Monday, January 14, 2013

UMD Sweeps; WCHA Race Tightens

Four Points Propels UMD into Top Half of League

A relatively decisive weekend in the WCHA created a logjam in the top half of the conference.  Five conference series took place and three were sweeps.  Of the other two, one was a split and the other was a three point/one point split.

Minnesota Duluth started their 2013 campaign the way they needed to advance by winning two one-goal games at home against Michigan Tech.  The games were very different, but results were the same on the 1-0 and 5-4 wins.  Freshman UMD goaltender Matt McNeely out dueled fellow freshman Phoenix Copley in both games to pull his record to 7-6-1.

The main result of the weekend was the four points for the Bulldogs.  UMD’s overall record isn’t good, but the conference record is good enough to be in the hunt for home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.  UMD got their wins and a team in front of them, Minnesota State Mankato, was swept putting UMD currently in the top half of the league.  The unexpected part is Wisconsin is on a run and right there tied with UMD for points in the league.

Coming up for UMD is a trip to Colorado College who is now in eighth place in the WCHA after a split in Grand Forks.  The current places of UMD and CC were not foreseen here, but this is where we are at and UMD has to keep up their winning ways.

Elsewhere in the WCHA.  There was some uneasy moments Friday, but in the end, Minnesota Twin Cities pulled out a win against Alaska – Anchorage before routing the Seawolves Saturday.  The Friday win was not without controversy as a borderline check from behind major was called against UAA.  It was on that five minute power play that UMTC scored two goals to tie and take the lead for good in a 4-3 win.

Avenging a home sweep earlier this year, Wisconsin returned the favor against host Minnesota State Mankato.  Both games went deep into overtime and both game winners were scored by John Ramage at 4:28 and 4:54 respectively. 

Omaha took their WCHA first place team to the front range to play Denver.  The Mavs lead the Pioneers by two points before the weekend.  After a Denver win Friday and a tie Saturday, the two teams share the lead in the WCHA.

At North Dakota, Colorado College won Friday snapping a 0-6-1 winless streak before losing Saturday.  The Tigers win kept North Dakota out of first in the league and now tied for second with UMTC, their next opponent this weekend.  UMTC and UND are the only two teams who have played 14 games opposed to 16 for the rest of the league.

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