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NCAAM: Bullet Points (Nov. 28)

By Kyle McLaughlin , 11/28/23, 2:45PM CST


Michigan tops St. Cloud State, Minnesota tangles with Michigan State, and Bemidji State is swept at home by top-ranked North Dakota.

Bemidji State (5-9-0) at No. 1 North Dakota (11-2-1)

A matchup against the top-rated team in the country resulted in a disappointing weekend for Bemidji State, with the Beavers getting swept in Grand Forks. Game one started swimmingly for the Beavers as Bemidji jumped out to an early 1-0 lead via Kasper Magnussen, later making it 2-0 with 2:30 to go in the first. However, the Beavers were unable to hold that lead into the first intermission, giving up a goal to Cameron Berg only 35 seconds later.

Holding that narrow one-goal margin into the third, Berg then added his second goal of the night to tie it at 2-2. That 2-2 scoreline held through the end of regulation and North Dakota took advantage of the extra period, with leading scorer Jackson Blake winning it for the Fighting Hawks 3-2. 

North Dakota carried their momentum from Friday’s comeback win into game two on Saturday, scoring 4:37 into the first period and never looking back. A power-play goal in the second period made it 2-0 before a three-goal third period resulted in a straightforward 5-0 win for the home team. Ludvig Persson earned his third shutout of the season by stopping all 29 shots on net, with Bemidji’s Gavin Enright saving 26 of 31 shots in the loss. 

Bemidji State will now have their first bye weekend of the season before returning to CCHA play at home against Lake Superior State on 12/8 and 12/9. 

Gavin Enright, Bemidji State

No. 8 Minnesota (7-4-3) vs. No. 7 Michigan State (10-4-2)

This Big Ten matchup stayed true to the back-to-back placement in the national rankings, with both games being closely contested battles. It was a weekend of Minnesota unable to hold an advantage as the Gophers squandered six leads to the Spartans over the two games. 

The Gophers Connor Kurth kicked off the weekend’s scoring to put Minnesota ahead 1-0 only 1:41 into Friday’s game, with Michigan State later equalizing halfway through the second. In the third, a Bryce Brodzinski power-play goal put the Gophers back in front with 12:01 remaining, but defenseman Nash Nienhuis tied it at 2-2 only 1:22 later.

With 5:46 to go, Rhett Pitlick made it 3-2 before the Spartans responded with 3:27 remaining in regulation, and the teams headed to overtime. A scoreless overtime led to a 3-3 tie, with Michigan State winning the shootout to claim the extra point. Trey Augustine was strong in net for the Spartans, saving 44 of 47 shots. 

The rematch on Sunday was a repeat performance of game one, with more scoring. Tied 1-1 to start the second, Michigan State scored shorthanded to take their first lead of the series, but five minutes later, the Gophers responded, tying it via a goal from Ryan Chesley before Bryce Brodzinski scored his second of the game to retake the lead a few minutes later. Tied 3-3 to start the third period, Minnesota’s Connor Kurth scored 59 seconds in to make it 4-3, with Rhett Pitlick extending the lead to 5-3 with 9:45 to go in regulation.

To Coach Motzko’s chagrin, the Spartans brought it back within one with 4:46 remaining and later equalized with only 18 seconds left on the clock. In overtime, the Gophers salvaged the weekend by winning off an excellent finish from Jimmy Clark, extending their unbeaten streak against MSU to 16 games (15-0-1). Justen Close made a career-high 41 saves in the overtime victory. 

The Gophers will continue their run of conference opponents and play No.18 Penn State (8-4-3) this weekend, with puck drop at 6:00 PM CT on 12/1 and 5:00 PM CT on 12/2. 

Connor Kurth, Minnesota

Minnesota State (5-6-1) vs. Michigan Tech (6-6-3)

Game one saw the Mavericks quickly fall behind by two goals in the first, with Michigan Tech scoring 4:45 into the period before making it 2-0 just over a minute later. A Luc Wilson wrister helped Minnesota State get back within one later in the first, with that 2-1 deficit holding until over halfway through the third. Then, Steven Bellini tallied his first goal of the season to tie it at two, and the teams eventually headed to overtime, where, with only seconds remaining, the Huskies won it, with Ryland Mosley scoring his second of the game to claim the extra point. 

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, game two saw the same scoreline as night one, with a 3-2 Michigan Tech win resulting in Minnesota State getting swept at home for the second time this season. Down 1-0 to start the third period, Minnesota State tied it at 1-1 via a goal from Brian Carrabes. With 8:36 to go, the Huskies retook the lead and put the game out of reach by adding a power-play goal with 1:17 remaining. 

Losing three straight games and dropping down to sixth place in the conference standings, the Mavericks will hit the road for a series against Lake Superior State (7-7-0) on 12/1 and 12/2, a team that Minnesota State has historically dominated, going 9-1 against the Lakers in their last 10 matchups. 

No. 17 St. Cloud State (8-5-1) vs. No. 14 Michigan (7-6-3)

Marking the first time these two teams have met since the 2001-02 season, game one on Friday ended up being a defensive battle, with neither team scoring through two periods. The Wolverines broke the deadlock 6:40 into the third period, with T.J. Hughes cleaning up a loose puck in close for his eighth goal this season.

With minutes remaining, Andover’s own Garrett Schifsky doubled Michigan’s lead, and the Wolverines held on for a 2-0 win, and a 30-save night for goaltender Jake Barczewski resulted in his first shutout of the season.

The rematch on Saturday saw Michigan pick up where the Wolverines left off the night prior, going up 1-0 only 1:35 into the game before making it 2-0 to close out the first period. A Dylan Duke power-play goal extended Michigan’s lead to three before St. Cloud answered the bell, with Veeti Miettinen scoring shorthanded to head into the second intermission down 3-1.

In the third, Kyler Kupka scored early in the period for the Huskies to bring it to 3-2 and, in the waning seconds of regulation, scored again to tie it at 3-3 and complete St. Cloud’s comeback. Neither team capitalized on their opportunities in overtime, and the game ended in a tie. 

St. Cloud will now have another off weekend before traveling to Omaha to face the Mavericks on 12/8 and 12/9, with puck drop at 7:00 PM CT on both nights. 

Veeti Miettinen, St. Cloud State

St. Thomas (7-6-1) vs. Lake Superior State (7-7-0)

The Tommies came out flying in game one against the Lakers, scoring a quick power-play goal off the stick of Liam Malmquist 17 seconds in before making it 2-0 seven minutes later via Matthew Gleason. Ahead 2-0 to start the second, Lake Superior brought the deficit to one off a shorthanded goal at 7:13 of the period, but St. Thomas responded soon after, adding goals from Quinton Pepper and Ryan O’Neill to lead 4-1 after two.

Five minutes into the third period, Eden Prairie alum Carter Batchelder scored to make it 4-2, and that would be the final score, with Aaron Trotter making 27 saves for St. Thomas in the win. 

Dissatisfied with the result of Friday’s game, Lake Superior started the scoring early in game two, making it 1-0 only 43 seconds in before doubling their lead two minutes later. Carter Batchelder scored his second goal of the weekend to put the Tommies in an even bigger hole with 8:41 to go in the first.

Halfway through the second period, St. Thomas got on the board, with Ryan O’Neill tallying a power play goal for his third goal this season. The Tommies put 12 shots on net in the third but could not find the back of the net again, losing 3-1 in the series split and seeing their win streak end at five games.

With the split, the Tommies have earned 15 CCHA points in eight games played, placing them at the top of the standings with another conference opponent on the horizon, as St. Thomas will travel to face Ferris State (4-7-1) this weekend.      

Aaron Trotter, St. Thomas

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