Three things: Feb. 6

A fairly light weekend of NCHC action wasn’t without its talking points. Here are three of the bigger ones that caught our attention:

UMD continues its resurgence

After suffering a five-game losing streak through the middle to end of last month, Minnesota-Duluth now finds itself on an upward trajectory.
The Bulldogs have now built up a three-game winning streak that included a pair of home victories this weekend against Colorado College. Duluth showed plenty of offensive muscle this weekend, besting the Tigers 5-3 on Friday before winning 3-2 in Saturday’s rematch.
Expect the Bulldogs’ Alex Iafallo to be among the NCHC’s players of the week when the league releases that list early next week. Iafallo picked up two goals against CC on Friday before netting Saturday’s game-winner with 2:42 left in the series rematch.
UMD hosts Bemidji State on Tuesday in non-conference action before taking next weekend off. CC is also off next weekend ahead of a home-and-home series against arch-rival Denver.

Huskies, RedHawks share spoils

Third-ranked St. Cloud State could find itself down slightly in Monday’s USCHO Men’s Division I poll following an entertaining split on the road this weekend against Miami.
SCSU stormed to a 5-1 victory in Friday’s series opener in Oxford, Ohio. After St. Cloud’s Ethan Prow and Miami’s Josh Melnick traded goals in the game’s first 20:15, SCSU reeled off four unanswered goals to take all the points on offer in Round 1.
Saturday’s rematch provided a much tighter affair, and Miami needed all three of its second-period goals to come away with a 3-2 win. Melnick, Sean Kuraly and Kiefer Sherwood all scored even-strength goals in that period to put Miami on top.
The RedHawks only have one game this next week, a trip on Friday to former CCHA rival Bowling Green. SCSU is off until it visits Omaha on Feb. 19-20.

SCSU misses chance to jump alone into first place

St. Cloud’s loss to Miami on Saturday kept the Huskies from jumping alone into first place in the NCHC standings. SCSU’s victory on Friday moved the Huskies into a tie for the top spot with second-ranked North Dakota, who was idle this weekend.
Both teams now have 41 points and 13 NCHC wins apiece, although UND now has two league games in hand. Those will come next weekend when the Fighting Hawks visit No. 13 Denver.
DU, also idle this weekend, currently sits in third place with 29 points. That makes the Pioneers’ home series against their rivals from UND all the more important in terms of how the top of the NCHC standings could begin to shake down as the end of the regular season approaches.

84 COMMENTS

  1. Cornell can beat Dartmouth at home (since they nearly did at Thompson if it weren’t for Brisson’s shoulder and a goal light that came on too early they would have won). Futhermore, Cornell did beat RPI 5-1 at Lynah and played Yale pretty well at Lynah. Now it’s another thing entirely to actually do all this, but I think we’re starting to see the Cornell team that many people ranked highly at the beginning of the season. That and many teams are overlooking them. They’re definitely a dangerous squad for the teams above them. Am i going to bet on them to do it, absolutely not because its a fools bet but I’m not exactly writing them off either

  2. Also Big Red are officially a TUC tonight, though they’d basically need to win out until the semifinals of the ECAC tourney to get in on a non auto-bid, which is something I don’t see happening

    • It looks like Providence is pretty good and New Hampshire has a lot of issues.

      There seems to be a good balance between WCHA and Hockey East this year. I sure hope there will be more out-of-conference play in 2013-2014

  3. I don’t know that those older coaches would have any more power to stop this than the current ones do/did.  It wasn’t a coaches decision.  It was more the Big 10 forcing the ADs of the Big 10 schools to comply, if they wanted to stay in the Big 10 for other sports and as much as we all hate it, it comes down to money and keeping all the other revenue generating sports is more a consideration for the school as opposed to keeping the WCHA together or for what might be best for college hockey.  It is sad, but the fact is hockey is way down on the list as far as priorities, even in a place like Minnesota where hockey is far and away the sport that they have had the most success in.

  4. Yes, we all agree that it was the Big Ten that forced this down the member AD’s throats, and that the coaches had no say. The strangest thing about this whole Big Ten thing is, why the hell does the Big Ten care about college hockey? There’s very little money to be made on it. Everyone I’ve discussed this with said, “it’s all about the Big Ten Network and wanting the hockey games on there.” What? How can that be possible? First, college hockey is not exactly an advertising magnet. Second, when exactly are they planning on airing these games? Once college basketball season starts (which is only a few weeks after hockey), there is complete overlap in the days/times of the games. So, why would the BTN choose to air a college hockey game over a college basketball game when all the advertisers know that the latter has significantly better ratings? Note, I’m talking about national ratings, not local ratings, but national ratings would be all the BTN could care about in terms of why they want to add college hockey to their programming. 

    So, someone explain this to me. How exactly does the Big Ten Conference or BTN benefit from this monetarily?

  5. What I will always remember most about Sauer, in a negative vein, is the number of UW games I saw while following WCHA hockey where his players intentionally went to the head/neck of opponents to finish a check.  It happened way too often for it not to have been coached.  Former UW player and NHL-er Sean Hill many years ago ended the hockey career of a promising Denver player named Mike Aikens in a play that unfolded right in front me, perhaps early 1990’s or thereabouts.  Unfortunately, a part of what Mr. Sauer brought to the college game and a part of his enduring legacy, successful W-L record notwithstanding.

  6. As a MN fan I’m glad to be in a different league than N Dakota. I admire their team
    but the fan base makes the game an ugly experience. I just go to games to cheer on my team and hope for a good game. They can make it very personal. I’ve had many ND fans scream in my face and I’ve never made a comment back. All for just wearing
    a Gophers jersey. What happened to sportsmanship?

  7. Sounded more to me like Sauer was talking about Alabama-Huntsville. He specifically says something about keeping programs running.

  8. What does a college education have to do with some young fellows playing hockey anyway?  Why should I care if the players on two teams in a game are enrolled as students in some particular university?  Is it critical to my enjoyment of a hockey game that the participants be wearing uniforms that represent some school when the players themselves would probably be happy to be playing on either team?  Ice hockey is a great sport that doesn’t require an affiliation with hypocritical educational organizations.  I’ll go to junior games.

  9. Can’t disagree with the picks this week- although I think MSU has the confidence to win this game also. It will come down to goaltending. I hate watching the Spartan “trying not to lose” prevent defensive style, reminds me too much of their past system- but it works with teams that are not patient, don’t bury their chances and do not engage physically. I also believe outdoor games have jumped the shark- it is bad hockey to watch from a fan perspective, especially if conditions make the ice poor. It plays right into the under dog team’s hands IMO, slowing down speed and skill teams and putting mediocre teams on an even level. Combine that with the Spartan style and this game could be another 2-1 snoozer.

  10. Penn State slammed Vermont last weekend in Philadelphia. C.J. Musico was solid in goal for PSU. It will be interesting to see who Penn State plays in net this weekend. They have 3 goalies worthy of starting.

    • Penn State has been solid at home. With the balanced scoring they are getting, they seem safe with Musico, Skoff or McEamon

      • Again Sat you are objective when I am “who to judge”… Peace within ole boy. Skoff fan since Sioux City but watching Musico in a 2-2 game now v Wisco on B1G Network.

      • Respectfully disagree with your assessment of PSU goaltending roster. I agree that Skoff is a terrific D-1 goalie. However, McAdam and Musico are, unquestionably, bonafide D-1 goalies.
        I also believe PSU forwards are responsible defensively. PSU has a great transition game and are relentless and effective forecheckers.

        • JCN so any video you watch speaks volumes regarding PSU’s commitment to D??? Dude you are all “O” all the time and I love it…Ponder the concept and enjoy it…

          • I attended the PSU games at MSG vs. Cornell in NYC and the recent Vermont game in Philly, plus a few games at State College this year. I know it seems they are all “O” all the time, (perhaps because of their SOG totals), but watch closely. They are committed to team D and support the puck in all three zones. They have a terrific line of Bailey-Holstrom-Goodwin that is hard to stop but they do get secondary scoring too. I guess we can agree to disagree on Musico and McAdam, while we agree Skoff being a terrific D-1 goalie.

  11. Going further out on that limb again this week. MSU-3. UM-1. And I too, do not like outdoor games. May be okay for those playing, but for the fans it stinks.

    • Some of the worst games I have ever seen were the outdoor games. The games the Gophers were involved in, against Wisconsin the Hockey City Classic, it was so warm that the ice was awful and the game was too. The last year at TCF Bank Stadium it was plenty cold enough, but actually too cold for good ice and the game was lackluster at best. I was very glad to hear that the Gophers have no plans to participate in any more outdoor games in the forseeable future. Although, I really don’t care much for these games, I seriously doubt they will go away, they are too ‘in vogue” now.

      • The game at Soldier Field reminded me of skating at the pond as a kid. When the ice got mushy we would shift to boots and play with a tennis ball. On a sunny day the glare plays havoc with the tenders.

    • Horse Snot Paula and Drew, the better “D” and goalie wins this. Decatur is right: for the fans attending it stinks…Decatur, Hildy has gotta steal this one…He will…

  12. I think the long and sad season for the Badgers has finally sunk in for Wisco. He has been surprisingly absent from the comments lately. Hey Wisco, have a Bud, I will buy.

  13. If Minnesota can get some help this weekend, MSU win tomorrow night and a Wisconsin rebound on Saturday (cant believe Gophers have to resort to cheering for a WI win) and can put together 6 periods of hockey they are right back in Big Ten race. Keep waiting for this team to put everything together on a consistent basis, hope it finally happens this weekend and can gain some traction to finish the season strong

  14. We all seem to be in agreement on something; We don’t like the outdoor games. What are the chances that the B10 listens to the fans on this and do not schedule any more of these “Jokes on Ice”? I’m guessing….Never.

    • Decatur, kids love it though…Is it about us or them??? Decatur and Sat who is “Nutson”??? We are gonna bust a “nut” and get three “son”…help on the way…Minn’s gonna win the Nat Champ and Wilcox will lead the way, trust me…

      • I apologize for barging into convo without an introduction-
        I am Nutson, longtime Gopher fan, also graduated from Mankato so they are my #2 team. Have two sons who would love to be Gophers in 14 and 16 years, once they can skate a bit better. And why not Minnesota this year, wide open year nation wide and they have the talent to pull it together and get hot at end of year

  15. Big thanks to all the goofs fans who are putting chocks in his place on here. I think he overloaded uscho moron locator’s capacity, don’t really se him around anymore….

    Everyone together now…. “#######ONNNNNNWISCONSON!!!!!!!”

    I await chocks’ unoriginal, repetitive, uninspired response…. probably soemthing about a moms basement. *pre-yawwwwwwwwns*

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