Three things: Feb. 8

Saturday saw us wrap up an abbreviated weekend slate of action of four games involving five NCHC teams. The league’s weekly dance card will be full each week from next weekend through the end of the regular season, but here are three things that stuck out to me from the last round of games.

Denver again topples CC

Two down, two to go. That’s the approach Denver will be taking now halfway through its season series with in-state rival Colorado College.

DU housed the Tigers 8-1 at home back on Nov. 14, and the Pios were favored to do the business again when they traveled to meet CC in Colorado Springs on Saturday. Denver didn’t disappoint, winning again by a 3-0 count.

A Danton Heinen goal 11:45 into the game at World Arena held up the rest of the way as the game-winner. Heinen also picked up a pair of assists on third-period insurance goals, both scored by DU teammate Trevor Moore.

The Pioneers have two games left this regular season against CC, first in Colorado Springs on Feb. 20 and then back in Denver the following night. CC currently holds the teams’ Gold Pan traveling trophy, and it would continue to if it picks up a pair of wins in that two-game set later this month by virtue of having split the season series.

DU (16-9-1, 9-7-0-0 NCHC) is on the road next weekend for another big rivalry series against No. 2 North Dakota. UND will be coming off of its final idle weekend of the season.

CC (5-19-1, 1-14-1-0) plays host next weekend to No. 8 Miami.

UMD defends the realm

No league has had a better non-conference record this season than the NCHC, and seventh-ranked Minnesota-Duluth bolstered further that reputation this weekend with a home sweep of Northern Michigan.

Duluth opened the teams’ series at Amsoil Arena with a 3-1 victory over the Wildcats on Friday night. DJ Vandercook gave NMU an early lead just 2:52 into the game, but three different UMD goalscorers put Northern down over the final 40 minutes of play.

UMD then came out on the right side of a nine-goal game on Saturday, defeating the Wildcats again by a 6-3 count. The Bulldogs again spread their scoring out in the rematch, with six different Duluth skaters finding the back of NMU’s nets.

The Bulldogs (17-10-1, 9-6-1-0) are at home again next weekend when in-state rival St. Cloud State comes up north.

Miami wins nearly three-hour outdoor game

Those that wonder if outdoor hockey games are worth the effort will find their case strengthened by what slowly took place in Chicago on Saturday.

Soldier Field played host for a second time to the Hockey City Classic – an annual event that ought to make the middle part of its name plural considering it took place in Minneapolis last year – on Saturday for games pitting Miami against Western Michigan and, later on, Michigan with arch-rival Michigan State.

The event’s two NCHC teams held court in the first game of the day, and Miami took home the league points on offer after outlasting WMU 4-3. The RedHawks scored each of the game’s first four goals before the Broncos from WMU made things interesting with three third-period tallies.

It was a sloppy affair which started 95 minutes late due to poor ice conditions that never really got better over the course of the game, which lasted for nearly three hours. Ice crews were sent out several times to repair affected spots on the ice on a day in which Chicago enjoyed 42-degree weather, a rarity there in February.

Michigan defeated MSU 4-1 in the event’s second game, which didn’t get started until 8:45 p.m. local time.

Miami (16-9-1, 9-6-1-1) will visit CC next weekend, while Western (11-11-4, 4-8-4-3) makes its first-ever NCHC trip to former CCHA rival Omaha.

20 COMMENTS

  1. As a die hard wildcat fan, I agree that UNH’s season success will be judged upon what they do in March. HE regular season titles are nice but haven’t amounted to anything as of late. Growing up in the great state of Maine, I’ve heard the old University of No Hardware cry too many times to count. It’s warranted-yes, but I second the notion of living in the present. As of today, Umile’s squad will most likely be dancing as a #1 in their home state avoiding a matchup with the Eagles while the Black Bears will be out snowmobiling in Orono. As far as I’m concerned, Bears fans can continue with their favorite no hardware chants, but if I were a black bear I’d be more concerned with my hockey team who has not been to the NCAA tournament in 3 years looking to be 4. The Maine program is steadily falling off the college hockey map as they struggle to recruit against the Boston Powerhouses with better programs, coaches, and facilities. Believe me Bears, I enjoy seeing Maine come tournament time – they are/were a staple of college hockey. But take a good look in the mirror and evaluate this year’s team and your program as a whole as of today – not the past. On a side note, the Northeastern Huskies WILL win the Beanpot for the first time since 1988. Go NU!

  2. CC played and won more games against tougher competition. That’s why they’re ranked higher than the Gophers. Check out the Pairwise Rankings.

  3. Love the blog…puts Theresa’s to shame. Granted, she has improved, but your articles are the gold standard, imho.

  4. Wow, I just listened to this and is it just me, or did Bucci kind of come across as a deeb? I’m usually staunchly in favor of the Bucci, but he seemed like he was being a little bit of a turd. Very surprising.

    • They had 3 more PP’s than BU- I don’t think so. Let’s face it, Red has a bad history with the HEA officiating in the NCAA playoffs and these type of games with so many reviews can create a bad taste in one’s mouth. BU won the game, move on to MTU.

  5. Wow. FYI: DU didn’t ‘retain’ the Gold Pan, as CC won it last season. DU needs at least a tie in one of the two remaining games vs CC to claim the Pan.

    • Wow. FYI. Read the column next time. He stated, “CC currently holds the teams’ Gold Pan traveling trophy”. Think you are wishing against the inevitable.

      • They changed the article (this time getting the facts straight) because that’s not what it read yesterday morning. I suspect cohophead’s post had something to do with it.

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