There was a light schedule this past weekend but nevertheless here are the “Performers and Underperformers” for the weekend of December 12-13:
Performers (def: the successful completion of something, often of something that requires tenacity or talent)
- University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks – The Mavericks met the standard for performance this past weekend in their sweep of the St. Cloud State University Huskies. Timely scoring, goaltending and perseverance adequately describe their weekend. On Friday, Ryan Massa turned aside 49 SOG including 19/21 in the first period as Omaha snatched a 3-2 win over the Huskies. Trailing 2-1 after period one, the Mavs scored the only goals of the final two periods including the GWG by Austin Ortega at 6:17 of period three. This was Ortega’s 5th GWG of the season. On Saturday ditto – UNO trailed 2-1 after the first period and again survived a seesaw battle for a 5-3 (EN) win. Austin Ortega again netted the GWG at 7:29 for his 6th game winner of the season. This was a key series sweep for Omaha as they end 2014. They are my “Performer” of the week. Congrats.
- University of Vermont Catamounts – the Catamounts extended their current winning streak to 6 games with a home and home series sweep of St. Lawrence. The Cats squeezed out a tough 2-1 win on Friday on the heels of two first period goals including the GWG by Anthony Petruzzelli. On Saturday, on the road, UVM had another battle on their hands getting outshot by the Saints 35-29 yet leveraged a PP goal and GWG by Kevin Irwin in the second period for a 2-0 win. Mike Santaguida gets the shutout and his fourth win.
- Ferris State University Bulldogs – The Bulldogs schedule in the first half of the season is mild compared to who they’ll face in the conference in the second half. Nevertheless, points are points and they picked up four conference points in a weekend sweep of the struggling LSSU Lakers. On Friday, they overwhelmed the Lakers with 42 SOG and rallied from a 2-1 third period deficit for four straight goals in the 5-2 win. The next night it was no contest as they outshot LSSU 40-24 and blanked the Lakers 5-0. C. J. Motte gets the shutout.
- Western Michigan University Broncos – In the NCHC it’s crucial to earn conference points at home and the Broncos did just that with an overtime win and overtime tie vs last place Colorado College. WMU needed an overtime power play goal by Frederik Tiffels to get the win on Friday. On Saturday, the two squads skated to a 1-1 tie in another very tight game. Nolan LaPort knotted the game at 1-1 with his sixth goal of the season at 15:58 of the third period. By virtue of a shootout win on Saturday, WMU picked up 5 conference points on the weekend. By the way, Tiffels netted the winning shootout goal.
- Bemidji State University Beavers – The Beavers are undefeated in five games after a weekend win and overtime tie with Northern Michigan. Phil Brewer has been a key performer for BSU as of late and he scored the GWG in the third period in the 4-2 win Friday. On Saturday, despite getting outshot 42-20 the Wildcats were able to hang on for the 1-1 overtime tie. Phil Brewer was the hero once again as he netted the GTG at 5:59 of period three.
- Alaska Nanooks – The Nanooks hosted Huntsville and swept the Chargers by scores of 2-1 (ot) and 4-0. Friday’s game probably shouldn’t have ended up in OT but Charger goaltender Carmine Guerriero turned aside 41/42 SOG leading to the overtime session. Taylor Munson scored the OT GWG for the Nanooks at 1:23 of the extra session. On Saturday, the Chargers were outshot 41-14 and shutout 4-0 in a dominating effort by Alaska. This time it was the Chargers Matt Larose who faced the firing squad stopping 37/41 SOG.
- Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers – In a yawner of a series, RIT picked up a win and tie vs a less than mediocre Niagara team. On Friday, they outshot Niagara 48-25 in the beat down. Matt Garbowsky scored twice in the win. Saturday’s contest was on Niagara’s home ice leading to a much more competitive performance by the Purple Eagles. Matt Garbowsky added his 14th goal of the season but NU’s Phillip Nasca preserved the 1-1 tie with a goal at 15:06 of the first period. RIT outshot Niagara 5-1 in the scoreless overtime session.
Underperformers (def: To exhibit a level of performance that is below the standard)
- St. Cloud State University Huskies – The struggles of the Huskies continue after being swept on the road by Omaha. Since November 1, the Huskies are 3-5-1 including three one-goal losses. As a result, they’ve fallen to seventh in the NCHC standings. The Huskies placed 49 SOG in Friday’s game yet the 5×5 offensive woes continued as they only scored one even strength tally. Losing top scorer Jonny Brodzinski for nearly the entire third period on a botched contact to the head call by the officiating crew didn’t help matters. On Saturday, in a very close contest, the Huskies were victimized for the second straight night by Austin Ortega who again picked up the GWG. On a positive note, SCSU did score two 5X5 goals.
- St. Lawrence University Saints – The Saints battled hard yet found little offense in being swept in a home and home series by the University of Vermont by scores of 2-1 and 2-0. Like the Huskies, the lack of 5×5 offense was their downfall in this series. Their only goal of the weekend was a power play goal on Friday.
- Lake Superior State University Lakers – The Lakers are battling Huntsville for the cellar in the WCHA after being swept by Ferris State University. The Lakers were outscored 10-2 over the weekend and have lost 6 games in a row and 8 of their last 9. Their record falls to 3-17-0. Ugh.
- University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers – The Chargers are another three-win team currently in the cellar of the WCHA. They suffered a frustrating overtime loss to Alaska 2-1 Friday and were then blanked 4-0 Saturday. But, when you consider they were outshot 87-31 on the weekend and only scored once illustrates how dismal things really are. They travel to Omaha next and having seen the Mavs this past weekend be assured UAH has zero chance of a win.
- University of Michigan Wolverines – The Wolverines are an average team in an average conference and were defeated 5-1 by an average Boston College squad. They outshot BC 42-29 but Thatcher Demko stood tall in goal for the Eagles. The loss drops Michigan’s overall record to 8-7-0.
- University of Wisconsin Badgers – I’m not sure I should even include the Badgers on the list this week since it was an exhibition game. Nevertheless it was another loss for the Badgers. This time to the USNTDP-U18 squad. This loss followed the departure of first-year defenseman, Keegan Ford who “Just wasn’t having any fun coming to the rink”. Really…gee I wonder why. UW faces Michigan Tech next after a two-week break. You can bet the Huskies will show no mercy on the one-win Badgers.
Congrats to the Omaha Mavericks for being anointed the “Performer” of the week after their conference home sweep of the SCSU Huskies.