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Saturday Recap

Minnesota took control of the WCHA regular season race tonight with a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin. Wisconsin came out playing great and dominating early on, but only managing to build a 1-0 lead. Kellen Briggs deserves all the credit for giving the Gophers the chance to win.

You have to feel bad for Shane Connelly. He played well once again, but the two late goals he let him were saves that Brian Elliott probably would have made. Wisconsin really needs to get Elliott back as soon as possible.

The most disappointing part of the game is that the Gophers can’t seem to score a goal without feeling the need to taunt the opposing crowd. Tonight it was Phil Kessel, who scored the third goal of the game and decided to taunt the Wisconsin crowd. You can say what you want about Kessel being harassed by the Madison crowd, but when Kessel made his choice to go to Minnesota, that was one of the things he should have expected. Kessel is one of the most talented young players in the world, and it’s up to him what kind of reputation he earns for himself. Displays like the one he put on tonight won’t help that reputation.

Michigan and Michigan played to another tie, this time at Joe Louis Arena. Michigan has to be disappointed that they blew a two goal third period lead, but gained the two points on the weekend that they needed to stay within striking distance of MSU to catch them with their games in hand.

St. Cloud State completed their sweep at the Ralph Englestad Arena in North Dakota. They won both games 2-1, which is the style of hockey that St. Cloud wants to play. Keep it low scoring and let Bobby Goepfert win the game.

Next weekend will be a great situation for St. Cloud. They get the struggling Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves at home, while the two teams they’re chasing, Colorado College, and North Dakota face off against each other. A sweep by either team in that series gives the Huskies a huge advantage over the loser, while a split would give St. Cloud the chance at passing both to finish fourth in the league. It’s absolutely critical that the Huskies don’t give any points away at home next weekend.

After outplaying the Duluth Bulldogs three times and only having a 1-1-1 record against them, Minnesota State said "enough is enough" and absolutely laid the wood on the struggling Bulldogs with a 7-1 victory. Duluth had chances early after David Backes got tossed for a questionable check from behind call. The Mavericks killed off the powerplay and when they got their own 5 minute advantage in the second period, they scored two goals on the powerplay and scored two more quick goals later in the period to effectively end the game.

The Mavericks are still probably too far out of things to get home ice unless Colorado College really fell apart, but the sweep gives them some breathing room over the bottom of the league. Duluth is a fullscale freefall right now, losing six straight. After a good first half of the season, they’ve pretty much lost all hope of a good finish in the WCHA.

Western Michigan tied Northern Michigan early this afternoon as part of Michigan’s "Hockey Day" celebration. It must be frustrating to be a Northern Michigan fan and always be so close to being very good, but never able to put away the teams they should beat.

Elsewhere in the CCHA, Miami held serve again, beating Ferris State, and Lake Superior completed their sweep over Bowling Green. After getting shutout 1-0 last night, Notre Dame returned the favor by shutting out Ohio State 1-0.

Omaha picked up their first ever win in Fairbanks late last night and moved to 7th in the PWR. Unfortunately, Notre Dame and Minnesota State creeped closer to TUC consideration, which would put a big dent in UNO’s TUC record.