Monday 10: Wisconsin worst to first, NCHC overtime, Kondelik’s hat trick for UConn, Bemidji State handles Alabama Huntsville

Jáchym Kondelík tallied a hat trick for UConn in the Huskies’ 5-3 win over Providence last Friday night (photo: Stephen Slade).

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

1. Badgers go from worst to first

Wisconsin’s 2-1 victory Saturday at Michigan State saw the Badgers do something that no Division I men’s hockey team had done in more than a quarter-century: go last place in their conference one season to first at the end of the next.

The Badgers (17-6-1) got two goals from Hobey Baker favorite Cole Caufield to get past MSU, with his winner coming 7:48 into the third period.

Wisconsin became Division I’s first worst-to-first team since 1994-95, when Maine did the same trick in Hockey East.

2. Michigan ruins Minnesota’s B1G title chances

Third-ranked Minnesota needed at least a win and a tie last weekend against No. 7 Michigan to claim the Big Ten regular-season title.

It didn’t happen.

The Gophers fell 5-2 to Michigan on Friday in Minneapolis, where Wolverines goaltender Strauss Mann made 28 saves. Sixteen of them came in a hectic first period.

Michigan had been scheduled to end the regular season this Wednesday at Michigan State, but the teams agreed to cancel the game after the Big Ten moved its conference tournament up four days.

The Wolverines will open tournament play in South Bend, Ind., against Ohio State.

3. Free hockey in the NCHC

The NCHC’s last two regular-season games both went to overtime last weekend, with Omaha and St. Cloud State pulling out wins over North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth, respectively.

Omaha junior Taylor Ward ruined top-ranked North Dakota’s Senior Night festivities Friday, when he tipped in a shot from teammate Brandon Scanlin. The 12th-ranked Mavericks’ win marked the second consecutive year that they won in Grand Forks, N.D., when UND was the county’s top-ranked team. This is also the second consecutive season that Omaha was responsible for the Fighting Hawks’ single home defeat.

On Saturday afternoon, St. Cloud’s Ethan Brodzinski scored 17 seconds into the extra period of the eighth-ranked Huskies’ home win over No. 9 UMD. The victory gave SCSU the No. 2 seed for the upcoming NCHC tournament.

4. Gold Pan series called off, including CC’s final game at World Arena

Colorado College’s final game at Broadmoor World Arena took place sooner than the Tigers hoped, or expected.

The Tigers were scheduled to finish the regular season with a weekend series against Gold Pan rival Denver. However, due to positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and quarantining of individuals within CC’s team, those two games were canceled.

Three times this season, CC had to postpone or cancel games due to a positive COVID-19 test. The first such occurrence came two weeks before the Tigers were to depart for the NCHC’s season-opening pod in Omaha back in December.

CC is set to begin playing in the new on-campus Robson Arena this fall.

5. Holy Cross cancels remainder of its season

A positive COVID-19 test within the Tier 1 group of Holy Cross’ men’s hockey program has seen the Crusaders pause all team activities for the remainder of the season, including the upcoming Atlantic Hockey tournament.

Holy Cross would have faced Sacred Heart this Tuesday in the first round of the tournament, but Sacred Heart instead gets a bye into the conference quarterfinals.

6. Kondelík hatty inspires Connecticut to win

Three goals Friday from Connecticut’s Jáchym Kondelík boosted the unranked Huskies to a 5-3 home win over No. 15 Providence.

Kondelik, a junior forward from the Czech Republic, grabbed UConn’s first two goals 1:42 apart in the first period while the Huskies skated up 5-on-4. Another power-play goal late in the first period saw Kondelik wrap up his hat trick while boosting UConn’s lead to 4-0.

Providence scored three unanswered goals in the third period, but the damage was already done in a game where UConn goalie Tomas Voamacka, a Czech compatriot of Kondelik’s, finished with 42 saves.

7. Merrimack-Vermont series called off

Hockey East officials announced Thursday that last weekend’s scheduled series between Merrimack and Vermont was canceled after Merrimack Tier 1 personnel entered league-mandated COVID-19 protocol.
No makeup dates were announced. Merrimack and Vermont hold down Hockey East’s ninth and 11th-place spots, respectively.

8. Down goes Quinnipiac

Unranked Colgate caused a stir on Saturday, when Josh McKechney scored with 2:49 remaining in regulation to give the Raiders a 4-3 upset win at 11th-ranked Quinnipiac.

After Colgate cycled high in Quinnipiac’s zone, McKechney scored off a rebound in front of the Bobcats’ net to cap a two-point game on a goal and an assist. His sixth goal of the season was his first game-winner of the Raiders’ campaign.

Colgate has this week off but will return to Quinnipiac on March 18 as the No. 4 seed for the ECAC Hockey semifinals.

9. Minnesota State sweeps Michigan Tech

The WCHA’s regular-season champion, Minnesota State, picked up a home sweep last weekend against Michigan Tech, winning 2-1 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato.

Sam Morton and Nathan Smith gave fourth-ranked Minnesota State a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes Friday, before No. 19 Michigan Tech pulled a goal back through Trenton Bliss early in the third.

Minnesota State’s Walker Duehr and Tony Malinowski scored 61 seconds apart in Saturday’s second period, wiping out an opening goal from Tech’s Alec Broetzman. Julian Napravnik then grabbed his fourth game-winning goal of the season for the Mavericks in the third period.

10. Bemidji State rolls past old foe UAH

Bemidji State will be entering the WCHA tournament on a hot streak, with the Beavers having won four of their last five games.

Two of those victories came last weekend at home against longtime rival Alabama Huntsville. Zach Driscoll stopped all 16 shots he faced Saturday in a 2-0 win, giving him his first shutout of the season, and he stopped another 13 shots Sunday in a 4-0 blanking of the Chargers.

Aaron Miller and Brendan Harris had Bemidji State’s goals on Saturday. Alex Ierullo bagged Sunday’s eventual game-winner just 2:11 in, and Brad Belisle grabbed a goal in the second period before Alex Adams scored twice in the third.

Bemidji State opens WCHA tournament play this Friday at home against Michigan Tech.