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NCAAM: Bullet Points (Feb. 27)

By Kyle McLaughlin , 02/27/24, 3:00PM CST


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

Bemidji State (15-15-2) at St. Thomas (13-17-2)

St. Thomas hosted this intraconference matchup and hoped for a reversal of their previous meeting in October in which Bemidji State swept the Tommies, winning 3-2 and 2-0. 

Game one on Friday was a high-scoring back-and-forth affair in which the Beavers led for much of the game, but St. Thomas continuously answered and never fell far behind. Leading 2-1 after one, Greenway's Donte Lawson crashed the net for a gritty goal to put Bemidji State ahead 3-1, but a Lucas Wahlin breakaway goal made it 3-2 only minutes later. With the Beavers again leading by a two-goal cushion, St. Thomas responded late in period two off a goal from Mason Poolman, heading into the final frame down 4-3. The Tommies knotted it up at 4-4 early in period three, but only 1:17 later, Jere Vaisanen put Bemidji State back in front.

The Beavers held onto that goal advantage through to the final minute of regulation when, with their goaltender pulled and only 25 seconds left, Luke Manning scored for St. Thomas to tie it at 5-5 and force overtime. At the 2:40 minute mark of overtime, the Beavers won it off a beautiful shot from Jackson Jutting, marking his eighth goal this season.

Friday's 11-goal thriller was followed by a more standard scoreline in game two, with Bemidji State's Kyle Looft scoring the lone goal in period one. In the second, the Beavers continued to apply pressure and outshot St. Thomas 20-6 in the period. However, goaltender Jake Sibell stopped everything, with one highlight reel save earning him a spot in ESPN's Top 10 Plays of the Day.

The third period saw Eric Pohlkamp score his seventh goal this season to double the lead before a goal from defenseman Vince Corcoran made it 3-0 Bemidji State. Liam Malmquist answered for St. Thomas only 18 seconds later, but there would be no comeback, with Bemidji State winning 3-1 and remaining unbeaten against St. Thomas in all four meetings this season. 

Bemidji State will close out the regular season by hosting Minnesota State this coming weekend on 3/1 and 3/2. The Tommies' final regular season series will occur on the road against Michigan Tech (14-13-6) this weekend, with St. Thomas previously sweeping the Huskies the second weekend of January. 

Jackson Jutting, Bemidji State

Minnesota Duluth (10-17-4) at No. 4 North Dakota (22-8-2)

The woes unfortunately continue for the Bulldogs, who entered the weekend on a four-game losing streak and faced a top-five team in North Dakota. 

An early goal from Jackson Blake only 1:05 into the game started North Dakota off on the right foot, and only a few minutes later, freshman Jayden Perron doubled the lead. Leading 3-0 after one, North Dakota's Cameron Berg tallied a power play goal 7:56 into period two to make it 4-0 and officially put the game out of reach for Minnesota Duluth.

Berg added another goal in the middle frame to head into the second intermission ahead 5-0, and the Fighting Hawks went on to win 6-0, with Owen McLaughlin scoring the lone goal in the third and Ludvig Persson making 17 saves in the shutout victory.

In game two, North Dakota scored late in period one to lead 1-0 at the break, with Jackson Kunz scoring 5:20 into the second to extend their lead to 2-0. Less than two minutes later, the Bulldogs finally got on the board when an Aiden Dubinsky shot from the point found its way past Ludvig Persson to make it 2-1.

Then, St. Cloud native Jack Smith tipped home a shot for his third goal of the season to knot it up at 2-2. UMD went on to outshoot North Dakota 9-3 in the final frame but were unable to beat Persson, with sophomore Dylan James scoring two goals to help the Fighting Hawks win 4-2 and clinch both the series and season sweep.

Remaining in the No. 7 spot in the NCHC standings, the Bulldogs will travel to Colorado Springs to play the No. 4-ranked team in the conference this weekend, Colorado College (18-10-2), with puck drop at 8:00 PM CST on 3/1 and 7:00 PM CST on 3/2. 

Ludvig Persson, North Dakota

Minnesota State (16-12-4) vs. Lake Superior State (14-18-1)

The Mavericks' final home series of the regular season started disappointingly as Minnesota State found themselves behind 2-0 less than eight minutes into game one. A Lucas Sowder power play goal clawed one back for the Mavericks, but the Lakers responded soon after, leading to a goaltender change for Minnesota State and a 3-1 deficit heading into the second period.

The Mavericks stormed back in the second and outshot the visitors 16-5, with Luc Wilson adding a power play goal to make it 3-2 heading into the final frame. That scoreline held through most of the period when Lake Superior State extended their lead to 4-2 with only 1:24 remaining. Minnesota State answered with 38 seconds left in regulation but could not complete the comeback and fell 4-3, with Lakers goaltender Ethan Langenegger having an impressive 40-save night in net.

In game two, the Mavericks' Sam Morton opened the scoring late in the first period, but the Lakers responded shortly after, leading to a 1-1 scoreline at the first intermission. Halfway through the second period, Lake Superior State scored a go-ahead goal, but Minnesota State answered immediately off the faceoff to tie it at 2-2; however, a defensive error gifted the Lakers a goal soon after, and Lake Superior State led 3-2 after two.

At the 12:37 minute mark of period three, Sam Morton scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season to tie it at 3-3, and with 49 seconds left in regulation, Brian Carrabes notched the game-winner to earn a series split for the Mavericks. 

Sitting at No. 2 in the conference standings and trailing only four points behind the No. 1 team, Minnesota State's final regular season series will come against that top team in Bemidji State this weekend, with puck drop at 7:07 PM on 3/1 and 6:07 PM on 3/2. 

No. 16 St. Cloud (15-10-5) vs. No. 13 Western Michigan (18-11-1)

Two closely ranked teams battled at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center this weekend, with St. Cloud sweeping Western Michigan in their previous matchup in November. 

The Huskies struck first in game one off a 2-on-1 opportunity and led 1-0 at the break. Late in period two, Kyler Kupka slotted home his twelfth goal of the season to make it 2-0, but only 29 seconds later, Western Michigan responded, with Prior Lake standout Alex Bump scoring to make it 2-1. Zach Okabe answered with a power play goal soon after that, and the Huskies regained their two-goal advantage heading into period three.

Early in period three, Luke Grainger scored to make it 3-2, tallying his 42nd point this season, and Ethan Phillips tied it up at 3-3 only minutes later. With little time remaining, St. Cloud thought Veeni Miettinen had scored the go-ahead and likely game-winning goal, but video replay deemed it inconclusive in not completely passing the goal line, leading to overtime. Exactly two minutes into OT, Alex Bump scored to win it for Western Michigan, capping off a three-point night in his first collegiate game back in the state of Minnesota. 

In game two, both teams were held scoreless through the first two periods, with St. Cloud leading 21-11 in the shots category. Only 17 seconds into the third period, the Huskies broke the deadlock via a Veeti Miettinen snapshot, his fourteenth goal this season. St. Cloud held that goal advantage through the waning minutes of regulation and added two empty netters to win 3-0 and split the series. Freshman Isak Posch stopped all 19 shots on net in his first career collegiate shutout. 

Ranked No. 2 in the NCHC standings with 40 points, St. Cloud will now face the No. 5 ranked team in the nation, the Denver Pioneers (21-8-3), at home on 3/1 and 3/2, before closing out the regular season at Minnesota Duluth on 3/8 and 3/9. 

Mason Reiners, St. Cloud State

No. 8 Minnesota (19-8-5) – Bye

With one final regular season series remaining, the Gophers hold the No. 8 spot in the Pairwise and remain third in the Big Ten standings. Minnesota holds a three-point lead over their final opponent, Michigan (17-12-3), who will come to town after sweeping Notre Dame this weekend, a current bubble team sitting at No. 14 in the Pairwise. 

Both Rhett Pitlick (17-15—32) and Jimmy Snuggerud (19-12—31) have hit the 30-point mark after 31 games played, with Oliver Moore (7-22—29) and Bryce Brodzinski (13-15—28) not far behind. Both games against Michigan will air on the Big Ten Network and will start at 7:30 PM this weekend. 

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