February 26, 2007
THE BIG STORY
Nate Raduns celebrates his first-period goal in
St. Cloud State's 5-1 win over Minnesota Friday.
St. Cloud Community College. Jan Brady
State University. Those are but a couple of the nicknames
University of Minnesota hockey fans love to use when
referencing the perceived second-class status of the
St. Cloud State University Huskies.
For the short term, the Gopher illuminati
will have to mothball those derogatory monikers and
forego looking down their noses at their neighbors to
the north. That's because the Huskies bopped Minnesota's
Pride on Ice in the schnozz twice this past weekend,
routing the Gophers by a 5-1 margin in St. Cloud Friday
and rallying from a two-goal deficit at Mariucci Arena
with four unanswered goals en route to a 5-3 win to
close out the sweep Saturday.
"I think what's unique about us,"
goaltender Bobby Goepfert told Kevin Allenspach of the
St. Cloud Times, "is that we find ways
to win when we're not playing our best."
The Huskies played their best Friday,
thoroughly dominating Minnesota in front of a racuous,
sell-out crowd at the National Hockey Center, but Saturday
was another matter. The Gophers bolted to a 3-1 lead
midway through the second period. In fact, the Huskies
were fortunate to trail by two goals at the point were
it not for the Goepfert, who made 28 saves through the
first 40 minutes.
While the senior netminder kept the game
from getting out of hand, the St. Cloud State supporting
cast fueled the rally. Marty Mjelleli's third goal of
the season with 3:32 left in the second period cut the
Gophers' lead to 3-2, and Gary Houseman's fourth goal
of the year 2:28 into the third period pulled the Huskies
even. Nate Raduns scored the game-winner, his sixth
goal of the season, with exactly 12 minutes left in
The goal that gave SCSU its 5-3 margin,
an empty-netter by defenseman Matt Stephenson, epitomized
the weekend. Killing off a late penalty, Stephenson
corraled the puck in the face-off circle to Goepfert's
right and chipped it past a Minnesota player trying
to hold the point. While the point man stood at the
blue line, Stephenson hustled past him and into the
other end, beat another Gopher skater to the loose puck,
and lunged to tip it into the empty net.
In addition to giving the Huskies bragging
rights over the Gophers for the time being — SCSU
took the season series from Minnesota with two wins
and two ties — the sweep gives St. Cloud State
an outside shot at winning the WCHA regular-season championship.
It's highly unlikely, however; Minnesota needs just
one point in its series with Michigan Tech this weekend
to clinch the MacNaughton Cup.
"If it works out for us, great,"
said Goepfert when asked about entering the league playoffs
as the top seed. "If not, we're a better team for
Last season, Dartmouth skated into the
last weekend of January with a mediocre 8-10-1 record.
Approximately seven weeks later, the Big Green arrived
in Albany for the ECAC Hockey League semifinals having
posted a 10-1-1 mark over its previous 12 games, a run
that allowed coach Bob Gaudet's team to capture the
conference regular-season title.
This season, Dartmouth was 6-8-2 overall
after a Jan. 13 loss to New Hampshire in Manchester.
It's now six weeks since the Big Green's low-water point,
and while the team didn't spirit away the league championship
with a late-season run, it did grab one of the four
coveted first-round byes for the ECACHL postseason tournament
by running up a 10-2-1 record over its last 13 games
to finish third behind St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
The key for the Big Green has been its
rejuvenated offensive attack — Dartmouth has scored
three or more goals 11 times in its past 13 games. Not
surprisingly, it is 10-0-1 in those contests. Leading
the charge is junior forward David Jones, a truly hidden
Hobey candidate. The Vancouver native has quietly piled
up 39 points in 29 games (that's a healthy clip of 1.34
points per game) and has at least one point all but
five of his team's games this season.
From the No Further Explanation
Necessary Dept.: "We played like jerks."
— New Hampshire coach Dick Umile to Al Pike of
Foster's Daily Democrat following the Wildcats'
7-1 loss at Providence. UNH was outshot by the Friars,
51-22, and allowed three power-play goals in eight chances.
From the Bruce McLeod's Frequent-Flyer
Account Thanks You Dept.: "We didn't want
to see the MacNaughton Cup in our building [Friday].
Today, we started to feel like, 'We don't want to see
it at all. Let's make Commissioner McLeod fly back again
next week.'" — St. Cloud State coach Bob
Motzko to Allenspach. The SCSU sweep means the commish
will wing it back to Minneapolis from Denver to watch
Minnesota try to clinch the league regular-season title
against the Houghton-based Huskies.
Wins this past weekend that'll look good in March
Last week in this space, we saluted Boston
College for its sweep of Maine. This time around we
salute both the Eagles and Black Bears for joining St.
Cloud State as the three teams from the Feb. 19 INCH
Power Rankings to win twice this past weekend.
Both BC and Maine proved that it's not
who you beat, but when you beat 'em. Sure, the Black
Bears took down Hockey East cellar dweller Merrimack
on consecutive nights in Orono, and the Eagles' victories
were over UMass Lowell, the circuit's ninth-place team.
But with everyone else in their vicinity losing at least
one game, the sweeps appear especially timely and solidify
both teams' status in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament
IT HAPPENED IN ...
... Bemidji, Minn. (Friday-Saturday):
Freshman Brett Bothwell made 25 saves Friday and senior
Will Hooper stopped 27 shots Saturday as Wayne State
took three of four points from host Bemidji State in
a College Hockey America series, beating the Beavers
in the opener, 3-1, and skating to a 1-1 draw in the
finale. The Warriors, who are 3-0-2 in their last five
games, have allowed one goal four times during that
... Boston (Saturday):
Freshman forward Colin Vock scored two goals in Vermont's
3-2 win over Boston University at Agganis Arena. The
BU setback allowed New Hampshire to clinch the Hockey
East regular-season title despite the Wildcats' 7-1
loss at Providence that same night.
... Columbus, Ohio (Friday-Saturday):
Both games in the Michigan-Ohio State series were decided
by late goals. In Friday's series opener, sophomore
Brandon Naurato scored with 1:08 left in regulation
to give the Wolverines a 4-3 win at Value City Arena.
The following night, senior forward Mathieu Beaudoin
scored with 1:30 remaining in the third period to propel
the Buckeyes to a 6-5 victory.
... Denver (Friday):
Senior forward J.D. Corbin scored his first goal of
the season 2:18 into overtime to give Denver a 4-3 win
over North Dakota. The Pioneers' Geoff Paukovich sent
the game into the extra session with a goal 2:18 into
the third period.
... Durham, N.H. (Friday):
Senior forward Jacob Micflikier recorded a hat trick
in New Hampshire's 6-4 win over Providence. Micflikier
was named the game's first star, followed by Providence
forward Greg Collins (one goal) and New Hampshire forward
Greg Collins (two assists). We're not making this up.
... Hamden, Conn. (Friday):
St. Lawrence clinched its first ECAC Hockey League regular-season
title in seven seasons by beating host Quinnipiac, 4-1.
The win was the sixth in a row and the eighth in nine
games for the Saints, who got 28 saves from freshman
goalie Alex Petizian and a goal and an assist from senior
forward Max Taylor.
... Houghton, Mich. (Friday-Saturday):
Sophomore goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak stopped all
but two of the 57 shots he faced in Michigan Tech's
sweep of visiting Wisconsin. The Huskies are 7-2-3 in
their last 12 games and enter the final weekend of the
regular season with a 15-14-5 mark. Tech hasn't had
a plus-.500 record this late in the season since March
9, 1996, when the Huskies came into the WCHA Final Five
championship game with an 18-17-6 record before losing
... Notre Dame, Indiana (Saturday):
Senior goalie David Brown turned aside all 15 shots
he faced in Notre Dame's 2-0 win against Ferris State.
Brown set the school's single-season record for wins
(25) and shutouts (five) with the whitewash. Following
the game, the Irish were presented with the CCHA regular-season
championship trophy and dropped a banner commemorating
its first-ever league title from the Joyce Center rafters.
... Princeton, N.J. (Friday-Saturday):
Princeton senior forward Kevin Westgarth had 2-5—7
in the Tigers' wins over the two top teams in the ECAC
Hockey League. The Amherstburg, Ontario, native had
two goals and three assists in Princeton's 7-1 rout
of Clarkson Friday, then added two assists in a 4-1
win over St. Lawrence Saturday.
... Waltham, Mass. (Friday):
Junior goaltender Jocelyn Guimond made 26 saves as RIT
clinched its first Atlantic Hockey regular-season title
with a 3-0 shutout of Bentley. The Tigers are ineligible
for the league's postseason tournament.