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Friday Night Thoughts: Union and North Dakota Earn High Rankings

Matt Christians

For the second Friday night in a row, I spent the night on my couch following college hockey action from around the country. He's a few thoughts and notes that caught my eye tonight.

union scsu meme

-Many were expecting Union vs. St. Cloud State to be the game of the night, but Friday night's game was nearly over before it started. It took Union just 8:54 to build a 3-0 lead and they cruised from there. For more on this game, read Jeff Cox's game story.

-Michigan's offense exploded in a 8-4 win over UMass Lowell at Lowell tonight. Michigan's Zach Hyman had 3-2-5, the first five-point game from a Wolverine since Aaron Palushaj in 2009. Hyman was the type of player last season that was always creating good scoring chances, but capitalizing on very few of them. Nice to see him finally producing in his final campaign.

-North Dakota is another team that had a slow start to their season, but looked very impressive tonight with a 6-1 win over Providence. A team that relies on scoring-by-committee like North Dakota is going to have nights where they struggle to score, but on night's like this where everybody is going good, they're going to be impossible to stop.

-It was a low-scoring kind of night, with three games ending 1-0. Michigan Tech got a third period goal from Blake Pietila to hand Ferris State the Bulldogs first WCHA conference loss on their home ice. Jack Eichel picked up an assist on Boston Univesity's only goal in a 1-0 win over Michigan State, and Alaska-Fairbanks stayed undefeated with a 1-0 win at Western Michigan.

-Speaking of which, Western Michigan hasn't scored a goal in 158:42, dating back to the early second period of their Friday night loss to Nebraska-Omaha last weekend.

-Denver picked up a 3-1 win on the road against Minnesota Duluth. The poor starts continued for UMD; they gave up a goal to Denver's Troy Loney in the first minute of the game. It was another loss where they outshot their opponent too, though this time, it was the offense that let them down as much as anything. The Bulldogs only scored once on 31 shots on goal, including going scoreless on a five-minute major power play in the game's final 5+ minutes. I'm very excited to see tomorrow's game live.

--I watched Minnesota State and Alabama-Huntsville because, I don't know, it was on TV, I guess. Alabama-Huntsville goalie Carmine Guerriero made 37 saves in the first two periods to keep the game scoreless after forty minutes, but Jean-Paul LaFontaine finally broke through for Minnesota State 51 seconds into the third period. The Mavericks added an insurance goal and the result never seemed in doubt after that. It wasn't pretty by any means, but Minnesota State earned two points with a 3-1 victory.

-After a promising start to the season with a surprise win over Notre Dame, RPI has now lost four straight, including a home loss to Bentley. It's been hard to figure out why RPI has struggled so badly recently when they have a decent amount of talent, but the results have not been good, and it's made even worse by the success their biggest rival in Union is having.