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NCAAM: Bullet Points (Nov. 7)

By Kyle McLaughlin , 11/07/23, 2:45PM CST


St. Thomas moves into second in CCHA, St. Cloud State sweeps Miami (OH), and Minnesota wins and ties with Minnesota Duluth.

Bemidji State (3-5-0)

From a sweep at home one weekend to getting swept the next, Bemidji State traveled to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to face Lake Superior State (5-3-0), and unfortunately, the Beavers headed home with only one point earned in the CCHA standings. 

A slow start in game one saw the Beavers fall behind 3-0 late in the first period before forward Kirklan Irey scored to stop the beatdown, heading into the first intermission down 3-1. Lleyton Roed continued his goal-per-game pace to make it 3-2 early in the second period before freshman Jake McLean scored early in the third to complete Bemidji’s comeback and make it 3-3. The game eventually went to overtime, and the Lakers triumphed, with Bemidji salvaging one conference point in the overtime loss. 

Game two saw another sluggish start for Bemidji State as the Beavers again found themselves in a 3-0 hole before a late first-period goal from Liam Engstrom brought the Beavers back within two. Different from the night before, the Beavers would go on to record 22 shots on net in the next two periods but were unable to beat Ethan Langenegger, with the Lakers adding two third-period goals to win 5-1. Rosemount’s Luke Levandowski tallied his first collegiate goal in that third period.

The Beavers narrowly remain atop the CCHA standings after the disappointing weekend and will look to bounce back this coming weekend against Michigan Tech (2-4-3) at home.

Cal Thomas, Minnesota

No. 6 Minnesota (4-3-1) vs. No. 14 Minnesota Duluth (3-3-3)

The weekend featured a third consecutive rivalry series for the Golden Gophers, all coming against ranked opponents. This time around, the Gophers battled Minnesota Duluth in a home-and-home series, a matchup that has recently favored the Bulldogs, winning four straight games dating back to the 2019-20 season. 

The Gophers quickly ended that winning streak in game one at home, winning Friday night’s game 5-1. Sophomore defenseman Cal Thomas scored his first career goal to kick things off in the first before Bryce Brodzinski ended the period with an unassisted tally. Oliver Moore added a nice finish on a 2-on-1 early in the second to make it 3-0, and Rhett Pitlick extended the lead to 4-0 midway through the third. Late in regulation, the Bulldogs stopped Justen Close’s shutout bid to bring it to 4-1 before the Gophers added an empty netter.

The rematch at Amsoil Arena was a closer contested battle compared to the night before, ending in a 3-3 tie. Jack Smith put UMD ahead 1-0 in the first before a four-goal second period saw the Gophers swing the game back in their favor, scoring back-to-back goals only 23 seconds apart late in the period to lead 3-2. Ben Steeves tied it at three early in the third, scoring his seventh goal of the season and sixth power-play tally. In overtime, both teams had 4-on-3 man-advantage opportunities to win it, but neither capitalized, leading to the stalemate.

The difficult run of opponents will continue for Minnesota as the Gophers will now travel to face the No. 8 ranked Michigan Wolverines (5-4-1). The Bulldogs will remain at home and also square off against a formidable foe, playing No. 4 ranked North Dakota (5-2-1) on 11/10 and 11/11. 

St. Cloud State (4-4-0)

The Huskies opened conference play this weekend at home against the Miami (OH) RedHawks, a team that St. Cloud has gone 6-2-2 against in their last 10 matchups, and this series saw a continuation of that form as St. Cloud came away with a series sweep. 

Mason Salquist scored only 3:16 into the game to put the Huskies ahead 1-0, with that one-goal lead holding until late in the second period when the RedHawks tied it at one. Then, Finnish brothers Veeti and Verner Miettinen scored consecutively for St. Cloud State, with senior Veeti making it 2-1 late in the second before freshman Verner scored late in the third to extend the lead to 3-1. Miami pulled their goalie and made it 3-2 late, but there was not enough time to complete a comeback. 

The rematch on Saturday went even smoother for the Huskies, winning in a 6-0 blowout with a 33-15 shot advantage. A scoreless first period was followed by a three-goal second, with all three goals tallied in a four-minute span midway through the period. Only 21 seconds into the third, Joe Molenaar extended it to 4-0, scoring his second goal of the game, before Jack Peart made it 5-0 later in the period. In the final minutes of regulation, Joe Molenaar scored goal number three, completing his first collegiate hat trick in the victory, with the Huskies earning all six available conference points. 

St. Cloud will make its first trip out of the state this coming weekend, continuing NCHC play against No. 12 Western Michigan (4-1-1) in Kalamazoo on Friday and Saturday. 

Jack Peart, St. Cloud State

St. Thomas (4-5-1)

Returning home after a disappointing weekend in Bemidji, the Tommies looked to rebound against Northern Michigan (1-4-1) at home this weekend and move up in the CCHA standings. 

Mahtomedi grad J.D. Metz kicked off the scoring in game one, recording his first collegiate goal, before Lucas Wahlin made it 2-0 only 17 seconds later. Northern Michigan scored consecutive power-play goals to force a 2-2 tie early in the third period, but Wahlin responded with his second of the game, tallying a shorthanded goal to regain the lead. With less than three minutes to go, Mack Byers cleaned up a rebound for St. Thomas to clinch a 4-2 win. 

The Tommies carried their momentum into game two and found themselves ahead 2-0 early in the second period. Warroad’s Grant Slukynsky brought it to 2-1 with 6:41 to go in the second, but that was as close as the Wildcats were going to get in this one, with St. Thomas going on to score the following four goals in a 6-1 rout. With a goal and an assist in this game, Lucas Wahlin sits atop the Tommie’s scoring leaderboard with 11 points. Jake Sibell made 26 saves in the victory, improving his goals-against-average to 1.27 and SV% to .947 for the season. 

With the series sweep and six conference points secured, St. Thomas moves into second place in the CCHA standings. The Tommies hope to gain an additional six points against Bowling Green (2-6-0) in Ohio this coming weekend.

Lucas Wahlin, St. Thomas

Minnesota State (2-3-1)

After a disappointing series against North Dakota the weekend prior, Minnesota State will hope to be fully rested when the Mavericks begin CCHA play this coming weekend against Ferris State (3-4-1).

During the bye week, Minnesota State likely spent a great deal of time working to improve the offensive side of their game, as the Mavericks currently rank No. 46 in scoring offense (averaging 2.50 goals/game) and last place for power play percentage with 4%, scoring one PPG in 25 opportunities.  

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