Archive for November, 2011

WCHA Power Rankings: Week 6

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

It’s almost Thanksgiving and Minnesota State is ahead of North Dakota in the league standings… who-da thunk it?

Anyways, here are this week’s power rankings:

1 — Minnesota (Last week: 1)

The Gophers did their job last weekend, getting two points on the road at the Kohl Center. And because other teams in the top-5 struggled, Minnesota remains the top team in the nation — and deservedly so. They get tested with yet another rivalry series this weekend and a home-and-home with SCSU.

2 — Minnesota Duluth (Last week: 3)

The Bulldogs are 6-0-2 since getting swept by the Gophers to open the league schedule. Both losses to Minnesota were one goal losses where UMD posted 50 shots. This team is a lot better than most gave them credit for and will likely stick with the Gophers all season.

3 — Colorado College (Last week: 2)

The Tigers are holding in the top-3 by a thread after losing 2 of their last 3 games. Joe Howe has been destroyed in each of those two losses, living up to his reputation as a great goalie… most of the time. He has shown a tendency to get lit up every once in a while, and so far this season, it’s no different.

4 — Nebraska-Omaha (Last week: 4)

Last Friday, Bemidji State scored a late goal to gain a tie in its game with UNO, and it looked like the Beavers were going to haunt the Mavs yet again. So it had to be sweet for the Mavericks Saturday, winning 5-1 and getting their first win over Bemidji State since the two squads joined the league last season.

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The Week Ahead: Hockey East

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

After an interesting weekend of Hockey East action, we are again reminded that every game within Hockey East is going to be a battle.

Merrimack is the only undefeated team remaining in the country, but its the only Hockey East team off this weekend. In the lone non-conference game, Boston College heads out to South Bend, Ind., to play CCHA foe, and future Hockey East member, Notre Dame. This matchup will be crucial for Boston College, and the rest of the conference for that matter, in regards to the PairWise rankings and the future positioning thereof. (more…)

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Another weekend is done and life in Atlantic Hockey got a little more blurry. Air Force and Mercyhurst, both previously unbeaten in league play, lost over weekend. The weekend also marked the return of Shane Madolora to net for RIT. But the end of the weekend also brought several surprises. Bentley sits in second place behind Air Force in the standings. While it may just be a strong start, these Falcons may be real. While we’re only two weekends into conference play, its easy to see that this is going to be a fun rest of the season.

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Hockey East Power Rankings: 11/16/11

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

It was yet another weekend of unpredictable results in Hockey East, with UMass-Lowell’s sweep of Maine and BU’s beatdown of BC standing out as the most surprising results. Meanwhile, Merrimack remained unbeaten with a victory at BU. There is a little more separation this week than last, but teams three through eight are all still packed together pretty tightly.

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

The still-undefeated Warriors hold onto the top spot after notching a come-from-behind overtime win against BU on Friday. Merrimack has now gone to overtime in three straight games, having picked up a win and tie against Northeastern two weekends ago. While the defense continues to be great — it hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game yet this season — the offense has tallied just seven goals total in those last three games.

2. Boston College (9-3-0, 7-2-0 HE) — Last week: 2

The Eagles squeaked out a 2-1 win over Northeastern on Friday when Tommy Cross scored with 2.8 seconds remaining, but then they suffered a sobering 5-0 thrashing at the hands of BU on Sunday. Not that anyone on Chestnut Hill should be panicking, but BC has now lost two of its last three. Special teams, which had been a strength all season, were a big problem Sunday, as BU scored two power-play goals and a shorthanded goal. (more…)

Three Up, Three Down

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

With all due respect to Massachusetts sophomore defenseman Conor Allen, who picked up a hat trick against Holy Cross on Friday night, a few other players around the league have managed a better few games over the last few weekends. This list includes one of Allen’s teammates and an opponent of his next Saturday.

Joe Cannatta, Senior, Goaltender, Merrimack

Friday’s win over Boston University capped an 8-0-1 start and gave the Warriors the win over the Hockey East powerhouse it needed to legitimize itself in the eyes of some. In the win, Cannatta made 36 saves and overcame a pair of first period goals allowed. Through eight games played this season, Cannatta is 7-0-1 with .940 save percentage and a 1.48 goals-against average. Many wondered if the Warriors would be able to build on least year’s best season in program history. Through nine total games, the undefeated Warriors look better than they did a season ago, and Cannatta is a big reason for that. (more…)

AHA Wrap Up

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Another weekend in the AHA is done and while its still early in the season, things are already muddled. The last two undefeated teams in conference play lost this weekend and the league appears to have more parity than past years. With surprise teams Bentley and Mercyhurst near the top of the standings, and teams like RIT and UConn struggling to start the season, the league is set for a fun season. The fun really began this past weekend.

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Three Things I Think: Hockey East

Monday, November 14th, 2011

While everyone in North Andover, Mass., was freaking out because Merrimack did not overtake the top in either national poll, I spent the day informing people of two things: polls are stupid and the Warriors are in great position in the Hockey East standings (second place) and the PairWise (first), which are still the only two metrics that matter.

Merrimack is good, but skepticism is valid 

In September, I pegged Merrimack to finish third behind Boston University and Boston College. I wavered back and forth between a third-place finish and a fourth-place landing, ultimately putting the Warriors third, Maine fourth and New Hampshire fifth. With this, I was really making two pretty big predictions with Merrimack building on last season and UNH’s run of home ice ending.

We have roughly four months of hockey left this season, but I’m looking pretty good — except with the whole thinking Maine’s goaltending wouldn’t be terrible thing.

Friday’s comeback, overtime win at BU cemented the Warriors as one of the two best teams in Hockey East. However, that win over BU, which helped Merrimack improve to 8-0-1, was Merrimack’s first win over what someone could describe a “good” hockey team — and that word only applies if you consider “wildly talented” a synonym for “good.” Knocking Maine off in the season-opener may qualify as well, if only because it was the first game of the season and no one knew Dan Sullivan and Martin Ouellette would be this bad. (more…)

Cornell’s Freshmen Phenoms

Monday, November 14th, 2011

HANOVER, New Hampshire- I once again spent my weekend at Thompson Arena, as  travel partners Colgate and Cornell visited Dartmouth.

Saturday night’s match-up between Cornell and Dartmouth presented arguably the two best freshmen classes in the ECAC. The Big Red happened to come away the victor largely because of the play of two freshman forwards in Joel Lowry and Brian Ferlin.

The pair has been on point all season with Ferlin picking up eight points in just five games ( 3 G, 5 A), while Lowry has four points ( 2 G , 2 A) on his season to date.

Upon watching both players play, I noticed the poise both had with the puck, particularly Ferlin, who created an amazing goal out of nothing against preseason all ECAC goaltender James Mello. This astonishing goal, which came as Ferlin was skating into the point,  really helped set the pace for Cornell who never looked back after that point. Ferlin certainly has NHL written all over him, the Bruins draft pick will most certainly be on the radar if his play remains this good.

Lowry continued has impressive start to the season by picking up an assist on a Nick D’Agostino power-play goal. I did happen to notice a scout or two in the crowd taking a vested interest, Lowry is a draft pick of the LA Kings and is likely to follow in his dad’s Pro hockey footsteps.

Cornell head coach Mike Schafer must feel that he did an incredible job recruting this season, as both Lowry and Ferlin are making an impact on the Big Red’s top scoring line.

The Takeaway: Another win for Boston College, another last minute loss for Northeastern

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Boston College took down Northeastern University Friday night at Conte Forum 2-1. BC is now 7-1-0 in conference play, while Northeastern is still looking for its second win of the season at 1-6-2.

The Huskies took an early lead in the first period but couldn’t maintain as BC evened the score in the second and sealed the deal with a last second goal from Tommy Cross with under three seconds to play.

What I saw

Northeastern’s defense was clearing puck after puck in the first period. When it came to the second and third periods, they were clearing less and couldn’t push BC back once they got the puck in front of Rawlings.

BC obliterated Northeastern in shots. The Eagles basically doubled Northeastern’s shot number each period, giving them a 36 to 18 shot advantage at the end of the game. The BC defense looked significantly more aggressive than Northeastern’s. (more…)

The Takeaway: Merrimack Beats BU in Overtime, Remains Undefeated

Friday, November 11th, 2011

BOSTON – Merrimack remained unbeaten with a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win against Boston University on Friday night. Goals from Garrett Noonan and Justin Courtnall staked the Terriers (3-4-1, 2-3-1 HE) to a 2-1 lead, but the Warriors (8-0-1, 6-0-1 HE) fought through a slew of penalties and tied the game with 1:56 remaining when Brandon Brodhag tipped home a Jordan Heywood slapper. They captured their second overtime victory in a row with another tip-in, as Billerica native Connor Toomey deflected a Karl Stollery wrister past Kieran Millan (27 saves) just 22 seconds into the extra session. Joe Cannata made 36 saves for Merrimack.

What I saw

-Merrimack’s freshmen finally found the scoresheet. Through the first eight games of the season, the Warriors had zero points from their rookie class. That changed with the first goal of the game when Arlington native Justin Mansfield chipped a rebound past Millan. Then of course there was the game-winner from Toomey, another freshman. Mansfield and Toomey, along with fellow freshmen Clayton Jardine and Dan Kolomatis, have been playing well this season; they just hadn’t scored yet. If they can build on Friday night and continue to be productive, Merrimack could make the jump from a middle-of-the-pack offense to one of the league’s best. (more…)