Minnesota State, Denver Get Sweeps; Gophers Earn a Split
CHN Staff Report
Notre Dame was unable to recover from a 3-0 hole, and lost, 4-2, to Michigan in a game played outdoors at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was the first outdoor game played in college hockey in almost two years. It came at the same site the NHL held its Winter Classic this year on New Year’s Day. The crowd was over 70,000 for the NHL game between nearby Chicago and Boston, but the attendance for this game was a more modest 23,422; still the most ever to watch a Notre Dame home game.
More importantly for Michigan, it stopped nine-game winless streak (0-4-5, not including extended Big Ten overtimes), and evened its season record at 7-7-6.
“These are huge points in the standings,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “We played well, we played hard. We played the last two games without our two leading scorers. Guys have played well in their absence.”
The two scorers Pearson referred to at defenseman Quinn Hughes and forward Josh Norris, who were both wrapping up their time with Team USA at the World Juniors on Saturday night.
But Michigan got plenty of offense, especially when it started the game with a flukey goal from Joseph Cecconi and a long shot from down the ice. Will Lockwood followed just 16 seconds later with a more convention goal to make it 2-0, and Michigan scored again midway through the first period.
“I’ve seen some weird goals before, and that’s up there,” Pearson said. “Our confidence is not lacking. We can’t get frustrated with not scoring goals. Keep working hard and believe in each other, and we’ll score. We have to keep playing well defensively. And that’s the key for us recently, and it starts with our goaltender.”
Notre Dame made a rally, getting an extra attacker goal with 2:48 remaining to cut it to 3-2. But that was as close as it got.
“There were a couple funky goals in the first period and you’re chasing the game for 60 minutes,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “They’re not an easy team to come back on. We have to recognize the rest of the way is all Big Ten [conference play] and this conference is going to be challenging; it’s going to be a tough second half for us. I think we’re in a good position, we just have to take control of the ice and steal an occasional road game. I was encouraged by our team’s attitude. They could’ve gotten down after the first goal but they didn’t. They stayed up and had a good approach. They battled right to the end and that’s a positive sign going forward.”
Both coaches thought the conditions were good for the outdoor game, and it helped to move the game back one hour, to a 4:30 start time.
“They were good (conditions) at the start,” Pearson said.
“They did a great job here moving the game time. And the shoveling, they made sure to get out there at every stoppage. I wish I was out there playing.”
Said Jackson, “It was a great crowd, the weather was good for us and the ice was good. I thought it was a great event with a great opponent. Everything was positive in that regard. For me, it’s being in this place, walking down that tunnel. The history of this building and just the history of the people that have been in that locker room and have walked down that tunnel, it’s a great thrill. I’d love to do this again someday, maybe as our own event. The NHL did a great job helping us through this whole event.”
Minnesota State 4, Michigan Tech 2
Minnesota State needed a big third period to stake its claim as the team to beat in the WCHA on Saturday night.
That’s exactly what the Mavericks got.
A 12-6 shot advantage and a 2-0 scoring edge in the final 20 minutes gave MSU a 4-2 win over Michigan Tech.
“The second period, we weren’t very good,” Minnesota State coach Todd Knott, filling in for Mike Hastings, said. “Give credit to (MTU), I thought they made a push back.
“(I liked) the way our guys responded in the third period. I didn’t think we gave them much.”
The Mavericks end the weekend two points clear of second-place Bowling Green in the league. The sweep of Michigan Tech puts MSU four points clear of the Huskies.
The teams traded two-goal periods to start the game.
MSU led, 2-0, on goals from Jake Jaremko and Walker Duehr in a 38-second span in the first.
In the second, MTU got back in the game. Goals from Trenton Bliss and Colin Swoyer tied the score before MSU’s huge third period.
The Huskies are now winless in their last four games since the second half began. It doesn’t get much easier either. MTU welcomes Bowling Green to Houghton next weekend.
Minnesota State hosts Ferris State.
Minnesota 4, Penn State 1
Recently, Bob Motzko has seemingly begged his team for a third goal. Entering the evening, Minnesota was 6-1-0 when scoring three goals or more on the season. The Gophers were 0-7-2 when they scored two goals or fewer.
At 17:24 of the second period, Motzko got his wish.
Jack Ramsey scored late in the second period to give the Gophers a 3-1 lead.
Rem Pitlick’s empty-net goal at 19:49 sealed the win — a 4-1 victory for Minnesota over nemesis Penn State.
“That was our best game start to finish with our entire lineup playing just a real solid hockey game,” Minnesota coach Bob Motzko said. “I liked what we did last night outside of a couple of (things). It was a good weekend for us to hopefully grow up. They’re a good hockey team, and there were just a lot of things I liked tonight.”
PSU, which entered Saturday with five straight wins over Minnesota, took an early lead. Chase Berger made it 1-0 at 12:36.
The Nittany Lions had a few more chances to extend their lead. But Mat Robson kept it a one-goal deficit until Tyler Nanne tied the score at 15:55.
In the second, Minnesota took control. The Gophers outshot PSU, 12-6, in the middle frame. The two goals, from Brent Gates Jr. and Ramsey, sent them to the third period in position to earn a much-needed win.
For the game, Robson made 31 saves.
“I thought we played well, but we couldn’t bury our chances, hit a couple posts, and then, in the second, they really came out strong and finished their opportunities,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said. “They’re a very skilled team, and, when you give them those opportunities, they’re going to finish, and they did. They deserved the win.”
Minnesota is on the road for the next two weekends. It heads to Notre Dame next weekend and Michigan State afterward.
Penn State, on the other hand, stays home for the fortnight, hosting Michigan State and Ohio State.
Denver 4, Wisconsin 3 (OT)
Slava Demin‘s goal at 1:42 of overtime helped Denver complete a two-game sweep of Wisconsin in Madison on Saturday with a 4-3 win.
“Wisconsin came out hard as we expected,” DU coach David Carle said. “We were on our heels to start the game. … That’s the next evolution of our team is to win on Friday night, have an opportunity to sweep on Saturday and really take the fight to them. It took them getting two goals on us for us to wake up a little bit, but, again, credit to us. We were the best team for two-and-a-half periods. … We had a lot of chance that we could have buried earlier, and I give our guys a lot of credit.”
The Badgers blew 2-0 and 3-2 leads in the game, allowing Denver to control play throughout.
DU finished the evening with a decided 40-16 advantage in shots on goal.
Despite this, Wisconsin entered the third period with a 3-2 lead after Matthew Freytag put the Badgers up at 10:52 of the second.
DU found its equalizer through Cole Guttman at 7:54 of the third period.
The Badgers struggled to create many chances, even with the game tied. They had only four shots on goal in the final 20 minutes.
The Badgers are done with non-conference play for the season. The Badgers get back into Big Ten play with a home-and-home against Notre Dame starting on January 18 in Madison.
Denver is done with non-conference games too. The Pioneers begin their NCHC run against Nebraska-Omaha next weekend.
Alabama-Huntsville earned a split with Ferris State with a 4-3 victory on Saturday. Austin Beaulieu scored a game-winning goal at 16:35 before Brandon Salerno’s empty-net goal sealed the win at 19:49. … Ohio State recovered from Friday’s blown lead against Michigan State (a 7-7 tie) with a resounding 6-0 win in East Lansing. Mason Jobst scored a goal and had two assists in the win. Tommy Nappier made 29 saves to earn the shutout for OSU. … Boston College‘s non-conference winless streak is now at 25 after a 2-0 loss to Arizona State on Saturday. Boston-area native Joey Daccord made 32 saves for the Sun Devils. BC is now 0-21-4 in its last 25 games away from Hockey East. … Connecticut defeated St. Lawrence, 6-3, in the third-place game of the Ice Vegas Invitational at T-Mobile Arena. Six different players scored for UConn in the win. Kale Howarth led the way with a goal and an assist. … Rensselaer defeated Army, 2-1, in overtime on Saturday. Jake Marrello scored at 1:16 of the extra session to clinch the win for RPI.
Originally published at https://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2019/01/06_Roundup-Michigan-Edges-Notre.php