Archive for November, 2011

Three Up, Three Down

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Three Up

Ludwig Karlsson, Freshman, Forward, Northeastern

After a winless month, Northeastern finally found their groove with a Homecoming sweep of Providence and Vermont, leaving the Huskies with 4 points on the weekend. Karlsson has been hot in the last three games for Northeastern with a three game scoring streak and a pair of goals in the team’s 4-1 victory over Vermont Saturday. This week’s Hockey East Player of the Week, he currently leads the Husky offense with 6 goals and 4 assists, and if he can keep up this pace he could have a huge impact on his team’s success.

Garrett Noonan, Sophomore, Defenseman, Boston University

Boston University came out of this weekend with a pair of wins, 4-3 against Vermont and then 4-1 against New Hampshire, bringing the Terriers to 6-4-1 on the season. Noonan showed up both defensively and offensively for BU, especially on Friday against Vermont netting a power play goal. He’s one of the reasons BU sits in third place in Hockey East rankings right now, and the fact that he’s still relatively young means his play will probably only get better.

Karl Stollery/Ryan Flanigan, Senior Captains, Merrimack

This nod really goes to the entire Merrimack hockey program, but we’ll give credit to the team’s two senior captains, Stollery and Flanigan. For the first time in program history Merrimack was voted the national No. 1 hockey team in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine’s Men’s Poll. With an 8-0-1 record, the Warriors are nearly perfect on the season and it’s at least partially due to the team’s veteran leadership. Flanigan and Stollery lead the Merrimack offense with 10 and eight points, respectively, and are surely due credit for garnering the program national recognition.

Three Down

Rob Madore, Senior, Goaltender, Vermont

Hate to pin Vermont’s misfortunes on any one player, but if their last weekend of play is broken down, Madore allowed eight goals in just two games. With a .856 save percentage, and an average of 4.6 goals against, Madore just isn’t playing up to D-1 Hockey East veteran goaltender standards. Madore’s goaltending isn’t the reason the Catamounts have yet to see a Hockey East win, but it’s a piece.

Joey Diamond, Junior, Forward, Maine

Getting benched for reckless, selfish play usually teaches a player a lesson.  Apparently not so for Maine’s Diamond, who even after being forced to sit out a Fighting Sioux game by coach Tim Whitehead garnered penalties for grabbing a face mask and hitting from behind, the latter coming in Maine’s only game this weekend against Massachusetts. It’s a simple and common problem, when your best offensive players take stupid penalties; they’re not on the ice making great offensive plays. Diamond needs to get his play under control so that he can contribute as much as possible rather than wasting minutes sitting in the box, but with Diamond’s recent play, it looks like that might not happen without another nudge from Whitehead in the form of more bench time.

Steve Mastalerz, Freshman, Goaltender, Massachusetts

Again, this is more of a group problem than an individual one, but the young Massachusetts goaltending is looking just that right now – young. Mastalerz has a save percentage of just. 872 and has a win and a loss. You’d think his fellow goaltenders, Kevin Boyle and Jeff Teglia might be fairing better, but at 3-2-2, Boyle has the best record of UMass’s three young goaltenders, but a save percentage of .833. Teglia has the best save percentage with .903, but at on the season 0-2-1, he hasn’t seen a win. If the Minutemen’s goaltending shapes up a bit more, the chances of them seeing more success again, like beating Boston College, is likely.

Atlantic Hockey wrap

Monday, November 21st, 2011

With another weekend done, there are two constants: Mercyhurst continues to roll and Sacred Heart is winless. RIT has also climbed back into the mix after a slow start and the return of Shane Madolora. Things are starting to take shape as the midpoint of the season inches closer. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East

Monday, November 21st, 2011

As many expected, we saw Vermont lose a pair this weekend, and Boston University sweep its weekend at home. We saw UMass-Lowell embarrass Massachusetts, 4-0, at the Tsongas Center, and Northeastern pick up four points in two days, after collecting just two in the previous 43.

The league’s two leaders, Boston College and Merrimack, received a brief hiatus from league play. BC fell, 3-2, in overtime to Notre Dame. The result will bear no impact on the league standings, but the potential PairWise boost the league would’ve received from that victory could’ve been the difference between an NCAA at-large bid and an early summer a few months from now.

It’s time for Tim Whitehead to get rough with his Diamond

Earlier this season, Maine coach Tim Whitehead called out winger Joey Diamond for his selfish play in a loss to North Dakota in Grand Forks. The coach benched his player for the following night’s game with the Fighting Sioux in a play he hoped would eliminate Diamond’s irresponsible play.

This, ultimately, proved a failed attempt from Whitehead. In that game with UND, Diamond picked up four minors, three of which came on penalties of aggression in boarding and roughing. Despite missing the next game, Diamond returned against Providence the next weekend and took a minor for grabbing an opponent’s facemask. Another unnecessary two minutes without one its best goal scorers. And that’s the biggest problem, Diamond is one of the Black Bears most gifted players, and Maine needs all the offense it can muster right now. (more…)

The Takeaway: Lowell Dominates UMass in 4-0 Win

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

LOWELL, Mass. – The River Hawks didn’t score in the first period, but they set the tone for Saturday’s 4-0 victory by outshooting Massachusetts 12-2 in the opening frame. Lowell (6-4-0, 4-3-0 HE) finally got on the board midway through the second when David Vallorani walked in from the point on a power play and beat UMass (4-5-3, 2-5-3 HE) goalie Steve Mastalerz glove-side. Tim Corcoran, Chad Ruhwedel and Riley Wetmore tacked on goals of their own and Doug Carr stopped all 16 shots he faced to record his first career shutout. Lowell now has more wins than it did all of last season.

What I saw

-The Minutemen couldn’t do anything on offense. They entered the weekend with the second-best offense in the league, but it was nowhere to be found Saturday night. In addition to having just 16 shots for the game, they tallied just four grade-A chances and had very few extended possessions in the Lowell zone. T.J. Syner, Michael Pereira and Conor Sheary — who are all among the top 10 scorers in Hockey East — combined for just six shots on net.

-Just like the Lowell defense bounced back from a 5-0 loss to New Hampshire on Friday, so too did the offense. The River Hawks registered double-digit shots in all three periods and finished with 34 on the night. The line of Vallorani, Wetmore and Derek Arnold led the way, as they combined for 14 shots and four points. Lowell actually looked a little snakebitten for the first half of the game as it struggled to capitalize on quality chances, but once the first one went in, the floodgates opened. (more…)

CCHA Wrap, Nov. 20

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

From Ohio State’s two-game sweep of Michigan to Notre Dame’s thrilling overtime win against Boston College… what a weekend in the CCHA. As we head into Thanksgiving, here are some items worth mentioning:

  • I got a first hand look at Miami, as the Red Hawks hosted Bowling Green over the weekend. On Halloween, Miami was struggling and at the bottom of the CCHA standings. Since? The RedHawks are unbeaten in six games, and senior goaltender Cody Reichard has started all six of those contests, seemingly taking over the No. 1 netminder position — a position that had been notably shared by Reichard and classmate Connor Knapp for the past three years.
  • While Reichard has played better — his performance in Saturday’s 4-4 tie against Bowling Green notwithstanding — it was clear that the real impetus for change in Oxford over the past three weeks has been the play of Miami’s freshman forwards. (more…)

Some quick thoughts on this weekend

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Killing some time before they kick me out of the Mariucci Arena press box tonight, here are some random thoughts on this weekend from around the WCHA.

• Nick Bjugstad is good. Really good. And with his size and skillset, he’s virtually unstoppable. Paired with Kyle Rau, Minnesota has the best line in the WCHA right now, bar none. Yes, Connolly-Oleksuk-Brown is rock solid. But these two guys in Minneapolis can flat out play and they complement each other perfectly. I will have a feature story on Bjugstad on the website either Sunday or Monday.

(more…)

The Takeaway: UNH Gets Complete Effort, Defeats UML

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

DURHAM, N.H — In what was billed as one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend, New Hampshire outplayed UMass Lowell to the tune of a 5-0 shutout victory. The River Hawks were looking for a rare four-game winning streak against the likes of BU, Maine and UNH but came up short in effort and will be looking for a rebound game against sister school Massachusetts, Saturday night. UNH got a strong effort in net from Matt Di Girolamo who made 31 saves in the shutout effort.

What I saw

  • UNH did a great job defensively stifling the top ranked offense in Hockey East. It was another effort which saw forwards and defensemen alike blocking shots. Most of the 31 sent to Di Girolamo were perimeter and points shots that Di Girolamo saw.
  • UMass-Lowell played arguably its worst game of the year. Offensively, the River Hawks were flat and just could not get into the middle of the ice to send quality shots toward Di Girolamo. What came in as the best offense in the Hockey East left Durham as the fifth ranked offense in the league after being shutout. (more…)

The Takeaway: Another shaky win for BU

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

BOSTON — The one-game benching, suspension, timeout — whatever you want to call it — for Boston University goaltender Kieran Millan meant fellow senior Grant Rollheiser would get his second start of the season. Ultimately, he earned his second win of the season, making 31 saves in a 4-3 win over a struggling Vermont team Friday night.

Ten different players recorded points in the win, with only sophomore winger Matt Nieto picking up more than one — he finished with two assists. BU sophomore Garrett Noonan scored the game-winning goal at 16 minutes, 42 seconds of the third period. However, BU coach Jack Parker was rightfully displeased with his club’s performance in the final period, as the Terriers regressed to their selfish ways in allowing the Catamounts to find their way back into the game.

What I saw

  • Scoring a couple goals on the Vermont power play hardly resonates as a massive accomplishment. Still, the Terriers finished the game two-for-five on the man advantage, including Noonan’s game-winner late in the second. BU moved the puck well on most of its power plays and successfully created opportunities from the point and down low. Beyond that, they managed to maintain pressure after failing to score. Wade Megan’s goal midway through the second came just as UVM’s H.T. Lenz left the box after a boarding minor. In their last two games, the Terriers have scored on four of 10 power players, they were were five for 45 with the man advantage. (more…)

A star is born for St. Cloud in win over Minnesota

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

If there was any doubt about St. Cloud State’s goaltending situation before St. Cloud State’s 4-3 win over No. 1 Minnesota Friday night, there sure isn’t much anymore.

After an injury to SCSU’s Mike Lee last month — an injury which will likely cost the junior his season — the Huskies were forced to turn things over to Ryan Faragher, a freshman from Fort Frances, Ont. via the North American Hockey League.

And the freshman has responded.

“When Mike went down, we didn’t really know what was going to happen,” admitted junior forward David Eddy, who had three assists Friday. “But he’s stepped up huge. Bigger than we expected. He makes saves where you’re just like ‘Wow, how did he do that?’ He made a couple of those tonight.”

Faragher playing well has become somewhat redundant in the Granite City. It seems to be a topic that comes up for head coach Bob Motzko each week.

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The Takeaway: Inconsistent special teams doom Vermont

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

BOSTON — Despite displaying one of its better all-around performances of the season, Vermont fell, 4-3, to Boston University at Agganis Arena Friday night. The team fell to 1-6-1 on the season and continues its position at the bottom of Hockey East. The Catamounts were outplayed by BU during the first half of the game, despite taking a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Vermont found itself in a 4-2 deficit before a power-play goal late in the third period brought the team within one goal. However, the Catamounts failed to tie the score despite multiple scoring chances in the final 90 seconds with an extra attacker.

What I Saw

  • Vermont saw its early lead disappear on two plays that involved unfortunate bounces; both of which created shots that goaltender Rob Madore had little chance to save. BU forward Corey Trivino scored the first, after he collected a deflection off a Vermont defenseman at the top of the crease and easily put his shot past Madore five-hole. The second involved a carom off the boards behind the net that fell on the stick of Charlie Coyle in the slot. The sophomore forward launched a wrist shot to the top of the net that, again, afforded Madore little reaction time. (more…)