Cale Morris earned Big Ten 1st Star honors for the fourth straight week
Pretty sure there's not a connection, but we can't help but wonder if the unseasonably warm weather has anything to do with how hot the Irish have been lately. With their fifth-straight series sweep, Notre Dame stretched their win streak to eleven games - the longest in nearly 30 years. After a shaky start to his season, Cale Morris earned his fourth shutout in the last seven games and has a chokehold on the starting netminder job.
The Spartans snuck one past Morris in the final minute of the first period Friday, but that would end up as their only goal of the weekend. Jake Evans and Cal Burke scored nearly a minute apart in the second to regain the lead, and Colin Theisen added an insurance goal in the third to account for the final margin.
Andrew Oglevie's tally just 90 seconds into Saturday's contest would be all the offense the Irish needed to complete the sweep, while Burke's empty netter with 14 ticks left sealed the deal. Morris ended the weekend with 52 saves, improving his stats to 1.46 (GAA) and 0.955 (Sv%). Evans maintained his NCAA points lead with a goal and two assists to raise his total to 28 (7g/21a).
Another big test awaits the Irish as they close out the first half with a trip to Madison, Wisconsin. The Badgers looked to be a serious threat to win the B1G when they picked up netminder Kyle Hayton from St. Lawrence, but Hayton has seen his numbers drop dramatically from his ECAC days and the Badgers have struggled to find any sort of consistency.
Zach Larson came through with some big saves to help the Warriors earn the sweep
As hot as the Irish have been, the Warriors have been even hotter. Indiana Tech has yet to suffer a regulation loss, running it's record to 13-0-0-1 with the sweep of the Lindewood Lynx. Jace Childs added a bit of breathing room in the NAIA scoring race, tallying five points (3g, 2a) on the weekend. Saturday's OT goal was Childs' seventh game-winner of the season.
Tech would start off Friday with a slight tryptophan hangover, falling behind 2-0 in the first period. But Brian Skillicorn would shake them out of their stupor with his goal at 12:46 and Childs would knot things up a couple minutes later. The Warriors would pull away with three scores in the middle frame and two more in the third. John Slavik finished the night with 29 saves to pick up his seventh win.
Saturday would see the Lynx open up yet another 2-0 lead, but once again the Warriors would storm back. Zach Bennett's second period tally cut the lead in half, and Jarrett Pfeiffer and Jimmie Kotilainen struck less than a minute apart to take a 3-2 lead in the final frame. Belleville would score in the 18th minute to force overtime, but as he has done all season, Childs would come through in the clutch. Zach Larson picked up the win with several huge stops amongst his 24 saves.
Indiana Tech looks to keep the streak alive as they close out the first half on the road against #11 (ACHA D1) Iowa State.
While the Thunder are still searching for their first win of the inaugural season, they did manage to pick up their second point of the season. Friday’s tilt saw the Lumberjacks jump out to an early lead and never look back, racing ahead to 3-0 and 6-1 before coasting to gate. Michael Meisenbacher‘s tally in the second period cut into the Northland advantage, but by the time Corey Robertson and Niko Moulakelis found the back of the net in the third, this one was all but over. The ‘Jacks added three more in the last five minutes to keep the game well out of reach.
Saturday was a different affair though. Despite falling behind in the first few minutes, the Thunder bounced back on goals from Robertson and Chris Garrity to take a slim lead into the locker room at the first break. The Saints would tie things up with the only score in the second period, then take the lead early in the third. Trine would regroup once more, drawing even on Cole Lussier’s tally at 4:37. Robertson would net his third of the weekend to push the Thunder ahead, but St. Scholastica’s gamble with the extra attacker paid off and sent the game into OT. Neither team would come through in the bonus period, but the point would be enough to lift Trine out of the basement.
The Thunder close out the first half on December 15th & 16th with a non-conference series with Chatham. The Cougars are also winless to this point, so there’s a chance Santa could come early and leave a win (or two) under Trine’s tree...
The Hoosiers may look to reschedule all of their remaining home games in Columbus, as they are 3-1 at the friendly confines of Hamilton Ice Arena. Trent Kunas would strike first for Indiana, scoring just fifteen seconds after the opening face-off, but it was Christian Schurmann-Colicchio who stole the show. His second goal of the game put the Hoosiers back on top after Illinois tied things up in the closing minutes of the second period, then tallied the eventual game-winner several minutes later to complete the hat trick.
The Illini looked poised to rebound Saturday, putting the only point on the board in the first period. But the Hoosiers unleashed nearly ten weeks of pent-up frustration after the break, getting goals from six different players to turn a 1-0 deficit into a laugher. A meaningless goal in the final minute of the contest was the only blemish on the best two periods the Hoosiers have strung together all season. Joe Stebbins and Cam McNamara each picked up a win on the weekend.
The Hoosiers can live in this moment for the better part of a month, as they don’t resume action until early January with a series against the Bradley Braves. No word on whether the games will be held in Columbus or Bloomington...
Either the Grizz are much better than anticipated or Trine didn’t take them very seriously, as this series ended up far closer than it should have been. The Thunder sandwiched goals from Braedan Pearl, Brandon Bornkamp, Spencer Johnson, and Niccolo Mombelli around a single Oakland score to lead 4-1 after one. Content to mostly coast at that point, Trine added late period goals in the second and third to take game one 6-2.
Perhaps looking forward to the upcoming break a bit early, the Thunder let the Grizzlies hang around for a couple periods before finally putting them out. Michael Rand put Trine in front just under four minutes into the game, but it would take second period scores from Mombelli and Stan Jatczak to give the Thunder enough cushion. Cody Dombrowski added a goal in the opening minute of the third to stretch the lead to 4-1, but Oakland pull within a pair with over fifteen minutes left. Netminder Tyler Hough squashed any notion of a comeback the Grizz might have had, stopping 27 of 29 on his way to picking up his 10th win of the season.
Trine will resume action in January with a home and home against Toledo.
This weekend was a learning experience for the young Thunder women’s team: the kind of lesson no one enjoys, but one that is sure to pay dividends down the road. The Foresters completely dominated the weekend, but in doing so laid out a blueprint that Trine’s players would be wise to take a very close look at.
On the bright side - if there is one - is that Trine closes out the first half against a team that is struggling just as much. The Aurora Spartans are currently sitting at 1-7 in the NCHA (1-10 overall) and have a worse goal differential than the Thunder (-52 to -32).
No, that's not a typo... the Irish lasses actually did pitch a pair of 6-0 shutouts to open their season with a bang. Kiera Dwyer got things rolling early, hitting the twine less than a minute into the game. Erica Steigauf took over from there with a pair of goals in the second and again in the third. Colleen Dosch wrapped up the scoring with her tally at the 13:20 mark in the third, but the game was long since over by then.
Dosch picked up Saturday where she left off the night before, getting the Irish on the board in the eighth minute of the opening frame. This time it would be the other Steigauf (Gretta) lighting the lamp a couple times, while Dwyer would get a hat trick in the encore. Danielle Williams picked up both the wins in net for the Irish.
Notre Dame will play four games in January following the holiday break, starting with a two-game set against Loyola-Chicago on the 19th & 20th.
Despite 3 games in as many days, the Hoosiers found time to give back to some aspiring young players
The Hoosiers continued their march through the ICHC this weekend, bolstering their record to 11-1-1. A pair of convincing wins over the scuffling Mastadons and another against a steadily improving Eastern Kentucky team should help Indiana at least maintain their hold on a playoff spot going into the holiday recess.
Devan Mackellar added an assist to go with his hat trick to pace the Hoosiers scoring on Friday. Sam Markwood chipped in three points (1g, 2a) while Ben Seinfeld would stop 14 of 15 shots to earn the win between the pipes. Grant Isenbarger accounted for the lone score for the 'Dons.
Saturday's contest was a true team effort, as Markwood and Christian French each picked up four assists to lead Indiana on the scoresheet while five other players would contribute two points a piece. Matthew Turner stopped 20 of 21 for the win, surrendering only a single goal to IPFW's Derek Moss. Taylor Amborn would take the loss in both games of the series.
A fatigued Hoosier squad squared off against Eastern Kentucky on Sunday, who was equally exhausted from their series with Butler. Despite both teams playing their third game in as many days, neither seemed to have any trouble putting shots on net. Indiana's Pat Gorniak netted the only goal in the opening frame, while the second period would see six scores between the two clubs. Brendan Block picked up two of the four Hoosier goals in the period, but Corey Jenks and Cristian Purdom would score to keep the Colonels in game. Cameron Baker's tally in the third drew EKU within two, but they could get no closer. Timothy Muhsman assisted on all three Colonel goals, while Connor Minnick would earn the win with 22 saves.
Indiana returns from the break with their toughest test of the season, squaring off against the North's #4 team in Grand Valley State.
Seeing the Bulldogs and Colonels split the series came as no surprise, although the way things shook out was to a degree. Shots were about as even as we've seen in a ICHC series thus far, with a slight edge going to EKU (83-78). Saturday's rematch went down to the wire, but the opening game Friday was all Colonels. Gabriel Bahn netted three goals and added an assist, andMichael Poe and Muhsman each chipped in a score. Johnathan Johnson stopped all 44 shots he faced to earn the victory, while Jack Sigman took the loss for Butler.
In what started out as a reversal of fortune, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead through the first two period Saturday, led by Jack Unterseher's two goals. Eastern Kentucky would come roaring back though, scoring four times in four minutes to close the gap to a single goal with 4:08 left on the clock. Bahn collected his second hat trick of the weekend, with Jenks adding the other tally to bring the Colonels back from the dead. But Sigman and the Bulldogs would regroup and hang on for the win. Johnson would stop 29 of 34 shots in the losing effort.
ICHC play continues for both teams after the holidays, with Butler taking on IPFW and Eastern Kentucky wrapping up their conference schedule against Ball State.
Trenton Mulnix tallied four goals on the weekend to help earn three points for the Thunder
The Thunder picked up three points this week as they look to make a midseason push toward the North top ten. Friday's tilt between Trine and ACHA Division 2 Xavier was a seesaw battle, with the lead changing hands four times in regulation. Xavier pulled in front 1-0 and 2-1 in the opening frame, but goals from Jalan Armstrong and Trenton Mulnix would reel them back in each time. The Thunder would take their first lead of the game with seven seconds left in on the clock and head to the locker room up 3-2. The Musketeers would tie things up again in the second, but Trine would regain their one-goal edge on Adam Bedford's score at 16:55. The Thunder couldn't hold on to the lead, surrendering the tying goal just 1:15 into the third, but neither team could get the game winner in regulation or overtime. Xavier did come out on top in the shootout, but the game officially goes down as a 4-4 tie as the ACHA doesn't recognize shootouts in non-conference play.
Despite a couple days off to recover from the Indiana series, the 'Dons continued to struggle in the odd Tuesday matchup in Angola. Jacob Ruelle would open the scoring for Trine less than 30 seconds in, and tack on three assists to pace the Thunder on the scoresheet. Mulnix would tally a hat trick and an assist to keep even with Ruelle, while Tyler Groth, Ryan Dumond, and Michael Wiggins each chipped in three points on the night. Justin Savage recorded his first shutout of the season, stopping all 24 shots he faced.
The Thunder close out the first half with a home & home against Ball State. The Cardinals will host game one on Friday, with the rematch at the Thunderdome* on Saturday afternoon.
Indiana Tech squared off against the North division leaders this weekend, and learned first-hand why the Spartans are at the top. Michigan State leveled 43 shots at Christopher Boyd and the Warriors net, connecting on seven of them. Tech hurt themselves in the second period, picking up two misconducts and turning a 1-0 hole into a 5-0 abyss. MSU would add two more to finish off game one 7-0.
Tech would put up a fight in the rematch, as Connor Barney scored once in the first to put the Warriors up 1-0 and again in the third to tie the game at 2-2. But the Spartans' Tristan Eggenberger would tally four times - including a natural hat trick in the third - to dash any notion of a split. Boyd would take the loss in game two as well, nearly going the distance except for a span of 23 seconds in favor of an extra attacker.
Indiana Tech will likely drop out of the top ten in this week's rankings but shouldn't fall too far given how good the Spartans are. Things don't get any easier though, as the Warriors face North #4 Grand Valley State when they return to campus in January.
Having taken more than their fair share of lumps this season, it was high time the Greyhounds had a good-old-fashioned rumble to get excited about. Middle Tennessee State has also had their struggles, coming into the series still searching for their first win. The Blue Raiders would come away with their first three points of the season, but they wouldn't come easily. Both games ended up as slugfests, with MTSU outlasting UIndy 7-6 in game one, and the Greyhounds scoring a final round knockout in OT on Saturday.
Rumor has it that the Greyhounds roster has taken some hits with injury and attrition, and the team will use the break to determine if they are able to finish out the season. For their sake (and ours!) we hope they find a way to pull through.
Rest may have been just what the Irish needed, as they showed no signs of that the extended break interfered with their rythym in any way. Alec Asensio opened the scoring about halfway through the first period, giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. The Irish would dominate the next period and a half, stretching the lead to 5-0 before Loyola finally broke through with a pair. Carter Swanson would add the exclamation point to the win with his goal at 16:53, and Noah Wamble picked up his second win of the season.
A flurry of goals in the third period made this one closer than it should have been. David Wendel tallied back to back goals to put the Irish up 2-0, and Swanson doubled that lead, netting his back to back scores just 32 seconds apart. The Ramblers would get one of their own before the end of the period, but Notre Dame added four more in the second to push their advantage to 8-2. Loyola opened the final frame with three goals in the first six minutes, then tacked on another with 4:14 left to play to close to 8-6. Matt Eberton scored his second of the night to douse the Ramblers dreams of an epic comeback. Swanson would pick up his third assist on the goal, his five points pacing the Irish scoring. David Troyes would also earn his second win of the season between the pipes.
Notre Dame resumes play after the winter recess with a road series against North #6 Hope College.