Good Morning Wilderness! What an amazing weekend of college hockey. So far this season, the action on the ice has been amazing. Let's break down this past weekend's action.
The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are surging
After looking like a .500 team early in the season, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are starting to look like a legit NCAA playoff bound team.
With Friday's win over the Gophers, the Bulldogs have now won four-of-five games and four games in a row. On Friday night, the Bulldogs ended the Minnesota Golden Gophers 17-game home-unbeaten streak. The last time the Gophers had lost on home ice was November 24, 2013.
For those wondering at home, the last team to beat Minnesota on home ice, you guessed it. The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. According to the Star Tribune's Jason Gonzalez the Gophers haven't shut out very often on home ice.
The No. 1 Gophers hadn't been shut out since the 2012-2013 season and it was the first time the Bulldogs (7-4) blanked the Gophers (7-2) at Mariucci Arena since the 70s. UMD was also the last team to beat the Gophers at home, by a 6-2 score nearly a year ago.
We can't talk about a Bulldog win without checking in with Bruce Ciskie, the play-by-play voice of the Bulldogs. According to Ciskie, this was one of the most dominating wins UMD has had during his nine season in the radio booth.
I've done over 300 of these hockey games over nine-plus years of being lucky enough to hold down this gig.
I'm not sure any 60-minute performance I've seen was as impressive as what UMD put on display Friday night at Mariucci Arena.
Freshman Kasimir Kaskisuo could have done homework in goal for much of the night. He made a few good saves, including stops on Kyle Rau and Jake Bischoff, but the work of the guys in front of him was incredible throughout. UMD negated Minnesota's speed by playing a highly-disciplined game and making them resort to chips and dumps to get the puck across the UMD blue line. The Bulldogs outnumbered Minnesota to the puck on so many occasions that it was easy to lose count.
I'm not kidding when I say this. There is almost literally not one thing that I thought UMD did poorly on Friday. It was a complete and thorough tail-kicking administered by a team that a lot of observers think is pretty darn good. Friday might have been the coming-out party.
Now, it's time to create some magic at home.
I watched the Gophers and Bulldogs game on my DVR and Bruce is right, Friday’s game wasn’t even close. From my perspective, the Bulldogs took the Gophers to the proverbial woodshed. Again, one game doesn’t make a season and Minnesota is a very talented hockey team.
On Saturday night, the Bulldogs beat the Gophers 2-1 in Duluth, to give the Bulldogs a series sweep.
Dominic Toninato and Karson Kulman scored for the Bulldogs. Leon Bristedt, scored the Gophers lone goal on the weekend.
This was the first time the Bulldogs have swept the Gophers since the 2009-10 season. On November 21-22, 2009, the Bulldogs beat the Gophers (4-3, 3-2) to complete a series sweep at Mariucci Arena.
The Michigan Tech Huskies lead the WCHA
One of the nice stories to emerge this season is the play of the Michigan Tech Huskies. After being a doormat in the WCHA for 20+ years, the Michigan Tech Huskies have their fans thinking WCHA title and NCAA playoffs.
After beating the Bemidji State Beavers 2-1 on Friday night at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, MN, the Huskies improved to 9-0-0.
Now before we get too excited, as of Friday, the Huskies opponents had a combined record of 18-31-2 (.372). That's not a very good record, but we can't fault them for beating the teams on their schedule.
On Saturday night, the Huskies completed the sweep of the homesteading Beavers beating them 4-2. With the win, the Huskies improve to 10-0-0 and lead the WCHA by six points. For those keeping track, the Huskies have played two more games than Bowling Green and Minnesota State.
After this weekend, the Huskies schedule will get a little tougher. The Huskies will play the Minnesota State Mavericks (November 21-22) and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (December 12-13) at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena, Houghton, Michigan. So there's a good chance the Huskies will no longer be undefeated.
St. Cloud State Huskies end losing streak
Friday night, the St. Cloud State Huskies broke their three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win against the Western Michigan Broncos in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Huskies entered Friday night's game loser of three in a row. In case you forgot, the Huskies lost the second game of a home-and-homes series against the Gophers. Last weekend, the Huskies were swept at home by the UMD Bulldogs for the first time since November 12-13, 1999.
The Huskies got goals from David Morely, Joey Benik, Patrick Russell and Nathan Widman.
On Saturday night, the Huskies lost in a shootout to the Broncos. Forward Kalle Kossila scored his second goal of the year for the visiting Huskies. The shootout loss will go down as a tie in the Pairwise Rankings.
St. Cloud State Men's Hockey ties WMU, 1-1 http://t.co/l39hNTW8jE— SCSU HUSKIES (@SCSUHUSKIES) November 16, 2014
Miami and North Dakota Square off in Grand Forks
The Miami RedHawks traveled to Grand Forks, ND, to take on the University of North Dakota in a two-game conference series.
The RedHawks would take an early two-goal lead at the 4:19 mark of the opening period with goals from forwards Alex Gacek and Sean Kuraly.
UND didn't go away quietly. After Miami's second goal, UND would mount a comeback. Senior forward Michael Parks would score one of his patented wrap-around goals at the 14:36 mark of the first period.
Drake Caggiula would score a shorthanded goal to even the score at 1:22 of the second period. UND looked like it had the momentum.
The game wouldn't be tied for long, five minutes and 28 seconds later RedHawk forward Sean Kuraly would score the game-winning goal on rebound off the end boards.
UND would attempt to stage another late, game-ending comeback, but it would fall short.
On Saturday night, UND earned the series split with a convincing 4-1 win against the RedHawks.
Junior forward Drake Caggiula had a big night for UND, leading all players with (2g-1a—3pts). On Saturday night, the line of Mark MacMillan, Caggiula, Michael Parks scored (4g-3a—7pts) to pace UND. Check out Caggiula's dirty go-ahead goal.
For the weekend, Caggiula scored (3g-2a—5pts) and there’s a good chance that he could end up being the offensive player of the week in the NCHC.