U’s Berg ices WCHA co-scoring title

Michael Rand

In some seasons, Reggie Berg’s 34 points in WCHA games wouldn’t even have gotten him into the top five of the league leaders.
But the effect of the less-from-more nature of the league trickled down to the Gophers junior, as his Friday hat trick was enough to earn him a tie for the WCHA scoring championship with Colorado College’s Brian Swanson.
Berg’s title marks the fourth consecutive year a Minnesota player has led the league in scoring, the first time that has happened in WCHA history. Mike Crowley tied for the lead last season — also with Swanson — and Brian Bonin won the crown outright the two years prior to that.
Berg had a chance to capture a solo title, but he was shut out Saturday night while Swanson bagged a pair of assists.
“It wasn’t for a lack of ice time,” Gophers coach Doug Woog said, jokingly adding, “I wanted to make sure I got that in there.”
The Anoka native, however, seemed more interested in his team’s performance than the scoring title.
“The main thing is that we won,” Berg said. “We have momentum going into the playoffs, and that’s what matters the most.”
Crease lightning
It was a tale of two goalies this weekend, and this time it was Minnesota that had the between-the-pipes dream.
Gophers goalie Steve DeBus was solid in both ends of his team’s 6-2, 5-3 sweep of St. Cloud State, stopping 46 of 51 shots on the weekend and keeping the Huskies at bay during key stretches of Saturday’s game.
St. Cloud goalie Brian Leitza, on the other hand, allowed a flurry of soft goals, including Dave Spehar’s bank shot off his goalie stick from behind the net.
The weekend was in sharp contrast to the teams’ meeting earlier this season. In game one of that series, a 3-1 St. Cloud win, Leitza faced 42 shots on goal compared to DeBus’ nine.
Neither of the teams’ coaches was particularly chatty about their goalies after this weekend’s series finale, but their comments were purposeful.
“DeBus was good,” Woog said. St. Cloud coach Craig Dahl, meanwhile, said he “wasn’t enthused” by Leitza’s work.
Does this place have a back door?
Berg and Spehar, who played their high school hockey at Anoka and Duluth East, respectively, made quick getaways Saturday to catch the final few minutes of the Class AA championship between the two teams.
Spehar’s boys took home the crown, giving he and fellow Duluth East grad and Gophers teammate Dylan Mills bragging rights in the all-Minnesotan locker room for a year.
Give me a B-R-E-A-K
In a display that intermittently caused members of the media to shake their heads in disbelief and dive for copies of Title IX legislation, the Gophers hockey cheerleaders skated to an apparent draw in a “game” during Saturday’s second intermission.
“Well, I think that just set women’s sports back 20 years,” one local journalist remarked.
ù The Gophers, who play at Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, have compiled a 24-1 record in the first round of the league playoffs since Woog has been coaching.
“We’ve never lost in the first round of the playoffs, and hopefully that will continue,” Woog said.
ù Gophers signee Johnny Pohl won Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award Sunday, making him the 11th consecutive award-winner to choose the University.
ù Boosted by a game at Target Center, Minnesota finished the season with an average attendance of 10,056, thus becoming the first school in NCAA hockey history to average more than 10,000 fans.