Three things: Nov. 26

Omaha happy to be home
Entering the weekend, Omaha was a game under .500 at 4-5-1, and had played eight of first 10 games on the road. Being home seems to agree with the Mavericks, who swept Northern Michigan 4-3 and 4-1 to remain undefeated at home at 3-0-1. Evan Weninger started both games in net, making 27 saves Friday and 25 Saturday, including robbing a late attempt by the Wildcats to tie the game Friday on a point-blank opportunity. Zach Jordan and Luke Nogard scored in each game, and Tristan Keck had a hand in the first Omaha goal in each, scoring first Friday and assisting on the first goal Saturday.

One impressive thing Friday was how Omaha rallied. After Keck scored, Northern Michigan scored at 8:53 of the first, and a Joseph Nardi goal 1:17 into the second gave the Wildcats the lead, but Omaha rallied with three straight goals in the second, the last coming from Nogard at 18:47 and proving to be the game-winner.

Omaha’s penalty kills was effective, killing all 13 Northern Michigan power plays on the weekend.

If home is where the Mavericks like to be, they have an opportunity to build momentum, as every game in December is at home, including a series with suddenly hot Union after the Christmas break.

Miami wins battle of Ohio
Facing off against Bowling Green in a home-and-home, Miami emerged with a win and tie to win their only series against an Ohio team this season. Friday, Grant Hutton’s two goals 37 seconds apart at the end of the second proved the difference, as they came shortly after Bowling Green had rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie it 3-3. Hutton also assisted on Josh Melnick’s goal at 2:59 of the second. Kiefer Sherwood had a goal and two assists, while Louie Belpedio, Grant Frederic, and Conor Lemirande each had two assists. Ryan Larkin made 11 saves in the win, as the Miami defense proved adept at keeping Bowling Green from generating much offense.

Saturday, it looked like Miami was headed for the win, but an extra-attacker goal by Alec Rauhauser with 38 seconds left in the game gained Bowling Green a tie. Belpedio had an assist on Melnick’s goal at 6:32 of the second, and scored on a power play at 13:09 to give Miami a lead that it almost took for the win. Larkin was tested more, making 24 saves in the tie. Miami dominated the OT, making four shots, but was unable to score. The RedHawks are now at .500 on the year, which coupled with Omaha’s sweep means that every NCHC team is at least .500 or better on the season.

Power outage for North Dakota
North Dakota struggled on the weekend, only managing to get a tie in its series with Union. Friday, Union got two goals in the first period, with Sebastian Vidmar’s power-play tally at 14:16 standing up as the game-winner. It came off a rebound after Peter Thome made a turnover up the boards after coming out of his net to try to play the puck. North Dakota got one back in the third from Christian Wolanin, but a breakaway goal by Vas Kalias just 52 seconds later killed any momentum the Fighting Hawks might have generated.

A poor few minutes early in the third forced North Dakota to have to rally and earn a tie Saturday. A goal by Colton Poolman at 14:01 of the first held up through two periods, but Union struck for two goals 22 seconds apart in the third period to take a lead. Brett Supinski tied it with a backhand goal that was started by a turnover by North Dakota’s Casey Johnson near the Union blue line that sent Vidmar racing up ice. He passed it Supinski as Johnson raced back, and Supinski cut back in the slot and beat Thome with a backhand. On the ensuing faceoff, a turnover on an errant pass by Ludvig Hoff in the neutral zone was intercepted by Cole Maier, who skated in and fired two shots that were blocked before Ryan Scarfo picked it up in just outside the crease and backhanded it past Thome. Cole Smith got called for interference at 14:20 of the third, but Union was unable to capitalize, and Shane Gersich tied it when he picked up a rebound after a three-on-two that had Rhett Gardner firing a shot from the left circle. The goal was even-strength, as the penalty had just ended as Gersich got the puck in.

North Dakota dominated in the extra session, registering four shots to none by Union, but the Fighting Hawks were unable to get the game-winner.

1 COMMENT

  1. Candace, from a fan’s perspective, I don’t think it’s a good idea to play on Thanksgiving weekend. I watched games at UMD, WMU, ND, and UNO this past weekend and the “crowds” were abysmal. There were about 2/3 empty seats at Kalamazoo, Duluth, and Omaha. The games at Grand Forks had more empty seats that I have ever seen. The atmosphere at all sites was far from optimum for CH.

    • Oh I’d agree. Post-Thanksgiving is terrible for hockey. I remember that from when i was at school. Most of the students are gone, and many fans are doing holiday stuff. But you can’t really not play.

      • Those were the best games cause it wasn’t a “student section” and you could bring your beer back into the seats with out instead of having to pound it on the concourse.

      • Maybe you could just skip those meaningless NC games, play two less. Really looked terrible on NCHC.TV, like playing scrimmage in front of those watching practice. B1G played conference games and looked like there was a small crowd at South Bend Friday night, not good advertisement for our sport.

        • “Maybe you could just skip those meaningless NC games…”

          Those NC games aren’t meaningless if you lose them…

          – sincerely, all of us who *didn’t* make the tournament

          • Meaningless compared to league play, and on Thanksgiving weekend. Playing these NC games before a ton of empty seats, is a losing proposition for fans that can’t attend. Backbone of most teams are season ticket holders, who have to pay for games that they can’t make is kind of unfair.

          • Sorry about the late response…

            You know, if you’d have said anything at all about the players missing
            out on the holidays with their families, I’d have been right there with
            you. After all, Michigan Tech just got back from an 8-10 day (not sure
            how long it actually was), Alaska trip where their two weekend series
            bracketed Thanksgiving. From the players’ and coaches standpoints, that *had* to suck.

            But you didn’t, so…

            1. “Meaningless compared to league play…”
            …again, tell that to the second-place WCHA/AHA teams who (along with their league-mates) didn’t win enough of those “meaningless” games. Swap the NCHC’s overall record in those “meaningless” games with that of the WCHA or AHA, and tell me where that leaves the NCHC come March. (Hint – your tournament champion makes the tournament as a 13-16 seed, and the rest of the league sits). Am I wrong?

            2. As for playing on Thanksgiving weekend, the Detroit Lions sell out (that would be 65,000+) every Thanksgiving DAY. At full NFL prices, no less. If a team like the Lions (go ahead and look up their history, if you can stomach it – I believe they even have a piece of history with the Broncos from the AFL days) can do that…

            3. I have *no* sympathy for season ticket holders who can’t make it to a particular game. For openers, what’s the difference between not being able to make a game scheduled during the holidays and not being able to attend a game in, say, February? Secondly (see what I’m doing here?) wasn’t the secondary market (StubHub et al) established to give season-ticket holders the chance to sell what would’ve been unused tickets?

            Hope your Thanksgiving was at least as good as mine. Enjoy the coming weekend.

    • I would agree with you. Games right after the holidays are always rough, but you still have to play them. Or do some teams take that weekend off?

      • Seems like some teams do have it off. Mid-December can be like that too depending on when teams have their holiday break and students have their finals.

          • The solution is obvious – just don’t schedule games over Thanksgiving break. Use this weekend as your Bye, not some random week elsewhere in November, October or January.

            Another suggestion is to extend the season altogether in terms of weeks. Mandatory Byes for Thanksgiving and Spring Break, and push the Frozen Four to the end of April. That way the college hockey post-season isn’t fighting a losing effort to March Madness.

      • DU did not play last week. The NCHC only has been playing OOC games during Thanksgiving, maybe would be better playing two less games.

    • Interesting take. Games shouldn’t be played on Thanksgiving weekend because less-than-full houses look bad on TV? Just curious – how would this compare with games played during spring break? And, don’t some of those spring break weekends fall during the playoffs? I mean, the students aren’t there either, right?
      In either case, it seems to me that there would be opportunities available to make those empty student seats available to folks who ordinarily wouldn’t get to see a game in person. Any marketing majors out there need a project?

      • It would take a super marketing major to sell seats to people that either are visiting friends, or have company, and are skipping the games. Has nothing to do with students that are away, simply having nobody available to buy them. Spring break students seats are sold at DU, and probably most other CH arenas. You are mixing apples and oranges, not the same. Also, has nothing to do with TV, I just stated I saw them on subscription NCHC.TV. Another red herring.

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