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March 6, 2022
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Notre Dame, NMU, St. Lawrence, RPI, Bemidji the Other Winners

CHN Staff Report

In the biggest upset of the weekend, Penn State got a third-period goal from Dylan Lugris at 13:07 to defeat Ohio State in Columbus and take the best-of-3 series.

Lugris, a native of Tampa, Fla., who only joined the Lions in mid-season, scored in each of the last two games. Prior to this weekend he had scored only once, in his first game, New Year’s Day against Army.

Though the teams were the 4-5 seeds in the tournament, Ohio State finished 22 points ahead of Penn State in the regular season. Penn State’s 20 points were only three more than last-place Michigan State.

The loss leaves Ohio State’s season teetering on the brink. It currently sits No. 15 in the Pairwise, which would put the Buckeyes in the tournament if things broke right for them. But it needs every team below them on the bubble to lose their upcoming conference tournament games.

“When you lose a game like that, a playoff series — disappointing,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “I take things personal, as far as my job. I felt we were ready and, you know, we just weren’t quite good enough. They got a couple one-goal wins when they needed them, and we didn’t have enough firepower to get it done.”

1 2 3 F
Penn State 0 1 1 2
Ohio State 0 1 0 1
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Penn State hadn’t won back-to-back league games all year, but had to do so against Ohio State after dropping Game 1.

Like Lugris, another freshman, Ryan Kirwan, also scored in both wins to lift the Nittany Lions.

Ohio State will await its fate. It was picked to finish last in the preseason Big Ten coaches poll, and was writing a tremendous story of redemption until recently — buoyed by the play of some standout freshmen, like goalie Jakub Dobes and forward Georgii Merkulov.

“Sometimes you get so caught up in a moment, what’s today and the next day, you don’t have time to think about what these guys have accomplished,” Rohlik said. “No one gave us a chance. That was pretty evident where the coaches in this league put us — dead last, no chance. I think we proved we’re a pretty good hockey team. These guys have banded together to say we’re going to show, we’re going to compete, and we won a lot of games.

Notre Dame Advances

Like Penn State, Notre Dame had to win two straight to knock off Wisconsin, and it completed that job Sunday as well.

Notre Dame built a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Jack Adams and Landon Slaggert and went on to win, 4-2, ending the Badgers’ season with a 10-24-3 record. That’s the worst finish by Wisconsin since Mike Eaves’ last year of coach, which was 2015-16.

Meanwhile, No. 3-seeded Notre Dame advances to play a single-elimination semifinal game at No. 2-seeded Michigan next Saturday.

“Any time you lose the first game it is always a challenge,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said after the win. “It takes character to do it. Give Wisconsin their due, they made that a tough series on us. Our guys settled down going into the third … it calmed down and we played controlled. Playing three games in three nights at that level of intensity is also a challenge.”

In addition to Adams and Slaggert, Jake Pivonka scored what proved to be the game winner and Trevor Janicke had the empty net insurance tally. Graham Slaggert finished with a pair of assists. 

In net, Matthew Galajda and Jared Moe dueled for third consecutive night, with Galajda stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced to earn the win. Moe totaled 29 saves for the Badgers. 

The end of the season will leave question marks on the future of Wisconsin coach Tony Granato, who has led the team to losing season four of the last five years. He has four years left on his contract, however.

“People are going to say, well, you didn’t win many games this year,” Granato told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I can say, yeah, but the players here that have gained on what they learned this year will help us in the long haul. They will be winners before they leave here.”

ECAC

St. Lawrence battled back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Brown in Game 3 at Appleton Arena, 4-3.

Brown’s Tristan Crozier made it 3-1 on a shorthanded goal in the second period. But the Saints retaliated on that same power play just 28 seconds later, to keep the game close.

1 2 3 OT F
Brown 2 1 0 0 3
St. Lawrence 1 1 1 1 4
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In the third, Cameron Buhl tied it for St. Lawrence, and the Saints won just 46 seconds into overtime on a goal from Reilly Moran.

It was the second straight game that went to OT — Brown won Saturday. The teams’ two regular-season meetings also went to OT.

St. Lawrence overcame the loss of Max Dorrington to a 5-minute major and game misconduct early in the second period.

“As I said last night these are two evenly-matched teams, they just got the last goal,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said. “Good for them, they had some adversity, they lost a really good player and found a way to come back and win the game.

“It’s just Athletics, it’s life, you work so hard for things and sometimes you don’t get them. There are always lessons learned, it’s just hard right now. It’s a great group of guys, they didn’t get to play last year and wear the jersey. There were ups and downs this season, but we definitely grew as a team.”

In the other Game 3 in the ECAC, No. 6 Rensselaer scored four unanswered goals in the third period to earn a come-from-behind, 5-3, victory over No. 11 Dartmouth at Houston Field House. With the win, the Engineers improve to 17-21-3 overall and advance to face Harvard in a best-of-three quarterfinal series next weekend. The Big Green close 2021-22 at 7-22-3. 

The home team won all four ECAC First Round series.

St. Lawrence heads to play top-seeded Quinnipiac in the quarterfinals. The other series will pit No. 4 Cornell vs. No. 5 Colgate, and No. 7 Union vs. No. 2 Clarkson.

CCHA

Northern Michigan scored four straight goals in the second period to overcome a two-goal deficit, then survived a wild third period to defeat Lake Superior State, 5-4, and win the series in three games.

After taking a 5-3 lead, Northern Michigan’s Alex Frye was called for a five-minute major for kneeing with one second left in the second period.

First NMU killed off the five-minute major to start the third period, then LSSU’s Brandon Puricelli was awarded a penalty shot, only to be denied by Charlie Glockner. Later in the period, during a 4-on-4, Lakers coach Damon Whitten decided to pull the goal with just under seven minutes left, and it paid off late in the 4-on-4 when Puricelli scored.

NMU then had to kill off another penalty, starting with 4:30 left in regulation.

The Wildcats, as the No. 5 seed, were the only road team to win a series in the CCHA.

In the other Game 3 on Sunday, Bemidji State held off No. 6 Bowling Green in a 3-1 win.

After a scoreless first period, the Beavers broke through 1:54 into the second after a tic-tac-toe passing play between Owen Sillinger and Eric Martin led to an Ethan Somoza goal.

BSU goalie Mattias Sholl stopped Bowling Green’s Alex Barber on two breakaway chances in the third.

“Barber is one of their top players, if not their top player. We needed that,” BSU coach Tom Serratore said.

But the Falcons finally broke through to tie it at 7:43. The Beavers bounced right back and scored 2:30 later, when Lukas Sillinger tapped in a cross-crease pass from Alex Ierullo. Owen Sillinger added an empty netter.

“It was playoff hockey, there was no easy ice,” Serratore said. “I thought we did a lot of good things in an elimination game. We stayed above pucks. We managed the pucks well. We were stingy defensively. We could’ve scored a lot of goals in the second period — that was maybe our best second period of the year. … I thought we were really gritty in the last two and a half minutes when they pulled the goaltender. I was proud of our guys.”

Northern Michigan will travel to top-seeded Minnesota State next weekend for a single-game semifinal. No. 3 Bemidji State will play at No. 2 Michigan Tech.

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