1. wWildcats survive scare from Chargers
Second-seeded Northern Michigan had every reason to be worried about its first-round quarterfinal matchup with seventh-seeded Alabama Huntsville — the teams had split during their four-game regular-season series. It turns out those fears were founded. Although the Wildcats pummelled the Chargers 7-1 in Friday’s opener, UAH gritted out a 3-2 win in Game 2 Saturday. Josh Kestner scored two goals, including the game-winner with 30 seconds left, to keep the Chargers’ playoff run alive. In Sunday’s series finale, the Chargers took a 2-1 lead early in the second period but a major penalty on UAH’s Cam Knight proved to be a major turning point — the Wildcats scored twice on the five-minute major en route to a 5-2 win. Despite being taken to the third game, NMU has to be happy with their offensive production — they scored 14 goals in the three games. Troy Loggins and Denver Pierce scored four goals apiece. Adam Rockwood, who leads the WCHA with 37 assists, added to his total with seven in the series. NMU hosts Bowling Green in the semifinals. And although it’s the end of the line for UAH, a stick tap to Huntsville native Kestner, who tied UAH’s single-season goal scoring record with 24 on the year. He had three goals in the series and finishes his senior season with 32 points (24g-8a), which is the most by a Charger since David Nimmo had 36 points in 2006-07.
2. Mavericks ease into semifinals
Top-seeded Minnesota State made a statement with their quarterfinal win. The Mavericks scored seemingly at will on eighth-seeded Alaska, sweeping their series 8-2 and 6-2. The Nanooks were the last team to beat the Mavericks in regulation, but couldn’t do much offensively in this series. In game one the Nanooks had scored early in the second period to cut MSU’s lead to 3-2, but the Mavericks went on to score five unanswered for the win. In game two, the Nanooks scored 51 seconds into the game before MSU scored six straight to win. The scary thing about MSU’s two wins is how much they were able to spread the scoring around. Twelve different players scored goals and 18 different players had at least a point. MSU hosts Michigan Tech in the second round.
3. Huskies grab an “upset”
Although on paper fifth-seeded Michigan Tech’s series sweep over fourth-seeded Bemidji State is an upset, it really was a toss-up compared to the other three series. The Huskies rallied to win game one 5-3 then hung on to win game two 5-4. Jake Lucchini had six points in the series, which saw Michigan Tech score three times on the power play against Bemidji’s highly-regarded penalty kill. Senior netminder Dvin Kero also had an impressive series, finishing with two wins and 55 saves. The real test for the Huskies now is if they can go into Mankato and find a way to win twice. They lost twice against the Mavericks on the road, but that was early in the season.