Alaska Anchorage Blanks Rensselaer Friday; SCSU Ties Union; Denver Splits at OSU; Three League Matchups, Three Non-Conference Games Set for Oct. 17
MADISON, Wis. – Colorado College, Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota all launched their 2009-10 conference seasons with victories on Friday (Oct. 16) night, with the Tigers accomplishing their win on the road in a 3-2 decision over host Wisconsin. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, downed visiting Minnesota State, 5-2, while the host Fighting Sioux blanked Minnesota, 4-0.
The season-long race for the conference championship will again consist of 140 games, with each member team playing a 28-game conference schedule. Other 2009-10 conference season openers are: Alaska Anchorage (Oct. 23-24 vs North Dakota), Denver (Oct. 23-24 at Minnesota), Michigan Tech (Oct. 23-24 at Colorado College), and St. Cloud State (Oct. 23-24 vs Minnesota Duluth).
This 2009-10 campaign marks the 58th in the storied history of the WCHA, with the league owning a record 36 national championships. It will also mark the final season with a membership consisting of 10 teams, as both Bemidji State University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha come on board as the 11th and 12th members in 2010-11.
The conference schedule for Saturday, Oct. 17 has Colorado College (2-1-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) at Wisconsin (0-1-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) at 7:07 pm CT, Minnesota State (2-1-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) at Minnesota Duluth (2-1-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) at 7:07 pm CT, and Minnesota (0-1-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) at North Dakota (3-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) at 7:07 pm CT. In non-conference matchups, Alaska Anchorage will take on Robert Morris at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks (4:35 pm AT) and St. Cloud State will again host Union College (5:07 pm CT) at the National Hockey Center. Idle this weekend is Michigan Tech.
At the Kohl Center on Friday evening, visiting Colorado College rallied from a 2-0 second period deficit to score the final three goals of the game and defeat the Badgers before 11,751 as right winger Tyler Johnson netted the winner at 17:53 of the third and goaltender Joe Howe stopped 39 of 41 shots on goal. For Wisconsin, linemates Blake Geoffrion and Andy Bombach scored goals in the first and second periods, respectively.
At the DECC in Duluth, linemates Jack Connolly (2g, 1a) and Justin Fontaine (2g, 1a) each produced three points and Brady Hjelle had 36 stops between the pipes as UMD triumphed 5-2 over Minnesota State before 4,824. Fontaine had the game-winner on a power-play at 10:26 of the second. For the Mavericks, Austin Lee was credited with 43 saves in nets.
And at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks Friday night, a sellout crowd of 11,840 saw their host Sioux power past visiting Minnesota, 4-0, and remain unbeaten on the young season behind a 22-save effort from goaltender Brad Eidsness, a first period game-winning power-play goal from left winger Jason Gregoire and a second period shorthander from defensemen Derrick Lapointe. In goal for the Golden Gophers, Alex Kangas made 39 saves.
Outside the WCHA on Oct. 16, league-member teams went 1-1-1 in three non-conference matchups as Alaska Anchorage prevailed 3-0 over Rensselaer at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush tourney in Fairbanks, host St. Cloud State skated to a 3-3 overtime tie at home against Union College, and Denver fell 4-0 to host Ohio State after downing the Buckeyes, 2-0, on Thursday. For the Seawolves, center Alex Gellert had the game-winner and Jon Olthuis stopped all 25 shots on goal. For SCSU, a goal from winger Ryan Lasch late in the first gave them a 3-1 advantage. And in Columbus, Ohio State received a 39-save performance from Cal Heeter in shutting out the Pioneers.
Through games of Oct. 16, WCHA-member teams are now a combined 11-8-1 (.575) in 20 non-conference matchups.
This Week in the WCHA
Results of Thursday, Oct. 15: Denver 2 at Ohio State 0 (nc)
Results of Friday, Oct. 16: *Rensselaer 0 vs Alaska Anchorage 3 (nc); Denver 0 at Ohio State 4 (nc) (Nationwide Arena); Colorado College 3 at Wisconsin 2 (WCHA); Minnesota State 2 at Minnesota Duluth 5 (WCHA); Union 3 at St. Cloud State 3 ot (nc), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota 0 at North Dakota 4 (WCHA). * Brice Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK)
Games for Saturday, Oct. 17: *Robert Morris vs Alaska Anchorage (nc), 4:35 pm AT; Union at St. Cloud State (nc), 5:07 pm CT; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota State at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at North Dakota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT. * Brice Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK)
Next Week in the WCHA
Games for Friday, October 23: North Dakota at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT; Denver at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; Wisconsin at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.
Games for Saturday, October 24: North Dakota at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT; Michigan Tech at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; Denver at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Wisconsin at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.