Understanding that this year’s NCHC tournament is win-or-go-home, single elimination, top-seeded North Dakota proved they mean business from the puck drop on Friday.
Collin Adams scored just 14 seconds into the game and the Fighting Hawks buried three of their first four shots, jumping to a 3-0 lead early and never looking back in a 6-2 victory over eighth-seed Miami in the NCHC quarterfinals.
North Dakota, which has never won the NCHC postseason tournament, will face the lowest remaining seed in the semifinals on Monday.
“One of the keys we wanted to do was have a quick start,” said North Dakota coach Brad Berry. “This league is so tough you have to get off to a quick start. In playoffs right now, it doesn’t matter where you were in the standings. You’ve got to prove it day to day.”
— UND Insider (@UNDinsider) March 13, 2021
Adams ended up pacing the potent North Dakota offense scoring twice and adding three assists. Jordan Kawaguchi finished the game with four assists.
For Miami, the night was frustrating. Even when they found some sort of pushback to North Dakota’s dominance, the Fighting Hawks had a quick response.
“Their top players smell blood,” said Miami coach Chris Bergeron. “They know what to do when the see a team reeling, when they have a team behind the eight ball.”
Phil Kines cut the North Dakota lead to 3-1 at 11:14 of the first only to have Riese Gaber responded just over three minutes later.
“You have to have an answer,” Berry said. “If you get scored on you want to have an answer right away to show that team you’re there. You’re not going to back down. You have to reply and I thought we did that tonight.”
Adam Scheel earned the victory for North Dakota, stopping 26-of-28, while Miami netminder Ludwig Persson, solid all season, stopped 40 shots in defeat.
Other NCHC quarterfinals
No. 8 St. Cloud State 2, Colorado College 1
No. 11 Omaha, Denver (Saturday)
No. 9 Minnesota Duluth vs. Western Michigan (Saturday)
WCHA Quarterfinals (best-of-three)
Northern Michigan 4, No. 13 Bowling Green 3
A four-goal second period and survival of a desperate push late by No. 13 Bowling Green gave seventh-seed Northern Michigan Friday’s biggest upset, a 4-3 victory over the Falcons in the WCHA best-of-three quarterfinals.
The Wildcats need just one more win to advance to the WCHA semifinals.
FINAL | Wildcats 4, Falcons 3
The 'Cats take down No. 13 BGSU Friday night, 4-3, to take the 1-0 series lead!
— NMU Men’s Hockey (@NMUHockey) March 13, 2021
After trailing, 1-0, on Taylor Schneider’s first-period goal, Northern Michigan exploded in the middle frame, scoring four times in a span of 7:17. Alex Frye, Mikey Colella, Griffin Loughran and Brandon Schultz all tallied to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead into the third.
That’s when Schneider came alive, scoring twice more to complete the hat trick for the host Falcons. Bowling Green held a 17-5 shot advantage in the final frame but after Schneider’s hat trick goal at 9:29, Bowling Green was shut down by goaltender Rico DiMatteo, who finished the game with 30 saves.
Other WCHA quarterfinals
No. 3 Minnesota State 3, Ferris State 0 (MSU leads series, 1-0)
No. 18 Lake Superior 6, Alabama Huntsville 1 (LSSU leads series, 1-0)
No. 15 Bemidji State 3, Michigan Tech 1 (BSU leads series, 1-0)
Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals (best-of-three)
Robert Morris 3, Niagara 2
Darcy Walsh’s goal at 4:42 of overtime gave Robert Morris a 3-2 victory and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three quarterfinal series in Atlantic Hockey.
The Colonials will have a chance to close out the series on Saturday.
— RMU Men’s Hockey (@RMUMHockey) March 13, 2021
Walsh ended what was an exciting, back-and-forth game throughout. Niagara struck first on Eric Cooley’s goal at 9:26 of the first.
Robert Morris answered not once, but twice in the second. Aidan Spellacy knotted the score on a power play goal off the opening faceoff of the second. Jordan Timmons then gave the host Colonials their first lead at 9:20.
But Justin Kendall’s power play tally at 15:52 of the second tied the game at 2. After both defenses clamped down in the third, Walsh was able to take a diving pass from Cameron Hebert early in the overtime frame to earn the win and take Robert Morris, top seed in the western pod, back to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals.
Other Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals
Canisius 5, RIT 2 (Canisius leads series, 1-0)
Army West Point 4, Sacred Heart 0 (Army leads series, 1-0)
AIC vs. Bentley (canceled, AIC advances to semifinals)