Weekend wrap: Nov. 27

Denver wins ugly
Denver won both its games this weekend, but coach Jim Montgomery couldn’t have been happy about the way the Pioneers did so, especially Saturday against Wisconsin. Against both Air Force Friday and Wisconsin Saturday, the Pioneers had difficulty holding onto the lead in the third period, and need an OT goal from Jarid Lukosevicius to win. It was Denver’s third straight OT game.

Denver’s penalty kill also struggled. Friday, up 2-1 going into the third, Air Force struck just 39 seconds into the period. Denver answered 13 seconds later, but gave up a tying power-play goal by Erik Baskin at 5:04. Air Force also scored a power-play goal in the first period. Saturday against Wisconsin, Denver entered the third up 5-2, gave up a goal early, scored a five-on-three power-play goal to make it 6-3 and then took a five-minute penalty and gave up two power-play goals. Denver’s penalty kill gave up five power-play goals on the weekend.

Coach Jim Montgomery admitted his team looked tired Saturday, perhaps after all the extra time played.

“It sure looked like it in the last 30 minutes,” said Montgomery of his team’s fatigue level. “We made mistakes with the puck, we didn’t go through bodies in the third period, which got them some momentum and got them the power play. I think Tanner (Jaillet) was a little tired too, because that didn’t look like Tanner in the third period. That’s why you need good depth.”

North Dakota back to winless ways
Starting Halloween weekend, North Dakota, which entered that weekend against Minnesota-Duluth ranked number one, went three straight weekends without a win, going 0-4-2. After sweeping St. Cloud on the road in impressive fashion, it seemed the Fighting Hawks were back in form, but this weekend against Michigan State, the Fighting Hawks went winless again.

And unlike the previous winless streak, when the Hawks were playing teams ranked in the top 10, Michigan State was unranked and had a 2-6-1 record.

Special teams was an issue in both games. Friday in a 4-3 loss, the Spartans scored four-on-four and also got two power-play goals, including the game-winner from Joe Cox at 2:35 of the third period. Saturday in a 2-2 tie, the Spartans got the first goal short-handed, partly off a play by Cox, who carried the puck up the left-side boards and got a shot off, then picked up the rebound, deked two Hawks players, and passed to Thomas Ebbing in the slot.

North Dakota’s offense also had trouble finishing, as they outshot the Spartans in both games, 33-21 Friday and 34-19 Saturday.

North Dakota knows what it takes to win, as shown last year by winning the national championship, and while a lot of talent from that team is gone, much still remains, including top scorer Brock Boeser and goaltender Cam Johnson. The team knows it needs to find consistency.

“We saw how well we played in St. Cloud, we saw how well we can dominate,” sophomore defenseman Christian Wolanin said. “But what does it mean if we don’t do it every night? Anybody can be good on certain occasions, but to put it together for a full season? We saw what we did last year.”

Omaha remains strong on the road
Omaha has had the benefit of playing much of the first half of the season at home. However, that hasn’t translated to success, as the Mavericks have struggled in Baxter Arena, going just 2-5-1. For some reason however, the Mavericks have done well on the road, where they are without a loss. That trend continued this weekend, as they tied and beat Northern Michigan, raising their road record to 5-0-1.

Friday, the Mavericks struck first, scoring at 10 minutes of the first period, only to give up two goals in the next 1:17. However, Tyler Vessel’s power-play goal at 9:56 of the second tied the game, and Kris Oldham made 19 saves over the last two periods to preserve the tie.

Saturday, Evan Weninger made 31 saves as the Mavericks shutout Northern Michigan, 2-0. Omaha’s two goals came over a 14-second span in the second period, one from Jake Randolph and one from Justin Parizek.

Perhaps coach Dean Blais has reason to be happy, as Omaha closes the first half with road series against Wisconsin and St. Cloud State.


  1. Paula:

    Didn’t Shawn Hunwick win the best goaltender award at the CCHA Awards Banquet also? I know they left him off of the CCHA announcement, but please give him his due.

  2. You think Miami will beat Michigan, yet Michigan is above Miami on your ballot? That would give Spock a brain hemorrhage!

    • Not at all. Ranking ballots reflect a team’s entire oeuvre over the full season; single game picks reflect a gut feeling about who will get the better of a single contest. One could pick the top team in the country to have an off night and lose to a .500 team, but that doesn’t mean the .500 team should be ranked ahead of the top seed. She explains clearly that all four teams in the tourney are solid teams, with Miami and Mich playing exceptional hockey right now, and that she wouldn’t want to pick against either of them. But when it comes down to it, you’ve got to make a gut call, and she feels that Miami has a slightly stronger drive for the title this weekend (for my part, I hope she’s wrong…). That doesn’t erase Michigan’s superior record, earning them the higher ranking.

      • Ergo, you are correct. Michigan has had a better season. I was looking at it from the point of view that with these 2 teams being so evenly matched (currently), by picking one over the other should be reflected in the ballot. I wasn’t looking at the entire season.

        Besides, it doesn’t really matter if she “adjusts” her ballot this week or next week. Either way, the correction will be made after the Wolvies go down either tonight or tomorrow.

  3. The Terry Flannagan Award is for “overcoming severe adversity” according to the story on CCHA.com.

    You should write a column bashing the CCHA for using the word adversity

    • Petovello did overcome adversity; he had to work through severe injury to get back into the game, having to overcome genuine hardship (as opposed to manufactured hardship) to play again.

      I love the Terry Flanagan Award. It honors not only young men who persevere through real adversity, but it memorializes Terry Flanagan, who lost his battle with cancer in 1991.

  4. Paula you picked against us in WMU last weekend also I’m hoping that incorrect pick happens again tonight. GO BRONCOS BEAT MICHIGAN!!!!!

  5. I think Blashill was robbed of the CCHA Coach of the year. Not knocking Jackson and the job he does with ND, but turning a program around the way he’s done with Western this season is unbelievable. I want to see them send Michigan to the consolation game tonight!

    • Agree. I think WMU had a deeper hole to climb out of this season than ND.Western returned most of the same players from a poor 2009-10, except for Balisy, Berschbach and DeKeyser. I know that if Berenson did the same thing with 10-11 freshmen, including the freshman ROTY, the argument would be.. “well.. you DO get the best players” or something along that line. Can’t say that Notre Dame’s problem was lack of talent last season, either. Blashill deserved it more even if he had a more experienced club to work with.

  6. Well, the Broncos proved you wrong once again tonight. I’ll be at the Joe tomorrow cheering for a talented, hard-working team that has long-since proved that they’re more than a “Feel-good” pick.

    That being said, I have appreciated your blog MOST of the time throughout the season. So thank you for that.


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