Archive for October, 2011

The Takeaway: Providence Battles Back to Tie Minnesota-Duluth

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Providence, R.I. – Providence trailed Minnesota-Duluth 1-0 after two periods and 2-1 late in the third Saturday night, but battled back to force a 2-2 tie with the defending national champs. Redshirt freshman Damian Cross scored the Friars’ first goal (his first collegiate goal) and senior Matt Bergland forced overtime when he scored with 2:21 left in regulation. Senior netminder Alex Beaudry stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced one night after giving up five goals in a 5-2 loss to the Bulldogs.

What I saw

-The Friars played much better in the third period than they did on Friday. They trailed by a goal entering the third in both games, but on Friday, they allowed a Minnesota-Duluth goal just 57 seconds in and it was all downhill from there. The Bulldogs scored again later in the period and wound up outshooting Providence 13-5 in the frame. The Friars turned the tables on Saturday, though. They found the back of the net twice, outshot UMD 12-7 and won the majority of the 1-on-1 battles. Showing that resiliency against a talented team like Minnesota-Duluth is obviously a promising sign for the young Friars.

-Alex Beaudry showed just how good of a goalie he can be on any given night. He almost single-handedly kept the game scoreless in the first, as the Bulldogs controlled play for the vast majority of the period and registered seven shots on goal from below the faceoff dots. He made several more key saves in the second and third, and he couldn’t have done a whole lot on either UMD goal. As has been the case throughout Beaudry’s college career, though, the question remains of whether or not he can be that kind of goalie every night. He wasn’t that kind of goalie on Friday night. (more…)

The Takeaway: BC Squeaks by Northeastern

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Boston – Northeastern’s Joseph Manno scored two of the team’s three goals in Friday’s night’s 4-3 overtime loss to Boston College Saturday night, the first of his college career. When BC scored within the first two minutes, Northeastern answered quickly with an equalizer. By the end of the second period, the Huskies held a 3-1 advantage over the Eagles, but BC’s second goal would prove to change the game, giving them the boost they needed to get back in it.

That momentum got the Eagles to overtime, where a goal from Bill Arnold gave them the win with just a minute to play in the extra session. The win brings BC to 3-0-0 in Hockey East play and 5-1-0 overall, while Northeastern fell to 1-3-1 in league and overall play.

What I saw

Penalties — a lot of them. BC tallied 10 and Northeastern seven, but it felt like someone was constantly headed to the box. Between boarding, hooking and roughing, the refs stayed busy.

Northeastern’s Chris Rawlings was strong. While the score was close, shot numbers would suggest otherwise with BC outshooting the Huskies 43 to 22. In Northeastern’s last win, 3-0 against New Hampshire, much of the credit for the shutout had to go to the defensive pairings in front of Rawlings, but Saturday night the goaltender was confident in each of his saves, not much hesitation or fidgeting. Just clean saves on a lot of really good shots from BC.

What I thought

This was a Boston rivalry at it’s finest. The history between the two teams mixed with the talent level made for great hockey. It was really interesting to see the interaction between BC’s Johnny Gaudreau, a former Northeastern commit, and his “could have been” teammates and former USHL teammate Vinny Saponari. He definitely took some heat on the ice between chirping and a few scuffles.

Bill Arnold is going to be key for BC moving forward. It’s only October and it feels like the sophomore is already having a huge season. He leads the Eagles offense with five goals, and he clinched Saturday’s win with that overtime goal with just 60 seconds to play. Arnold and the BC offense put an awful lot of pressure on Northeastern’s defense in the first period.

Good looks from Northeastern’s freshman Joseph Manno. First home game against BC team isn’t a bad time to score your first two collegiate goals. The line of Manno, freshman Ludwig Karlsson and sophomore Braden Pimm is young, but it certainly didn’t look green against a strong BC team. All three find themselves among Northeastern’s top six leading scorers, Pimm with two goals and three assists, Karlsson with one goal and three assists, and Manno now with his two goals.

What they said

“We found a way to win a hockey game that was slipping away from us, especially when we took those two penalties in the third period, so the ability to sustain that energy level even though we’re down and time was winding down really impressed myself as a coach watching our club … We felt very fortunate that Billy’s [Arnold] stick was up there, he caught that puck of the shaft of his stick, must have been a baseball player growing up.”

– BC head coach Jerry York on his team’s play and Bill Arnold

“I just remember the line before I had a really good shift, and we got smart changes and were able to keep the puck down in their zone. I think it was Kevin Hayes who threw the puck out to Patch Albert. We talk a lot about going to the net and getting bodies to the net, so I went to the net, and Patch put the puck down there and when you do that good things happen and I was able to get a stick on it.”

– Bill Arnold on his game-winning goal

“When you lose a two goal lead in your own building, that’s not a good thing whether it’s a No. 1 team in the country or a No. 10 team in the country. But those are things we’ll continue to work at.”

- Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan

What they didn’t say

Still no word from Jim Madigan as to when Cody Ferriero and Rob Dongara will be back on the ice for Northeastern. It looks like he’s going to be a strict disciplinarian, because Ferriero and Dongara surely would have been useful on the ice against a top team like BC, but for a team whose season start was plagued with disciplinary issues, it seems best.

What else you should know

Matthews Arena was over capacity Saturday night with 4,746 in attendance. It was the biggest crowd Matthews has seen this season.

BC lost junior defenseman Patrick Wey. A skate blade went through the tongue of his skate and severed a tendon in his foot. He can be expected to be out for six to eight weeks and was headed to the hospital to hopefully get the tendon sewn back together post game.

The Takeaway: BC Outplays UMass in Win

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Boston College received two goals from Bill Arnold in a largely uncontested 4-2 win over Massachusetts on Friday night. After a fairly even first period ended with the Eagles up, 2-0, BC took over the second period, outshooting UMass, 14-2, and draining any confidence, momentum and energy the Minutemen may have felt after the first period.

Goaltender Parker Milner started for the Eagles and played strong, turning away all but two of UMass’ 20 shots. As we’ve seen fro the Eagles in recent years, Friday’s win was thorough team victory. All four lines contributed to the win, and the three defensive pairings BC coach Jerry York sent out handled their assignments with confidence and ease.

What I saw

  • BC forwards have more confidence in their defensemen than any other group I’ve ever seen. Early in the game, UMass succeeded in establishing a forecheck, but the Eagle defensemen prevented them from turning any of their work behind net into quality looks from Grade-A. As the Minutemen tired, which took about 17 whole minutes, the BC forwards seemed to begin their transitions up ice early. At first, this just seemed like laziness. They weren’t getting back on defense and supporting their defensemen. It became clear, though, that the BC forwards know their defensive corps — led by the defensive defensmen in Hockey East Brian Dumoulin — can handle any pressure from anyone, especially a young, inexperience team like UMass.
  • Parker Milner is good, but he’s not quite John Muse yet. No one ever said John Muse was the best goaltender in Hockey East. More often than not, he just let his rings tell the story. While the 8-4 thrashing BC took in Muse’s final game cemented his “average goalie on a great team reputation for some,” this reporter was always impressed by Muse. Rarely did he allow a soft goal. Rarely did he make a bad decision on playing a puck or coming out to challenge a shooter. His teammates were equally impressed with him, and it showed in the occasional risks they took, knowing Muse would bail them out. That level of confidence isn’t quite there yet with Milner. After taking the job from Muse in February 2010, before Muse earned back just in to lead the Eagles to every championship ever, many thought Milner would become the Eagles No. 1 from there on out. He’s capable of being a truly great No. 1 at this level, and with that defensive corps in front of him, the confidence needed to get there won’t take long to develop
  • BC’s penalty kill is still something that greater skilled teams can exploit. Jerry York said after the game that the Eagles have eight forwards he is fully confident in when killing penalties. For years, a hallmark of the BC penalty kill has been aggressive puck pursuit and pressure on point men by the BC forwards on the kill. Last season, though, the Eagles allowed seven power play goals combined in the Hockey East semifinal, championship and first round of the NCAA Tournament. Against teams with confident, deft puck handlers at the point and blow the circles, the aggression at the blue line can leave a penalty-killer out of position, as we saw last March. However, the Minutemen were unable to take advantage of this.

(more…)

The Takeaway: UMass falls to BC, 4-2

Friday, October 21st, 2011

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The first period looked good for Massachusetts, but the second was terrible and the third got worse, as the Minutemen dropped a decision to Boston College, 4-2, at Conte Forum Friday night.

UMass skated with BC for much of the first period before a series of bad penalties and largely ineffective power plays allowed the Eagles to pad their lead. The loss dropped UMass’ record to 1-2-1 on the season, and the Minutemen are still without a win in three Hockey East games.

What I saw

  • The Minutemen played an even first period with BC until they started taking bad penalties. As the massive sophomore class continues to grow, the Minutemen will improve their game immensely. Still, bad penalties taken by experienced players are unacceptable for a club so heavily weighted toward underclassmen. Senior captain T.J. Syner took three minors in the game and received a 10-minute misconduct late in the third period after complaining about a call on fellow senior captain Danny Hobbs, who had his own problems with penalties, spending four minutes the box.
  • Jeff Teglia is the only reason the score wasn’t far more lopsided. In the second period, the Eagles outshot UMass, 14-2. The sophomore goaltender whose freshman season ended with dreadful numbers due to injury and wildly inexperienced team in front of him when he was healthy. Cahoon believes Teglia is the type of goaltender that can win championships in this league, pointing out the Clark Cup he won with the Omaha Lancers of the United State Hockey League. He finished the game with 31 saves, receiving little support from his teammates. Two of the Boston College goals came on the power play, and Bill Arnold’s second, which made it 3-1, came just as another penalty expired.
  • UMass’ top five forwards are capable of keeping this team in games, but the team as a whole lacks true centers to direct the offense. Also, despite success last weekend, Cahoon opted to juggle his lines against BC to help create more balance throughout his lineup. Branden Gracel is developing and centered Syner and Hobbs on Friday. Last weekend, when sophomore Mike Pereira centered Syner and Hobbs, the trio combined for 15 points in UMass’ two games. Following the loss to BC, Cahoon said he chose to split the dynamic trio up in hopes of making his offense deeper. On Friday, Pereira shifted to the left wing beside center Eric Filiou and right wing Conor Sheary. The group failed to produce much offense for UMass. It will be interesting to see the combination Cahoon sends out next weekend when the Minutemen play a home-and-home with Boston University beginning Friday night in Amherst. (more…)

WCHA: Week 2 Power Rankings

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

First off, apologies for the lack of content this week. Anyone who has followed my blog for the few years before moving exclusively to CHN knows I also coach high school football. And anyone who reads a sports page here in Minnesota knows the high school football season is ramping up, meaning time to update the blog as regularly as I’d like to is just not an option right now. No worries though, as the team here at College Hockey News will keep you updated with all of the latest news I may not get to during the hectic time in this guy’s life. Fortunately, I will be around to watch plenty of WCHA puck this weekend, so follow along on Twitter (@CHNDanMyers) as conference play kicks into high gear with four league series in action.

All that said, here are my updated conference power rankings as the college hockey season hurdles into its third weekend of play this weekend:

1 — Colorado College (Last week: 1)

After winning 3-1 on Friday, Tigers goalie Joe Howe entered the game Saturday with his team trailing to Bemidji State and in danger of dropping a couple of points to a team they should sweep at the World Arena. Howe came into the game stopped 11 straight shots and waited for his team to pick him up. They did, and CC rolled to a sweep. All Howe has to do is keep his team close, because the Tigers have more than enough offense to pick up the slack.

2 — Minnesota (Last week: 3)

Somehow, the Gophers allowed 100 shots, on the road, against the defending national champions… and got 4 points. Minnesota rallied from a late one goal deficit to secure overtime, where the Gophers scored a late goal to win 5-4. UMD jumped ahead early again Saturday, but Minnesota rallied with five straight goals. It would have been easy to be happy with two points on the road, but credit is due for the gutty effort to respond. Keep an eye on that Minnesota power play: The Gophers went 6 for 9 with the man advantage last weekend, and if they can keep it going, Minnesota is going to be tough to stop.

3 — Denver (Last week: 2)

The Pioneers should be happy with a road split in Boston. Few teams in the country would be able to boast such a fact after facing Boston College and Boston University on consecutive nights.

4 — North Dakota (Last week: 4)

UND will have to accept a three-point weekend to avenge last season’s sweep at Maine. Brad Eidsness’ victory Friday — he made 30 saves — will make Aaron Dell’s already tenuous hold on that goaltending job even more delicate.

5 — Alaska-Anchorage (Last week: 8 )

The Seawolves just keep on rolling. After shutting out conference foe Nebraska-Omaha in a nonconference game, UAA hammered Mercyhurst 6-2. It’s been a balanced offensive effort and now the Seawolves may have not one, but two goaltenders going strong. An intriguing rematch with Omaha in Nebraska awaits this weekend where we should learn a lot more about where the Seawolves stand.

6 — Minnesota Duluth (Last week: 5)

UMD put 100 shots on Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson and scored eight goals last weekend but got swept. Saturday, Kenny Reiter made just 11 saves on 16 shots. There’s still enough offense to get it done in Duluth, but Reiter needs to channel his playoff self in order for the Bulldogs to compete for an upper half spot.

7 — Nebraska-Omaha (Last week: 6)

How big of a loss has Alex Hudson been? After scoring five goals in their first game — a win over Mercyhurst — UNO has scored just four goals over their last three games — all losses. Whatever ails them, UNO better figure it out quickly. The Mavericks are in the midst of a stretch where they play games on 10 straight weekends.

8 — Michigan Tech (Last week: 12)

Are the Huskies for real? They’ve already equaled their win total from ALL of last season. Just one victory this weekend would equal the number of points Tech had ALL of last season. At Bemidji Friday and Saturday, this is the first time the Huskies will play away from MacInnes Ice Arena this season. And the Tech power play? An impressive 29 percent thus far — 14 percentage points better than last season.

9 — Bemidji State (Last week: 9)

The Beavers were in line for a split at Colorado College last week, but ran into a bit of a wall (named Joe Howe) in the third period Saturday. The Tigers won that game 6-4, and the Beavers won’t win many shootouts this season. They should have a chance at some points against a significantly less talented offensive group this weekend.

10 — Wisconsin (Last week: 10)

Overtime hasn’t been good to the Badgers during the Mike Eaves era. Since 2007-08, Wisconsin hasn’t won a single league game that has gone to overtime — 23 tries in all — while losing nine times over that same stretch. Overall, they’ve won just once in that stretch (32 tries there). So it probably wasn’t a good thing when both games in Houghton went to overtime last weekend. The Huskies won them both, continuing a rough stretch of free hockey for UW. (Thanks to Madison.com scribe Andy Baggot for the leg work on those overtime stats)

11 — St. Cloud State (Last week: 11)

After opening with four straight road games (and a 1-3-0 record), the Huskies open the home portion of their schedule with a weekend series against New Hampshire at the National Hockey Center. For the sake of getting its season kick started, the Huskies better hope things go much better at home than they have on the road or this year could spiral out of control quickly. In a related but totally unrelated stat, SCSU was just 6-8-4 at the NHC last season.

12 — Minnesota State (Last week: 7)

Tumbling down the rankings after getting swept by Massachusetts-Lowell (in Mankato, no less) are the Mavericks, who are decimated by injury right now. MSU will travel to Denver this weekend (gulp), where it could get ugly. Counting their third goaltender, the Mavericks have exactly 21 healthy hockey players right now. Michael Dorr, Eriah Hayes, Max Gaede, Tyler Elbrecht, J.P. Burkemper and Danny Heath are all nursing injuries and are not on this road trip. The good news? A bye weekend next weekend is extremely well-timed and could help MSU get a couple of players back before a stretch of seven straight busy weekends in November and December.

CCHA Wrap, Oct 18

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

A full slate of CCHA regular season matchups highlights the upcoming weekend of play, and Notre Dame will christen the new Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend with a weekend series against Rensselaer.

For now though, a quick look back at this past weekend’s action:

Thanks to weekend sweeps by Alaska (Scott Greenham returned to net as expected on Saturday, making 31 saves against Nebraska-Omaha),  Bowling Green (your undefeated Bowling Green Falcons), Ferris State (ready to put its 4-0 record on the line this weekend against Miami) and Northern Michigan (eight goals over the weekend, eight goal scorers), the CCHA as a league combined for a 10-1-2 record (.846 winning percentage) against nonconference opponents.

The only blemish? Miami‘s Saturday night overtime loss to Colgate, as the RedHawks continue their inconsistent play to start the season. With consecutive weekend splits against Bemidji State and Colgate, Miami hasn’t looked like a top tier CCHA team thus far. (more…)

Weekend Wrap up

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Unlike last weekend, AHA teams were on the right side of some games this weekend. RIT came up big against St. Lawrence, winning 6-5 in overtime, while Air Force, Holy Cross, and UConn all won their first conference games of the year. But the rest of the AHA didn’t do as well. Canisius was outplayed and demolished by Quinnipiac, while Sacred Heart was swept by Clarkson. (more…)

The Takeaway: BC’s Milner Big in 5-1 Win at UNH

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

On a night where New Hampshire scored its first goal of the young season and played as well as its opponent, Boston College, it was the Eagles that earned the victory, behind a phenomenal performance from goaltender Parker Milner.

The scoreboard read 5-1 in BC’s favor, but the scoreboard was no indication of how the game actually played out.

What I saw

  • For the final two periods of the game, UNH outplayed a seemingly tired Boston College club coming off a big three-game stretch and trip west. Parker Milner rebounded from an early goal to make 39 saves in the game, including 34 in the final two periods to lift BC to the win.
  • Many of the UNH faithful were given a false sense of hope in the early going as Nick Sorkin scored a power-play goal early in the first period. The goal was the first of the season for UNH, only to see Milner take over the game from that point forward.
  • UNH had a lot of shots and control time throughout the final 30 minutes of the game but many of the shots taken were long range, as the Eagles D kept the Wildcats out of Grade-A. (more…)

The Takeaway: BU Sophomore Impress in 4-3 Win

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Boston University’s weekend started on a low note. A trip to Providence ended in a 5-3 loss to the Friars that shocked Hockey East and college hockey as a whole. Twenty-four hours later, national title contender Denver skated onto the ice at Agganis Arena for its second game in a weekend tour of Commonwealth Avenue.

BU coach Jack Parker was hardly thrilled with the effort, but the Terrier defeated The Pioneers, 4-3, stemming a late DU comeback. While it was a Beau Bennett holding minor with 19 seconds remaining in regulation that finally killed the DU rally, a strong first 40 minutes showed the Terriers what could await this season if they’re at their best.

What I saw

  • Something special may come from the Terriers second scoring line of sophomore winger Matt Nieto, sophomore center Charlie Coyle and junior winger Alex Chiasson. Three of the most gifted BU players have pieced together some beautiful sequences in the early going, but they have yet to truly take over a game. On Saturday, each registered a point with Chiasson and Nieto scoring goals on breakaways. Neither score came with the entire line on the ice, but, as the group, gains timing, it could quickly become the league’s best come Hockey East Tournament time.
  • Max Nicastro and Sean Escobedo showed their usual flashes of dominance as a defensive pairing, but still never seem to neutralize a forward line like juniors with that much experience should. Denver’s team speed and puck movement may have a little to do with that. Still, the Terriers seem to be without a true No. 1 defensive unit. Looking around the country at the teams shouldering the “favorite” label in terms of national title contenders, BU is certainly not the only club with some questions on the blue line. Even the Pioneers have their questions. But Nicastro and Escobedo are capable of becoming that group. Now would be a great time. (more…)

ECAC Wrap Up

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

It was another weekend full of Non-Ivy action for the ECAC, yet again the talk of the league has to be Colgate. The ECAC seemed to have a better weekend then last, despite some cupcake games.

Clarkson

Clarkson swept Atlantic Hockey’s Sacred Heart this weekend. With scorelines of 3-0 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday. Leading the way for the Golden Knights was Louke Oakley who had a five goal weekend. Ben Sexton also had a good series with a goal and two assists. Senior Paul Karpowich was in goal for Clarkson in both games.

Colgate

The Raiders split a weekend series with fifth ranked Miami. The Red hawks took Friday’s contest 4-3 while the Raiders took Saturdays game 3-2 in overtime. Sophomore Chris Wagner led his team with a goal and three assists on the weekend. Look for Colgate to jump up into the national rankings this week.

Quinnipiac

The Bobcats dominated two games with Canisius, 7-1 on Saturday and 4-0 on Sunday. This may have been the biggest mismatch of the weekend, so the result isn’t that surprising. The Jones twins had a pretty good weekend with Kellen picking up a two points and Connor with three.

RPI

RPI had a rough weekend in two games against the Ferris State Bulldogs. The Engineers were shut out twice and had a very hard time shuting down the Bulldog offense. Bryce Merriam was in net for RPI in both games.

ST. Lawrence

The Saints rough start continued this weekend as they lost to Michigan 10-3 on Thursday night and lost a close decision to RIT on Saturday 6-5 in overtime. Junior Kyle Flanagan had four goals and one assist on the weekend for ST. Lawrence. The team will look forward to a large break untill they start league play against Union on November 4th.

Union

The Dutchmen battled Western Michigan with two ties. In a match up of last year’s surprising teams in their respective conferences, neither could put the other away. Jeremy Welsh had three goals on the weekend all coming in Saturday’s 3-3 result.