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NCAAM: Bullet Points (Feb. 20)

By Kyle McLaughlin , 02/20/24, 7:15PM CST


Catch up on how Minnesota's Division I men's hockey programs fared last weekend.

Bemidji State (13-15-2) vs. Ferris State (10-20-1)

Bemidji State played in a rare Thursday-Friday series against the Ferris State Bulldogs, with both teams earning a win in their previous matchup just last month.

Jere Vaisanen scored the lone goal in the first period of game one to help Bemidji State lead at the break. Tied 1-1 midway through the second, Prior Lake grad Jackson Jutting finished a rebound in close to put the Beavers back in front heading into the final frame.

Bemidji State went on to outshoot the Bulldogs 17-8 in the third period, but with 6:21 remaining in regulation, Ferris State's Drew Cooper scored his first goal of the season to make it 2-2 and force overtime. Sophomore Adam Flammang scored the game-winner 1:31 into the three-on-three overtime, tallying his eighth goal this season while keeping his six-game point streak alive. 

The Bulldogs capitalized on their first and only power play opportunity to lead 1-0 after one in game two. The Beavers stormed back in the early part of the second, tying it up 3:19 into the period before Kirklan Irey scored a go-ahead goal only 1:29 later. The team would hold onto that one-goal advantage through to the second half of the third period when Lleyton Roed scored his team-leading fourteenth goal to put the team ahead 3-1.

With 4:39 remaining, Bemidji State added a fourth insurance goal and eventually skated to a 4-1 victory, outshooting Ferris State 36-18 in the process. Mattias Sholl made 17 saves in the win, improving his save percentage to .902 and goals-against average to 2.74. 

With five conference points obtained, the Beavers moved into first place in the CCHA standings through 20 games played. Bemidji State will play at St. Thomas (13-15-2) this weekend on 2/23 and 2/24 before closing out the regular season at home against Minnesota State next weekend. 

Lleyton Roed, Bemidji State

No. 8 Minnesota (19-8-5) at Notre Dame (15-15-2)

Skating to a split series in their first matchup in November, game one in South Bend this weekend was a night to forget for the Gopher squad. An even first period saw scoring opportunities for both teams, but only the Fighting Irish scored, with that goal ending Justen Close's 190-minute shutout streak while putting Notre Dame ahead 1-0 after one. Cole Knuble doubled Notre Dame's lead early in the second, and then the punches just kept coming, with two additional goals extending the lead to 4-0 and ending Close's night with only 10 saves made.

A late-period goal from Aaron Huglen gave the Gophers a slight glimmer of hope, but only minutes later, Notre Dame's Danny Nelson added another goal to end the period up 5-1. The Fighting Irish scored the lone goal in the third period to finish the game with a 6-1 scoreline, marking Minnesota's largest margin of defeat this season. 

Game two saw Justen Close back between the pipes, and after a scoreless first, a Connor Kurth bank shot opened the scoring early in the second to put Minnesota ahead. At the 6:27 mark of the period, Maple Grove's Justin Janicke scored to tie the game, and later in the period, Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead. However, it took only eight seconds for the Gophers to respond as Jaxon Nelson powered through a defender and then beat the Irish goaltender cleanly to make it 2-2.

In the third, the Gophers placed 14 shots on net and had a late-period goal disallowed, leading to a tie game at the end of regulation. Only 1:18 into overtime, the Gophers won it, with the team's leading goal-scorer, Jimmy Snuggerud, recording his nineteenth goal of the season in the team's bounce-back win. 

Holding the third spot in the Big Ten standings with 37 points, Minnesota will have a much-needed off weekend before closing out the regular season with a series at home against Michigan on 3/1 and 3/2. 

Jimmy Snuggerud, Minnesota

Minnesota Duluth (10-15-4) vs. Denver (20-8-2)

Down 2-0 to start the second in game one of the series, Minnesota Duluth's Aiden Dubinsky scored his first collegiate goal to cut the deficit in half, and later in the period, a Quinn Olson wrister tied it at 2-2. With 2:10 remaining in the period, the Pioneers retook the lead off a goal from Carter King and carried that goal advantage into the latter half of the third.

Behind 4-2 with three minutes remaining in regulation and their goaltender pulled, UMD battled back and, in a span of 34 seconds, scored two goals from Aaron Pionk and Luke Loheit to tie it at 4-4. In overtime, a defensive miscommunication led to a Pioneer breakaway, and Aidan Thompson buried it, scoring his second goal of the night in a 5-4 Denver win. 

It took only 31 seconds for the Pioneers to start the scoring in game two, with freshman standout Zeev Buium burying his eighth goal of the season. Less than five minutes later, Denver doubled the lead and shortly after made it 3-0, as Burnsville native Jared Wright utilized his high-end speed to walk in alone and beat goalie Zach Stejskal, which ended his night in the net only 6:39 into the game.

Still, in a three-goal hole to start the second, Ben Steeves scored early to make it 3-1 before Matthew Perkins pulled the Bulldogs within one with 12:12 left in the second. Denver answered on a power play with 5:54 remaining in the period and carried a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. Unlike the night prior, there would be no Bulldog comeback in this one as the Pioneers added another goal in the third and skated to a 5-2 victory and road sweep.

Holding the seventh-place spot in the conference standings with 21 points earned in 18 games, UMD will face another formidable opponent this coming weekend as the Bulldogs will travel to No. 3 North Dakota (20-8-2), with puck drop at 7:00pm on 2/23 and 6:00pm on 2/24. 

Zach Stejskal, Minnesota Duluth

St. Thomas (13-15-2) vs. Bowling Green (13-16-1)

After sweeping the Falcons back in early November, St. Thomas hosted Bowling Green this weekend with the same result in mind. It was scoreless through the first 16 minutes of game one before three goals in quick succession ended the period. Mack Byers opened the scoring before the Falcons responded less than a minute later, with a great solo effort from Cooper Gay regaining the lead for St. Thomas.

Only 53 seconds into the second, Bowling Green tied it at 2-2, however, Luc Laylin fired home a power play one-timer only 33 seconds later to reclaim Tommies' one-goal advantage. Bowling Green equalized once more to make it 3-3 prior to the second intermission, and neither team was able to score a game-winner in the third.

Big saves on both ends in overtime resulted in a shootout required to see which team would take home the extra conference point, with Ben Doran being the lone scorer in the shootout and winning it for Bowling Green.

In game two, the Falcons' Brett Pfoh scored only 54 seconds into the game, and Bowling Green held that advantage through to the second period. Midway through the second, Bowling Green doubled their lead off a wrist shot from Seth Fyten, and the Tommies' scoring struggles continued, with 19 shots on net through two but no goals to show for it.

The break finally came early in the third on a power play, as a Matthew Gleason tip from the slot for his third goal of the season made it 2-1. The Tommies could not find an equalizer, and the Falcons added a late empty netter to win 3-1, leading to a five-point weekend for the visitors. 

The disappointing weekend drops the Tommies to No. 3 in the CCHA standings and No. 39 in the Pairwise, with two regular season matchups remaining. St. Thomas will remain at home this weekend and play Bemidji State on 2/23 and 2/24, followed by a matchup at Michigan Tech next weekend. 

Mack Byers, St. Thomas

Minnesota State (15-11-4) – Bye

Currently sitting on the outside looking in at No. 28 in the Pairwise, Minnesota State will need to earn the automatic conference bid into the NCAA tournament this season, with the Mavericks currently sitting second in the CCHA. With two series remaining on the schedule, both against CCHA opponents, there are 12 potential conference points available, and all are vital to try and secure home-ice advantage throughout the conference tournament. 

Through 30 games, Sam Morton leads the team with 29 points (20G, 9A), and Alex Tracy has the most starts in net with 23, posting a .912 save percentage and 2.34 goals against average. The Mavericks will play Lake Superior State (13-17-1) at home this weekend on 2/23 and 2/24 before closing out the regular season at Bemidji State next weekend. 

No. 16 St. Cloud (14-9-5) – Bye

At the weekend's close, St. Cloud sits one point behind the conference leaders with 36 points earned in 18 games played and three conference opponents remaining on the calendar. The Huskies will square off against No. 13 Western Michigan (17-10-1) in St. Cloud this weekend – a team the Huskies swept in their first matchup in November – before battling the top-five ranked Denver Pioneers at home next weekend. 

The top three scorers for the Huskies are Dylan Anhorn (6-20—26), Kyler Kupka (11-14—25), and Veeti Miettinen (13-11—24), with Dominic Basse starting 23 of 28 games between the pipes and earning a 12-9-2 record with three shutouts. 

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