The WCHA was in a celebratory mood Sunday as 2012 neared an end with three tournament championships won by Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato and Minnesota.
Michigan Tech (Minnesota Duluth’s next opponent on Jan. 11-12) finished an amazing run at the Great Lake Invitational by blanking No. 8 Western Michigan 4-0 in Detroit; No. 4 Minnesota closed out the Mariucci Classic with an eye-opening 8-1 win over No. 1 Boston College; and No. 18 Minnesota State-Mankato took the UConn Classic title by beating Connecticut 3-1 (the Purple Mavs are 9-1 the last 10 games).
At Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, secret weapon Pheonix Copley had 32 saves as Michigan Tech won the GLI for the first time since 1980. He finished with consecutive 4-0 shutouts. Tech had three goals in the third period including scores by Tanner Kero and Aaron Pietila in the final 59 seconds. Western Michigan led in shots 32-22, and was 0-8 on PPs. Attendance 14,719. From Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey here.
At Minneapolis, Nick Bjugstad had a career night with two goals and two assists in Minnesota’s 8-1 win over Boston College. Minnesota led in shots 36-33 and had four PP goals. Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox is 12-2-3. BC star goalie Parker Milner was replaced in the third period. He had 25 saves and allowed six goals. BC defeated Minnesota in the 2012 NCAA semifinals. Attendance 10,230. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press here and Minneapolis Star Tribune here.
At Storrs, Conn., two Johnny McInnis second-period goals rallied Minnesota State-Mankato past Connecticut 3-1. Stephon Williams made 17 saves for the win. McInnis was tournament MVP. Connecticut led 1-0. Mankato led in shots 31-18. Attendance 881. From the Mankato Free Press here.
At Camden, Conn., No. 9 Quinnipiac defeated No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha 3-1 to sweep a nonconference series. Quinnipiac led in shots 37-29. Omaha led 1-0 on a goal by Ryan Walters (12). Winning goalie Eric Hartzell is 14-2-2. Omaha was swept for first time this season. Attendance 2,327. From the Omaha World-Herald here.
At Hanover, N.H., Bemidji State opened play in the Ledyard Bank Classic with a 4-3 loss to Massachusetts. BSU led 2-0 on goals from Aaron McLeod and Brance Orban, then Massachusetts scored the next four. Massachusetts led 33-20 in shots. Attendance 4,500. From the Bemidji Pioneer here.
U.S. College Hockey Online has some thoughts from the WCHA’s holiday performances here.
On Monday, the United States defeated Slovakia 9-3 at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. USA Hockey has a recap here.