Monday 10: North Dakota returns home with sweep, Michigan paused, Mercyhurst takes both from Robert Morris

Jonathan Bendorf celebrates his goal Saturday as Mercyhurst swept Robert Morris with a 7-5 win in Erie (photo: Ed Mailliard).

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

1. Minnesota bounces back in a big way

After a frustrating two-game sweep at the hands of Notre Dame last weekend, you might have expected some sort of a response for the Gophers in their Thursday-Friday series against Arizona State.

“Some sort” of response turned into an offensive explosion as the Gophers potted 20 goals over two games – 10 each night. It is, by far, the biggest two-game offensive output for any team this season and, well, probably harkens back to the 1980s and the days of no defense.

In fairness to Arizona State, this was the final two games in a 58-of-last-70-day road trip. You may recall that the Sun Devils are playing this entire season on the road in Big Ten country. Friday marked the end of extended road trip No. 2. They’ll get 20 days at home before the final 22-day road trip of the season.

2. York reaches yet another career milestone

College hockey’s all-time winningest head coach, Jerry York, just keeps winning. Already the only college hockey coach to reach 1,000 wins, York hit his next milestone on Saturday, earning his 1,100th coaching victory with a 4-2 win over Connecticut.

Of course, UConn is coached by Mike Cavanuagh, who spent nearly two decades as an assistant to York at Boston College.

3. After completing sweep of Notre Dame, red-hot Michigan program must pause

On the ice, it was a great week for No. 8 Michigan, which earned two wins over No. 16 Notre Dame on Thursday and Friday before returning home to Ann Arbor. But upon returning, that’s where Mel Pearson and his team were dealt a tough blow: their season is being paused for two weeks.

Athletic director Wade Manuel announced the pause on Saturday evening after a student-athlete who had traveled to the U.K. tested positive for the more aggressive variant of COVID-19. All sports at Michigan cannot practice, train or play contests for 14 days.

In terms of games lost, that will be minimized as the Wolverines were about to face their bye week before a series against Penn State that has now been postponed. Michigan was 5-1-0 since returning from break on January 8.

4. Back in Grand Forks, North Dakota sweeps CC, now 5-1 outside pod

Any concerns that North Dakota wasn’t the real deal can be put aside after North Dakota won its 12th game, third in a row and fifth of six since the conclusion of the NCHC pod.

The Fighting Hawks, playing at home for the first time since February 29, 2020, faced little problem with Colorado College, which on the season had pulled of upsets of both Denver and Minnesota Duluth, but entered the weekend on a five-game losing skid.

At 12-3-1, North Dakota once again boasts a top-five winning percentage nationally and solidifies its spot on top of the NCHC.

5. Mercyhurst completes wild sweep of No. 17 Robert Morris, runs win streak to 4

After having to pause themselves due to COVID protocol, the Mercyhurst Lakers returned with a Tuesday-Saturday series against western Pennsylvania rival Robert Morris. And despite playing two very different types of games, the Lakers came out with two wins and five-of-six Atlantic Hockey points with a 3-2 overtime victory and a 7-5 win.

The wins slowed a red-hot Robert Morris team that hadn’t lost in Atlantic Hockey play since its season opener against Canisius on November 27. Since then, the Colonials were 9-0-0, including two 3-on-3 OT victories before this week’s stumbles.

Mercyhurst has won four straight but will come face-to-face with Robert Morris again this Saturday, this time on the road.

6. Boston University beginning to find rhythm, racking up wins with sweep of Maine

Boston University was the 51st of 51 teams to get started this season, playing its first game a full 60 days after Wisconsin and Notre Dame opened the belated college hockey season on November 13.

But in the two-plus weeks that the Terriers have been playing, they’ve shown sure signs of being a top team. After a 7-3 loss to Providence to start, BU has won five straight after this weekend’s sweep of Maine.

Additionally, it has taken just six games for defenseman David Farrance to throw his hat into the Hobey Baker ring. Farrance has posted four goals and 10 assists in the six games. On Friday, he scored a goal and factored into all three BU tallies in a 3-2 overtime win. Saturday, he earned three assists.

7. Bemidji State sweeps No. 5 Bowling Green taking 3 of 4 from Falcons over two weekends

The Bemidji State Beavers put the rest of the WCHA on notice this weekend, using great defense and goaltending to shut down a red-hot Bowling Green team, 2-1 and 3-1, for a weekend sweep.

It was the second straight series for the Beavers against Bowling Green (the Falcons played Northern Michigan last weekend while Bemidji State was idle), this weekend serving as a non-conference series. But after Bowling Green won the first of the four games on January 7, Bemidji State won the final three to improve to 5-4-2 overall on the season.

Despite having played 11 games, only the first two games against Bowling Green have counted in the WCHA standings for the Beavers. That’s about to change as the final 12 scheduled contests for Bemidji State are WCHA battles.

8. Minnesota State’s McKay posts yet another shutout

Dryden McKay continues his torrid pace in goal for Minnesota State posting his sixth shutout in 10 starts for the Mavericks with a 2-0 whitewash of Ferris State to open their two-game series.

It was his 20th shutout in two-plus seasons in Mankato after posting four as a freshman and 10 more last season.

Minnesota State, completing the sweep with a 4-1 win on Sunday, had now won six straight and is 8-0-1 in its last nine.

9. No. 14 Clarkson takes much-needed 2 of 3 in tripleheader vs. No. 10 Quinnipiac

The Golden Knights knew this could be a key weekend against No. 10 Quinnipiac given that the two nationally-ranked teams were about to play three games at Clarkson.

The two teams each played 1-1 games through 3-on-3 overtime on Friday and Saturday, with each club earning a shootout victory. But on Sunday, Clarkson got the first multi-goal lead of the weekend, jumping to 4-1 heading to the third and held on for a 4-2 decision.

Clarkson and Quinnipiac both have identical point totals (17) and percentage of total points (.567) in the ECAC standings and are slightly ahead of St. Lawrence in both categories.

10. Minnesota Duluth gets much-needed sweep of Western Michigan

Minnesota Duluth fans may have been getting a little bit restless after losing three straight against St. Cloud State. But the seventh-ranked Bulldogs pulled things together this weekend to sweep Western Michigan, 5-1 and 4-1.

Jackson Cates was the hero on Saturday registering a hat trick and adding an assist. On Sunday, four different players netted goals while Zach Stejskal earned his second-career win, making 24 saves.