No. 1 in 1979

When Minnesota Duluth first reached No. 1 in hockey, in January of 1979, the Rink and Run editor was in his first year at the Duluth News Tribune. Gus Hendrickson and Mike Sertich were behind the bench and on the ice were guys like Curt Giles, Mark Pavelich, John Harrington, John Rothstein, Keith Hendrickson, Glenn Kulyk and Bill Perkl.

UMD scored 213 goals in 40 games (still the third-highest goal total in school history) and finished 22-14-4 and third in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. However, only five teams were chosen for the NCAA tournament at that time and UMD lost to two close games to Minnesota in the league playoffs and dropped out of consideration. In the 1979 NCAA championship game, Minnesota beat North Dakota 4-3 in Detroit.

The 2010-11 Bulldogs reached No. 1 this week and the News Tribune has some reaction from the team in a Thursday story here.

U.S. College Hockey Online‘s WCHA Blog writes on the same subject here.

The Wisconsin-based blog: Sixty minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets, takes a look at the Badgers and the Bulldogs leading to this weekend’s series in Madison in a posting here.

Wisconsin got the OK for a new practice facility (and swimming venue) Wednesday and a press release is here.

Ohio State, with new coaches Mark Osiecki and Steve Rohlik, are off to a 5-6 start. The CCHA Blog at U.S. College Hockey Online has a look at the Buckeyes here.

Former Denver assistant Seth Appert, now head man at Rensselaer Polytechnic, gives his side of the story following a one-game suspension by the ECAC, talking with the Troy (N.Y.) Record here.

Chris Dilks at Western College Hockey takes a look at the upcoming Minnesota High School season with some rankings and a few questions here.

Michigan Tech is next; Alex Stalock Bobblehead Night

Minnesota Duluth faces Michigan Tech at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the next-to-last series at the DECC. The Michigan Tech sports information office has game notes here and UMD has game notes here.

Minnesota’s Don Lucia and Denver’s George Gwozdecky were among the college coaches in Toronto on Tuesday to meet with the NHL about establishing dialogue and possibly working together. Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has a blog update here.

UMD recruit Caleb Herbert had an assist Wednesday as the United States defeated Sweden 5-1 in the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, British Columbia. A recap from USA Hockey is here.

UMD center Haley Irwin had a goal Wednesday in Canada’s 8-1 win over Sweden in the Four Nation’s Cup in Clarenville, Newfoundland, and North Dakota’s Jocelyne Lamoureux had a goal as the United State beat Finland 4-0. Recaps from Hockey Canada are here and here.

One team leads Division I with five overtime games this season. Read a News Tribune feature on that team here.

U.S. College Hockey Online takes a look at a solid start of Wisconsin’s goalies. UMD will see the Badgers in one week in Madison. The story is here.

North Dakota freshman defenseman Derek Forbort of Duluth wasn’t in the lineup last weekend against UMD because of an illness and Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that Forbort will likely miss the team’s trip to Wisconsin this weekend in a blog update here.

If you’re at DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., on Saturday you could come home with an Alex Stalock bobblehead. That’s the promotion for the American Hockey League team. Stalock was the team MVP last season as a rookie goalie. A release from the team is here.


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.

Weekend reviews

Inside College Hockey takes a look back at last weekend’s action and provides some mock outrage at Minnesota Duluth getting a couple of first-place votes in national polls here.

Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey also has a weekend recap here.

If you’re a bit squeamish you may not want to look at the College Hockey News photo of Miami of Ohio junior defenseman Will Weber, who received a severe cut on his neck in Saturday’s home game victory versus Northern Michigan. Weber went to University Hospital in Cincinnati for surgery but was back on campus Sunday. Miami of Ohio teammates saw Weber at the rink Monday, the same day the RedHawks moved to No. 1 in Division I national polls. An Oxford (Ohio) Press story is here and the Hockey News update is here.

Saturday in the WCHA

Battles to the finish marked games involving Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams Friday night with four of six being decided by two goals or less, and one going to overtime as J.T. Brown scored for Minnesota Duluth at 31 seconds of sudden death for a 3-2 home win over Alaska Anchorage. The Anchorage Daily News has a recap here.

There was a split for the league in two titanic non-conference road games — No. 10 Nebraska-Omaha, returning to the CCHA for the first time since joining the WCHA, knocked off No. 4 Michigan 4-2, while No. 2 North Dakota got dumped by No. 12 Maine 7-3.

The remaining scores were: No. 14 St. Cloud State 5, No. 20 Minnesota 2; Minnesota State-Mankato 5, No. 19 Colorado College 4; and No. 11 Denver 4, No. 15 Wisconsin 2.

St. Cloud State star forward Garrett Roe broke through with his first goal of the season and added two assists as the Huskies handed Minnesota a third straight home loss at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota goalie Alex Kangas allowed five goals on 18 shots and was replaced in the second period by Kent Patterson. Minnesota led 42-35 in shots on goal. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story here and the St. Cloud Times has a story here.

Maine scored five first-period goals on nine shots in Orono, three on power plays and one short-handed, on the way to a 7-1 lead. Three goals came in 2:39. It was North Dakota’s first loss of the season. North Dakota goalie Brad Eidsness was replaced at 9:37 of the opening period. Maine (2-1-2) led in shots 27-22. North Dakota is 3-1-1. The Bangor Daily News has a story here and the Grand Forks Herald has a story here.

Nebraska Omaha (5-0, the best start in program history) scored three second-period goals and built a 4-0 lead at Yost Arena. It broke a nine-game losing streak for Omaha in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines led in shots 36-26. The Ann Arbor News has a story here and the Omaha World-Herald has a story here.

In Mankato, Minn., Colorado College got off to a 2-0 lead and then the score was tied 3-3 and 4-4 before sophomore right winger Eriah Hayes broke the tie 39 seconds after CC got the equalizer, with the game-winner for Mankato coming with 8:25 to play. Chase Grant had two goals for the Mavericks, who recorded their first win of the season. Colorado College led 43-34 in shots. The Colorado Spring Gazette has a story here and the Mankato Free Press has a story here.

In Denver, the game was tied 1-1 and 2-2 before Denver scored the final two goals, three minutes apart midway the third period from freshman Jason Zucker (2) and sophomore Drew Shore (4), to give Denver a win over Wisconsin. Denver led in shots 34-28. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here and the Denver Post has a story here.

UMD women win

Senior left winger Laura Fridfinnson and senior center Haley Irwin each had two goals Saturday afternoon as top-ranked Minnesota Duluth defeated the Minnesota Whitecaps 6-4 in an exhibition game before 176 fans at the DECC. Fridfinnson scored a shorthanded empty-net goal with 21 seconds to play to clinch the victory.

Former UMD players Iya Gavrilova (two goals and an assist) and Jenny Potter (a goal and two assists) led the Whitecaps, a Minneapolis-St. Paul based team of post-collegiate players.

The Bulldogs led in shots on goal 47-36.

Former Princeton goalie Megan Van Beusekom had 41 saves for the Whitecaps. UMD junior Lana Steck had 32 saves.

UMD opens the regular season Friday and next Sunday at North Dakota.

North Dakota opened the regular season Saturday with a 5-4 home win over Boston University before an announced crowd of 2,855, which is significant.

Radcliffe: Also a baby boy

This is a couple of days old from the Associated Press:

Marathon runners Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher have given birth to baby boys just a few days apart.

The 36-year-old Radcliffe gave birth to Raphael right on time Wednesday night in England. Top American marathoner Goucher, 32, had her baby, Colton, on Saturday in Portland, Ore. The friends shared the same due date.

Radcliffe, the marathon world-record holder from England, tweeted she was “so happy to announce” the arrival of “our gorgeous little boy.” She added Thursday that her 3-year-old daughter, Isla, is “very happy and excited to meet her little brother.”

This is the first child for Goucher. She finished third at the 2009 Boston Marathon and 2008 New York City Marathon, when Radcliffe won her third NYC title.

Both hope to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the marathon in London.

Goucher talks about her first days as a mother on her blog, with photos, here.