|NCHC Standings: T-1) Miami, 7-3-0, 21 pts; T-1) UMD, 7-3-0, 21 pts; |
3) UNO, 6-3-1-1, 20 pts; 4) UND, 6-3-1, 19 pts; 5) DU, 4-3-0, 12 pts;
6) WMU, 2-6-2-2, 10 pts; 7) SCSU, 2-5-1, 7 pts; 8) CC, 0-8-1, 1 pt
The UND men’s hockey team and Denver played another high-energy, heated conference series this weekend as the Pioneers and netminder Evan Cowley took Friday night’s contest 4-1. North Dakota battled back on Saturday for a convincing 3-1 victory, earning the National Collegiate Hockey Conference split.
Here’s what stood out for the DDC in this week’s Rose and Thorns.
No. 1 – Nick Mattson
The senior defenseman showed some veteran savvy in a big way on Saturday night. After being scratched the previous four games, Mattson netted UND’s first goal of the game and added an assist in the 3-1 victory. With Troy Stecher expected to be out through January, a contributing Mattson would be huge for UND.
No. 2 – Bryn Chyzyk
Chyzyk returned from injury and scored a big goal in Friday night’s game that got UND back in it at 2-1. He added an assist on Saturday. The junior has taken huge strides this season and it was nice seeing Chyzyk continue his good play after missing a good chunk of time with an injury.
No. 3 – Evan Cowley
DU head coach Jim Montgomery said after Saturday night’s 3-1 loss that he planned on using freshman goaltender Tanner Jaillet regardless of Cowley’s performance on Friday. Montgomery may be regretting that decision as Cowley was much better than Jaillet this weekend. The sophomore goalie came up huge on Friday, stopping 29 of 30 shots, also adding an assist. His save on the doorstep on UND’s Connor Gaarder with DU nursing a 2-1 lead in the third kept DU rolling and he earned the 4-1 win.
No. 1 – Refereeing/Penalties
Ok. DDC gets it. No excuses. You can’t control the calls on the ice. However, the checking from behind call on UND’s top centerman and assistant captain Mark McMillan that saw the senior get ejected just seven minutes into the game, was flat out awful. Below is the call. You judge for yourself. Losing McMillan, UND was forced to jumble lines, even going as far as pulling Tucker Poolman from the blue line to forward. This call put North Dakota on its heels early on and made a big impact on a rivalry series. Two minutes? Sure. Five? Not a chance. Denver, in DDC’s opinion, was a bit soft on their skates this weekend and a talented power play group took advantage. Look, DDC understands that UND isn’t full of angels and protecting players is very important. However, calls like that shouldn’t be game changers. Call the two. Keep McMillan on the ice. Move on.
No. 2 – Stephane Pattyn
Pardon me for calling out the captain of this team, but the burley forward has put UND behind the 8-ball a few times this season with silly, after the whistle penalties. The forward did it again on Friday with an unsportsmanlike call. DDC has always loved the grit and gristle that Pattyn has brought to his team, but, UND would prefer to keep its captain out of the box.
No. 3 – Coltyn Sanderson
Sanderson didn’t directly do anything to earn a spot on DDC’s thorns this week, but that may be precisely why he’s on this list. Once again, Sanderson was completely invisible on Friday night and freshman Johnny Simonson took his spot on Saturday and in DDC’s opinion, it should stay that way going forward. Sanderson’s lack of skill isn’t hurting the team, as the junior doesn’t see much of the ice, but Simonson is simply a better option.