Here is what you need to know about the eight future National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams from this past weekend.
Central Collegiate Hockey Association
The CCHA Standings
Future NCHC team Miami wrapped up the final CCHA regular-season title Saturday night while Western Michigan finishes the season five points behind the RedHawks in third.
OXFORD, Ohio—Ryan McKay has been a stalwart in between the pipes all season for No. 3 Miami and on Saturday the freshman made 28 saves to deliver the RedHawks their fourth, and last ever, CCHA regular-season title with a 4-2 victory over Ohio State at Steve Cady Arena.
“The regular-season championship is a difficult one to win because you have to be good consistently for six months,” coach Enrico Blasi said. “If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to win one it’s pretty amazing.”
“As far as this team is concerned, I don’t think anyone would have picked them to do anything,” Blasi added. “For them to set themselves up at the beginning of the year to just go out and play and have fun for each other, I’m so proud in the way they’ve conducted themselves.”
Blake Coleman and Riley Barber got things started for the RedHawks (22-9-5, 17-7-4-4 CCHA) when they assisted on Curtis McKenzie’s power-play goal a little over halfway into the game to give Miami a 1-0 lead on the Buckeyes (14-15-7, 13-10-5-1).
“That trophy’s forever ours now,” McKenzie said about winning the last CCHA regular-season title. “It’s a special, special win.”
Barber then notched his 15th goal of the year to give Miami a 2-0 lead in the second period and Coleman scored his 20th of the season to make it 3-0 7:14 into the third.
Barber leads the CCHA with 36 points (15g, 21a).
Cody Murphy added a late third period goal for the RedHawks final tally of the regular season.
Miami has previously won CCHA titles in 1992-93, 2005-06 and 2009-10, as well as a CCHA Tournament title in 2011.
Friday night the RedHawks were blanked 3-0 by Brady Hjelle (29 saves) and Ohio State despite outshooting the Buckeyes 29-16. McKay finished with 13 saves and two goals against.
The RedHawks, which earned a first-round bye and home ice for the second round of the CCHA Tournament, begin postseason play by hosting a best-of-three second-round series against a team to be determined (depending on first-round results) on Friday, March 15 at Steve Cady Arena.
EAST LANSING, Mich.—No. 8 Western Michigan had a goal waved off with 1:39 remaining and could not solve Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand (28 saves) in a 1-0 loss Saturday at Munn Ice Arena.
The Broncos (19-9-8, 15-7-6-5 CCHA) entered the night with a chance of capturing the CCHA title, but with the loss WMU finishes the regular season in third place with 54 points.
The Broncos thought they had tied the game after deflecting a puck in on the power play but the referees disallowed the goal claiming a player was in the crease. The referees chose to not review the play.
“It was an important element,” said WMU coach Andy Murray. “We just watched it twice; after the puck goes in the net it appears he falls backwards, and he was still a foot from it. He ends up back afterwards, we clearly saw.”
Anthony Hayes scored for Michigan State (11-22-3, 9-18-1-0) 10:07 into the game.
Five different Broncos scored Friday night and WMU defeated Michigan State 5-2 for the first time since Feb. 17, 2007. Frank Slubowski earned the win by making 20 saves and not allowing a single-strength goal. Chase Balisy led the way with a team-high five shots on goal and finished the night with a goal and an assist.
Western Collegiate Hockey Association
The WCHA Standings
No. 7/9 St. Cloud State remains in first place of the tightly contested WCHA with 35 points. No. 6 North Dakota is in second place tied with Minnesota and two points behind the Huskies.
No. 13/15 Nebraska Omaha slipped to sixth place (30 points) while Denver (29), Colorado College (24) and Minnesota-Duluth (21) are in seventh, eighth and ninth place respectively.
MINNEAPOLIS—No. 2 Minnesota scored three goals in a span of three minutes and 52 seconds in the third period to defeat No. 10/11 Denver 5-1 Saturday in front of 10,124 at Mariucci Arena and earn a weekend split with the Pioneers.
Minnesota (22-7-5, 14-7-5 WCHA) began its offensive outbreak and took its first lead of the weekend series with 10:08 remaining after Nick Bjugstad drilled a one-timer to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead.
Justin Holl and Sam Warning quickly made it 4-1 by scoring with 7:36 and 6:16 left in the game.
Denver (17-11-5, 12-9-5) started the game by capitalizing on its first power-play opportunity when Scott Mayfield scored his third goal of the season by dekeing past Adam Wilcox and beating the goaltender high on his stick side.
However that’s all the Pioneers would be able to muster against Wilcox (31 saves).
Sam Brittain made 38 saves in defeat.
Friday night was a different story for the Pioneers.
Senior Shane Ostrow broke up a scoreless game 18 seconds into the final period and Denver hung on for a 2-0 victory over the Gophers. Ty Loney added an empty-net goal.
Juho Olkinuora was a stone wall in net for DU and made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season.
St. Cloud, Minn.—Michigan Tech scored three goals in the game’s opening five minutes to down St. Cloud State 5-1 on the road at The National Hockey and Event Center.
Michigan Tech (11-17-4, 7-15-4 WCHA) did not slow down Saturday after scoring three goals in the third period in Friday’s 5-3 loss to SCSU and quickly found the back of the net when Tanner Kero scored 28 seconds into the game.
It was a tough night for St. Cloud (20-13-1, 17-8-1) goalie Ryan Faragher after surrendering four goals on 18 shots in 32:59 of action.
SCSU held off a late rally by Michigan Tech Friday in the third period to defeat the Huskies 5-3. SCSU had opened up a 4-0 lead before Michigan Tech scored three unanswered goals to make it a one-goal game late in the third.
Faragher had 42 saves.
Duluth, Minn.—The University of Minnesota-Duluth was finally able to reap the benefits of its hard work of late and defeated Alabama-Huntsville 4-0 Saturday night at AMSOIL Arena to earn a weekend sweep of the Chargers.
Tony Cameranesi, Mike Seidel (power play) and Austin Farley (power play) picked up their 14th goals of the season as the Bulldogs (12-17-5) unleashed 46 shots on goal. Wade Bergman scored his third goal of the season 8:10 into the final period. Farley and Cameranesi also had two assists each.
UMD ended a nine-game winless streak Friday courtesy of a 4-2 victory over the Chargers.
Justin Crandall, freshman forward Tony Cameranesi, sophomore d-man Chris Casto and senior captain Cody Danberg each scored for the Bulldogs.
Matt McNeely made 25 saves.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—No. 6 North Dakota settled for a 2-2 tie with Bemidji State Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena in front of the second largest crowd (12, 177) in REA history.
Jordan Schmaltz helped UND (18-9-7, 13-6-7 WCHA) pick up the tie when he blasted one past BSU goalie Andrew Walsh (28 saves) with 11:33 remaining in regulation, but North Dakota struggled to get its potent offense going as the Beavers (6-18-8, 5-14-7) blocked 28 of 80 UND’s shots.
“We played hard and in a lot of respects we executed well,” said North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol. “The only thing that stings is not getting the two points, especially on Senior Night.”
Mitch MacMillian scored for the second straight game for North Dakota when he tied the game at 1-1 in the second period.
MacMillian’s younger brother, Mark, had his second straight three-point game with two goals and one assist in North Dakota’s 4-2 victory Friday over the Beavers.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—It was a playoff like atmosphere over the weekend at World Arena where Colorado College split two penalty filled games with No. 9/7 Minnesota State Mankato.
The Tigers (13-6-5, 10-12-4 WCHA) had an impressive 4-1 victory over the Mavericks (21-10-3, 15-10-1),on Friday but on Saturday their fortunes took a turn for the worse falling 7-2 to the Mavericks in a game that saw 81 penalty minutes issued, 55 to CC.
Being forced to play a man down for most of the game hurt the Tigers chances and MSU exploded for five goals in the second period, including three in a 50 second span late in the period.
Joe Howe (40 saves) was bombarded through the first two period and allowed five goals before giving way to Josh Thorimbert (nine saves, two goals allowed).
Matt Leitner had a hat trick for MSU.
Rylan Schwartz and Peter Maric scored for Colorado College.
CC played extremely well in Friday’s 4-1 victory over Minnesota State. Alexander Krushelnyski scored two of three unanswered goals in the third period to propel the Tigers. Howe stopped 31 of 32 shots to earn his ninth win in between the pipes this year.
OMAHA, Neb.—No. 13/15 Nebraska-Omaha had a tough weekend getting swept by No. 16 Wisconsin and has now lost five straight at the CenturyLink Center.
The Badgers (16-11-7, 12-7-7) continued their strong play of late by using a four-goal second period to defeat the Mavericks (18-14-2, 14-10-2) 6-2.
Josh Archibald tied the game for Nebraska-Omaha by sneaking a goal past Joel Rumpel.
Nick Seeler tallied the Mavericks other goal with a wrist shot at 9:26 of the third.
Wisconsin escaped with a 4-3 victory Friday night when Brendan Woods broke a 3-3 tie with 1:42 remaining in the game.
The Mavericks had entered the third trailing 2-1 before Andrej Sustr banged home a rebound to tie the game at 3-3. Sustr has a career-high eight goals this season.
Photo courtesy of Miami Athletics.