Friday, December 29, 2017 Scores
No. 17 Minnesota Duluth 5, Yale 0
Omaha 5, No. 19 Union 1
No. 1/1 St. Cloud State 3, Princeton 3 (OT)
Merrimack 3, No. 2/2 Denver 2
Air Force 6, Colorado College 3
On the first full night back from holiday break, some National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) teams showed no signs of rust, while others definitely did in getting off to slow starts as the conference posted a 2-2-1 non-conference record on Friday night. Despite missing five players to the World Junior Championship, No. 17 Minnesota Duluth didn’t miss a beat, blanking Yale, 5-0, in the battle of the Bulldogs behind sophomore Hunter Shepard’s third shutout of the season. Omaha also looked sharp from puck drop, potting three goals in the first frame en route to a 5-1 win over No. 19 Union at Baxter Arena. Top-ranked St. Cloud State fell behind by two goals but struck twice in the third period on the power play to salvage a 3-3 overtime tie at Princeton. In the battle for the Pikes Peak Trophy, Colorado College got behind 3-0 early and was again on the wrong end of the result, falling at crosstown rival Air Force, 6-3, while No. 2/2 Denver couldn’t recover from a two-goal deficit in a 3-2 loss to Merrimack.
Playing under-manned with five Bulldogs representing Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championship, No. 17 Minnesota Duluth used a strong power play and great goaltending to shut out Yale, 5-0, Friday afternoon at the Ledyard Classic in Hanover, N.H. The Bulldogs (9-9-2) scored their first three goals on the power play, finishing 3-for-4 a man up, while killing all four Yale (5-8-0) power plays. UMD broke the scoreless deadlock with three ticks left in the first frame when junior forward Parker Mackay found the back of the net. Senior forward Karson Kuhlman, who set up the first goal, then made it 2-0 early in the second stanza. Freshman forward Nick Swaney assisted on both markers. Senior forward Blake Young scored the third power play goal midway through the middle period, which was the first of his two goals on the night, also capping the Bulldogs’ scoring in the third period. Sophomore goalie Hunter Shepard made 29 saves to earn his third shutout of the year as Yale outshot UMD, 29-24. Minnesota Duluth concludes play at the Ledyard Classic against host Dartmouth on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
Jumping out to a 3-0 first-period lead, Omaha rolled to a 5-1 win over No. 19 Union Friday night at Baxter Arena to open the second half of the season. Five different Mavericks found the back of the net, beginning with junior forward Fredrik Olofsson on a deflection 3:31 into the game, while sophomore defenseman Ryan Jones doubled the lead three minutes later finishing a 2-on-1 rush and junior forward Steven Spinner capped the opening-period outburst with eight minutes to go in the frame. Senior defenseman Joel Messner added a power play goal from the point early in the second stanza to make it 4-0 Omaha (8-8-1) before the Dutchmen (10-9-1) got on the board. Sophomore forward Tristan Keck scored the final goal to cap a two-point night. Junior goalie Evan Weninger made 18 saves in the win as UNO outshot Union, 28-19. The two teams wrap up their series Saturday at 7:07 p.m. CT.
Using a late rally, top-ranked St. Cloud State, who was missing head coach Bob Motzko and two players at the World Junior Championship, managed to earn a 3-3 overtime tie at Princeton Friday night at Hobey Baker Rink. After freshman forward Easton Brodzinski scored unassisted to put SCSU (12-2-2) in front, the Tigers (6-7-2) answered a few minutes later. Eric Robinson then put Princeton in front with 6:02 left in the second stanza and the Tigers made it 3-1 with a power play goal in the third period. The Huskies then started their comeback with senior forward Blake Winiecki scoring on the power play to bring the deficit to one, while junior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt, who set up Winiecki’s tally, buried the tying goal also on the man advantage with 1:39 left in regulation to salvage the tie. SCSU dominated overtime, outshooting Princeton, 14-0, but the Huskies couldn’t get the game-winner. St. Cloud State outshot the Tigers, 40-28, overall with junior Jeff Smith making 25 saves for the Huskies. The sides conclude their series Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
A one-minute stretch in the third period doomed No. 2/2 Denver, which dropped its second straight game, falling to Merrimack, 3-2, Friday at Magness Arena. With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Merrimack’s Brett Seney scored twice in a span of 44 seconds, the latter coming on the power play and serving as the game-winner. Freshman defenseman Ian Mitchell scored on the power play and with an extra attacker with 1:33 to play to bring Denver (10-5-4) within one, but the Warriors (5-9-4) were able to hold on for the win. Sophomore forward Henrik Borgstrom assisted on both DU tallies. Despite the loss, Denver outshot Merrimack, 38-26, but Craig Pantano totaled 36 saves for the Warriors. The Pioneers look to rebound on Saturday when they host in-state rival Air Force at 7:05 p.m. MT with the game on TV on Altitude 2.
A sluggish start was too much for Colorado College to overcome against crosstown rival Air Force as the Falcons claimed the Pikes Peak Trophy again with a 6-3 win Friday night at Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force (8-8-3) jumped out to 3-0 lead in the first 4:44 of the game and the Tigers were never able to pull even again. Erik Baskin recorded a hat trick for the Falcons, including on the game’s opening goal. The Tigers (8-8-3) got on the board when sophomore forward Nick Halloran scored in the closing minutes of the first period but Air Force again went up three goals only 13 ticks in to the second stanza. CC closed within one in the second period at 4-3 on goals by junior forwards Trey Bradley and Mason Bergh in a span of three minutes with Bergh’s coming on the power play, but Baskin sealed the victory scoring the game’s final two goals to cap his hat trick. Halloran and Bergh each had two points in the loss while Bradley had two assists to go with his goal. Despite the loss, CC outshot the Falcons, 28-25. Colorado College looks to bounce back Saturday against Merrimack at the Broadmoor World Arena at 6:07 p.m. MT.
On Saturday, seven NCHC teams are in action as SCSU and Omaha complete their series’, while UMD wraps up play at the Ledyard Classic against host Dartmouth. Colorado College and Denver swap opponents with DU hosting Air Force and CC welcoming Merrimack, while Miami and No. 6/6 North Dakota each entertain exhibition opponents. Five of the seven games Saturday can be seen on NCHC.tv.