Three observations: SCSU’s struggles in nonconference continue

With one win in CCHA play sitting in the league cellar, Northern Michigan seemed a bit overmatched traveling to St. Cloud State.

The Huskies sat atop the WCHA standings going into the weekend and figured to have gotten its wake-up call in a split with Rensselaer (a last-place ECAC team) last week.

SCSU must’ve hit the snooze button. NMU left St. Cloud with a nonconference sweep beating the Huskies 6-2 and 2-1.

This weekend’s outcomes sound crazy because SCSU and NMU were polar opposites in their respective conference standings, but the Huskies had a 3-3 conference record before this weekend’s losses.

The Wildcats entered the weekend with a  4-1 record vs. WCHA teams by sweeping Wisconsin, splitting at Nebraska-Omaha and beating Michigan Tech. They now have six wins against WCHA teams.

As the St. Cloud Times’ Mick Hatten pointed out, that’s just as many victories against the WCHA as Minnesota has in four more games.

Meanwhile, the Huskies have been vulnerable all season after bye weeks, going 0-3 in series openers when they didn’t play the week before. SCSU came out flat this weekend like they were coming off Christmas break all over again.

That’s a trend SCSU needs to buck right away with another bye coming up this week and Denver waiting on the other end.

In WCHA play this weekend …

Nebraska-Omaha swept Colorado College and Wisconsin won twice at Alaska-Anchorage.

The Badgers just keep on rolling, bursting out for a season-high five goals Friday and winning with defense, their signature style, Saturday by holding the Seawolves to 12 shots on goal in a 1-0 shutout.

Wisconsin has scored 15 goals in four games but only scored 15 goals in the eight games prior going back to Nov. 16.

Not only did UNO need the points to keep its head above water in a very tight race, it needed a big win to bounce back from a bad weekend at Quinnipiac.

Luckily, for UNO, it went from facing one of the nation’s best defenses to one of its worst. The Mavericks scored five goals at Quinnipiac and 11 against CC.

CC, in a ninth-place tie, continues to prove its own defense will keep it from going far in March.

The Tigers haven’t held a team to less than three goals in 13 games since Nov. 9. There have been five games in that stretch in which they allowed five or more goals. CC allows 3.73 goals per game, fifth-worst in the country.

Cornell coach “not coming back”

Don’t expect Cornell to make another trip to face a WCHA team in the near future, at least if you believe the Big Red coach Mike Schafer’s words following a 2-1 loss to Denver Saturday.

Schafer was angry with calls made the by the officials after a skirmish at mid-ice at the game’s completion.

Cornell’s Armand de Swardt received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for spearing, John McCarron received a misconduct and game disqualification for obscene language and the Big Red bench also got a game misconduct penalty.

“I’m looking at the sheet now, and we’re the ones that were assessed all the penalties,” Schafer told reporters after the game. “I won’t come back to the WCHA. I’m not coming back out here. I pride ourselves in traveling everywhere, but after that… It was a great game besides the (officiating).”

USCHO’s Candace Horgan captured Schafer’s postgame comments on video. Read her game recap and see the videos here.

Schafer likely made his comments minutes after leaving the bench area, so it’s possible the threats regarding his team’s nonconference future with the WCHA were the product of raw frustration.

Of course, eight WCHA members, including Denver, won’t be in the league next season anyway.

WCHA officials Chris Perrault and Johnathan Morrison refereed the game. Gary Pedigo and Robert Keltie were the linesmen.

The Big Red entered the game among the most penalized teams in the nation, averaging 17.2 penalty minutes per game. It now averages a nation-high 21.1 penalty minutes per game.

McCarron also received a game disqualification in a Nov. 30 game against Clarkson for leaving the bench.