Monday 10: Western Michigan sweeps Minnesota Duluth, Army West Point on a roll, Arizona State gets needed win

Western Michigan players celebrate a goal during the Broncos’ sweep of Minnesota Duluth over the weekend on home ice (photo: Ashley Huss).

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

1. No change in the top three

The top three teams in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll will likely keep their places this week. No. 1 Boston College (13-1-1) swept UMass Lowell, 7-1 and 4-3, bouncing back from a 3-1 loss to rival Boston College last Saturday. The River Hawks lost for the fifth and sixth time in seven games.

No. 2 North Dakota and No. 3 Minnesota State are also expected to stay put, recording sweeps of Denver and Alabama-Huntsville, respectively.

2. Streaking Black Knights

The longest unbeaten streak in Division I belongs to Army West Point. The Black Knights, fresh off a sweep of Bentley, are 7-0-1 in their last eight games. Junior forward Colin Bilek had a pair of goals on the weekend for Army West Point, bringing his season total to 12. That’s good enough for second in the nation in goals per game (0.75) behind Wisconsin’s Cole Caulfield (0.77).

3. Making them count

Canisius played three games last week to bring its 2020-21 season total to just eight, the lowest for any team. But the Golden Griffins made them all count, defeating Mercyhurst on Tuesday and sweeping Rochester Institute of Technology this past weekend. Canisius is 6-2 overall and will look to squeeze in five more games over the next 12 days to close out the regular season.

4. Shutting them down

On Friday, Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay stopped all 16 shots he faced in a 5-0 victory over Alabama-Huntsville. It was the junior’s eighth shutout of the season and 22nd of his career, setting a new WCHA record.

McKay now sets sights on the all-time career mark of 26, set by Michigan State’s Ryan Miller (26).

5. A Western sweep

Western Michigan rookie goaltender Alex Aslanidis stopped 47 of 48 shots over the weekend, leading the Broncos to a 4-0, 4-1 sweep of fourth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth. Four of WMU’s eight goals in the series came on the power play.

The sweep knocked UMD from first to third in the NCHA standings.

6. Gophers bounce back

After getting swept by Wisconsin last weekend by a combined score of 12-2, Minnesota bounced back in convincing fashion with a pair of 3-0 wins at Notre Dame. Golden Gopher goaltender Jack LaFontaine stopped all 52 shots he faced vs. the Fighting Irish, who visit Wisconsin next week.

Minnesota, which moved into first place in the Big Ten, will host Michigan State.

7. Knocking off the rust

Wisconsin, which had routed Minnesota last weekend, was on the other end on Saturday, falling to Michigan 5-1. The Wolverines, who had not played in three weeks, were outshot 8-1 to start the game and outscored 1-0 in the first period, but scored the final five goals of the game for the win.

Wisconsin came back on Sunday night with a 3-2 win thanks to a tally by Brendan Brisson with under three minutes to play.

8. On the fly

In a season like no other, teams are picking up games where and when the can. Case in point: this past weekend in Atlantic Hockey. Canisius and RIT both had their scheduled opponents cancel due to COVID restrictions, so the teams put together a weekend series on short notice.

The same happened to Sacred Heart and St. Lawrence, which saw their scheduled games against LIU and Clarkson canceled, respectively. Instead, the The Saints traveled to Bridgeport and tied the Pioneers, 2-2.

9. Sun Devils prevail

It’s been an especially challenging season for Arizona State, which will play its entire NCAA schedule on the road against Big 10 schools. The Sun Devils came into Michigan State with a 1-7 record so far in the calendar year 2021.

But thanks to some late game heroics by sophomore defenseman Jacob Semik, ASU took down Michigan State on Sunday, 3-2, and not without some drama.

Arizona State thought it had the game won, ahead 2-1 at the final buzzer. But an official review determined that Michigan State had scored with 1:06 left, so the clock was reset and the game resumed, tied 2-2.

But Semik left no doubt, getting the game-winner with 41.2 seconds to play.

10. Breaking the ice

On Saturday, it was announced that Holy Cross will host the 2021 Ice Breaker Tournament, scheduled for Oct. 8-9. The Crusaders will be joined by Boston College, Northeastern and Quinnipiac.

The games will be played at the Hart center on the Holy Cross campus.

With this chaotic season rushing to a close, here’s hoping for more normal start to the 2021-22 season.

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