THE BIG STORY
|Lars Helminen had three assists
in Michigan Tech's weekend sweep of Alaska Anchorage.
“And now,” Colorado College
coach Scott Owens lamented to a group of reporters at
Mariucci Arena Saturday after his Tigers were drubbed
by Minnesota, “we have to face 5-1 Michigan Tech.”
It’s hard to determine which part
of that statement is more of an eye opener – that
the coach of a team that routinely contents for WCHA
championships is dreading a visit from the Huskies,
or that the previously moribund Techsters have started
the season with five wins in six games. The two most
recent wins coming in Houghton this weekend, as coach
Jamie Russell’s squad swept Alaska Anchorage (another
team that was enjoying a nice start to the season) in
Michigan Tech is off to its best start
since 1993-94, when the Bob Mancini-coached Huskies
opened with a 5-1-2 mark. The ’93-94 campaign
also marks the last time Tech opened the WCHA portion
of its schedule by sweeping an opponent. It’s
a promising beginning for a program that has reached
double digits in wins twice since 1996-97 and hasn’t
finished with a plus-.500 record since 1992-93.
It’s too early to tell if Michigan
Tech is for real, but we’re happy to recognize
their achievements so far.
Another pack of Huskies – coach
Greg Cronin’s Northeastern squad – may have
gotten the confidence-building win they need in order
to move forward with what is a tough rebuilding project.
After narrowly losing to Boston University and dropping
a 4-3 overtime decision at Michigan on Friday, Northeastern
got 45 saves from freshman goalie Brad Theissen and
goals from three different players as the Huskies doused
the Wolverines 3-2 at Yost Ice Arena on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Michigan sophomore defenseman
Jack Johnson earned a major penalty and a game disqualification
Saturday for pummeling Joe Vitale after the Northeastern
forward crashed into Wolverine goalie Billy Sauer. Johnson,
who scored his fourth goal of the season in the first
period of the loss, will miss his team’s key game
at Michigan State Friday.
• From the Slow Day in Goal Dept.:
Notre Dame sophomore goaltender Jordan Pearce posted
his second career shutout in his team’s 3-0 win
against Army at the Lightning College Hockey Championship
in Tampa Friday, turning aside all seven shots he faced.
Four of the seven came in the second period. The Fighting
Irish had 30 shots on goal.
• From the What Gimmick? Dept.:
Most of the hockey games played at Pepsi Arena in Albany
have the potential to be decided by a shootout, as it
is the home to the American Hockey League's Albany River
Rats. College hockey games don't normally end that way,
but they did on Saturday in the semifinals of the Governor's
Cup. Both games were tied after 65 minutes of hockey,
but Rensselaer (over Union) and Colgate (over Quinnipiac)
advanced to Sunday's championship game.
Wins this past weekend that'll look good in March
Could there have been a better way for
Boston College to bounce back from last week’s
disaster against Notre Dame than by sweeping Wisconsin
– the team that beat them for the 2006 NCAA title
– on the Badgers’ home ice? Perhaps, but
the Eagles are not likely to dwell on those possiblitites,
content to instead savor two wins in Madison last weekend.
A pair of victories against a highly ranked non-conference
opponent could be the difference between BC being a
first or second seed in the national tournament.
With Ross Carlson and Jack Skille sidelined
with injuries, the Badgers have struggled to score,
but that didn’t minimize the play of BC goalie
Cory Schneider, who stopped 56 of the 57 shots he saw
over the two games. Even better for the Eagles is that
they handled the Badgers with little offensive contribution
from Brian Boyle (one assist in two games).
IT HAPPENED IN ...
… Durham, N.H. (Sat.):
Freshman Greg Beller scored the first goal of his career
with 1:57 left in overtime, leading Yale to a 4-3 upset
over New Hampshire.
… Fairbanks, Alaska:
Alaska goaltender Chad Johnson earned both wins in the
Nanooks' weekend sweep of Ferris State. The Calgary
native leads the nation with a 0.98 goals against average
and a .959 save percentage.
... Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth's
Tanner Glass had three assists in his team's 5-2 win
against Harvard Friday, then added a goal and an assist
Sunday as the Big Green downed visiting Vermont.
... Mankato, Minn.: Sophomore
forward Brad Miller – an Alpharetta, Georgia native
who was scoreless in 15 games last season – had
a hat trick and added an assist in North Dakota's 5-4
win at Minnesota State Friday. Miller, who added a goal
in the Fighting Sioux's 8-5 victory Saturday, ranks
second on the team in scoring with 5-3—8 in six
... Minneapolis: Highlights
of Minnesota's sweep of Colorado College included goaltender
Kellen Briggs' 20-save shutout of the Tigers on Friday
and the first career hat trick for Gopher freshman forward
Kyle Okposo in Saturday's 8-1 win.
... Omaha, Neb.: Senior
forward Scott Parse had a six-point weekend (1-2—3
both nights) as Nebraska-Omaha posted two wins against
visiting Western Michigan.
… Orono, Maine (Sat.):
Senior Michel Léveillé scored a pair of
goals as top-ranked Maine handed Massachusetts a 4-1
… Tampa, Fla. (Fri.):
Air Force's Eric Ehn, the nation's leading scorer, recorded
two goals and four assists in the Falcons' 7-5 win over
Alabama-Huntsville in the first round of the Lightning
College Classic. Ehn scored both of his goals and two
of his assists in the first period.