This past week was the final week of the regular season of college hockey. College hockey will take a week off before they start their conference championships. There will be 16 teams that begin the tournament which will all be decided in Tampa in mid-April. The question is will the top 16 teams be the ones that will be there? As far as it comes to the top 10 there was not much of a change. The bottom five are the Boston University Terriers, Harvard Crimson, Penn State Nittany Lions, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Western Michigan Broncos. The top five stayed the same with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Quinnipiac Bobcats, Denver Pioneers, Michigan Wolverines, and St. Cloud State Huskies. The team that is outside the top 10 that is making noise is the Michigan Tech Huskies. Let’s hope they do well in the tournament and make a surprise.
The past weeks’ games for the St. Cloud State Huskies were both against the Omaha Mavericks. They have two more this week against the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. When they played against the Mavericks, they were 1-1. The odd thing is that both games ended with the same final score. In game one the Huskies came out and scored two goals in the first period. The Mavericks scored their first goal in the second period, but the Huskies scored three more. Each team scored one goal in the third. One of the best things about this game was that St. Cloud State scored three power-play goals. Each of the goals happens in every period. The winning goal came off the stick of Veeti Miettinen in the second period.
In game two The Mavericks turn the table on the Huskies. They came out and scored a pair of goals in the first period. Just like in game one there was a three-goal period but this time it was the Mavericks. Each team had a power-play goal in this game. Omaha’s game-winning goal was in period two off the stick of Jacob Guevin. This was a big loss for St. Cloud State but with the last two games against Minnesota Duluth let’s see if they can turn it around. The Huskies could bounce back before their conference tournament starts.
The Big 10 once again just like they do in most sports have a stronghold in sports. When it comes to college hockey there are five in the top 10. The Michigan Wolverines finished up their regular season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both games were at home in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, the Wolverines lost both of their final two games. The first game ended in a 3-3 tie that ended in a shootout loss. It was an exciting first period as each team scored two goals. One regular goal and the other a power play goal. Neither team scored a goal in the second period. In the final period, each team scored a power-play goal. Notre Dame’s goal came from Jack Adams the Wolverines’ goal came from Adam Fantilli. This was a big win for the Irish who had a sub-par season.
In game two it also went overtime like game one did. This game many will say was kind of boring as in the first two periods there were no goals scored. For the Fighting Irish goaltender Ryan Bischel had 22 saves and Erik Portillo had 13 saves through the first two periods. In the final period, it started with a Notre Dame goal scored by Drew Bavaro. The Wolverines answered with a goal scored by Mackie Samoskevich halfway through the period which forced overtime. It would be Drew Bavaro scoring again and the winning goal in overtime another exciting stat was Hunter Strand had two assists. This did not hurt the Wolverines, but it helped Notre Dame finish the season above .500. Each team now will focus on the Big 10 tournament Michigan will play Wisconsin and Notre Dame will play Michigan State.
The Denver Pioneers had two games against another top-10 team the Western Michigan Broncos. These were road games for the Pioneers. In the first game after one period Denver was down 2-1. But after that, they exploded with two goals a piece in the final two periods. The Pioneers had three power-play goals. The winning goal came in the second period scored by Carter Mazur. Denver forward Mike Benning had two goals in a 5-2 final and a win for Denver. In game two once again Denver was down after the first period. The Pioneers were down 1-0. But just like the first game they scored two goals in period two and added another in the final period. The winning goal was once again scored by Carter Mazur who scored in the third period. The Pioneers won 3-1. They now have two games left against Colorado College.
When it comes to the top two teams it has been like a broken record same two teams at the top. The Quinnipiac Bobcats find themselves in the number two spot. They finished off their regular season with two games against two different teams. The first was versus the Union Dutchmen. For the Bobcats it was just another game at the rink they came out in the first period and scored two goals. In the game, they held the Dutchmen to one goal which they allowed in the third period. Yaniv Perets made 19 of 20 saves. Quinnipiac came out on top 4-1 with the game-winning goal scored by Michael Lombardi. In the next game, they faced RPI Engineers. This time the Bobcats found themselves down after the first period. But rebounded with two goals a piece in the final two periods.
Quinnipiac had two power-play goals one in the second period and one in the third period. The game-winning goal scored by Jacob Quillan was the first power-play goal. Another great game from Yaniv Perets making another 19 saves. The Bobcats would go on to beat the Engineers 4-1. On the season Quinnipiac had 28 wins and only three losses in regulation. Many say they are the number one team in college hockey. They now will focus on their conference championship. They will most likely be the favorite to win it all and be in the final in Tampa.
Finally, the number one team in college hockey is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They finished their regular season against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes are in the top 10 one of the five that are. The game started with no goals. The Golden Gophers scored four in the second period two coming from Mike Koster. Justen Close had a shutout he made all 23 saves. In game two Ohio State scored first and lead after the first period. Minnesota allowed the Buckeyes to score another one in period two. But on the other hand, they scored three in the second period. They added another two in the final period to a 5-2 win. Minnesota plays again in 10 days in the Big 10 champion tournament. They finished the season with 25 wins with eight losses.
Another exciting week and some teams in the Top 10 still have games upcoming this week. Let’s see how those tournaments turn out. I am looking forward to seeing which 16 teams make it to the tournament which will be decided in Tampa, Florida. I can see that one of the top five teams comes to take home the national championship. The defending champion the Denver Pioneers is currently the third-ranked team in college hockey. Many will say that Quinnipiac is the best and top team over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Let’s see how the final week and the conference tournaments come out.
What are your thoughts on this week in college hockey? Leave a comment below.
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