College hockey's regular season is winding down and as the postseason quickly approaches, we're keeping up to date with each conference's regular season champs.
Ohio State clinches first Big Ten Champ in OT
The weekend didn’t start out quite how Ohio State planned, but it ended well enough — with the Buckeyes clinching the team’s first-ever Big Ten regular season championship.
Ohio State dropped its first series game to Big Ten rival Michigan on Friday night when Wolverine Nolan Moyle nabbed back-to-back scores to tie and then win the contest.
Saturday’s game held some more excitement in its finish for Ohio State. Entering the game, the Buckeyes needed just two points to clinch a share of the title.
Bracketology: Providence enters tournament field, top teams remain
Ohio State maintained a 3-1 lead through the second period until Michigan began to mount a comeback. A power play tally from Michigan’s Joseph Cecconi halfway through the middle frame brought the Wolverines within one point, and then halfway through the third period Michigan’s Friday night hero, Moyle, netted the tying mark.
After a 5-on-5 OT period yielded no winner, the game went to 3-on-3 sudden death to determine which team secured the extra Big Ten point. Two minutes into double overtime, Buckeye Mason Jobst rushed Michigan’s net on a breakaway and the lefty beat Wolverine goalie Strauss Mann with a high wrister.
The Big Ten conference tournament begins with best-of-three quarterfinals at campus locations on March 8.
Minnesota State clinches fourth WCHA title in five years
In a dominant 6-1 win over Alaska on Friday night, Minnesota State claimed sole possession of the WCHA’s MacNaughton Cup — the Mavericks' fourth regular season championship in the last five years.
Congratulations to our 2018-19 #WCHA regular season champions, the Minnesota State Mavericks! 🏆🥇— WCHA Men's Hockey (@WCHA_MHockey) February 23, 2019
The title is the Mavs' fourth in the last five years❗️#HornsUp | #WeAreWCHA | #TraditionStartsHere pic.twitter.com/5aj8cIYG5O
With the win, MSU totaled 62 points on the season so far and a league record of 20-4-1. The team then lost Saturday night to bring its season record to 20-5-1.
MSU grabbed the first goal of the game on Friday and then went on a roll that never quite stopped. The game’s second frame got scrappy, as 100 penalty minutes were assessed between the two teams. The penalties didn’t phase the Mavericks at all, though, and MSU nabbed four goals in the period — three on the power play and one short-handed mark from junior Josh French.
Alaska responded at the start of the third period, but a Connor Mackey’s goal a few minutes later put an exclamation mark on the Mavericks' win.
Freshman goalie Dryden McKay made 23 saves in his 15th straight start to move to 18-5-2 in net this season. After Friday’s contest, the Mavericks extended their unbeaten streak to a nation-best seven games.
FINAL | #4 Minnesota State 6, Alaska 1. Mavericks (25-6-1 overall, 20-4-1 WCHA) have won four MacNaughton Cups in the last five seasons. pic.twitter.com/RE4uSRGOZ0— MinnStateMHockey (@MavHockey) February 23, 2019
MSU faced Alaska again on Saturday night but dropped 1-0. The team will close out its regular season hosting a series with Bemidji State next weekend.
The WCHA tournament begins with best-of-three quarterfinal series at campus locations on March 8.
SCSU captures second-straight NCHC title
Top ranked Saint Cloud State secured back-to-back Penrose Cup titles over the weekend as NCHC regular season-champions. The Huskies completed a sweep of Omaha with a 5-0 victory on Saturday to seal the deal.
SCSU was dominant from the puck drop, as Jack Poehling grabbed his seventh goal of the season just three and a half minutes into the contest. Five Huskies would tally scores throughout the night, with assists from four more.
The Huskies added another score in the first and second periods, then warded off any chance of a comeback with two more goals within the first five minutes of the final frame from Blake Lizotte and Patrick Newell.
Rough road home from Omaha! The 2019 Penrose Cup champs @SCSUHUSKIES_MH snowed in by winter storm in Watonwan County (southwest MN) - County Sheriff to the rescue with food and a place to ride out the storm. @ESPN_FanCentral #NCHCHockey #NCAAHockey #CollegeHockey pic.twitter.com/0uGE4Ah7aa— SCSU Men's Hockey (@SCSUHUSKIES_MH) February 25, 2019
Saturday's win marked the first championship for head coach Brett Larson, who is in his first season in charge with the Huskies. It was also goalie David Hrenak's fourth career shutout, stretching his season record to 18-3-2.
NCHC tournament playoffs begin at campus sites on March 15.
American International clinches first-ever Atlantic Hockey regular season crown
After suffering a loss to Sacred Heart in a mid-week matchup, American International was back for revenge — and a regular season title — in Saturday’s contest. The Yellow Jackets walked away with an emphatic 4-1 win and the team’s first regular season title.
American International was on alert within the first few minutes of the puck drop as Sacred Heart netted the game’s first goal in under three minutes. The Pioneers had trouble all night with penalties, though, and the Yellow Jackets’ special teams were out in full force, scoring three times on the power play.
Tobias Fladeby flaunted his playmaking skills in the third frame, going two-on-one with redshirt freshman left wing Justin Cole. Fladeby timed his pass to Cole, waiting out the Pioneers defenseman before Cole redirected the pass into the net.
With the win, AIC gained sole possession of the top spot in the AHC and extended its record for wins in a season and AHC wins in a season, both at 18, and standings points, now at 37. The Yellow Jackets had already locked in the top seed in the Atlantic Hockey Championship Tournament, and received a first round bye and second round home ice advantage.
The Atlantic Hockey Championship Tournament begins on campus sites on March 8.
No. 2 Massachusetts earns first-ever Hockey East regular season title
In another night of firsts for college hockey teams, Cale Makar contributed three points to help the Minutemen make history with a come-from-behind 4-2 win over Merrimack Friday night, clinching the Hockey East regular season title.
UMass made quick work of its first power play of the night as Makar netted a goal just four minutes into the contest with hep from Jacob Pritchard and sophomore Mitchell Chaffee.
Merrimack battled back though, adding the only two scores of the middle frame to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. Massachusetts had something to prove, coming off a 3-2 loss to Providence the weekend before, and the Minutemen took control of the game.
Freshman Bobby Trivigno notched a five-hole shot to even the score, then 18 seconds later sophomore Jake Gaudet pulled Umass ahead on a rebound. Makar added his second goal late in the game, securing a Minutemen on a short-handed empty net shot.
HOCKEY. EAST. CHAMPS. 🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/uaXi1BA0qS— UMass Hockey (@UMassHockey) March 1, 2019
Massachusetts earned a 6-0 senior night win over Maine on Saturday and finish out the regular season against Uconn on Friday.
Hockey East quarterfinal rounds will be played at campus locations beginning March 15.
No. 5 Quinnipiac, No. 11 Cornell share ECAC Clearly Cup
Quinnipiac earned a share of the Cleary Cup on Saturday night, thanks to some conference points shuffling after Clarkson rallied to tie Cornell. This is Quinnipiac’s fourth Cleary Cup title and Cornell’s second straight regular season championship.
Quinnipiac skated to a dominant 4-1 win over Yale, with two goals coming from junior Nick Jermain. TJ Friedmann and Ethan de Jong each added goals for the Bobcats in the victory and goalie Andrew Shortridge made 24 saves in his 17th win of the season in net.
With the win, Quinnipiac finishes the season at 25-7-2, which is tied for its second-most number of wins in a regular season in program history. The Bobcats own the tiebreaker with Cornell and are the No. 1 overall seed in the 2019 ECAC Hockey Tournament, earning a first round bye.
After defeating Saint Lawrence 4-2 on Friday night, Cornell had a slight bump in its regular season finish, playing to a tie against Clarkson on Saturday night.
After Clarkson started the night with a power-play goal and outshot Cornell 14-3 in the first period, the Big Red found their footing and evened the score with their own power play goal from Mitch Vanderlaan to start the second frame. Michael Regush netted the go-ahead go for Cornell in the second period, but after holding off Clarkson throughout nearly two whole periods, the Golden Knights snuck in a tying goal with less than a minute remaining.
Clarkson will be the No. 2 seed for the upcoming ECAC Hockey Championship playoffs, earning a first round bye.
ECAC Hockey Championship playoffs begin at campus sites on March 8.