INCH: UMD No. 2

Inside College Hockey’s Power Rankings, following last weekend’s games, show Miami of Ohio No. 1, Minnesota Duluth No. 2 and Boston University No. 3. The complete rankings with comments are here.

INCH Power Rankings

1 Miami of Ohio
2 Minn. Duluth
3 Boston University
4 Boston College
5 Michigan
6 Maine
7 Yale
8 North Dakota
9 Union
10 Michigan State
11 New Hampshire
12 Notre Dame
13 Denver
14 Nebraska-Omaha
15 Alaska Fairbanks
16 Wisconsin
17 Rensselaer
18 Merrimack
19 Robert Morris
20 Quinnipiac

Denver senior Jesse Martin injured

Denver senior center Jesse Martin of Edmonton, Alberta, suffered three neck fractures after taking a hit in the second period of Saturday’s game at North Dakota. While his season is over, the University of Denver has a press release here noting that Martin is in stable condition and undergoing tests.

Denver Post writer Mike Chambers had an update Sunday morning here.

Sunday in the WCHA

Goals were not so easy to come by Saturday night in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association if you were in Bemidji, Grand Forks or Anchorage — a combined nine goals between six teams in three games, two ending in ties.

No. 3-ranked Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State tied 1-1; Minnesota State-Mankato and Alaska Anchorage tied 2-2; and No. 12 Denver blanked No. 8 North Dakota 3-0. There was a bit more scoring elsewhere in the league, including a streaking No. 20 Minnesota clobbering No. 19 Colorado College 9-4 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and No. 18 Wisconsin toppling Michigan Tech 4-1, and out of conference, No. 17 St. Cloud State beat Quinnipiac 5-2 in St. Cloud, Minn.

A Bemidji Pioneer game recap is here.

None of the top three rated Division I teams won Saturday. No. 1 Boston College lost 4-2 to Merrimack and No. 2 Miami of Ohio tied Lake Superior State 2-2, while No. 3 UMD tied. The Bulldogs did gain sole possession of first place in the WCHA (3-0-1) and this weekend is at North Dakota, tied for second, one point back.

A few Division I stats, J.T. Brown if first in rooking scoring with 11 points, Aaron Crandall is first in goals-against average at .098, UMD is No. 6 in offense (4.25) and No. 8 in defense (2.12), and has longest unbeaten streak (6-0-2).

In Grand Forks, Drew Shore scored for Denver in the second period, and Jason Zucker (sh) and Kyle Ostrow (en) scored in the third. Sam Brittain made 31 saves for the shutout. North Dakota led in shots on goal 33-17. A Grand Forks Herald story is here.

In Colorado Springs, the Gophers scored three in the first, four in the second and two in the third. Nate Condon scored twice, and Cade Fairchild and Patrick White were among the scorers for Minnesota, which has won three straight with 15 goals in that stretch. Jaden Schwartz (7) had two for Colorado College. The Colorado Springs Gazette has a story here and the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story here.

In Anchorage, Eriah Hayes scored on a power play with 5 minutes left to give Mankato a tie with Anchorage. The Seawolves led 31-23 in shots. Anchorage is 0-5-1 the last six games. Mankato has four ties this season. An Anchorage Daily News story is here.

In Madison, Wis., the Badgers scored three goals in about five minutes in the third period from Justin Schwartz, Craig Smith and Ryan Little. Brett Bennett (3-0) got the win with 28 saves. Alex MacLeod had given Michigan Tech a 1-0 lead. The Badgers are 5-1-1 the last seven games. A Wisconsin State Journal story is here.

In St. Cloud, three third-period goals gave the Huskies a win over Quinnipiac and a series split. Aaron Marvin had two goals and Hermantown’s Drew LeBlanc added four assists. A St. Cloud Times story is here.

Eric Stromgren of the Bemidji Pioneer has Saturday’s ceremonial face off with former Bemidji State and NHL player Gary Sargent, along with UMD’s Mike Montgomery and Bemidji State’s Matt Read.

Final: UMD 1, Bemidji State 1, OT

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Many avenues have led Minnesota Duluth to victory early this season.

Goals have come short-handed, on penalty shots, on power plays following a major penalty and even in overtime while on a power play.

Scoring more than 4.5 goals a game and allowing fewer that 2.30 left the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs unbeaten entering Saturday’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association men’s game against winless Bemidji State at the Sanford Center before a crowd of 3,611.

UMD left unbeaten but settled for a 1-1 overtime tie as Bemidji State scored with 91 seconds left in regulation on an Emil Billberg goal. Freshman defenseman Justin Faulk had given the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal at 3:51 of the third period.

“As much as we would’ve liked a sweep, we’re happy with three of four points, and our heads will be held high going to play (second-place) North Dakota,” said Faulk. “We expected another defensive game and got it, and just wished we could’ve done better to capitalize on our chances.”

Defense was the name of the game with no scoring until the third period as UMD’s Kenny Reiter and Bemidji State’s Mathieu Dugas, in his first start of the season, were the stars. The Bulldogs (6-0-2, 3-0-1 WCHA) took the point in the league standings to gain sole possession of first. They led in final shots on goal 29-20. Bemidji State (0-3-1) gained its first league point as a first-year member, as the teams met for a third straight overtime game in the series. UMD won 3-2 in sudden death Friday.

Reiter had missed practice on Monday and Tuesday last week, with the flu, and wasn’t 100 precent, but looked sharp.

After two scoreless periods, Faulk gave UMD the lead  on a drive from the inside edge of the left circle, before Billberg’s first goal of the season created the tie, putting the puck off Reiter’s shoulder.

“Bemidji is a frustrating team to play. They try to get to the puck first every time and kind of live off bounces. They’re tough,” said Reiter, 3-0-2. “For times there are no shots and then they come at you in flurries and you really have to focus. Our guys played great in front of me. I don’t remember any second shots.”

The best scoring opportunity of the first two periods for the Bulldogs came in the second period when two Bemidji State players were called for cross-checking and unsportsmanlike conduct at 6:08. But the power play wasn’t clicking.

Dugas stopped UMD’s J.T. Brown at the crease at even strength with 2:36 left in the second. Winger Jamie MacQueen misfired on a hustling 3-on-1 rush for Bemidji State near the end of the period.

“We have been close to winning this season and our guys were nervous, and by the end of the game I thought both teams were gassed,” said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. “It was a big point for us. Anytime you get a point in the conference, there’s a smile on your face.”

In the first period, Jordan George was stopped by Reiter on a power play with 8:52 left and UMD’s Kyle Schmidt was turned away by Dugas with 2:20 to go.

The last four-plus periods in the rink produced just three goals. UMD’s four goals in the series were on power plays.  Bemidji State is 7-4-1 against UMD the last 12 games in the series.

“Neither team was real effective on the power play (Saturday) and that was the difference,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “We were better in some areas, except for a few shifts in the third period. It’s a little disappointing not to get four points when you are in position for it, but it was a hard-fought series.”

The tie ended UMD’s six-game win streak, the most since six straight playoff wins in March of 2009, and the most during the regular season since nine straight wins during 2003-04. The eight-game unbeaten streak is the best start to a season since winning eight straight to open 1989-90.

UMD has its stiffest test of the season this Friday and Saturday at No. 8 North Dakota.

Minnesota Duluth   0-0-1-0—1

Bemidji State          0-0-1-0—1

First period – No scoring. Penalties – Drew Fisher, Bemidji State (interference), 1:47; Brady Lamb, UMD (elbowing), 10:37; Justin Fontaine, UMD (elbowing), 13:41

Second period – No scoring. Penalties – Fisher, Bemidji State (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:08; Brady Wacker, Bemidji State (cross-checking), 6:08; Jack Connolly, UMD (tripping), 11:50; Ryan Cramer, Bemidji State (hooking), 19:09.

Third period – 1. UMD, Justin Faulk 2 (Mike Connolly, J. Connolly), 3:51 (pp); 2. Bemidji State, Emil Billberg 1 (Dan MacIn tyre, Fisher), 18:29. Penalties – Darcy Findlay, Bemidji State (high-sticking), 3:28; Wacker, Bemidji State (interference), 4:13.

Overtime – No scoring. Penalty – Kyle Schmidt, UMD (tripping), :43.

Shots on goal – UMD 10-10-7-2—29, Bemidji State 9-4-7-0—20. Goalies – Kenny Reiter (3-0-2), Duluth (20 shots-19 saves); Mathieu Dugas (0-0-1), Bemidji State (29 shots-28 saves). Power plays – UMD 1-of-5, Bemidji State 0-of-4. Referees – Don Adam, Tim Walsh. Linesmen – Justin Hills, Andy Dokken. A – 3,611.

Saturday in the WCHA

Three road teams won Western Collegiate Hockey Association games Friday night and three games were decided by one goal. The results left two teams tied at top of the league at 3-0 — Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota (who just happen to meet next weekend in Grand Forks, N.D.)

No. 3 ranked-UMD won 3-2 in overtime at Bemidji State; No. 8 North Dakota beat No. 12 Denver4-3 in Grand Forks; Minnesota State-Mankato won 3-2 at Alaska Anchorage; No. 20 Minnesota won 4-1 at No. 19 Colorado College; No. 18 Wisconsin won 5-2 over previously unbeaten Michigan Tech in Madison, Wis.; and in non-league play Quinnipiac won 4-2 at No. 17 St. Cloud State.

The Bemidji Pioneer has a game recap here.

UMD freshman goalie Aaron Crandall earned his third straight win and leads Division I in save percentage (.958) and goals-against average (0.98). Travis Oleksuk leads in game-winning goals (4). J.T. Brown is third in rookie scoring (11 points). UMD is No. 4 in scoring (4.71 goals a game) and has the most wins in Division I and the longest unbeaten streak (6-0-1).

In Grand Forks, the Fighting Sioux finally opened their home season yet trailed 2-1 early in the second period on a Matt Donovan goal for Denver. North Dakota scored the next three, two by Corban Knight. Aaron Dell got the win. Denver is 1-3-2 the last six games. A Grand Forks Herald game story is here.

In Colorado Springs, Colo., the Gophers, on the road for the first time this season, led 2-0 after one period, Colorado College got within 2-1, then Minnesota scored two third-period goals. Taylor Mattson had two Minnesota goals, Jay Barriball (7) added an empty-netter and Kent Patterson (3-0) got the win. The Colorado Springs Gazette has a story here and the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story here.

In Anchorage, Alaska, El Zuck scorerd a power-play goal early in the third period to give Mankato a win. Phil Cook made 29 saves for the win. Anchorage outshot Mankato 31-18. Anchorage has lost five straight games, four by one goal. The Anchorage Daily News has a story here.

In Madison, Wis., Michigan Tech got off to a 2-0 first-period lead before Wisconsin scored the final five. It was 2-2 after two and Patrick Johnson got the game winner at 7:45 of the third. Wisconsin, getting help from a bunch of first-year players, is 4-1-1 the last six games. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

In St. Cloud, Minn., the home-standing Huskies led 2-1 after two periods before Quinnipiac (4-1) scored three third-period goals, two just 82 seconds apart midway through. St. Cloud State is 1-4-1 the last six games. The St. Cloud Times has a story here.

WCHA Standings Courtesy of College Hockey Stats

                         Conference Only                    Overall
                    Pts  GP  Record  Win%  GF- GA   GP  Record  Win%  GF- GA
 1 Minnesota Duluth   6   3  3- 0- 0 1.00  12-  4    7  6- 0- 1 .929  33- 16
   North Dakota       6   3  3- 0- 0 1.00  14-  7    7  4- 2- 1 .643  27- 24
 3 Minnesota State    5   5  2- 2- 1 .500  15- 17    7  2- 2- 3 .500  21- 23
 4 Nebraska-Omaha     4   2  2- 0- 0 1.00   9-  6    6  5- 1- 0 .833  27- 17
   Minnesota          4   5  2- 3- 0 .400  14- 16    7  4- 3- 0 .571  24- 23
 6 Denver             3   3  1- 1- 1 .500   9-  8    7  2- 3- 2 .429  17- 21
   Michigan Tech      3   3  1- 1- 1 .500  12- 12    6  3- 1- 2 .667  26- 21
   Wisconsin          3   3  1- 1- 1 .500   9-  8    7  4- 2- 1 .643  30- 14
 9 St. Cloud State    2   2  1- 1- 0 .500   6-  4    7  2- 4- 1 .357  17- 22
   Colorado College   2   3  1- 2- 0 .333   6-  9    7  3- 3- 1 .500  15- 17
11 Alaska Anchorage   0   3  0- 3- 0 .000   4- 12    7  1- 5- 1 .214  18- 27
   Bemidji State      0   3  0- 3- 0 .000   6- 13    3  0- 3- 0 .000   6- 13

Final: UMD 3, Bemidji State 2, OT

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Minnesota Duluth used the same script for a second straight Friday to remain unbeaten.

Center Travis Oleksuk tipped a Dylan Olsen power-play drive with 7.9 seconds left in overtime to give the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs a 3-2 win over Bemidji State in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game before 3,876 fans at the new Sanford Center. A week earlier, UMD’s J.T Brown scored 31 seconds into overtime to beat Alaska Anchorage 3-2 at the DECC.

Here’s what Friday’s road victory meant for UMD (6-0-1 and 3-0 WCHA): it left the Bulldogs as the only unbeaten WCHA team and tied for the league lead. It made UMD 8-1-10 the last 19 overtime games and broke a three-game losing streak against Bemidji State, a new WCHA member this season.

It left Bemidji State 0-3 and winless in three games in its new $40 million home.

“Once Bemidji found its legs, they came at us hard and we weren’t playing great the last two periods,” said Oleksuk, who leads Division I with four game-winning goals. “But we keep showing that we are going to play hard until the buzzer. We are going to keep going. It was an even game.”

UMD started particularly well, getting off to a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game on power-play goals from Mike Connolly and J.T. Brown. Connolly scored from the crease just 46 seconds into the game and Brown, a freshman, recorded his fourth goal of the season on a backhand attempt from the left wide with 9:57 left.

Bemidji State, which didn’t play last weekend, rallied with goals 100 seconds apart in the final five minutes of the opening period. Star center Matt Read put in a power-play rebound for his 45th career goal with 4:41 to go and winger Jordan George finished off some excellent offensive pressure with a shot from the crease with 3:01 remaining.

“After we scored, we had good sustained pressure and energy. We went after them,” said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. “The layoff wasn’t a big thing. We were just facing a great hockey team.”

Read’s goal broke a shutout streak at 134 minutes and 21 seconds for UMD freshman goalie Aaron Crandall, spanning three games. Alex Stalock holds the UMD record at 147:45 in 2008.

In the third period, UMD’s Jake Hendrickson missed on an open shot with 7:53 left. Bemidji State goalie Dan Bakala was sharp in making 31 saves as UMD led in final shots 34-28.

“We had to counter-punch a little because Bemidji had us on our heels for a time in the last two periods,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “But we got a timely goal and we got timely goaltending for a second straight Friday. Aaron made at least two or three great saves there at the end and that’s what you need.”

In the first minute of overtime, the Beavers were all around the UMD net, but couldn’t cash in. Then Brown put a puck around the boards and out to Kyle Schmidt for a breakaway with two minutes left in the five-minute period. Bemidji State defenseman Brad Hunt was called for tripping Schmidt on the way to the net, setting up a power play for the rest of OT. The Bulldogs needed nearly every bit.

Oleksuk, stationed right in front of Bakala in the crease, got his 15th career goal.

“This was another great character win,” said Schmidt. “We didn’t crumble after losing our lead, we stayed with it. We kept it close and made the best of our chance in overtime.”

Michigan Tech came into the weekend as the only other unbeaten WCHA team, but lost 5-2 at Wisconsin and is 3-1-2. UMD’s six-game win streak is its longest since recording six straight playoff wins in March of 2009, and the seven-game unbeaten streak is the best to start a season since winning eight straight to open 1989-90

Minnesota Duluth    2-0-0-1—3

Bemidji State             2-0-0-0—2

First period – 1. UMD, Mike Connolly 6 (Justin Faulk), :46 (pp); 2. UMD, J.T. Brown 4 (Kyle Schmidt, Dylan Olsen), 10:03 (pp); 3. Bemidji State, Matt Read 2 (Ian Lowe, Brad Hunt), 15:19 (pp); 4. Bemidji State, Jordan George 3 (Lowe, Brady Wacker), 16:59. Penalties – Jake Areshenko, Bemidji State (holding), :27; Shea Walters, Bemidji State (5-minute major contact to head, game misconduct, served by Darcy Findlay), 8:36; David Grun, UMD (tripping), 14:04; Joe Basaraba, UMD (elbowing), 18:40.

Second period – No scoring. Penalties – Grun, UMD (roughing), 2:02; Drew Fisher, Bemidji State (slashing), 2:57; Schmidt, UMD (cross-checking), 3:42; Garrett Ladd, Bemidji State (tripping), 5:42; Matt Carlson, Bemidji State (slashing), 9:57; Wacker, Bemidji State (high-sticking), 18:35; Fontaine, UMD (embellishment), 18:35.

Third period — No scoring. Penalties — None.

Overtime – 5. UMD, Travis Oleksuk 5 (Dylan Olsen, Brown), 4:53 (pp). Penalty – Hunt, Bemidji State (tripping), 3:02.

Shots on goal – UMD 15-11-4-4—34, Bemidji State 8-7-11-2—28. Goalies – Aaron Crandall (3-0), Duluth (28 shots-26 saves); Dan Bakala (0-3), Bemidji State (34 shots-31 saves). Power plays – UMD 3-of-6, Bemidji State 1-of-5. Referees – Don Adam, Tim Walsh. Linesmen – Justin Hills, Andy Dokken. A – 3,876.

Game Day: Week Four

Minnesota Duluth practiced at home Thursday, then headed to Bemidji, Minn., for a weekend Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with Bemidji State. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs get their first look at the Sanford Center rink during a morning skate Friday. The games will be just the second men’s series in the new building.

UMD’s players and coaches haven’t forgotten last season’s series with Bemidji State, which is chronicled Friday in the News Tribune here.

Some preview notes are here.

The Bemidji Pioneer has a series preview here.

Jess Myers of Inside College Hockey has WCHA notes and a feature on UMD’s J.T. Brown  here.

The North Dakota-based Goon’s World has a projection on WCHA series here.

Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey has some opinions on the new coaching regime at Ohio State, led by Mark Osiecki (assisted by Steve Rohlik) in a Friday posting here.

North Dakota is home for the first time this season, against Denver, and the Grand Forks Herald has a story here.

Minnesota, after its first WCHA win, is on the road at Colorado College. The Gophers will start Kent Patterson in goal. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has weekend WCHA predictions here and a Gophers preview story here.

Undefeated Michigan Tech is at Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

Anchorage, after two losses at UMD, is home this weekend versus Minnesota State-Mankato. The Mankato Free Press has a story here.

St. Cloud State is home in a non-league series with Quinnipiac (3-1). The St. Cloud Times has game information here.

Up next: Bemidji State

Eric Stromgren of the Bemidji Pioneer talks with a pair of Bemidji State players, Brad Hunt and Jamie MacQueen, about a season-opening series loss to North Dakota and this weekend’s series with Minnesota Duluth. The video is here.

UMD has some pregame notes on the Bemidji State series here.

The News Tribune takes a look at Bemidji State and gets some feed back from a Penn State official who visited Amsoil Arena last week. The Thursday story is here.

The News Tribune profiles UMD junior center Haley Irwin, an Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring. The Thursday story is here.

Theresa Spisak of U.S. College Hockey Online takes a look at a few weekend WCHA series, including UMD at Bemidji State, in a column here.

From North Dakota: the University of North Dakota has reached an agreement with the NHL Network to re-broadcast eight Fighting Sioux men’s home hockey telecasts, including  Nov. 5 against UMD. The NHL Network is seen on numerous cable systems in the United States and is available on channel 403 on Dish Network and channel 215 on DirecTV.

Defending WCHA champion Denver heads to North Dakota this weekend, but its roster is hurting because of injuries. Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has an update here.

North Dakota has opened its schedule with six straight road games, the longest stretch in program history to open the season.

UMD administrative assistant Christian Koelling reminds folks that an online auction benefiting equipment manager Chris Garner is on going through Nov. 8. Garner is recovering from a bone marrow transplant and hopes to return to work this season. The auction, with signed jerseys and sticks and more, is online at Oberman Auctions of St. Cloud, Minn., here.

KUMD Radio passes along the news that a weekly half-hour UMD hockey radio show will air at 9 p.m. Thursdays on 103.3 FM. The show — called the Maroon Loon — will be hosted by Ben Johnson and Alex Kriz. The show is student developed, produced and marketed.

Alaska Anchorage not only lost twice at the DECC last weekend, but lost two defensemen to injuries. An update is here from the Anchorage Daily News as the Seawolves prepare for a home series with Minnesota State-Mankato.

Basaraba, Palm, weekend TV, Raymond, Goucher

Minnesota Duluth looks to be back at full strength as freshman winger Joe Basaraba has returned to practice after sitting out the past four games with an injury. Senior defenseman Trent Palm received high grades for play Saturday against Alaska Anchorage and is paired with Mike Montgomery at practice this week. Winger Cody Danberg is still a few weeks away from resuming skating following knee surgery.

Bemidji State home games are being televised on Lakeland Public Television and this weekend’s games are being picked up in Duluth by WDSE-TV. Here are the specifics:

Friday night’s 7:30 p.m. game will be broadcast over the air on 8.4 Duluth-Superior and on 31.4 on the Iron Range, also known as the Minnesota Channel (Found on cable on Charter Duluth-Superior 396, Charter Wisconsin 974 Mediacom, Cloquet and  Iron Range 102.) Saturday night’s 7 p.m. game will be broadcast on PBS North 8.1 and 31.1, and 8.4 and 31.4. PBS North is found on cable on Charter Duluth-Superior 12/782, Charter Wisconsin 8/971, Mediacom Cloquet 11/101, Mediacom Range 8/101, DirecTV 8/916, Dish Network 7580, Orr Translator 59, and Grand Marais Translator 67.

Bemidji State will be hosting just the second men’s series in the new Sanford Center. The Beavers have played just two games all season — a pair of 5-2 home losses to North Dakota two weeks ago. Bemidji State has some pregame notes on its website here.

Need any more rankings? There are at least three polls or power rankings in Division I and the College Hockey Blog weighs in with another here.

Winger Mason Raymond scored the overtime winner Tuesday night as Vancovuer defeated Colorado4-3 in Vancouver. The Canucks have video here and the Vancouver Sun has a story here.

It has been a little over a month since Kara Goucher gave birth to son, Colt, on Sept. 25. She’s tending to her boy and back to doing some running in Portland, Ore., under the watch of coach Alberto Salazar. She has a blog update here.

WCHA honors Oleksuk

Travis Oleksuk, who collected four points over the weekend while helping propel Minnesota Duluth to a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association home sweep of Alaska Anchorage, was chosen WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

The 6-0, 200-pound junior center from Thunder Bay, Ontario, scored twice and helped set up one other goal in last Saturday’s 6-0 triumph over the visiting Seawolves, after picking up an assist on the freshman right winger J.T. Brown’s overtime game-winner the night before as the Bulldogs prevailed 3-2. One of his two scores last Saturday was a shorthander while his first of the evening turned out to be his NCAA-leading third game-winner of the year. He also finished a plus-four on the weekend.

Oleksuk, fourth in UMD scoring with nine points (four goals and five assists), and the No. 3 Bulldogs are in Bemidji, Minn., this Friday and Saturday for a pair of WCHA clashes against Bemidji State.