The bigger they are, the harder they fall. That's what Colorado College is finding out as teams always gear up for the top dog, or in this case Tiger. Other schools brought out the big guns, while some teams are starting to wake up after slow starts. The weekend that was is below in our School Wrap Sunday.
Maybe North Dakota, who slipped out of the rankings last week, will wiggle it's way back in. The Fighting Sioux won for the 3rd time in 4 games Friday night, but it was who they beat that was more important. UND earned a hard fought 3-1 victory over (1)Colorado College, handing the Tigers their first loss on the season. Freshman Brett Hextall (Phoenix, 6th round, 2008) gave the Sioux a 3-0 lead, and fellow first year teammate Bradley Eidsness (Buffalo, 5th round, 2007) barred the door in the 3rd stopping 13 of 14 CC shots as the Tigers tried to mount a furious comeback. The former Okotoks Oiler (AJHL) was only beaten by speedy forward Billy Sweatt (Chicago, 2nd round, 2007) late in the game. Saturday night, Eidsness and the rest of his Sioux mates weren't so lucky. CC rode a 4 goal outing from senior Eric Waslky and erased a 4-3 deficit with 4 straight goals to win 7-4. Colorado College should lose it's top ranking this week and a fellow WCHA team should get it.
(4)Minnesota was impressive in coming away unbeaten in a pair of non conference games with (5)New Hampshire. Friday night was a sister kisser for the Golden Gophers and Wildcats who combined for 78 shots in a 2-2 tie where UNH’s Brian Foster and Minnesota’s Alex Kangas were outstanding. Saturday night's contest was just as close, for 2 periods. Minnesota exploded in the 3rd, pulling away for a 6-2 win. The contest was tied at 2, before the Golden Gophers lit the lamp 4 times, including a pair from Junior Ryan Flynn (Nashville, 6th round, 2006). Ryan Stoa (Colorado, 2nd round, 2005-pictured) increased his point streak to 8 games, he now has 13 this season after missing all but 2 games last year with a knee injury. Minnesota rookie Jordan Schroeder who will be a top 10 pick this year is second on the team with 11 points in 8 games after 3 this weekend.
(6)Denver roughed up (20)Minnesota-Duluth with a pair of wins. The Pioneers tamed the Bulldogs 5-1 Friday and 2-1 Saturday. Denver freshman Joe Colborne (Boston, 1st round, 2008-pictured) scored once and set up the game winner on Saturday to get the better of his former Camrose Kodiak (AJHL) linemate Mike Connolly who went pointless for Minnesota-Duluth on the weekend.
Don't look now, but Wisconsin is on a roll. Picked as pre season favorite by the Hockey News, the Badgers have now won 3 straight after starting the season 0-6-1. Wisconsin slipped past Michigan Tech 3-2 Friday and pounded the Huskies 6-0 on Saturday. Brendan Smith (Detroit, 1st round, 2007-pictured below) paced Wisconsin with 5 points in the 2 games, giving the possible Canadian World Junior Defenceman 9 points in 9 games. The Badgers are the highest scoring team in the WCHA with 29 goals for and are inching their way into the top 20.
Expect (7)Michigan to tumble from it's top ten perch after losing 4-1 to Alaska Friday night and sneaking past the Nanooks 3-2 on Saturday. Wolverine Aaron Palushaj (St. Louis, 2nd round, 2007) was declawed by Alaska, as the sophomore who sits 3rd in the country managed just 2 assists in weekend play. Senior goaltender Billy Sauer's (Colorado, 7th round, 2006) play was sour in the opening tilt, as Alaska beat him twice on 4 shots in the 2nd period, and it should be noted that undrafted sophomore tender Bryan Hogan picked up the win on Saturday night. Hogan is 5-0 this year, while Sauer is 2-3. Stingy Alaska improved to 3-3 in conference play and have given up just 11 goals this year. It's mostly due to senior goalie Chad Johnson (Pittsburgh, 5th round, 2006) who through 8 games owns a .929 save percentage and a 1.83 gaa.
Ohio State was unranked, and frankly not even on the radar last week, but they should be now. After getting swept by Michigan last weekend, they pulled the rug out from the Wolverines state rivals by taking a pair from (11)Michigan State. Friday night the Buckeyes shut out the Spartans 3-0, but MSU fans should be thanking pint size stopper Jeff Lerg that it was that close. His teammates mustered just 21 shots, while he almost face half a centuries worth of rubber, turning away 46 of 49 shots. Saturday night was better defensively, but MSU still scored only once, while Ohio States freshman Zac Dalpe (Carolina, 2nd round, 2008) scored twice in a 3-1 victory. The two teams are now tied in CCHA standings with 8 points each.
The tough weekend for top CCHA teams continued with (8)Miami. The Redhawks eaked out a shoot out victory over Ferris State Friday night. Saturday night the Bulldogs built up a 2-0 lead and held off Miami in the 3rd to leave with a win and a shoot out loss moving them into a 5 way tie for 2nd behind the front running Redhawks. You know the rest of the country will be wondering how Ferris State held one of the top offensive teams in the nation to just 3 goals in two games.
Just one game this weekend for (3)Boston University and the Terriers made the most of it. BU scored 4 third period goals, including 3 unanswered to beat Mass-Lowell in a wild one 6-4. Second year forward Colin Wilson (Nashville, 1st round, 2008) scored twice getting the game winner and added 2 helpers giving him 12 points in 7 games this season, while former Spruce Grove Saint (AJHL) Kieran Millan improved to 4-0 on the year in net.
You can expect (2)Boston College to get leap frogged by BU and maybe a few more teams when the rankings are released. The Eagles aren't the most offensive team in Hockey East, but compared to Maine, they're the 1980's Oilers. The Black Bears have scored a paltry 3 goals in 3 conference games this year, and most of them came against BC Sunday in a 2-1 victory. The Eagles had been averaging more than 3 per game until running into Maine. They followed up the brilliant offensive output with 1 more goal on Saturday night in losing to (12)Notre Dame 4-1. The win was sweet revenge for the Irish who lost to BC in last year's National Championship game 4-1.
(16)Vermont tied and won on the weekend while (19)Massachusetts lost to Merrimack in their only action.
In a battle of Ivy League powerhouses, the Big Red Machine came out on top over the Tigers as (17)Cornell shut out (9)Princeton 1-0. Spruce Grove, Alberta product Ben Scrivens (pictured) stood on his head for Cornell, kicking out 43 Princeton shots and was outstanding in the 3rd when Cornell was outshot 20-5. The Tigers rebounded Saturday by beating Colgate 2-1 in overtime, while Cornell remained unbeaten in 2 games playing to a 0-0 tie with Quinnipiac where Scrivens stopped 25 shots for his second straight shut out.
Notes: Things can't be fun in Providence right now, the Friars, who haven't been known as an offensive team for the past few years have scored just 8 goals, while giving up 24 and are winless in 5 conference games so far. Despite not playing on the weekend, Air Force teammates Jacques Lamoureaux and Brent Olson still are 1-2 in scoring across the board. Lamoureaux's 11 goals and 8 helpers in 8 games leads the nation, while Olson's 3 goals and 14 assists also in 8 contests puts him #2. Michigan's Aaron Palushaj sits 3rd with 16 points in 10 games. Unbeaten Air Force also has a pretty good last line of defence with Junior Andrew Volkening, he's 8-0 with a .935 save percentage and a 1.49 GAA. However the top tender other than Ben Scrivens - who's only played 2 games - is Nick Pisellini of Quinnipiac. The Freshman who went undrafted last year is 2-1-1 with a .964 save percentage and a.83 GAA in 5 games.