A little late with this, but by now you probably know that the Beavers beat Minnesota on Saturday before falling to St. Cloud State in Sunday’s North Star College Cup final.
I’ll spare you the recap since it’s old news by now, but it was a fun weekend of hockey at the X — every game was good save the title game and the fans who did show up were loud and had a good time.
I’ll have a column about my thoughts on the North Star Cup in Wednesday’s Pioneer, I’ll post it here when it’s online. Overall, I think the tournament could turn into a destination thing like Boston’s Beanpot and the Great Lakes Invitational in Michigan. It will never be at the caliber of the Final Five, but as a showcase for hockey in the state it has an opportunity to turn into a “family reunion” of sorts for the 5 Division I programs in the state.
Anyway, look for that later.
Special teams success
A weird stat that I wasn’t really able to fit into my game story, but, somehow BSU managed to hold St. Cloud State off the scoreboard entirely on the power play this weekend.
OK, small sample size — the Beavers had two penalties, one of which was a 5-minute major with less than two minutes left in a blowout — but it’s still an accomplishment, considering the Huskies had scored on three of five power plays in their win over Mankato on Saturday. St. Cloud is second in the country on the man-advantage with 33 goals in 104 tries (31.7 percent).
There were actually only three penalties in the entire game, and the Beavers happened to score on their only power play. Which basically means BSU went 3-for-3 on combined special teams.
Which, yeah, no big deal — it obviously didn’t matter since St. Cloud absolutely dominated even-strength play.
I just think it’s interesting just how well the Beavers’ special teams have been as a whole this year. They’ve given up just 10 goals while on the penalty kill — which is third in the country. Not bad for a .500 team.
Beaver women fall to Minnesota
Although the BSU women played very well against Minnesota in both games this weekend, they still came up empty. The Beavers lost a pair of 2-1 games — in both instances, the Gophers scored a late goal to win.
That means the Beavers are a combined 0-8 against Wisconsin and Minnesota, the top two teams in the WCHA. They’re 12-1-1 against everyone else in the conference.
Still, they’re in pretty good shape right now: With just six games to go in the regular season, the Beavers are in fourth place (aka, a home-ice advantage slot) and are 10 points ahead of fifth-place St. Cloud State. A sweep essentially clinches fourth for BSU, which would be its first-ever WCHA home playoff series.
BSU is just two points back of North Dakota and could take third.
No matter where the Beavers end up — and they have a way more favorable end-of-season schedule than UND, which still has to play Minnesota — they’ll still be playing either St. Cloud or Minnesota Duluth. My guess is they’d prefer to play St. Cloud, but if the Huskies get three or more points this weekend that may be less favorable for BSU.
In case you were curious, here’s who I voted for this week. I had St. Cloud as my top team before the weekend, and after watching them beat MSU and BSU this weekend that hasn’t changed:
1. St. Cloud
3. North Dakota
4. Boston College
8. Boston U
11. Michigan Tech
12. Minnesota State
14. Robert Morris
15. Bowling Green
16. Notre Dame
18. Penn State