UMD wins final North Star College Cup
Minnesota-Duluth became a trivia answer Saturday when the Bulldogs downed St. Cloud State 2-1 in overtime in the championship game of the fourth and final installment of the North Star College Cup.
UMD largely has freshman goaltender Hunter Miska to thank, as he was named the tournament’s most valuable player after Saturday’s final. One night after he made 37 saves in Duluth’s 3-2 win over Minnesota on Friday, the rookie stopped 29 SCSU shots.
Duluth senior winger Kyle Osterberg picked up Saturday’s tournament-winner six minutes into the extra period. Standout defenseman Neal Pionk and Joey Anderson assisted on Osterberg’s 11th goal of the season.
St. Cloud had started the game well, as Will Borgen scored with 1:43 left in the first period to get the Huskies onto the board first. Duluth equalized 42 seconds into the third period when Alex Iafallo put away a loose puck in front of SCSU goalie Jeff Smith’s net.
UMD and SCSU, rivalry partners within the NCHC who are guaranteed to meet four times per season, have already had five meetings so far in 2016-17. Three of those games, including Saturday’s, came in the past three weeks.
Saturday’s game saw Duluth defeat St. Cloud in overtime for the second time this season.
UMD hosts Omaha next weekend, while St. Cloud heads to North Dakota.
CC picks up first home win
One night after five unanswered North Dakota goals allowed the Fighting Hawks to stave off an upset bid from Colorado College, UND was unable to do the same Saturday.
The Hawks visited Colorado Springs this week to face a CC team that had yet to win its first home game of the season. CC’s’ 0-9 home record dropped further to 0-10 Friday thanks to a 5-2 defeat to UND.
Tigers goals from Kade Kehoe and Alex Berardinelli led to UND head coach Brad Berry pulling goaltender Matej Tomek after the first period in favor of Matt Hrynkiw. The Hawks responded well to the change, with five UND players scoring in the final 40 minutes to turn the game on its head.
Saturday’s 3-0 win for CC must have left defending national champion UND frustrated. Shot attempts were 91-37 in UND’s favor, and Tigers goalie Alex Leclerc stood on his head, making 47 saves.
Strangely, the Tigers never put a puck past Hrynkiw themselves all weekend. Luc Gerdes’ goal 19:30 into the first period was an apparent pass attempt that deflected in off an UND defenseman’s skate. CC later put the result on ice with two empty-netters in the game’s final minute.
UND, loser of three of its last four games and four of its last six, will need to get back on track next weekend in Grand Forks against an inconsistent SCSU team. CC has next weekend off prior to a home-and-home series with arch-rival Denver.
Denver continues mastery of Omaha
Denver shows up four times on Omaha’s schedule in the final six weeks of the regular season. Not that that’s something the Mavericks might want to think about too much right now.
UNO’s losing streak against the Pioneers rose to eight games this weekend at DU’s Magness Arena. Denver rallied with five consecutive goals to win Friday’s series opener 5-3 before hanging a 5-0 loss on the Mavericks Saturday.
DU made big inroads towards its fifth consecutive home win over the Mavericks with a four-goal second period. UNO goalie Kris Oldham made 38 saves Friday but conceded five goals for the second time in his last three outings.
As for Friday, so much of what happened comes back to a second period in which Denver outshot UNO 21-10 and got goals from four different Pioneers shooters.
Denver then put Saturday’s result beyond UNO’s reach early. The Pioneers outshot UNO 21-6 in the first 20 minutes of play and led the Mavericks 3-0 heading into the first intermission.
Denver’s Colin Staub, who ended UNO’s 2015-16 season with a double-overtime winner in Game 2 of a NCHC first-round playoff series at Magness, scored twice more against the Mavericks on Saturday. His power play goal 6:07 into the game opened the scoring before he netted again on the man advantage 13 minutes into the second period, marking DU’s last goal of the night.
UNO has a tough road to hoe over the next few weeks before hosting Denver in the last week of the regular season. The Mavericks visit second-ranked UMD next week before hosting No. 10 Western Michigan on Feb. 10-11. Two weeks after that, UNO heads to 12th-ranked UND.