Archive for November, 2011

Hockey East Power Rankings: 11/30/11

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Much like the rest of us, these power rankings didn’t do a whole lot of moving after Thanksgiving. UNH and Providence flip-flopped, but everyone else stayed where they were last week.

1. Merrimack (9-0-1, 6-0-1 HE) — Last week: 1

In its only game of the last week, Merrimack beat Alabama-Huntsville 6-0 on Wednesday. Joe Cannata registered his first shutout of the season and now ranks in the top three nationally in both goals against average (1.32) and save percentage (.944). Incredibly, the Warriors have still not given up more than two goals in a game yet this season.

2. Boston College (10-4-0, 7-2-0 HE) — Last week: 2

The Eagles fell behind 2-0 against Yale on Saturday, but Barry Almeida scored the tying goal with 2:19 to go in the third and Chris Kreider notched the game-winner with just 39 seconds remaining to give them the 3-2 victory. That snapped a two-game losing streak and helped BC avoid its first sub-.500 month since January 2010. (more…)

Union Wins Big

Monday, November 28th, 2011

This past weekend was full on non-conference games for many ECAC teams, the results were mixed as the teams put up a record of 7-7-0.

One result clearly stood out as this year’s best result by an ECAC team against a non-conference opponent, as Union dispatched the University of Michigan 6-3 at Yost Arena in Michigan.

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Atlantic Hockey Wrap Up

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Things are getting interesting in Atlantic Hockey. Air Force and Mercyhurst are still at the top of the standings while RIT continues to climb. A weekend sweep has propelled Canisius up to third. And Sacred Heart finally gets a win, against Yale.

Air Force –  Following a winless weekend that knocked them out of first, the Falcons used their week off to their advantage. The Falcons swept UConn and are now back in first. The Falcons went 4 for 12 on the power play, three of those goals coming on Saturday. Tim Kirby scored three goals and added an assist on the weekend. Kyle De Laurell also scored twice, giving him eight on the year to lead the team. (more…)

The Takeaway: UAH Puts up Fight in Durham, Falls to UNH 9-1

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Durham N.H.- Alabama Huntsville had a strong first period against New Hampshire, but the Wildcats flew past the Chargers with seven goals in the final two periods, for a 9-1 final score. In the game, Stevie Moses scored 4 goals and sophomore center, Nick Sorkin had 5 assists in the onslaught against a team playing their third game in four nights.

What I saw

-UNH continued to allow Hunstville to stay in the game giving the Chargers turnover after Turnover early in the game but Huntsville could not convert those opportunities. UNH would then run away with four second period goals and go on to score another three in third period for a total of nine in the game.

-The UNH offense performed at a high octane, often dangerous pace. UNH was often careless in passes but the ones that did connect were pretty in nature and caught Alabama Huntsville off guard. UNH used its speed to convert odd man rushes on many occasions. The nine goals that UNH scored was their highest total since December 11, 2008. (more…)

The Takeaway: Power Play Leads Lowell to Win Over UAH

Friday, November 25th, 2011

LOWELL, Mass. – Led by a pair of power-play goals, Massachusetts-Lowell downed Alabama-Huntsville 3-0 Friday afternoon. The River Hawks (7-4-0) got on the board first when Joseph Pendenza found Josh Holmstrom atop the crease for a power-play goal 13:23 into the first period. They added to the lead with another goal on the man advantage in the second, as Matt Ferreira set up a Derek Arnold one-timer from the left circle. Scott Wilson (1g, 1a), who was a healthy scratch last Saturday, tacked on a goal of his own in the third and goalie Doug Carr picked up his second straight shutout. Lowell outshot the Chargers (0-13-1) 49-20 in the game, including 18-2 in the first.

What I saw

-Alabama-Huntsville was undisciplined in the first period. The trouble started when Sebastian Geoffrion was called for boarding at the 7:19 mark. With 22 seconds left on that penalty, Justin Cseter was called for a boarding of his own. The Chargers killed off the 5-on-3, but then when right back to being down two men when Graeme Strukoff received a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind. The River Hawks once again didn’t score on the 5-on-3, but they finally made the Chargers pay when Josh Holmstrom scored with 1:46 to go on the major penalty.

-The River Hawks wound up going for 2-for-7 on the power play, continuing their strong play on the man advantage this season. Lowell entered the game ranked second in Hockey East and 12th in the country with a 23.3-percent conversion rate on the season. Riley Wetmore leads the conference with eight power-play points and ranks second with four power-play goals, while Chad Ruhwedel leads the league with six assists on the man advantage. (more…)

WCHA Power Rankings: Thanksgiving Edition

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Sorry for the late post, here. I am in Milwaukee visiting friends and family for the holiday (I normally work out of the Twin Cities), so I haven’t been around my computer much. But I did want to hop on and do my power rankings, because unlike some people (like myself), the WCHA is definitely NOT on break this weekend. Ten of the league’s 12 teams will be in action this weekend, with eight beginning play tonight. This weekend’s docket also includes a trio of conference series:

1 — Minnesota (Last week: 1)

The Gophers have split their last two weekends, I think a disappointing result because the Gophers are clearly better than both teams. Three of those games were on the road however, and the one that was at home was never really close. I still give Minnesota the edge over UMD because of the head-to-head meeting in October, but this gap is narrowing weekly.

2 — Minnesota Duluth (Last week: 2)

A very impressive weekend by UMD — not because they swept Minnesota State — but because they did it convincingly. Clearly, there is still a ton of firepower in Duluth and if they get continued solid play from Kenny Reiter in goal, they will be up here all season. That Frozen Four run last season has done wonders for his confidence, and it shows.

3 — Colorado College (Last week: 3)

Speaking of taking care if business at home, the Tigers rolled over Wisconsin at World Arena last weekend keeping pace in the WCHA marathon. The key to the weekend was the first period, as CC scored five of their eight goals in the opening 20 minutes — including three on Saturday, virtually ending the Badgers’ hopes of a split.

4 — Denver (Last week: 5)

The Pioneers played one of the oddest games you’ll ever see last Friday against Omaha. The two teams combined for 10 goals through two periods — DU led 7-3 — when all of the sudden, someone turned off the scoring spicket during the second intermission. Neither team yielded a goal in the third and the Pioneers jumped ahead. They ended up taking three big points against a Maverick bunch they will be neck-and-neck with all season.

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The Week Ahead Hockey East

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

After Tuesday night, we are again reminded that on any given night any team around the country can beat any other. This weekend, Hockey East teams will embark on a crucial weekend of non-conference games, which go a long way in determining the end of season Pairwise rankings. Hockey East teams will play 11 non-conference games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Even though no conference games will be played this weekend, this weekend is one of the most important weekends of the season, for Hockey East Teams.

Friday

Alabama-Huntsville at UMass-Lowell

Alabama Huntsville will continue on its tour of Hockey East as they visit the Tsongas Center, in Lowell. The River Hawks had an up and down weekend as they lost to UNH 5-0 on Friday but rebounded against Umass winning 4-0.

The River Hawks need to stay on track against Huntsville. Huntsville enters their game against UML 0-12-1, after a loss to Merrmack on Wednesday night. The winless season for Huntsville should bring a hungry team to Lowell and the River Hawks need not look further than a Yale loss to winless Sacred Heart on Tuesday for motivation to come hungry.

Providence at Miami (OH)-Denver Cup

The Providence Friars play another crucial non-conference game on Friday night when they make the long trek to Denver for the annual Denver Cup tournament and a matchup with the Miami Redhawks.

Miami came into the season highly touted, but faltered out of the gate going 2-6-0 in their first eight games. Miami enters this tilt undefeated in six games and looks to continue its recent tear, which has been led by a resurgence in net from Cody Reichard.  In the last 3 weeks, he has allowed just under two goals a game to opponents.

Providence enters the game winner of four out of their last five games. In their last contest, the Friars lost a tough 5-2 game to Northeastern, on home ice. In the game, Providence goalie, Alex Beaudry, got pulled after just 7 minutes of play. He gave up two goals on two shots. Beaudry should start this game and will need a big rebound from last Saturday’s porous performance.

Colgate at Vermont

Vermont enters the weekend on a bit of high note, winning only their second game of the year on Tuesday against Umass. Vermont will look to build on this win against a Colgate team that has already achieved some success on the young season.

Colgate, out of the ECAC, is off to a fast start. At 8-4-1 the Raiders already have impressive nonconference wins against Miami and Nebraska Omaha.

On Tuesday, Vermont received a rare defensive effort in allowing only 19 shots and one goal against Umass. This effort had to be a step in the right direction for Vermont, which is allowing a bloated 4.10 goals a game. Vermont will look to receive another impressive performance from its defense and goaltender, Rob Madore.

Northeastern at Michigan

Also on Friday night, the Northeastern Huskies head to the always venerable Yost Arena for a tough test against the Wolverines.

After beginning the season 1-7-2, the Huskies enter this weekend on a two game winning streak. This is the first nonconference game of the season for Northeastern and the Huskies will look for a better start to nonconference play. Chris Rawlings had an impressive weekend last weekend making 62 out of a possible 65 saves, in two games. He should be the starter for Northeastern on Friday against Michigan.

Michigan enters the game at 7-5-2 but has been held winless in their past four games and five out of six games. Michigan should start senior Goalie Shawn Hunwick who has an impressive 2.10 GAA on the season.

Saturday

UMass at Quinnipiac

UMass is currently winless in three games and have dropped two consecutive games to the bottom of the league, in Northeastern and Vermont. Massachusetts will look to rebound against annual non-conference foe, Quinnipiac.

The Minutemen have not won on the road this season and will look to change their fortunes against the Bobcats. As the Minutemen continue to falter on the road, so does the young defense and goaltending. The three goalie system in the UMass net has proven largely unsuccessful this season, especially on the road. Only Toot Cahoon has an idea of who he is going to start on Saturday.

Qunnipiac has two stout goalies who give up less than 2.20 goals a game. Dan Clarke is 5-3-0 on the season with a 2.20 GAA, based on his record he should receive the start.

Boston College at Yale

Boston College comes into the game against Yale on a season high two game losing streak, while Yale comes into Saturday on a low note losing to winless Sacred Heart, on Tuesday. This game is huge for both teams, especially Yale, in the Pairwise.

After his botched overtime mishandle of the puck, Parker Milner will get the opportunity to rebound while his counterpart Jeff Malcolm will also look to rebound after giving up five goals on seven shots Tuesday.

The last time these teams met, Boston College won a wild one in the northeast regional final, in March 2010, by a score of 9-7.

Providence vs. Princeton (Denver Cup)

Providence finishes off its trip to the Denver Cup with a tilt against Princeton. The Denver Cup will hopefully springboard Providence into new heights on the season.

Princeton is stumbling into this weekend with a record of 2-6-1 while Providence is coming into this weekend after a tough loss to Northeastern.

Providence should start Alex Beaudry in net both games this weekend. Sophomore, Sean Bonar, has started seven of nine games for Princeton and has given up 2.86 goals a game. He should receive the start for Princeton, on Saturday.

Alabama-Hunstville at New Hampshire

New Hampshire enters the weekend off a tough loss to Harvard on Tuesday night, 7-6. The Wildcats began the game on a high outscoring the Harvard Crimson 4-0 in the first but finished the game on the lowest of lows, giving up seven goals in the final two periods.

If UNH is going to be successful, they are going to need to perform defensively and get quality goaltending. One should not be surprised to see Jeff Wyer in the crease against Huntsville, but if Di Girolamo gets the start he will need a huge rebound game after his performance Tuesday at Harvard.

Clarkson at Maine (Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland)

Maine plays its annual game in Portland against Clarkson. The Black Bears enter the game on a five game winless streak with four losses and a tie.

As the season has gone on, Maine has continually struggled between the pipes. Dan Sullivan has started the last two games for the Black Bears and had a good outing last Saturday giving up two goals in a 2-2 tie against UMass. Look for Dan Sullivan to again get the nod in net over Martin Ouellette in Portland. Clarkson will counter with Paul Karpowich, who has started every game on the season and gives up just under two goals a game.

Cornell vs. Boston University (MSG, New York City)

Boston University heads to New York City to play Cornell in the semi-annual Red Hot Hockey. This game will be huge for Boston University as they look to build upon recent conference success and look to improve their positioning in the Pairwise rankings.

After a one game suspension against Vermont last Friday night Kieran Millan gave the Terriers a rock solid effort against New Hampshire giving up one goal on 34 shots, including 23 in the third period alone. He will be in net at Madison Square garden and will be countered by Andy Iles who has had an impressive season for Cornell, starting all eight games and giving up 2 goals per game.

Sunday

Dartmouth at Vermont

Vermont hosts their second ECAC opponent in three days as the Big Green will make the hour and a half trek north to visit Gutterson Fieldhouse. Vermont needs to continue its recent success against UMass, on Tuesday, to get their season going in the right direction.

Rob Madore should start the finale of the weekend for Vermont. He has been relatively inconsistent on the year but had his strongest performance on Tuesday against the Minutemen.  Dartmouth enters the game with a bit of a goalie battle, as James Mello is having a senior funk giving up nearly three goals a game while Jody O’ Neill has started the last two games giving up two per game.

The Takeaway: Merrimack Pummels Alabama-Huntsville

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Wednesday’s matchup between the only undefeated team in the country and the only winless team in the country went exactly as expected, as Merrimack pummeled Alabama-Huntsville 6-0. The Warriors (9-0-1) collected three goals in a four-minute stretch in the first period and tacked on three more in the second. They wound up outshooting the Chargers (0-12-1) by a 48-13 margin in the game, including an eye-popping 17-1 mark in the second. Five Warriors registered multi-point games and goalie Joe Cannata notched his first shutout of the season.

What I saw

-After not getting a single point from its freshmen in the first eight games of the season, Merrimack has now gotten six goals from its rookies in the last two games. Connor Toomey, the Billerica native who scored the overtime winner against Boston University two weekends ago, tallied the Warriors’ first two goals — one on a deflection and one on a bang-bang play at the top of the crease. Merrimack’s third and fourth goals also came from freshmen, as Clayton Jardine and Quinn Gould both netted the first of their careers. In addition to the goals, the Warriors’ rookies combined for four assists.

-From the start, it was evident that the Warriors were far and away the better team. It took them almost five minutes to score, but they had possessed the puck for most of those five minutes, and the shots on goal were 5-0 in their favor at the time of that first marker. Merrimack fell into a bit of a lull on the next shift and appeared to give up the tying goal, but it was reviewed and waved off for being tipped with a high stick. That seemed to wake the Warriors right back up, as they went on to tally two more goals in the next three minutes. (more…)

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

1. Mercyhurst – The Lakers are 6-1-1 in their last eight games and it all starts in net. Senior Max Strang is having a career year in is first year as the starter. Strang has a .930 save percentage on the season and a 2.65 goals against average. Neither number leads the conference but they are good enough to have the Lakers sitting in first place. But during the Lakers eight game run, Strang has been even better. He has 1.87 goals against average during that time. Strang and the Lakers will be put the test this weekend as they travel to Wisconsin.

2. Air Force – The Falcons had the weekend off. The last time the Falcons played, they went winless, losing at RIT and Merycyhurst. The Falcons have the players to stop the losing streak and win this weekend. Kyle De Laurell and Cole Gunner are tied for second in Atlantic Hockey with 12 points. Stephen Caple also leads Atlantic Hockey with a 1.97 goals against average in his first year as the starter. (more…)

Hockey East Power Rankings: 11/23/11

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Is there a growing chasm between the top and bottom halves of Hockey East? It’s starting to look that way, although UNH is still knocking on the top half’s door despite losing its last two games.

1. Merrimack (8-0-1, 6-0-1 HE) — Last week: 1

The Warriors didn’t play this weekend, meaning they’re still the only undefeated team in the country and still the top team in Hockey East. Led by Joe Cannata’s conference-best .940 save percentage, Merrimack continues to lead the nation with just 1.33 goals against per game. The Warriors host winless Alabama-Huntsville tonight.

2. Boston College (9-4-0, 7-2-0 HE) — Last week: 2

The Eagles suffered a heartbreaking loss at Notre Dame on Friday when Bryan Rust scored with 1.1 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Irish the 3-2 win. BC has now lost three of its last four games and has dropped back-to-back games for the first time in two years. The Eagles still lead the league in offense and rank second in defense, though. (more…)