The Monday 10: Milestone games, big-time wins the story of this past weekend

The Boston College Eagles defeated the University of Vermont Catamounts 4-1 on Thursday, November 8, 2018, at Kelley Rink in Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
Boston College swept Vermont this past weekend, winning Thursday and Friday on home ice (photo: Melissa Wade).

Each week, will pick the top 10 moments from the past weekend in our new Monday 10 feature.

1. St. Cloud State topples Denver twice

If anyone was hoping for one team to have a perfect unbeaten season, their dreams were dashed last weekend in St. Cloud, Minn. No. 2 St. Cloud State beat No. 5 Denver twice en route to an NCHC sweep.

The Huskies, now 9-1-0, won both games by 4-3 scores — and both of the come-from-behind variety. In Friday’s game, St. Cloud trailed 3-1 early in the second period but the Huskies scored three unanswered goals from Nolan Walker, Patrick Newell and Jimmy Schuldt — all in the second frame.

On Saturday, Denver took an early 2-0 lead in the first period before the Huskies again reeled off three straight goals (from Nick Perbix, Blake Lizotte and Easton Brodzinski). The Pioneers tied it up late in the third period thanks to Cole Guttman’s goal but Kevin Fitzgerald scored the eventual game-winner for St. Cloud State midway through the third.

2. UMass keeps winning

No. 9 ranked UMass continue to defy expectations. The Minutemen, despite getting heavily outshot in both games, swept No. 4 Providence by identical 3-2 scorelines in their Thursday-Saturday home-and-home series.

In Thursday’s game in Amherst, the Minutemen went up 2-0 in the first period with goals by Marc Del Gaizo and John Leonard before Providence rallied to tie it up in the second (Jacob Bryson) and third (Kasper Björkqvist). UMass got some late-game heroics from Ty Farmer, who scored the game-winner with less than two minutes to go.

On Saturday in Providence, it was a similar script. The Minutemen’s Philip Lagunov and Brett Boeing gave UMass an early first-period lead before the Friars tied it in the second period (goals by Jack Dugan and Greg Printz).

This time, UMass’ Anthony Del Gaizo was the hero, breaking a 2-2 tie to win the game with less than two minutes remaining.

Goaltender Matt Murray was a big reason why the Minutemen were able to get it done. He had 29 saves in each game to earn the victory both times.

UMass, now 8-1-0, is off to its best since the program moved to Division I in 1994.

3. Michigan, Notre Dame split Frozen Four rematch

The rematch of one of last season’s Frozen Four matchup left both No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 14 Michigan with things to like.

The Wolverines took Friday’s game 2-1 behind a pair of second-period power play goals from Jake Slater and Nick Pastujov. Michigan’s special teams stole the show in the game, going 2-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The Irish turned things around on Saturday, going off four six goals in the first two periods. Alex Steeves scored twice for Notre Dame and added an assist. In all, 10 different players recorded a point for Notre Dame.

The two teams are still about as close as you can get — Notre Dame is now 5-4-1 overall and 2-2-0 in the Big Ten while Michigan is 5-4-0 and 1-1-0 in the Big Ten.

4. BC turning the corner?

Boston College started the season with five straight losses before finally ending their frustrating skid with a win against Merrimack last week.

And now, the Eagles have made it three in a row thanks to their sweep of Vermont this weekend.

BC won 4-1 and 3-2 to sweep the Catamounts and earn their third win overall and third-straight Hockey East victory. David Cotton scored two goals and had two assists on Friday before capping his huge weekend with two more goals Saturday.

The Eagles, now 3-5 overall and 3-1 in Hockey East, host New Hampshire in a single conference game next weekend.

5. Princeton gets two big ECAC wins

No. 18 Princeton has taken an early lead in the ECAC standings thanks to two solid wins over the weekend.

On Friday, Princeton and No. 12 Union played an entertaining game at Hobey Baker Rink. A back-and-forth battle saw the lead change four times. The Tigers eventually notched a 4-3 overtime win thanks to Derek Topatigh’s game-winner.

The Tigers beat RPI 4-1 the following night. It’s the first time since 2008 that the Tigers have swept the two New York Capital Region teams and improves them to 3-1-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the conference.

They travel to Colgate and Cornell for a two-game road trip next week.

6. Alaska gets first win, first victory for new head coach

After going eight games without a victory — and six weeks — the Alaska Nanooks finally picked up their first victory for new head coach Erik Largen with a win over Lake Superior State on Saturday night.

After something of a false start on Friday night — the Nanooks tied the Lakers 3-3 but won the 3-on-3 overtime to get the extra WCHA point — Alaska rallied from an 3-0 deficit to beat the Lakers 4-3.

The Jandric brothers — freshman Chris and sophomore Steven — were responsible for three of the four goals in the game, including the game-winner. Chris scored on the power play with just more than a minute left in the third period — it was one of three power play goals scored by Alaska. All three of Lake State’s goals were also with the man-advantage.

Largen, a former Nanooks goaltender, was an Alaska assistant under both Dallas Ferguson and Lance West before taking over the head job from West this season.

The Nanooks will look to keep up their winning ways next weekend against Alabama Huntsville — now the lone Division I team left without a victory.

7. Arizona State not wilting

The Sun Devils look like they’re here to stay.

A week after winning their first game against a top-10 opponent (Penn State), Arizona State took on another Big Ten opponent and won again. ASU swept Michigan State, 5-4 and 2-0, to improve to 9-3-0. It’s Arizona State’s first series sweep of a Big Ten opponent in their program’s history.

Jordan Sandhu was the star for the Sun Devils with a four-point weekend — including a goal and three helpers. Goaltender Joey Daccord, who has played nearly every minute for Arizona State, got the win in both games and has the best record in the country for a goalie (he also has the most total saves).

The Sun Devils hit the road next weekend to Boston to take on Harvard — the first weekend of a three week, six-game roadtrip.

8. Minnesota Duluth wins eighth straight

After a tie and a loss in its first two games against rival Minnesota, No. 1 Minnesota Duluth has reeled off eight consecutive victories and looked good doing it.

The latest victim for the Bulldogs was Colorado College. UMD thumped the Tigers 3-0 and 5-1 to open up their NCHC schedule on a high note.

The defending national champs were never in danger of losing either game. On Friday they scored a goal in each period and outshot the Tigers 32-19 as Hunter Shepard earned his first shutout of the season.

On Saturday the Bulldogs’ Nick Swaney scored the first of his two goals just 2:08 into the game and they never looked back.

UMD, now 8-1-1 overall, heads to Denver next weekend.

9. Falcons notch another sweep

After splitting its first two Atlantic Hockey series, Air Force has now swept two series in a row and has won five consecutive games to take the lead in the conference standings.

The Falcons beat Bentley 4-2 and 4-1 over the weekend. Sophomore Zach LaRocque made his first and second career starts in the series and made 15 and 12 saves, respectively, to earn the victories.

Air Force, which started the season 2-4-0, is now 6-4-0 overall and 6-2-0 in league play. They’ll head to American International next week to try and keep atop the AHA standings.

10. WCHA’s nonconference record sees improvement

One of the things that has made it difficult for the WCHA to get more at-large teams in the tournament in years past has been their poor noncnference record.

Last season, for example, the league went 20-38-7 against other conferences. That’s for the whole season.

This year, things seem a bit different. Bemidji State’s big 8-3 victory over Merrimack of Hockey East on Friday marked the 20th win for the WCHA. That’s pretty good, especially considering it’s still November. It took WCHA teams until January to get to the 20-win plateau.

Despite that, the weekend was a net negative for the WCHA. Bemidji State lost to Merrimack 1-0 in the series finale and in the WCHA’s other nonconference series Cornell swept Northern Michigan in Marquette.

Still, the WCHA 20-28-3 with more than 20 nonconference games left to play. Barring something really weird, the conference should surpass its nonconference win total much more easily this year. They’ll get two chances next week, with Bemidji State traveling to St. Cloud State and Michigan Tech heading to Clarkson.