NCHC rolls in nonconference action
After a relatively poor showing in nonconference play the first weekend in which it went 8-5-3, the NCHC, which last season had the best out-of-conference record of all conferences in men’s D-I, rallied to a much better showing in nonconference play, going 11-2-1, which included sweeps of Big Ten opponents by Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, and Miami, a sweep of a Hockey East opponent by Omaha, and a sweep of an old WCHA rival by St. Cloud State.
The only blemish on the record of the NCHC was for Colorado College, which again was swept by a Hockey East opponent. However, the Tigers made a much better go of it this weekend. After dropping two disappointing contests at home against Massachusetts last weekend, the Tigers went on the road to play No. 9 Massachusetts-Lowell. Many expected CC to get blown out, but the Tigers lost a pair of one-goal decisions, 3-2 and 2-1. On Friday, Lowell scored the game-winner with 2:44 left in the game after Cody Bradley had tied the score at 7:31 of the third. Goalie Jacob Nehama made 52 saves for CC, and may have played his way into a starting role.
On Saturday, CC was much better at holding down the fort, only giving up 24 shots on goal. Lowell’s Adam Chapie notched the first goal at 15:05 of the first and Ryan McGrath made it 2-0 at 4:17 of the second, while CC drew back to within one at 11:17 of the second on a goal by Trey Bradley, but could get no closer.
Minnesota-Duluth sweeps in-state rival
The games between Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota are always intense. It was sweet, therefore, for the Bulldogs to rally from last weekend’s opening loss to Bemidji State with a sweep of the Gophers, 3-1 and 3-0. While the Gophers have historically owned the rivalry, heading into the weekend with a 134-77-17 lead, Duluth has had the better of it lately, and after this weekend has won six of the last seven against Minnesota.
Kasimir Kaskisuo was outstanding in net for the Bulldogs, making 23 saves on Friday in Minneapolis and following that with a 21-save effort on Saturday while helping his team defensively kill seven Minnesota power plays. The Gophers went 0-for-8 on the power play on the weekend against the Bulldogs. Dominic Toninato scored a goal in each game and Tony Cameranesi had an assist in each game.
Lindgren pitches two shutouts
With his Huskies hosting what should have been a desperate No. 14 Minnesota State team that had gotten swept by Omaha the previous weekend, Charlie Lindgren stepped up huge for St. Cloud, stopping 30 shots on Friday and another 24 on Saturday to help the Huskies sweep their old rivals by scores of 4-0 and 3-0.
St. Cloud killed four power plays on the weekend, and remains perfect in that category on the year, having killed off all 12 power plays they’ve faced. Meanwhile, the Huskies are succeeding on their own power play to the tune of 25 percent.
The Huskies got balanced scoring on the weekend. Sophomore Patrick Russell shows no signs of the dreaded “sophomore slump,” as he recorded a goal and an assist in each game. He leads the Huskies in scoring with six points. Senior Kalle Kossila also pitched in a goal and assist on Friday to continue his strong start after a down season his junior year. Freshman Robby Jackson also scored his third goal on the year in three games played.
Lindgren is the real story, as he is 3-0 and has yet to give up a goal this year while making 68 saves.