You wouldn’t think it by looking at the outcomes but Minnesota-Duluth and Wisconsin were not only competitive on the road but both had opportunities to escape with the majority of points.

UMD had a one-goal lead six minutes into the third period. Until Mark MacMillan scored with 34 seconds left in overtime Saturday in Grand Forks, it looked like favored North Dakota would tie the Bulldogs for the second straight night.

Down in Minneapolis, Wisconsin tied Minnesota Friday, led 1-0 for the first half of Saturday’s game but lost 3-1 with an empty-netter.

Few outside the Wisconsin and UMD locker rooms – and perhaps their fans – gave these teams much of a chance this past weekend. There’s no question the Bulldogs and Badgers were slumping.

Wisconsin’s only win in eight games was a 2-0 Joel Rumpel shutout at UMD Oct. 26. The Bulldogs haven’t won since Oct. 18 when they beat Notre Dame 3-1.

The Badgers seemed to be coming apart at the seams during last week’s bye. Mark Zengerle suffered a broken finger in a 3-0 loss against Colorado College and assistant coach Bill Butters left the team a few days later. Top freshman Nic Kerdiles still has a few more weeks of suspension.

Good starts were key if Wisconsin and UMD were to be competitive.

When Minnesota scored first in the early minutes of Friday’s game, Wisconsin took just 26 seconds to answer and the Badgers got on the board first on Saturday. The Badgers just don’t have the offense right now and three goals on a weekend rarely earns a team more than one point.

The Badgers penalty kill – which went 9-for-10 with a shorthanded goal – plus stingy defense that slowed the Gophers down and goaltending from Landon Peterson and Rumpel , made it a competitive weekend at Mariucci Arena.

The Bulldogs scored first with 15 shots on goal in the first period, traded goals and finished with 46 shots in UMD’s most impressive offensive performance of the season. UMD scored three goals in the first period Saturday but that lead didn’t hold up.

Tech  turnaround

After losing five straight games, Michigan Tech swept Bemidji State with two road overtime wins. The Huskies scored three unanswered goals in regulation before Alex Petan netted the game-winner 2:12 into overtime.

Tech out shot the Beavers 11-0 combined in both overtimes.

Spotlight series doesn’t disappoint

A lot of fast action, a lot of hits and a lot of penalty minutes. That’s the Battle for the Gold Pan: Colorado College vs. Denver.

“Every year, it picks up where it left off the year before,” Denver senior Chris Knowlton, a Colorado Springs native, said in a postgame interview with Root Sports, Saturday.

“There’s some new faces in there but you remember those guys and you hate them as much you did the year before.”

Denver opened Friday’s game with a 2-0 lead and Saturday with a 3-0 lead.

CC made it interesting both nights and almost evened the score after trailing 6-2 early in the third period Friday. It made for a very eventful final 15 seconds.

As the Tigers applied the pressure late Friday with the puck  behind the net, Denver defenseman Scott Mayfield shoved CC’s Archie Skalbeck four times into the crossbar before it was knocked loose.

CC players argued Mayfield should be called for delay of game to award CC a penalty shot, Juho Olkinuora covered the puck up in another scramble and the last face-off moved outside the offensive zone.

Rylan Schwartz threw a big check on Denver’s Shawn Ostrow in front of the Denver bench and a melee ensued. Pioneers goalie Juho Olkinuora got involved and was disqualified for Saturday after he mixed it up with CC’s Alexander Krushelnyski.

It proved costly for the Tigers, who didn’t have Schwartz Saturday because of his disqualification on Friday. Scott Winkler got a game misconduct for contact the head when he hit Knowlton late in the second period Saturday with the score 3-2 Denver.

That led to a PP goal but more importantly, left the Tigers without two key offensive players – Schwartz (13 points) and Winkler (12 points) for the third period. There would be no rally this time.

Since 2005 when CC and Denver met in the WCHA Final Five and again in the Frozen Four, this series has basically been exclusive to fans in Colorado in terms of TV viewing.

CBS Sports did carry the game last season when Krushelnyski won it for the Tigers on a penalty shot in overtime last December.

I recommend ordering whatever sports TV package you can to get ROOT Sports and Altitude. You don’t want to miss this rivalry in the future.