January 29, 2007
THE BIG STORY
Tomahawk chop? First down? Only North Dakota AD
Tom Buning (wearing suit) knows for sure.
We’re not much on celebrity cameos,
but for this very special First Shift, we’ve invited
“Family Guy” patriarch Peter Griffin in
from Quahog, R.I., to sum up the events of the weekend’s
North Dakota-Minnesota series. As you’ve probably
heard by now, North Dakota won by a 5-3 score Friday
and finished the sweep with a 7-3 win Saturday.
OK, Peter, describe the action from a
Fighting Sioux point of view.
Now talk about the games from the Golden
Gophers’ vantage point.
Well done, Peter. Couldn’t have
said it better ourselves.
Seriously, Wooderson from “Dazed
and Confused” couldn’t have made this stuff
up. Robbie Bina scoring a shorthanded goal from 190
feet away? North Dakota scoring five straight goals
in both games? Philippe Lamoureux outdueling Kellen
Briggs and Jeff Frazee?
Needless to say, last weekend’s
bad trip has Minnesota dazed and confused. Wasn’t
it just a little more than two weeks ago when the Gophers,
losers of four of their last six, owned the nation’s
longest unbeaten streak? Coincidentally, that distinction
now belongs to North Dakota – the Fighting Sioux’s
first sweep in Minneapolis since 1980 gives them a run
of seven games (6-0-1) without a loss.
That the Sioux have flipped the switch
on what appeared to be a lost season prior to the holiday
break shouldn’t come as a shock. Including this
season’s 8-1-1 mark, North Dakota’s post-Christmas
record since 2003-04 is an impressive 56-24-4 (.690).
With two eminently winnable home series against Minnesota
State and Minnesota Duluth sandwiched between an upcoming
bye weekend and season-ending road series at Denver
and St. Cloud State, Sioux fans have every reason to
believe the freakin’ sweetness will extend into
Massachusetts, which saw an impressive
6-1-1 start disintegrate by following it with a 2-6-2
run, has quietly climbed into fifth place in Hockey
East by going 4-1-1 in its last six outings. The Minutemen,
who were paced early on by sophomore goaltender Jon
Quick, have scored three or more goals five times in
the last six games.
Leading the charge offensively are a pair
of seniors – forward Chris Capraro, who extended
his point streak to five games with a goal and an assist
against UMass Lowell Friday and an assist against Boston
University Saturday, and defenseman Mark Matheson, who
has at least one point in eight of UMass’s last
From the So Sioux Me Dept.: There’s
nothing wrong with a little good-natured ribbing of
the opposing goalie after he allows a goal, right? With
that in mind, INCH’s double-secret Mariucci Cam
caught North Dakota athletics director Tom Buning directing
the traditional “sieve” chant (complete
with Bob Dole-esque, right-handed, pen-gripping, pointing
gesture) at a Minnesota netminder. Memo to Gopher and
Sioux fans: We’re just the messenger. Now talk
From the Let It Snow Dept .:
Fans leaving Saturday’s Miami-Notre Dame contest
were warned by the Joyce Center public address announcer
to proceed with caution as “significant”
snowfall – about six inches – had occurred
during the game. Said Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson,
looking out his office window prior to his post-game
press conference: “If this is significant snow,
they’ve never lived in Sault Ste. Marie in the
winter.” Jackson experienced a decade of harsh
Upper Peninsula winters as an assistant coach and head
coach at Lake Superior State.
Wins this past weekend that'll look good in March
St. Lawrence assumed first place in the
ECAC Hockey League over the weekend after beating visiting
Harvard and Dartmouth. At 14-10-2 overall and 10-3-1
in conference play, the Saints likely lack the non-conference
resume to challenge for an at-large NCAA Tournament
berth. They are, however, in prime position to earn
a first-round bye in the league playoffs.
Downing the Big Green, especially, allowed
SLU to take a big step toward a coveted weekend off
in early March, but handling Colgate (tied for fifth
in the ECACHL) and Cornell (fourth) in their respective
barns this coming weekend would virtually cinch a top-four
spot for the Saints. Following the trip to central New
York, St. Lawrence plays four straight home games against
teams currently eighth or lower (Yale, Brown, Rensselaer,
Union) in the conference standings before ending the
regular season at Quinnipiac and Princeton.
IT HAPPENED IN ...
... Ann Arbor, Mich.: Michigan
scored 15 goals in its sweep of visiting Ferris State,
winning by 9-4 and 6-2 scores. Forward Kevin Porter
had two goals and three assists in Friday's win. Defenseman
Jack Johnson recorded three goals and an assist Friday
and followed that effort up with two goals and two assists
... Denver, Colo.: St.
Cloud State and Denver each earned two points by splitting
a series at Magness Arena. The Huskies won Friday's
game, 3-2, behind two goals and an assist from forward
Andreas Nödl and 30 saves from goalie Bobby Goepfert.
The Pioneers scored a 2-0 win Saturday. Goaltender Peter
Mannino, in his first game back from a groin injury,
made 24 saves to earn the shutout.
... Houghton, Mich. (Saturday):
Goaltender Rob Nolan turned aside all 25 shots
he faced as Michigan Tech blanked Colorado College,
1-0. The two teams skated to a 2-2 draw in the series
... Kalamazoo, Mich. (Saturday):
Forward Paul Szczechura completed a four-point
night by scoring the game-winning goal midway through
overtime as Western Michigan posted a 6-5 win against
Alabama-Huntsville. UAH forward David Nimmo sent the
game into the extra session with a shorthanded goal
with 17 seconds left in regulation, capping a Charger
rally from a 5-2 deficit after two periods.
... Lowell, Mass.: Not
a great weekend for UMass Lowell. On Friday, the River
Hawks watched Massachusetts score four times over the
last 8:30 of third period in a 6-3 win. The following
night, forward Brian Boyle scored his second goal of
the game with 43 seconds left in regulation to propel
Boston College to a 4-3 victory.
... Niagara Falls, N.Y.: Niagara
took over first place in the College Hockey America
standings by sweeping Wayne State 4-2 and 4-3. Forward
Ted Cook scored three goals and an assist for the Purple
Eagles, while goalie Juliano Pagliero stopped 73 of
the 77 shots he faced.
... Omaha, Neb.: Nebraska-Omaha
has won five of its last seven games following a sweep
of Northern Michigan. Forward Scott Parse had three
assists in the Mavericks' 5-2 win Friday, then added
two goals and an assist in Saturday's 6-1 rout.
... Orono, Maine: Maine
and Northeastern split a Hockey East series, with the
Huskies taking a 6-1 decision Friday and the Black Bears
earning a 2-1 overtime win Saturday. In Friday's win,
forward Greg Costa scored twice for Northeastern, which
got 29 saves from Brad Thiessen. In the series finale,
forward Teddy Purcell provided the final margin of victory
with his game-winning goal with 43 seconds left in OT.
... Potsdam, N.Y. (Friday): Forward
Nick Dodge scored goals at 13:15 and 18:15 of the third
period as Clarkson salvaged a 4-4 draw with visiting
Dartmouth. Dodge also assisted on teammate Philippe
Paquet's short-handed goal 2:19 into third.