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Bulldogs, Broncos Open Regular Season with Victories

By NCHC, 10/06/17, 11:45PM EDT


UMD advances to Ice Breaker title game, Omaha wins exhibition opener, UND ties at UAA

After leading all conferences in non-conference winning percentage the last three seasons, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) got off to a .500 start to begin the 2017-18 season, as teams combined to go 2-2-1 on Friday night. In the most exciting game of the night, No. 12/6 Minnesota Duluth edged in-state rival No. 3/3 Minnesota, 4-3, in overtime in the Ice Breaker Tournament, as host UMD will play Michigan Tech for the title Saturday. No. 20 Western Michigan also opened the season in convincing fashion, thumping in-state rival Ferris State, 6-1, in the first half of a home-and-home series. No. 7/7 North Dakota needed overtime as well, settling for a 1-1 tie at Alaska Anchorage. Miami and Colorado College dropped their openers to Hockey East foes, 3-1 to Providence at home and 3-0 at Vermont, respectively. Omaha hit the ice for the first time this season on Friday, downing Nipissing in exhibition action, 5-2.

Junior forward Parker Mackay scored 1:45 into overtime to give No. 12/6 Minnesota Duluth (1-0-0) a 4-3 win over rival No. 3/3 Minnesota (0-1-0) in the second Ice Breaker Tournament semifinal at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth. With the win, the Bulldogs will face Michigan Tech in Saturday night’s championship game at 7:37 p.m. CT. UMD received power play goals from freshman defenseman Mikey Anderson and sophomore forward Riley Tufte, while Mikey’s brother, sophomore forward Joey Anderson, knotted the game early in the third period, only 40 seconds after the Gophers had taken a 3-2 lead. The Bulldogs outshot Minnesota, 44-21, in the victory, with UMD going 2-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Despite losing several offensive weapons from last season, No. 20 Western Michigan (1-0-0) had little trouble scoring in its season opener, cruising past former CCHA rival Ferris State (0-1-0), 6-1, at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo. Sophomore forward Wade Allison tied career highs with two goals and three points, while junior forward Colt Conrad also tied a career high with four points on a goal and a career-high-tying three assists. The Broncos scored four of their goals on the power play, going 4-for-6 on the man advantage, while killing all seven FSU power plays. Sophomore goalie Ben Blacker made 33 saves in the win, as WMU outshot the Bulldogs, 39-34. The teams complete their home-and-home series in Big Rapids, Mich. Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. ET.

Despite outshooting Alaska Anchorage (0-0-1) 33-16, No. 7/7 North Dakota (0-0-1) had to settle for a 1-1 overtime tie at Sullivan Arena to open the season on the road. Senior forward Jonny Simonson put UND up 1-0 midway through the game, but the Seawolves pulled level with only 1:15 remaining in regulation and neither team scored in overtime. The Fighting Hawks went 0-for-5 on the power play and saw UAA’s Olivier Mantha make 32 saves to earn the tie. The teams wrap up their series Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. AT.

In exhibition action, Omaha dominated Nipissing in its first game of the season, 5-2. The Mavericks outshot the Lakers, 59-13 and went 3-for-8 on the power play. Omaha scored three goals in the third period to pull away with senior forward David Pope tallying four points on two goals and assists each. Classmate Tyler Vesel chipped in three points with a goal and two helpers. The Mavericks open the regular season at No. 9/5 UMass Lowell next weekend.

Miami played No. 5/11 Providence tough, but a goal late in the second period and early in the third proved to be the difference, as the Friars (1-0-0) topped the RedHawks (0-1-0), 3-1, to open the season at Steve Cady Arena. Freshman forward Austin Alger scored his first career goal for Miami to tie the game late in the first frame, getting assists from fellow rookies Phil Knies and Casey Gilling. Greg Printz tallied the game-winner for the Friars with 1:06 remaining in the middle period. Miami outshot PC, 32-30, despite the loss, with MU sophomore goalie Ryan Larkin making 27 saves. The teams finish their series Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Also falling to a Hockey East foe was Colorado College (0-1-0), which couldn’t get its offense going in a 3-0 loss at Vermont (1-0-0) Friday at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Tigers outshot the Catamounts, 33-27, despite the loss, but Stefanos Lekkas made all 33 saves to earn the shutout for Vermont. CC looks to bounce back Saturday when the teams finish their series at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Six NCHC teams are in action Saturday night, highlighted by UMD’s Ice Breaker championship game tilt with Michigan Tech. No. 6/9 St. Cloud State opens the regular season at No. 15/18 Minnesota State, while WMU completes its home-and-home series at Ferris State. Miami, Colorado College and North Dakota also wrap up their series Saturday night. The Miami and UMD games will be available on

Extended individual game recaps, along with links to highlights, box scores and postgame comments, are below.

No. 12/6 Minnesota Duluth 4, No. 3/3 Minnesota 3 (OT)

Ice Breaker Tournament
Box Score | Highlights | Postgame Comments | UMD Recap
Recap courtesy UMD Athletic Communications

DULUTH, Minn. - It took 105 seconds of extra work, but the University of Minnesota Duluth got the job done.

Parker Mackay's goal 1:45 into overtime lifted the Bulldogs to a 4-3 victory over the University of Minnesota Friday night in the semifinals of the Ice Breaker Tournament. With the win, which was UMD's eighth in a row over its long-time intrastate rivals (a program record), the Bulldogs advance to Saturday's championship game against Michigan Tech University, which downed Union College 6-3 in the other first-round clash.

A  revved up and standing room only AMSOIL Arena crowd of 7,203 saw the Bulldogs take their only lead of regulation 7:56 into the game when rookie defenseman Mikey Anderson one-timed a 5-on-3 power play shot from the right face off circle past Minnesota goaltender Eric Schierhorn. After a pair of second period goals put Minnesota up 2-1, sophomore left winger Riley Tufte, with the Bulldogs on the power play, banged home a rebound 23 seconds into the third only to see the Gophers answer just under three minutes later.

Sophomore right winger Joey Anderson, who ended the 2016-17 riding a five-game scoring streak, beat Schierhorn with a nifty backhand at 3:49 of the the third to force the eventual overtime. Anderson was one of 10 Bulldogs to pick up one point and accounted for seven of the 44 shots UMD put on goal.  Sophomore goaltender Hunter Shephard, making just his second collegiate start and third overall appearance, finished with 21 saves for the Bulldogs, who went 2-for-6 on the power play and held Minnesota  to one goal in six man advantage opportunities.

"This was a good gut-check for us," said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin, whose Bulldogs are now unbeaten in 14 straight overtime games (7-0-7). "I thought our guys responded very well and and showed of character battling back. We were a hard team to play against tonight."

No. 20 Western Michigan 6, Ferris State 1

Box Score | Highlights | Postgame CommentsWMU Recap
Recap courtesy WMU Athletic Communications

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Five different Broncos scored as the 20th ranked Western Michigan hockey team opened up the 2017-18 regular season with a convincing 6-1 win over Ferris State at Lawson Ice Arena on Friday night.

WMU picked up two goals from Wade Allison and also got tallies for Paul Washe, Colt Conrad, Josh Passolt and Aidan Muir. Conrad led all Broncos with four points, after tallying three assists. Allison also had an assist for a three-point night, while Dawson DiPietro and Hugh McGing both had two assists. Sophomore goalie Ben Blacker had 33 saves on the night to pick up his first win of the season.

Western Michigan outshot the Bulldogs 39-34 and had a 30-17 advantage after the first two periods. The Bronco power play went 4-for-6 on the night, with the penalty kill going a perfect 6-for-6.

WMU got on the scoreboard early on Washe's first collegiate goal, just 3:57 into the first period. The Broncos were on the power play when Jade McMullen ripped a shot on net from the slot and Washe punched in the rebound to take a 1-0 lead. DiPietro picked up his first assist of the night.

Very early in the second period DiPietro created Western Michigan's second goal on the night after creating a turnover in the FSU zone. The sophomore forward picked a Bulldog's pocket in the left circle and dished it off to Allison for the easy goal, giving the Broncos a 2-0 lead just 11 seconds into the period.

Conrad gave WMU a 3-0 lead at 6:50 in the second period on the team's second power play goal of the night. McGing found Allison and then the Philadelphia Flyers' draft pick dropped it back to Conrad in the slot and he buried it for his first goal of the season.

Late in the period the Broncos pushed the lead to 4-0 on a power play goal by Allison. Schueneman set up Allison at the top of the left circle and he fired a laser past Justin Kapelmaster for his second of the night. Conrad tallied his first assist on the night on the goal as well.

The lead jumped to 5-0 on Passolt's first collegiate goal. Conrad passed it off to the speedy freshman and he skated in towards the net and ripped one past Kapelmaster.

WMU's last goal came at 14:16 on the power play. Muir took a pass from Conrad into the right circle and put it in the net to take a 6-0 lead.

FSU's Tyler Dorantes scored off of a faceoff at 18:28 in the third period to end the shutout bid for the Broncos.

The two teams battle again on Saturday night at Ferris State. The 7:07 puck drop can be seen live on and heard live on the Bronco Radio Network.

No. 7/7 North Dakota 1, Alaska Anchorage 1 (OT)

Box Score | Postgame Comments | UND Recap
Recap courtesy UND Athletic Media Relations

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Early-season hockey games are often rife with lessons. Chapter One for the University of North Dakota tonight, according to coach Brad Berry, was How to Close Out Games.

UAA’s Jordan Xavier scored the game-tying goal with 75 seconds remaining in regulation time, lifting the host Seawolves to a 1-1 overtime tie against the seventh-ranked Fighting Hawks.

It was a bitter result for UND to swallow, given it out-shot the Seawolves 33-16 for the game and 24-7 in the second and third periods. UAA senior netminder Olivier Mantha was spectacular, turning aside 32 shots and making several point-blank stops throughout regulation and overtime.

“Our execution wasn’t there tonight,” said Berry. “We were in the offensive zone, had some open nets, some looks and we didn’t bear down.”

UND was guilty of a defensive breakdown on the tying goal, allowing Xavier just enough time and space in the slot to get off a shot and beat netminder Cam Johnson high to the glove side. That goal forced overtime and, ultimately, the tie, but Berry pointed to the numerous missed opportunities at the offensive end and a power play that came up empty in five tries.

“It starts before that goal. You get the second or the third one, and we had plenty of opportunities to get a bigger lead, then we don’t talk about [the UAA goal],” said Berry. “We learned a little bit about the mental side of it, bearing down and executing. We didn’t close out a game tonight.”

In a sense, UND had to be pleased leaving the building with a tie given it was forced to kill a 5-on-3 UAA power play for more than a minute-and-a-half in overtime. Johnson came up with several timely saves and his penalty killers cleared away any second-chance tries.

“They did a good job of doing the right things [on the PK], getting in shooting lanes and pressuring at the right time,” said Berry.

Senior assistant captain Johnny Simonson was the lone Fighting Hawk to solve Mantha, converting a picture-perfect three-way passing play midway through the second period and tapping home a backdoor feed from defenseman Christian Wolanin.

Simonson echoed his head coach’s message of finishing strong.               

“It’s always frustrating when the chances are there and you feel like you’re in the O-zone for most of the game. That’s something we’re going to have to learn – how to close out games,” said Simonson.

Wolanin said it’s important not to overreact heading into Saturday’s series finale.

“We’re disappointed in the tie,” said Wolanin. “But it’s early in the season. There’s no need to panic or start to overthink things. Just come back tomorrow and get the win.”

The two teams square off at 7:07 p.m. (AT) on Saturday night at Sullivan Arena.

Omaha 5, Nipissing 2 (Exhibition)

Box Score | Highlights | Postgame Comments | UNO Recap
Recap courtesy Omaha Athletic Communications

OMAHA, Neb. - David Pope had two goals and two assists to lead the Omaha hockey team to a 5-2 win over Nipissing in exhibition action to open the season.

Tyler Vesel added a goal and two assists, and Jordan Klehr (0-2-2) and freshman Lawson McDonald (1-1-2) each had two points in the win.

The Mavericks opened the scoring on a power play late in the first period.  Klehr set up Pope for a hard wrist shot that found the top corner at 17:26.

The Lakers tied the game early in the second when a deflected shot eluded Evan Weninger at 2:23.

UNO again used the power play to retake the lead late in the middle period.  While playing with a five-on-three advantage, Vesel circled the Nipissing net before finding an opening and zipping a wrist shot to the corner at 17:19.

Pope's second goal came off a quick break 30 seconds into the third period.  He took a pass from Vesel and buried a long-range wrister to make it 3-1.

Nipissing closed the gap just 22 seconds later on a goal by Travis McEvoy, but McDonald scored off a pass from Pope five minutes in, and Riley Alferd slipped home the final goal at 8:20.

The game featured plenty of special teams play with UNO getting eight power plays and the Lakers seven.  The Mavericks scored on three of those advantages while stopping all seven Laker power plays.

Weninger played all 60 minutes, stopping 11 shots as the Mavericks outshot Nipissing, 59-13.  They landed 23 shots on the power play.

The Mavericks begin their NCAA schedule on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14 when they visit No. 5/9 UMass Lowell.

No. 5/11 Providence 3, Miami 1

Box Score | Highlights | Postgame Comments | Miami Recap
Recap courtesy Miami Athletic Communications

OXFORD, Ohio - A third period flurry saw the Miami hockey team outshoot No. 5/11 Providence 14-6, but the Friars used a late second and early third period tally to prevail 3-1 on Friday night.

The Friars (1-0) scored with 1:06 left in the second to snap a 1-1 tie and struck again 50 seconds into the third to pick up the opening night win.

Play was fairly back and forth in the early going, though about five minutes in the Friars did start to string a little more pressure in the RedHawks’ (0-1) end. A loose puck was eventually scooped up by Ryan Tait as he snuck a shot past Ryan Larkin to put PC up 1-0 with 7:57 gone by.

A Miami penalty put Providence into a position to extend its lead, but three big Larkin saves kept it a one-shot game. MU got a power play shortly after its own minor expired, but the RedHawks were held off the board.

Despite not connecting on that power play, the Red and White started pressing matters offensively and extended zone time by the line of Casey Gilling, Conor Lemirande and Karch Bachman caused havoc and eventually drew a Friars’ minor with 4:43 left in the opening frame. With the man advantage, a trio of freshmen provided a spark as Austin Alger fired a loose puck from the slot past Hayden Hawkey just as the penalty expired with Phil Knies and Gilling each drawing assists for their first career points. More importantly, the tally evened the score at 1-1 with 2:43 to go, a score that remained intact at the break with MU holding an 11-10 edge in shots.

The RedHawks continued to pour on pressure at the start of the second period and eventually went on their fourth power play of the night nearly five minutes into the middle stanza. While Miami put together some strong scoring opportunities, Hawkey kept the puck out and a minor penalty late in the man advantage put MU on the penalty kill.

PC managed to control the puck for long stretches of time in the MU end, but the Red and White managed to eventually get a couple big clears and kill off the man advantage.

A penalty laden period continued with Miami getting a brief power play before a slash negated that and sent the teams to four aside before an equally brief Providence man advantage. With the Miami penalty expiring, Gordie Green scooped up a loose puck and skated up ice for a breakaway. His shot got past Hawkey, but rang off the crossbar to keep the score tied. The Friars finally put together a strong scoring chance off a RedHawk turnoverled to a close range breakaway that Larkin made a big stop on to it a 1-1 hockey game.

With time winding down in the frame of an evenly matched contest, Providence forced a neutral zone turnover that sprung Greg Printz for a breakaway goal with 1:06 left in the period to put MU on the wrong end of a 2-1 score after 40 minutes.

The Friars extended their lead to 3-1 just 50 seconds into the third period as Josh Wilkins corralled a loose puck after a stick check in the neutral zone, stepped across the blue line and fired a shot top corner to put the RedHawks down two. It appeared Miami answered that just 23 seconds later when Kiefer Sherwood drove the net and put the puck in with a delayed penalty in progress, but the officials waved the tally off with 1:13 gone by in the final period.

Nevertheless, Miami did go on its sixth power play of the evening, but Providence held the man advantage at bay again to maintain the two-shot lead. The Red and White went on another power play shortly thereafter and created a good scoring chance for Green down low, but the Friars managed to clear before he pulled the trigger and kill off the man advantage.

The RedHawks ultimately finished the third period with a 14-6 shot advantage and generated several good opportunities. Shortly after the sixth power play ended, Knies got free down the left side for a shot from the circle that Hawkey turned aside. With under five minutes left, Green caused havoc on the forecheck and chipped a loose puck in the slot just a hair wide of the left post. While MU got a couple more power plays on the evening, it ultimately could not draw any closer despite the consistent pressure in the PC zone.

Miami’s third-period possession put the final shot count 32-30 in its favor. Neither team converted on the power play with MU going 0-for-9 with the man advantage while PC went 0-for-3. Larkin stopped 27 shots in goal for the RedHawks while Hawkey finished with 31 stops for the Friars.

These teams wrap up their weekend series on Saturday night with puck drop coming at 8 p.m.

Vermont 3, Colorado College 0

Box Score | HighlightsCC Recap
Recap courtesy CC Athletic Communications

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Vermont scored three times in a span of 3:19 and Stefanos Lekkas made 33 saves Friday night as the Catamounts blanked Colorado College, 3-0, in the 2017-18 season opener for both teams in Burlington, Vt.

A solid first period for the Tigers was wasted when Ross Colton put Vermont on the board with a power-play goal with just 2.1 seconds left in the period. After CC’s Kade Kehoe was whistled for hooking with eight seconds left in the frame, Derek Lodermeier won a faceoff to the left of goalie Alex Leclerc and Ross Colton placed a wrist shot over Leclerc’s left shoulder from the top of the circle.

Despite trailing 1-0, the Tigers controlled play in the first period and outshot Vermont, 10-8.

“We played very well for 19:56 and we lose a draw and they made us pay,” head coach Mike Haviland said. “We talked about it all preseason, not giving up goals in the final minute of a period.”

Vermont added two goals in the first 3:16 of the second period to finish the scoring. Owen Grant sent a shot from the right point that eluded LeClerc and hit just under the crossbar just 51 seconds into the frame, then Christian Evers put home a pass from behind the net by Bryce Misley on the power play to make it 3-0.

“We came out a bit slow in the second and we can’t give one up in the first minute of a period either,” Haviland said.

The Tigers had some good looks in the second period, but couldn’t get anything past Lekkers, who stopped 16 shots in the frame, including a couple point-blank tries by Westin Michaud and a one-timer by Nick Halloran on the power play in the final minute. The Catamounts also fought off 27 seconds of a 5-on-3 situation early in the second.

Colorado College was 0-for-7 on the power play, despite putting 11 shots on Lekkas with a man advantage, while the Catamounts were successful on half of their four chances.

“We certainly need to work on our power play, we need to score goals when we have the advantage,” Haviland said. “We had a couple of open nets and good looks on the power play, but their goalie made some big saves.”

The Tigers outshot Vermont, 33-28, with Michaud attempting a team-high five. Halloran and Alex Berardinelli followed with four apiece. Rob Darrar led Vermont with four shots. Leclerc finished the night with 24 saves.

Colorado College will look for a split in the series Saturday night as the two teams battle again at 7:05 p.m. (ET).