Three things: Recapping last weekend in the WCHA

1. And down goes Bemidji!

It took 14 games — exactly halfway into the conference season — but someone finally beat Bemidji State. Michigan Tech, behind 17 saves from Angus Redmond and a late game-winning goal by Mike Neville, topped the Beavers 2-1 on Saturday night in Houghton. The win helped the Huskies earn the split after BSU’s Michael Bitzer made 26 saves in the Beavers’ 3-1 win on Friday. It was a significant win for Tech, helping them stay eight points behind BSU in the league standings.  (A Bemidji win would have put the Beavers up 14 points instead of eight). So while BSU’s lead is significant, Tech still remains in striking distance with half of their games left to play.

2. Seawolves finally get a league win

Last-place Alaska Anchorage hasn’t had a whole lot of success this season, but a series against ninth-place Northern Michigan gave them a perfect opportunity. Behind a season-high five goals, the Seawolves beat the Wildcats 5-3 in Anchorage. Jonah Renouf, Jarrett Brown, Matt Anholt, Chase Van Allen and Connor Wright all scored for UAA, as the Seawolves earned their first conference victory — and first since a 1-0 win over Canisius in October. The Wildcats won 4-1 on Saturday but the win cut NMU’s lead to just one point (seven to six) in the standings. UAA, too, has played 10 games — fewest of anyone in the WCHA.

3. Goals galore in Mankato

Minnesota State and Alaska combined for 20 goals in two games over the weekend — 10 each on Friday (7-3 MSU win) and Saturday (a 5-5 tie that ended with a Nanooks shootout victory). Marc Michaelis had a hat trick for MSU Friday — part of a seven point weekend — while Alaska’s Chad Staley scored twice Saturday to help the Nanooks earn the tie.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I like all the picks except for Hjelle and Kristo. Hjelle is 1 game over .500 and just doesn’t have the stats to make the top 10. If you are going nominate a goalie, there are several others that would be more deserving, Chubak, Williams, Wilcox, and Rumple, not to mention other CCHA goalies, Slubowski and Summerhays, who played more and have better stats. Knight is well deserving of the final 10 nomination, I just don’t see Kristo in that class. Just my opinion.

        • Considering the fact that I’ve seen most of the top players compete, and also the fact that I know a lot about hockey…. I’d say my opinion is more validated than your weak response….Oh and I’m better than you. FIGHTING SIOUX FOREVER

          • I see you must be a scientist, because your assertions are based on empirical evidence, right? I have watched more hockey then you have dreamed about and I played. Here is a fact for you. Kristo is not even the best forward in the WCHA, therefore not the best forward in college hockey. I suggest taking off the homer glasses prior to your next comment.

          • Maybe you shouldn’t be such a hypocrite. “I see you must be a scientist, because your assertions are based on empirical evidence, right?” and then you say this “I have watched more hockey then you have dreamed about”. Now I’m going to tell you straight. Kristo is a Hobey finalst, He is second in the nation in goals, and most of his goals came from purely his ability to move the puck. He plays with a high motor every time hes on the ice. He rarely takes bad penalties and is usually the guy who draws them. He single handed made Corban Knight look like a better hockey player than he really is. His shot is second to none. One of the fastest skaters in college hockey. He plays against one of the toughest schedules in college hockey. SOS that is in the top 10 I believe. These are all facts that can’t be ignored.

    • I agree with you on the goalie argument, but Kristo is one of the most electric players in all of hockey. If you wanted to question his character or effort, I would not disagree, but he most certainly has the talent.

  2. Admirable job recognizing the LeBlanc error and adding his picture to go with this story. He may not have as many goals, but he definitely has the points to go along with leading SCSU on AND off the ice. Drew truly fits every criteria described on the Hobey Baker site to a T.

    • I agree LeBlanc has been a real leader for SCSU and really made the team go. I think that he should be in the top 10 for sure, I just see inconsistencies in how LeBlanc, Knight and Haula are viewed considering that they are all leaders for their respective teams and about the same in goals and points.

    • If the finalists were named on Monday after the conference finals are done, I have to imagine they wouldn’t be able to ignore Connor. That being said we are talking about a Lowell player, they don’t generally even get honorable mentions

      • For a kid to serve as the backbone for the largest 2nd half turnaround in the nation, to go unacknowledged, just goes to show that the names were drawn before the season started. Too bad. There’s not much more the kid could have done to give his team a chance to win every time he took the ice. And that’s the true spirit of the award

  3. When talking about Drew LeBlanc at St. Cloud State… You notice he doesn’t have that many goals, but look at how many assists he has! He feeds the puck to his line mates which are the top 2 scoring freshman in the nation! (Jonny Brodzinski and Kalle Kossila) If you would get to know him and actually pay attention to players in the midwest, you would learn that Drew isn’t all about the scoring. He wants the team to succeed as a whole, and if he can help somebody else succeed over himself, you sure bet he is going to pass the puck to someone else. Scoring goals isn’t everything, and I sure hope it’s not what this Hobey Baker award is about.

    • Top 2 scoring freshman? Yeah if you don’t count Kevin Roy, Austin Farley, Riley Barber, and Alex Petan. Get your facts straight before you start your argument. Oh by the way your lucky I didn’t go into overall scoring by Freshman, because your boys are way down the list.

      • Calm down Jonathan, you are right that Kossila is not near the top at all and Brodzinksi is not near the top in points. But Brodzinski is the nation’s leading freshman in goals scored, so your facts aren’t entirely straight either.

    • He has been one of the main leaders and reason on the team for being where they are ranked No. 3 in nations. 1st place in the CCHA. Phenom puck carrier and play-maker. Strong in the corners. Also nominated as Best Defensive Forward. It shows his tenacity to be a top scorer and defensive guy which exerts a ton of energy. Most guys play only one way. Excellent penalty killer- (4 shorties). On a team with 18 underclassman. Some of your nominees only should be consider for high scorer not as a complete player.

  4. I can see the character issue affecting Kristo, but do you really think it would be held against Knight? After all, when the investigation and everything was done the charges against him involving the party were dropped, and given his personality I can’t imagine he has ever been in any other trouble.

  5. I wouldn’t comment if there was at least one defenseman on your list. Here’s a few that deserve consideration: George Hughes (leads nation in scoring by defenseman), Nick Jensen, Nate Schmidt (quarterbacks nation’s #1 powerplay), and Jacob Trouba. The Hobey isn’t just for the best forward, plus a token goaltender.

  6. Eric haula by far the most deserving. Gophers on there way to another championship!! bunch more minnesota high school stars up for hobey again. Danny Kristo eden prairie an drew leblanc hermanton, repersentin

  7. UML showed me absolutely nothing last weekend, except their continued willingness to play down to their competition, and by play down, I mean attempting to play Madigan thug hockey on Friday with NU and squandering a dozen opportunities on Saturday.

    I’m looking at a team that is still trying to find chemistry. Bazin continues to shuffle lines (granted, after Hough got hurt on Friday, it was a bit more necessary) in an attempt to find combinations that work. One would have thought that this would have been done before Christmas at the latest, but it’s still going on. I wasn’t going to throw guys under the bus on Saturday night as a knee jerk reaction to the lost weekend, but I’ve had a couple of days to think about this and I’m still as pissed and confounded as I was then. So, here goes…

    There are by my count, exactly three guys on this team with heart, well two guys and one guy with ice water in his veins (Boyle IMO, can not be criticized here, he’s exceeded all expectations). McGrath and Gambardella never take a shift off, EVER! If half this team played as hard on the puck as these two guys, we’d be in great shape, but they don’t. I still see guys with no concept of puck pursuit. I see guys who bolt through the neutral zone and then coast from the dots on a forecheck, this is absolute garbage, and if you think that got you in trouble with NU and UNH, wait until next weekend.

    Discipline is again becoming an issue with this team and guys who are wearing letters on their jerseys are part of the problem…yes Chapie, I’m talking about you. For a guy with the kind of skills he possesses, it’s mind-boggling to me that he feels the need to agitate. Every game though, it’s the same thing, Chapie doing stupid things to put his team in jeopardy.I’m not sure when this guy thought it was going to be his role to be an agitator, but here’s a clue…it ain’t working. The D-1 officials have no patience for it, you’ve obviously been watching too many NHL games. STOP!

    Confusion in the D-zone. Again, I chalk this up to more line juggling. If there is anywhere where familiarity with your linemate is essential, it’s on D. More juggling = more confusion, IMO. I still see two D men pursuing a single puck carrier. I still see two D-men confused over their responsibility during a breakout.

    Tentative play overall. Some of this can be attributed to some of the younger guys getting a bit squeamish as the level of play intensifies down the stretch, but not all. I still see these wishy-washy passes at half speed getting intercepted, when a difintive hard pass would not have. Very frustrating to watch.

    And now, I’ll do something that I have not done since he got here, which is, criticize Bazin. First off, let me say that I’m not qualified to coach this team and could not do near the job that he has, not even close. That said, something is going on internally, IMO. The team seems lack-luster since the break. Are some of them souring on Bazin’s message/system?

    OK, let’s start with the PP and the ‘fake the entry and play it back to the point man in the Neutral zone’ move, to gain entry into the O-zone…IT AIN”T WORKING, and hasn’t for many games (well, many games not played against teams not named ASU). Stop, Normie, just stop. IMO, we’re also getting too cute, trying to play for the perfect shot scenario. Friday against NU, their goalie gave up a rebound on almost every shot, but instead of just getting pucks on net and crashing for the rebound, we went the cute route. Again, tough to watch. Again, ineffective.

    Maybe, I’m making too much of a late season slump, but the Pairwise machine is always watching and I fear, just as last year, we’re letting the tournament slip away after it was firmly in our grasp a month ago.

    /rant over.

    • And their doesn’t schedule doesn’t get any easier. They’ll have to earn no less than a split vs BU and BC… Then make some noise in the HEA playoffs, probably needing to get to the Garden. Several teams are breathing down their neck, especially with 2-3 potential AQs currently outside the top 16. I, too, thought UML was a shoe-in a week or two ago.

  8. I share the pain that Vinnie is showing here.
    My take:

    Too many times UML passes up a good shot for a ‘better’ one only to never get a shot on net. I am the guy yelling for them to shoot. Also the players are going for the corners so much that it is hard to measure how many shots miss the net. Both goals on Saturday were ugly get to the net and scramble type goals. Stop being cute and get to the net. Shoot when available. Attack early in the game so you can actually play from ahead.

    I didn’t like Boyle last year ( especially the HE final vs. BU ), but it is hard to blame him this year. The PP needs to get more aggressive and show some urgency. Quick passes and shoot often. I am sick and tired of ‘cycling’. All it does is make offensive players tired and keeps the play on the perimeter.

    I am hoping for an upset at BU on Friday, but I just don’t see it.

    Please prove me wrong. Go Riverhawks….

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