October 16, 2006
THE BIG STORY
it was the opening weekend of conference action in the
WCHA, the North Dakota-Wisconsin series in Madison featured
two teams playing in midseason form with playoff intensity.
On Friday, the Badgers unveiled their
sixth national championship banner in the Kohl Center
rafters. But Travis Zajac's little brother, Darcy, spoiled
the celebration, pushing a loose puck past goalie Brian
Elliott before being flattened by a Wisconsin player
to give the Fighting Sioux a 3-2 overtime win.
Not only did the Badgers lose Friday's
game, but they also lost three key players to injury
– forwards Ross Carlson and Jack Skille (pictured,
right) and defenseman Kyle Klubertanz. No matter, as
Wisconsin leaned on Elliott, who made 27 saves in backstopping
his team to a 1-0 win, his second shutout in as many
weeks. Senior captain Jake Dowell scored the game's
lone goal eight minutes into the third period on a sequence
that started with a turnover by a North Dakota defenseman
in the Wisconsin end (more on that later.)
The weekend was relatively upset free,
but there were a few notable individual performances.
One of them took place in West Point, where Army appears
to have answered the question of who'll replace the
graduated Brad Roberts in goal. Sophomore Josh Kassel,
who had played all of 20 minutes last season, turned
aside 57 of the 59 shots he faced in the Black Knights'
2-0 shutout of American International Friday and 2-2
tie with Atlantic Hockey preseason favorite Sacred Heart
the following night.
When you're on a team with a slew of high-profile
pro prospects like Andrew Cogliano, T.J. Hensick, Jack
Johnson and Mark Mitera, it's easy to get lost in the
shuffle at times. Michigan junior forward Chad Kolarik
served notice this weekend that he's no slouch, scoring
a goal and two assists in the Wolverines' 8-1 win against
visiting Alabama-Huntsville Friday. On Saturday, Kolarik
notched a hat trick and threw in an assist in his team's
7-5 triumph over Connecticut.
We'd be remiss if we didn't salute Alaska
Anchorage. The host Seawolves beat Merrimack 6-2 in
the Nye Frontier Classic Friday, snapping a 10-game
losing streak coach Dave Shyiak's club carried over
from the end of last season. UAA nearly posted its first
winning streak in almost two years, but Nebraska-Omaha's
Scott Parse scored a short-handed goal with 2:01 left
in regulation as the Mavericks salvaged a 2-2 draw.
• From the Feel Shame and Get Free
Dept.: Boston University sophomore forward Steve Smolinsky
served a five-minute major penalty for teammate Brian
Strait in the first period of Saturday's game at Rensselaer,
as Strait was also whistled for a game misconduct for
checking from behind. In the second period, the BU coaching
staff called on Smolinsky a second time to serve a penalty.
This two-minute trip to the box was a result of Eric
Thomassian's 10-minute misconduct that followed an assessed
interference minor. When Smolinsky saw the ice in the
third period, he took advantage. He scored a huge goal
for the Terriers that knotted the score 3-3.
• From the You're Not Teammates
Yet Dept.: In the third period of the Saturday's North
Dakota-Wisconsin game, Fighting Sioux defenseman Joe
Finley, a second-round pick of the Caps in the 2005
NHL Entry Draft, coughed up the puck as he tried to
move it out of his end. It ended up on the stick of
Badger forward Andrew Joudrey, who Washington chose
in the eighth round of the 2003 draft. The gaffe eventually
led to Jake Dowell's game-winning goal.
Wins this past weekend that'll look good in March
Clarkson traveled to Providence Friday
to face a Friars squad with high expectations for the
season and emerged with an impressive 6-1 win behind
the goaltending of David Leggio (34 saves) and two goals
apiece from Chris D'Alvise and Steve Zalewski. The Golden
Knights closed the two-game road trip with a 3-3 tie
at Massachusetts Saturday. Through four games, 12 players
have scored at least one goal for coach George Roll's
team, which hosts Lake Superior State this weekend.
IT HAPPENED IN ...
... Troy, N.Y.: Seth
Appert's debut as Rensselaer head coach was a solid
one as the Engineers tied Boston University, 4-4, Saturday.
Rensselaer jumped out to a 3-1 first-period advantage,
but the Terriers evened the score early in the third
on Steve Smolinsky's goal. The Engineers regained the
lead on Oren Eizenman's power-play goal with 7:30 left
in regulation, but BU's Chris Higgins scored a little
more than a minute later – his second goal of
the game – to salvage the draw. RPI's Kirk MacDonald
had two assists in his first game back after sitting
out all of last season battling testicular cancer.
... Schenectady, N.Y.: Fresh
off an impressive season-opening series sweep at Ferris
State last weekend, Union's home opener Saturday was
spoiled (to a certain extent) by RIT goaltender Jocelyn
Guimond, who made 47 saves as the two teams skated to
a 2-2 draw.
... Columbus, Ohio: One
night after shutting out Lake Superior State in his
regular-season debut, Ohio State freshman goalie Joe
Palmer gave up seven goals on 34 shots – including
Dominic Osman's game-winner 2:45 into overtime –
as the Lakers posted a 7-6 win. The Buckeyes, who never
led in Saturday's thriller, nearly escaped with a tie
when Matheiu Beaudoin evened the score with Palmer pulled
in favor of an extra attacker with one second remaining
... the Upper Peninsula, Mich.:
They're no longer in the same conference, but Northern
Michigan and Michigan Tech proved again this weekend
that anything can happen when these two rivals get together.
In Houghton on Friday, the Huskies' Justin St. Louis
scored the go-ahead goal with three seconds left in
regulation to give the hosts a 2-1 win over the Wildcats.
The following night in Marquette, NMU's Matt Siddall
scored 45 seconds into the game ... and the remaining
59:15 was scoreless as the 'Cats salvaged a split at
... Fairbanks, Alaska (Saturday):
Alaska converted on six of its 10 power-play
chances and freshman Dion Knelsen scored two goals and
added three assists as the Nanooks completed a sweep
of Air Force with an 8-4 win.