North Dakota entered the weekend looking to shake itself of the offensive funk it had been in, and they did just that by scoring 11 goals en route to a sweep of the #4 ranked Colorado College Tigers. Friday night saw the Fighting Sioux hang a touchdown on the Tigers in a wildly entertaining 7-6 victory, while Saturday saw the team complete the sweep with a solidly played 4-3 victory. It was a much-needed conference sweep for the Sioux, and here are a few observations:
- The top line of Brock Nelson, Corban Knight, and Danny Kristo was phenomenal, accounting for 16 points (7G, 9A) on the weekend. Kristo was electrifying all weekend, making plays all over the ice, while Nelson continued his breakout sophomore season with a 6 point (3G, 3A) weekend, showing very nice hands both offensively and defensively. Knight won 35 of 57 faceoffs (61.4%), which was big considering the proven ability of the Tigers to quickly turn faceoff wins into offensive chances.
- Brendan O' Donnell, who I heard was very active during the Bemidji State series, continued his strong play since his return from injury. He was very noticeable this weekend, as was fellow freshman Michael Parks, and the line of O'Donnell-Mark MacMillan-Parks looked very good Saturday even though they were held off the scoresheet. Offense from these three freshman will be key with Rocco Grimaldi sidelined until at least January.
- Derek Rodwell got his first goal of the year Saturday night by deflecting a Ben Blood point shot past CC goaltender Joe Howe with under 18 seconds left in the first period. Rodwell is a tireless worker and it was very nice to see his effort rewarded with a momentum swinging goal.
- Even though CC scored 9 goals this weekend, I didn't think the goaltending of Aaron Dell was all that bad. The goals CC scored were, for the most part, goals you can't always expect a goaltender to stop. That being said, Brad Eidsness relieved Dell after CC's 6th goal Friday night and he helped stymy the Tiger attack.
- Derek Forbort, with some crisp passing and sharp stick work, was solid this weekend and Joe Gleason continues to put forth strong efforts, whether it be as a forward or a blueliner.
- Some of the opportunistic goals opponents were scoring on the Sioux earlier in the year started going North Dakota's way. The team capitalized on several opportunistic chances this weekend and those goals went an awful long way in securing the sweep.
- As for the Tigers, Rylan Schwartz stole the show with back-to-back hat tricks, but younger brother Jaden was equally fantastic. His puck possession and passing skills are elite, making CC's top line a real treat to watch.