History wasn’t quite made at the Battle of Comm Ave. last week, but the sellout crowd of 7,884 fans at Boston College’s Kelley Rink saw two great hockey games. BC earned three of four points against a stubborn Boston University squad with a 5-3 win and a 1-1 tie.
All was not lost for the Terriers, either.
BU, 11-7-4 overall and 5-4-3 in Hockey East, not only showed it is on the same level as BC, but the tie on Saturday prevented Eagles coach Jerry York from picking up his 1,000th-career victory against his crosstown rivals.
He will get another shot at becoming the first college hockey coach to hit the 1,000-win plateau this weekend when BC (15-4-3, 8-1-3) travels to Massachusetts on Friday and hosts UConn on Saturday.
Of the 10 goals scored over the weekend series, only three were when both teams were at full strength. While BU leads the longtime series 130-121-18, BC is 7-1-1 against the Terriers over the last nine games and 42-39-8 with York behind the bench.
Tweet of the week
If you follow college hockey on Twitter you never know what you’ll see.
The tweet of the week goes to Blog of Brotherhood for posting a pic of Miami (Ohio) coach Rico Blasi reacting to Anthony Louis’ game-winning goal against Bowling Green with just two seconds remaining in the game.
— Blog of Brotherhood (@MiamiHockeyBlog) January 17, 2016
Louis, a 5-foot-8 junior and the sixth-round pick of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, scored on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle at the 19:58 mark of the third period.
If you see a great tweet, tag @DakotaHi on Twitter.
Here’s hoping more teams adopt the NCHC’s 3-on-3 overtime rule, which continues to be exciting for players and fans alike.
The ice opens up and the action is end to end. It’s just fun and it gives skaters a chance to really showcase their talent.
Last weekend St. Cloud State (18-5-1 and No. 2 PairWise) went to overtime for the first time this season and after no score after the extra stanza, the Huskies got their first taste of the 3-on-3 overtime period.
Tied at 1-1, Patrick Russell’s goal with 33.6 seconds left gave the Huskies a kind of weekend sweep with a 3-1 win Friday and the 3-on-3 tie/win Saturday.
The Huskies took over sole possession of first place in the NCHC, their 32 points two ahead of former No. 1 North Dakota, which split with Omaha over the weekend. SCSU has played one more conference series.
Minnesota Duluth (8-8-5, 5-6-3) finished with one point in two games at home and is now in fourth place. The Bulldogs will play the NCHC’s new third-place team, Denver, next week in Colorado.
A milestone was also reached in the contest when SCSU senior Joey Benik scored the 49th goal to give him 100 points for his career.
Into the fire, freshman
You never know what you’re going to see when Nebraska Omaha coach Dean Blais takes on a program that he spent 19 years with in North Dakota.
Entering the weekend nine of the 16 games between the two teams were decided by one goal, including the past three, and they’d split every series in Grand Forks with Blais at the helm.
So when it was announced that UNO star freshman goalie Evan Weninger wouldn’t be making the trip because of an ankle injury, few were surprised when Blais opted to pull the potential redshirt off freshman goalie Alex Blankenburg. It was Blankenburg’s first start and was in front of 11,588 fans against the No. 1-ranked team in the country on an eight-game winning streak.
Blais called it a gut feeling.
He believed if he threw Blankenburg from the frying pan and into the fire, both the freshman and the team would rise to the challenge.
And they did.
“When I made the announcement in the morning team meeting everyone cheered,” Blais said. “He’s a 4.0, good kid and they’ve seen what he can do in practice. They were happy he got his chance. He didn’t want to lose his redshirt in an exhibition against Trinity Western (a 6-0 win), so I thought all right, let’s see what you can do against the No. 1 team in the country in their building.”
Blankenburg responded with 26 saves in the 4-3 overtime win, and just as Blais hoped, Blankenburg got a lot of help from up front.
The dynamic duo of Jake Guentzel (figured in all four goals) and Austin Ortega (scored the game winner, his nation-leading seventh this season) outplayed UND’s heralded CBS line of Drake Caggiula, Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz.
Junior Kirk Thompson started Saturday’s game but was relieved by Blankenburg midway through the second after giving up his third goal. UND earned the series split with a decisive 5-1 win.
They meet again Feb. 26-27 in Omaha, with the final game on ASN.
Michigan Tech time
Michigan Tech enters its weekend off having snapped its 10-game winless streak on Saturday against WCHA rival Minnesota State.
The streak dated back to the 2011-12 season, but after skating to a 2-2 tie Friday, Tech earned three of four points over the weekend with a 3-1 win and into a second-place conference tie with Bowling Green.
Both teams have 22 points, with Tech having played two more games. That will balance out after BG takes on Alaska Anchorage this weekend.
The teams then meet at Bowling Green in the last weekend of January in a key WCHA showdown. Minnesota State leads with 25 conference points.
Who cares about the weather?
AccuWeather said the “RealFeel” temperature when the puck dropped in Grand Forks Saturday night was minus-37.
Fans on hand for the UNO-UND series didn’t seem to care.
As they have all season, they bundled up and packed all 11,634 seats in The Ralph and then some.
Through 11 home games USCHO statistics show UND to lead the nation in attendance average at 11,715 per game — or 100.7% of capacity (11,634).
Only Penn State is drawing at a higher rate. Through 15 home games the Nittany Lions rank sixth in overall attendance with 6,090 fans per outing in an arena with seating for 5,782 (105.3%).
Other attendance leaders:
- Minnesota ranks second in average attendance at 9,680 (96.8%), while Wisconsin is third at 7,858 (51.3%of 15,325 seats).
- Omaha, with its new Baxter Arena and 8-2 home record, is filling 6,746 of 7,898 seats (85.4%).
- Duluth is the other team in the top five at 96.8% capacity through 11 games (6,387 of 6,600).
Not one, not two, but three …
The Northeastern women’s hockey team won three games last week to run their winning streak to nine games.
After beating Providence, 5-1, last Wednesday, the Huskies swept Maine, 8-1 and 5-2, to move to 20-4-1 on the season and retain their No. 7 ranking.
Kendall Coyne, Hayley Scamurran and Denisa Krizova combined for a whopping 30 points with Coyne leading the nation with 33 goals and 58 points on the season.
Boston College’s Alex Carpenter, a fellow U.S. Olympian, is close behind with 28 goals and 27 assists for 55 points.
USA women strike gold
Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s National 18-Under team, which rallied from a two-goal deficit to knock off Canada by a 3-2 overtime score in the gold medal game at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
Team USA outscored its opponent, 23-3, at this year’s tournament.
The U.S. has won gold in this tournament five times — 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016.
Streaks and stats
- Boston College’s Haley Skarupa scored her 100th goal during the Eagles’ sweep over Merrimack women’s hockey team. The Eagles, 23-0, are the lone unbeaten team in Division I hockey. The milestone goal was her second Saturday night in a 6-0 win.
- Yale, 10-4-3, is 5-0-1 in its last six games with its sweep of Brown last weekend and 10th in the PairWise polls.
- Senior Charles Grant needed 62 saves to lead Dartmouth to wins over Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Big Green is now 5-1 over the last six games.
- North Dakota freshman Brock Boeser has scored in seven straight games and leads all NCHC rookies with 15 goals and 10 assists. He is a first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks.
- St. Cloud State junior goaltender Charlie Lindgren continues to dazzle, coming up with 28 saves in Friday’s 3-1 win over Minnesota Duluth and recording a season-high 38 saves in a 1-1 overtime shootout win on Saturday. SCSU killed all seven penalties against UMD over the weekend.
- Michigan boasts the top-ranked offense in the nation for a reason. Junior forward Tyler Motte scored four goals and added three assists as the Wolverines earned had a 5-5 overtime shootout loss to Ohio State and followed with a wild 8-6 victory for four big Big Ten points. His first half trick at Michigan was in the 8-6 victory, and Motte has now scored in five straight games.
- Junior goalie Eamon McAdam led Penn State to a huge weekend sweep over Wisconsin with 39 saves — and an assist in the Nittany Lions’ 4-1 win Saturday. The Lions won 4-3 Friday. He is 9-2-0 on the season and leads the conference with .932 save percentage and 2.18 goals-against average.
- Another seven-point player over the weekend freshman Mason Jobst of Wisconsin, who had two goals and five assists in the 5-5 overtime shootout loss and 8-6 loss to Michigan.