of the MacNaughton Cup.

As for what else happened this past weekend? Well let’s see here.

Colorado College took three from Minnesota-Duluth
– Special teams ended up being a big part of this series – seven of the 15 goals scored in the series were on the power play.
– On Friday, the Tigers scored goals 18 seconds apart in the third to pull out a 5-4 win.
– Coach Scott Owens also gave freshman Josh Thorimbert his second straight start in goal; reason why? Apparently Owens wanted to kick start Joe Howe’s performance as Howe’s numbers have been pretty awful lately.
– On Saturday, the teams battled to a 3-3 tie.
– I also got to see the Bulldogs in action for the first time this weekend and yes, the Connelly-Connelly-Fontaine line is just as exciting as advertised. The line ended up combining for a total of 14 points on the weekend.
– Saturday also included an awesome goal by Jaden Schwartz – kid skated end-to-end and, surrounded by three defenders, got off a shot from the high slot that beat UMD’s Kenny Reiter. Pretty amazing.

St. Cloud State swept Wisconsin
– The Huskies have seemingly found their scoring touch, as they scored a total of 11 goals last weekend to beat the Badgers 4-2 and 7-3.
– Good thing, too, as SCSU is 11-0-1 when it scores four or more goals.
– Also good for the Huskies: Garrett Roe scored four goals in the series, making a late push to become the school’s all-time leading scorer.
– That, and they seem to be peaking at just the right time.
– Unfortunately for the Badgers, it seems like they’re sliding at exactly the wrong time, as the team is winless in its last six games (for perspective, that’s the entire month of February).
– Of note: SCSU wore a late-1960s throwback jersey on Saturday night. Not sure if I like it or not …

Minnesota swept Michigan Tech
– In which Minnesota may have guaranteed itself home ice in the playoffs. Haven’t had a chance to look at all the tiebreakers (as it is possible after next weekend for three teams to be tied with 28 points for home ice) yet …
– Nick Bjugstad scored two power play goals in the third to help propel Minnesota to a 5-2 victory on Friday.
– On Saturday, the Gophers won by an identical 5-2 victory in a game marked with penalties … particularly in the second period. The teams combined for 79 PIMs in the second frame and 101 total.
– It was the Gophers’ first sweep since they swept MTU way back on Nov. 19-20.

Denver and Nebraska-Omaha split
– The teams flip-flopped spots in the standings, with UNO taking over second on Friday and DU taking it back on Saturday.
– UNO took advantage of two short-handed goals to win 5-2 on Friday.
– One highlight for the Pioneers was Drew Shore’s 20th goal of the season.
– On Saturday, DU earned the split, winning 4-2, thanks in part to two goals by Jason Zucker.
– The win, the Pioneers’ 20th of the year, meant that this is their 10th straight 20-win season.
– Also notable: DU scored the opening goal for the first time in nine games.

Alaska-Anchorage split Alaska
– Due to the nature of the Governor’s Cup (kind of like the Gold Pan, if I understand it correctly), Alaska retained the Cup thanks to winning it last season.
– On Friday, the Seawolves scored the first goal of the game, but then surrendered five straight to lose 5-1.
– On Saturday, UAA opened with a three-goal first period en route to a 4-1 victory.

North Dakota swept Bemidji State
– The sweep ensured that North Dakota will at least share the MacNaughton Cup.
– It also guarantees the Sioux the first spot in the playoffs (from what I understand, they win the tiebreakers with everyone else) and will be facing Michigan Tech two weekends in a row.
– Matt Frattin scored two power-play goals to help the Sioux win 5-2 on Saturday.
– Which went against BSU’s plan.
“We told our guys, ‘ Don’t let Frattin shoot’,” BSU’s Tom Serratore told USCHO’s Patrick C. Miller. “That didn’t help, did it?”
– According to Dave Hakstol, the win followed the team’s grinding personality of late.
“I thought we ground it out pretty well for 60 minutes,” he told Miller.
– On Sunday (the games were played on the weekend afternoons due to the North Dakota state high school hockey tourneys), Bemidji got the first goal of the game, but that was all they’d get, losing 5-1.
– Four of the five UND goals were scored by the seniors … always fitting on senior day.

WCHA teams in the PairWise
UND – 2nd
DU – 5th
UNO – 8th
UMD – t-11th
CC – 14th
UM – t-19th
SCSU – t-19th
UW – 21st
MSU – 24th
UAA – t-26th
BSU – t-29th