Monday 10: AIC wins Atlantic Hockey regular-season title, Minnesota State captures share of WCHA crown, Arizona State on PairWise bubble

Zackarias Skog (33 - AIC) (2019 Omar Phillips)
Zackarias Skog helped AIC to the 2020 Atlantic Hockey regular-season championship over the weekend (photo: Omar Phillips).

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

1. Minnesota State dominates Alabama Huntsville, captures share of WCHA crown

It’s a long way from Mankato to Huntsville, and Minnesota State made sure the Chargers didn’t have much to feel good about on their way home.

The Mavericks swept their series against UAH this weekend, winning 10-0 on Friday and 8-0 on Saturday. The 18 goals, scored by 11 different players, is the most for Minnesota State against a conference opponent and second only to when the Mavericks scored 19 against Air Force during the 1997-98 season.

Marc Michaelis came back from injury and had a three-goal weekend. His two goals on Saturday were the 69th and 70th of his career, making him the top goal-scorer for Minnesota State in its Division I era. Fellow senior Nick Rivera netted his first career hat trick on Saturday.

In goal, Dryden McKay picked up his ninth and 10th shutouts of the season by making 11 saves on Friday and 19 on Saturday.

With Bemidji State falling to capture all six points at Alaska Anchorage, Minnesota State assured itself a share of the MacNaughton Cup. The Mavericks and Beavers play next weekend in Bemidji with Minnesota State needing one conference point to lock up the title for itself and nab the top seed in the conference tournament.

2. AIC wins Atlantic Hockey regular-season title

After sweeping Holy Cross on Thursday and Saturday, AIC was able to lock up its second consecutive Atlantic Hockey regular season championship.

The Yellow Jackets, who represented the conference in last year’s NCAA Tournament and knocked off top-seeded St. Cloud State, also ensured themselves the top seed in the conference tournament. Atlantic Hockey will be a one-bid conference this season, with the automatic bid team representing the conference in the big dance.

AIC picked up its 20th victory on Saturday for the first time in school history. The Yellow Jackets are the first AHC team to get to 20 since Niagara did during the 2012-13 season. RIT’s 22-5-1 record from the 2009-10 season stands as the conference best. AIC has an opportunity to tie that win total when they close out the regular season at Sacred Heart and Army.

Zackarias Skog picked up his 36th career win during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Holy Cross. It was also his 10th career shutout. Both numbers extended on the school records that he already owned.

3. Penn State strong vs. Minnesota, puts itself in driver’s seat for next weekend

The Big Ten has seemed destined to come down to the last weekend for a while now.

With a 3-3 tie, and extra conference point, and 3-2 victory over Minnesota this weekend, Penn State put itself in a great position heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The only problem for the Nittany Lions is that they have an off week, so they’ll be watching everyone else like the rest of us.

PSU currently has 41 conference points. Minnesota and Ohio State are within striking distance with 37. Minnesota hosts Michigan next weekend while Ohio State hosts Wisconsin.

4. Boston College throttles Northeastern on Friday to complete sweep

Surprisingly, Minnesota State wasn’t the only team to net double-digit goals on Friday night. Boston College completed its sweep of Northeastern in grand fashion, winning 10-1 after downing the Huskies 3-2 on Thursday.

BC jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Northeastern spoiled the shutout late in the second period. Matt Boldy and Alex Newhook both had three-point games, Boldy netted two goals and added an assist while the later had one goal and two helpers. Sophomore Marc McLaughlin also had two goals and one assist. Eight players provided the 10 goals for the Eagles.

Five goaltenders were used in the game, with Northeastern using three and Jack Moffatt relieving Spencer Knight for the last nine minutes of the third for Boston College.

The Eagles have a two-point cushion in the Hockey East standings with games in hand over the teams chasing them. Boston College concludes its regular season with games against Merrimack and Boston University and two against New Hampshire.

5. St. Cloud State troubles North Dakota

After coming into the series on a five-game winning streak, No. 1 North Dakota failed to capture a victory at St. Cloud State this weekend.

The two teams tied on Friday, with SCSU capturing the extra conference point in a shootout, and St. Cloud eked out a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

Spencer Meier and Jack Poehling scored for SCSU on Saturday. Collin Adams netted the lone goal for the Fighting Hawks. SCSU’s David Hrenak had 29 saves in the contest.

UND remains atop the NCHC standings with 47 points. Minnesota Duluth, who split with Western Michigan this weekend, is second with 41. The Fighting Hawks have a home series against Western Michigan and road trip to Omaha reaming in the regular season.

6. Denver posts impressive sweep

In other NCHC action, Denver had a strong offensive-weekend in its home sweep of Miami.

The Pioneers downed the RedHawks 7-3 on Friday and 7-0 on Saturday.

Tyler Ward picked up a hat trick in Friday’s game while Cole Guttman had two goals and an assist. The seven goals weren’t a fluke, as the Pioneers put 55 shots on target in the game.

Emilio Pettersen had two goals and an assist on Saturday while Guttman added another goal and two assists. Goaltender Devin Cooley picked up a 22-save shutout in the game.

7. Notre Dame cools Michigan

Michigan was one of the hottest teams since the holiday break but its quest for a Big Ten Championship was derailed this weekend at home.

Notre Dame swept the Wolverines at Yost Ice Arena, winning 2-1 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday. The games featured the defensive-style that the Irish are able to produce when they’re rolling.

Cam Morrison and Matt Hellickson gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead early in the third period on Friday. Michigan was able to cut that lead down to one with the goaltender pulled but couldn’t send the game to overtime.

Spencer Stastney, Morrison and Tory Dello scored for the Irish on Saturday.

Goaltender Cale Morris, who has struggled at times this season, was strong this weekend with 34 saves on Friday and a 19-save shutout on Saturday.

Notre Dame closes its regular season at home against Michigan State.

8. Wisconsin puts Arizona State on PairWise bubble

Not much has gone right for Wisconsin since its sweep of Minnesota Duluth in October, but the Badgers were able to play the role of spoiler this weekend.

Wisconsin swept Arizona State at home, winning a wild 7-6 game on Friday and completing the sweep with a 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Roman Ahcan netted a hat trick on Friday, scoring his third goal at the 18:51 mark of the third period to break the 6-6 tie. Alex Turcotte added two goals in the game. Daniel Lebedeff battled through giving up six goals and stopped 22 shots in the game.

Five different players provided the goals for Wisconsin on Saturday with Max Zimmer lighting the lamp twice. The Badgers jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Sun Devils scored late in the second period. Johan Blomquist was inserted into the game late in the third period and made two saves on his senior night.

The losses drop Arizona State to No. 13 in the PairWise Rankings. The Sun Devils concluded their regular season and their only path to an NCAA tournament berth is via an at-large bid.

9. Providence drops two contests

Facing Merrimack this weekend, Providence had a good opportunity to get some crucial Hockey East points and maybe climb up in the standings.

Opportunity missed for the Friars.

Merrimack swept the home-and-home series winning 2-0 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday.

Declan Carlile and Chase Gresock provided the goals for Merrimack on Friday while goaltender Troy Kobryn turned in a 30-save shutout.

Liam Walsh scored the game-winner for Merrimack at the 16:17 mark of the third period on Saturday. Kobryn stopped another 41 shots in that contest.

Providence finds itself in a tie for seventh in Hockey East with 21 points. The Friars close out their regular-season slate with a home-and-home series against Maine next weekend.

10. Ohio State sweeps Michigan State

Like their in-state conference rival, Michigan State suffered a disappointing sweep at home this weekend.

The Buckeyes picked up a close 1-0 victory on Friday and completed the sweep with a 4-2 win on Saturday.

Matt Miller scored the only goal of Friday’s game early in the second period. Goaltender Tommy Nappier made 25 saves for the shutout.

Ohio State erased a one-goal deficit twice on Saturday before Tanner Laczynski scored a power-play goal at the 16:39 mark of the third period to give the Buckeyes the lead. Quinn Preston added an empty-netter to ice the game. Nappier made another 29 saves on Saturday.