Shootouts could send UMD men's hockey team on the road
Despite having the same number of NCHC wins, losses and ties as Nebraska-Omaha going into the final weekend of the college men's hockey regular season, fifth-place Minnesota Duluth finds itself three points back of the third-place Mavericks in th...
Despite having the same number of NCHC wins, losses and ties as Nebraska-Omaha going into the final weekend of the college men’s hockey regular season, fifth-place Minnesota Duluth finds itself three points back of the third-place Mavericks in the conference standings.
The reason: Omaha wins shootouts and the Bulldogs don’t.
“I think every game should end in a hockey play, not a one-on-one situation,” UMD assistant coach Jason Herter said. “I know it’s exciting for the fans, but if we’re going to have overtime, let’s play overtime until someone wins. I don’t care if it takes four overtimes. … Let’s keep the concessions open and finish it off.”
While Herter and the Bulldogs focus this week on preventing a shootout from deciding its series at Western Michigan, those points gained by the Mavericks and lost by the Bulldogs in a skills competition could be the deciding factor as to who gets to host a first-round NCHC playoff series and who hits the road.
Omaha, which hosts last-place Colorado College this weekend, with 39 points is 3-0 in shootouts while the Bulldogs at 36 points are 0-3 having lost two last weekend at home to the Mavericks and another at home on Jan. 16 to Western Michigan.
In between the Bulldogs and Mavericks holding down the final home-ice playoff spot is fourth-place Denver, which won its lone shootout. That extra point keeps the Pioneers two ahead of UMD and one point out of third going into its series at St. Cloud State.
“It’s tough when you lose that extra point. It could be a big difference-maker,” UMD junior wing Austin Farley said. “We could be up on Omaha if we got those two points. We could be four out of six on the weekend, instead we were two out of six.”
The Bulldogs were 2-0 in NCHC shootouts last season converting on 3-of-7 attempts. This year UMD is 2-of-8. Freshman goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo has allowed six goals on nine attempts with two saves.
Sophomore wing Alex Iafallo, who missed last weekend’s series against Omaha and is out again this week against the Broncos with an illness, has the most career shootout goals for UMD with two in three attempts. He’s 1-for-1 this season.
“Personally I’m not a big fan of ties. I don’t mind the shootout,” said sophomore center Dominic Toninato, who made his first and only attempt Saturday against Omaha. “We’re not doing too hot in shootouts, so maybe (no shootouts) would help us out.”
The NCHC is one of two leagues in NCAA Division I men’s hockey, along with the Big Ten, to use shootouts to break ties. The now-defunct CCHA was the first league to adopt them in the regular season starting in 2008-09 until it’s demise in 2012-13. The NCAA does not recognize shootouts or use them to determine its postseason tournament.
Hickel, Lacquette named All-WCHA
Bulldogs seniors Zoe Hickel and Brigette Lacquette were named to the All-WCHA women’s second team on Wednesday. UMD, which finished fourth during the regular season at 20-12-5 overall and 14-10-4 in the league, didn’t pick up any first-team honors after being ousted by Bemidji State in three games in the opening round of the playoffs.
Hickel, a captain and wing, recorded a career- and team-high 19 goals and 32 points. Lacquette, a defenseman, finished with seven goals and a career-high 18 assists. Lacquette leaves UMD third all-time among Bulldogs defenseman in career goals (20), sixth in assists (49) and seventh in points (69).
Hickel will represent the United States at the upcoming IIHF Women’s World Championships in April. Lacquette, who was centralized with Canada during the 2014 Winter Olympics, is awaiting to see if she will be back with Canada for the World Championships.
Vasichek recovering from transplant
UMD women’s hockey equipment manager and strength and conditioning coach Julianne “Montana” Vasichek remains hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., following a liver transplant Saturday.
Vasichek, who won three national titles as a player at UMD from 2001-2005, has been living with ulcerative colitis - a chronic digestive disease - since 2002 and primary sclerosing cholangitis - which affects the bile ducts in the liver - since 2007.
According to the Caring Bridge website maintained by her brother, Gabriel, Vasichek is conscious and beginning to move gradually.
For updates on her condition, visit her Caring Bridge website at caringbridge.org/visit/juliannevasichek.