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NCAAM: Bullet Points (Dec. 12)

By Kyle McLaughlin , 12/12/23, 7:15PM CST


Catch up on how Minnesota's Division I men's hockey programs did over the weekend.

Bemidji State (6-10-0) vs. Lake Superior State (8-9-1)

It was complete domination for Bemidji State in game one of the series as the Beavers trounced the Lakers in a 7-1 win. The home squad jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period off goals from Eric Martin, Jere Vaisanen, and Carter Jones. In the second period, Carter Jones tallied his second goal of the night to extend the lead to four before the Lakers responded with their own goal. Goals from Noah Quinn and Alexander Lundman 23 seconds apart closed the period to make it 6-1 Bemidji State. A third-period goal from Liam Engstrom capped off the big win for the Beavers, with only 12 total saves required from goaltender Gavin Enright in net. 

The Lakers came out with a vengeance and flipped the script in game two, beating the Beavers 6-1 after their embarrassing defeat the night prior. Up 2-0 to start the second, Carter Batchelder made it 3-0 for Lake Superior State 1:31 into the period before Ross Roloson extended the lead to 4-0. With 2:17 to go in the period, the Beavers finally got on the board as Carter Jones scored his third goal of the weekend. Lake Superior’s Jack Blanchett made it 5-1 early in the third before Brett Roloson closed out the scoring, with brothers Ross and Brett (sons of ex-Wild goaltender Dwayne Roloson) each recording a goal and an assist in the win.  

Bemidji State sits in fourth place in the CCHA standings with 16 points, and the Beavers will look to add to that total on 12/14 and 12/15 against Bowling Green (7-11-0) at home. 

Jere Vaisanen, Bemidji State

No. 10 Minnesota (9-5-4) at Ohio State (5-8-4)

Minnesota’s final series of 2023 saw the Buckeyes come to town and play two close games, with the Gophers winning game one 5-4 and tying 1-1 in game two. A five-goal first period on Friday night featured a Jimmy Snuggerud between-the-legs goal to kick things off before Ohio State responded with two quick goals to make it 2-1. Snuggerud then added a power play goal to tie the game before assisting on a Rhett Pitlick tally (marking seven straight games with a goal for Rhett) to put the Gophers ahead 3-2 heading into the second.

Minnesota led 4-3 to start the third, and just over seven minutes into the period, Brody Lamb extended the lead to 5-3. An Ohio State goal with 4:46 remaining in regulation led to a tense final few minutes for the Gophers, with Justen Close making some big saves in net to secure the victory. 

The Buckeyes kicked off the scoring in game two via a goal from Cam Thiesing, and that 1-0 lead held until midway through the game. With 9:55 to go in the second, the Gophers tied it off a mini breakaway from Aaron Huglen, with Huglen recording his third goal and sixth point on the season.

Both goaltenders held firm through the remainder of regulation and overtime, with Ohio State’s Davis Burnside scoring the lone shootout goal to claim the extra point. The Gophers are now 0-4 in shootouts this season and 4-18 all-time.

With no weekends off since the season began, Minnesota has earned some much-needed rest, and the Gophers will now have three whole weeks off before returning to play the U18 National Team Development Program in an exhibition game on 1/1/24. 

Aaron Huglen, Minnesota

Minnesota Duluth (5-8-4) vs. Miami (OH) (5-9-2)

The trip to Ohio did not start as planned for the Bulldogs as the RedHawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead only 1:05 into game one. Still down 2-0 to start the second, Ben Steeves responded for Minnesota Duluth with back-to-back goals to knot it up at 2-2 only 4:51 into the period.

The third period saw the Bulldogs score their third straight goal via Cole Spicer to take the lead. However, Miami’s PJ Fletcher responded only 1:24 later to retie the game at 3-3. The game headed to overtime, where neither team capitalized, and the game ended in a tie, with two Bulldogs converting their shootout attempts to claim the extra point for UMD.  

In game two, the deadlock was broken 3:58 into period two when a Blake Biondi one-timer put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0. Only 1:17 later, Minnesota Duluth made it 2-0, with Ben Steeves tallying his third goal of the weekend and eleventh goal this season. The RedHawks PJ Fletcher recorded his third goal of the weekend to open the third and make it 2-1, but UMD held on late, adding an empty netter to win 3-1.  

Earning four conference points on the road this weekend puts the Bulldogs in sixth place in the NCHC standings. Minnesota Duluth’s holiday break begins now, and their season will resume on 12/28 in Milwaukee, as the Bulldogs will play Northeastern (5-8-1) as part of the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-off, with a game against Wisconsin or Air Force to take place the following day. 

Blake Biondi, Minnesota Duluth

Minnesota State (7-7-2) vs. St. Thomas (9-8-1)

A home-and-home series saw Minnesota State host game one, with the Mavericks winning nine of their previous ten matchups against St. Thomas. A five-minute major penalty in the first period of Friday’s game resulted in three special teams goals in a span of 2:25. Sam Morton tallied a power-play goal for Minnesota State to start the scoring before Mack Byers scored shorthanded to tie it, with Luc Wilson adding another goal for the Mavericks to lead 2-1 after one.

The second period almost went scoreless before Minnesota State made it 3-1 in the waning seconds, with Lucas Sowder tallying his fourth goal of the season. It was an uneventful third with only 11 shots on net and no goals scored as the Mavericks held on to win 3-1. 

In Mendota Heights, the teams skated to a scoreless period one before Minnesota State opened the scoring 5:39 into the second period off a goal from Adam Eisele. Still down 1-0 with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, the home team continued to battle and tied it at 1-1 off a goal from Luc Laylin. Less than three minutes later, the Tommies scored a go-ahead goal and the eventual game-winner, winning 2-1 and splitting the series. The win marked the first time the Tommies have beaten Minnesota State in their home barn. 

Three points for each team in the conference standings places St. Thomas in first with 21 points and Minnesota State in third with 17. Minnesota State will now make the long journey to New York to battle RPI (2-10-1) on 12/15 and 12/16, then return home for their holiday break. St. Thomas will start their break now before returning to play against Vermont on 12/29 and 12/30. 

Luc Laylin, St. Thomas

No. 15 St. Cloud State (9-5-2) at Nebraska-Omaha (9-5-2)

Down 1-0 in the first period on Friday night, freshman Veeti Miettinen tallied a power-play goal for the Huskies to head into the first intermission tied at one. Early in the second, St. Cloud made it 2-1, with Ryan Rosborough cleaning up a loose puck to score his first career collegiate goal. The Huskies extended their lead to 3-1 only 56 seconds into the third period and added an empty net goal to win game one 4-1, with Dominic Basse making 27 saves in net. 

In the rematch Saturday night, St. Cloud continued right where the Huskies left off the night prior, opening the scoring 5:06 into the game. However, a late Nebraska-Omaha goal resulted in a tie game heading into the first intermission. Midway through the second, the Mavericks’ leading scorer, Ty Mueller, scored a go-ahead goal before Kyler Kupka tied the game at 2-2 with 2:31 remaining in the period.

A scoreless third period led to overtime, which also went scoreless, with Ty Mueller scoring the only goal in the shootout to claim the extra point for Nebraska-Omaha. In the tie, freshman goaltender Isak Posch made 31 saves in his first career start for St. Cloud. 

With a four-point weekend, the Huskies continue to hold the top spot in the NCHC standings with 22 conference points. The Huskies will now have a two-week break before returning for a home-and-home series against Bemidji State, with puck drop in Bemidji at 7:00 PM on 12/29 and St. Cloud on 12/31 at 4:00 PM. 

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