Archive for December, 2011

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

1. Air Force – The Falcons continue to roll. A sweep of AIC this weekend gives the Falcons four straight wins. They outscored AIC 15-6 on the weekend. Kyle De Laurell continues to have a career year. He has already set a career high with 11 goals. His 21 points lead Atlantic Hockey. He is on a six game point streak in which he has accumulated 12 points, including six goals. The Falcons don’t play again until Dec. 30 and 31.

2. Mercyhurst – After a winless weekend, the Lakers got back to winning with a win and tie against Army. Chirs Bodo continues to impress in his freshman year. He had three points on the weekend, including two goals. He now has recorded at least one point in seven of the Lakers last 10 games. The Lakers travel to upstate New York to take on Canisius and Niagara. (more…)

Three Up, Three Down

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Boston College coach Jerry York’s decision to surround center Bill Arnold with wingers Chris Kreider and Johnny Gaudreau has already resulted in minor bursts from the trio. It’s been two games, and each player’s minor scoring droughts have morphed in point streaks. Should York keep the gifted group together for this weekend’s test in Lowell, this list could include the names of its most usual suspects when we officially close the first half.

For now, some interesting names enter the final weekend of the first half on some equally interesting streaks. On the other end, three players vital to their respective teams’ success are coming off forgettable weeks — or even months — that have contributed to extended losing streaks.

Three up

Spencer Abbott, Senior, Forward, Maine

The Black Bears ended a three-game losing streak on Nov. 18 with a 2-2 tie in Amherst, Mass., against Massachusetts. Since, the club has pieced together a three-game winning streak punctuated by an easy 5-2 win over Vermont in Burlington on Saturday night.

In the middle of their sweep of the Catamounts was senior winger Spencer Abbott who began the weekend with five-point night on Friday. His three goals and two assists spurred a 6-4 win. In the second game, Abbott suffered a minor set back, picking up a mere four points — two goals and two assists — in Maine’s victory that clinched the season series with UVM. (more…)

Hockey East Power Rankings: 12/6/11

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

After minimal movement in last week’s power rankings, this week’s look like a stock market with all the rising and falling. Last week’s top three teams all lost at least once over the weekend, while four of the next five teams all earned sweeps.

1. Boston College (11-5-0, 8-3-0 HE) — Last week: 2

Merrimack’s two losses opened the door for BC to claim the top spot after splitting a pair of quirky games with BU. The Eagles lost 5-3 on Friday despite outshooting BU 45-15, then won 6-1 on Saturday despite being outshot 41-31. Freshman goalie Brian Billett picked up his second straight win Saturday, while Chris Kreider and Bill Arnold each had two goals and an assist on the weekend. BC leads the league with 3.69 goals per game.

2. Merrimack (9-2-1, 6-2-1 HE) — Last week: 1

The Warriors suffered their first loss of the season Friday with a 2-1 overtime defeat at Providence. The next night was worse, though, as they got smoked 6-1 at home by the Friars. Although Merrimack still leads the conference in team defense, it has plummeted to eighth in offense after scoring more than three goals just once in its last six games. Outside of Ryan Flanigan, Jesse Todd and Mike Collins, no Warrior forward has more than five points. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East

Monday, December 5th, 2011

The series between Boston College and Boston University received most of the attention this weekend as the Commonwealth Avenue schools split a pair played at both ends of the road. But it was a pair of sweeps — one completed in Durham, N.H., the other in North Andover, Mass. — that really cemented a pair of clubs as contenders in the 2011-12 Hockey East season.

UMass Lowell is a contender for more than just fourth place

The River Hawks defeated New Hampshire twice this weekend, and the wins clinched the season series for Norm Bazin’s club. It was a loss to UNH last month that many used to claim Lowell was little more than a mid-level club incapable of building on the three-game winning streak it had put together at that point. Since, UML has won four consecutive games with the pair over UNH coming most recently.

This weekend didn’t cement Lowell as a good team. We knew that before its game with UNH on Friday. What we — or maybe just I — gleaned from the results it post on Friday and Saturday is that Lowell can win this league. Sophomore Doug Carr continued his brilliance with 45- and 33-save efforts this weekend, and the Lowell offense continued to display its depth with six different players scoring. Currently, eight different Lowell players have at least 10 points on the season. (more…)

The Takeaway: BC rolls BU, 6-1

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

BOSTON — A night after after a troubling 5-3 loss to Boston University on Friday, six different Boston College players scored, as the Eagles earned their first win of the season over the Terriers at Agganis Arena with a 6-1 victory.

While BU’s win on Friday clinched the season series in Hockey East play, BC coach Jerry York viewed the weekend as a net positive. Aside from strong contributions from the players BC relies on, depth players and freshman goaltender Brian Billet pieced together strong weekends for the Eagles, who remain in first place in Hockey East.

What I saw

  • The Boston College power play still can’t find it’s stride. The crisp, effortless puck movement York demands from his players is there, as is the creativity that gives opponents fits. But the finish is still lacking on the man advantage. On Friday, the Eagles finished two-for-11 on the power play and posted an 0-for-5 on Saturday night. York is happy with the overall direction of his power play units, and it’s likely that a few bounces will fix whatever ails them. Still, it’s rare to see a BC team so poor in this area of the game. There are a few elements missing from years past — BC has no real power forwards and lacks a point man capable of running the advantage as Joe Whitney did in his four seasons at the Heights. As the season progresses, any of the wildly talented players on the BC could fill these rolls, but no one has done yet. (more…)

The Takeaway: Carr Steals One From UNH, UML Wins 5-3

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Durham, NH- Doug Carr made 28 saves in the first period alone and led the River Hawks to a 5-3 victory at the Whittemore center, on Saturday night. The win for UMass-Lowell was their first victory at the Whittemore Center since November 2003, as the River Hawks continue to impress and build confidence on an already successful season.

UNH came out with a jump in their step and sent 29 first

The Takeaway: Unable to Avoid Penalty Box, Merrimack Gets Swept by Providence

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Merrimack gave Providence eight power plays in the second period, including a five-minute major and an extended 5-on-3, and the Friars capitalized en route to a 6-1 win and a weekend sweep of the previously undefeated Warriors (9-2-1, 6-2-1 HE). Jordan Heywood was ejected for contact to the head just 45 seconds into the second, and Providence (8-6-1, 6-3-0 HE) scored three times on the ensuing five-minute power play with two goals from Drew Brown and another from Tim Schaller. The Friars finished the game 5-for-13 on the man advantage.

What I saw

-The Friars totally dominated the second period. They got the five-minute power play when Heywood was ejected, and that proved to be all they needed in terms of an opening. They scored three goals on the extended man advantage and maintained the momentum from there. Providence wound up registering 12 of the period’s first 13 shots and outshooting the Warriors 20-5 in the frame.

-There was a lot of hitting and a lot of extracurricular activity. Friday’s game in Providence was a physical one according to those who were there, and that animosity definitely carried over into Saturday’s game. “We don’t like them and they don’t like us,” Heywood said during a TV interview after the first period. Heywood then proved his own point with his hit to the head early in the second. Both teams finished their checks all game, and seemingly every other whistle resulted in some sort of shoving match. (more…)

The Takeaway: UML, Carr Stifle UNH Comeback

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Lowell, MA. –  UMass-Lowell  raced out to a 2-1 first period lead in front of the largest home crowd in River Hawk history and stifled a strong UNH comeback in the third period to pick up the crucial Hockey East victory against the Wildcats. Doug Carr, the impressive sophomore, was again lights out for the River Hawks stopping 33 UNH shots on the night, including 18 out of 19 in the third period.

With the win over New Hampshire, Lowell improves to an impressive 8-4-0 on the season and has propelled themselves into fourth place in the Hockey East standings with a 5-3-0 record in the conference.

What I saw

-UNH had another road meltdown, where turnovers and missed assignments have seemingly become the norm. The third period was better for the Wildcats but they also dug themselves into a second period, 3-1, hole and were never able to bury the third and tying goal despite numerous chances in the third period.

-Doug Carr had another very impressive outing for the River Hawks making 18 saves in the third period alone and 33 in the game. His performances of late have been next to spectacular and tonight he made every save look easy. The New Hampshire offense entered the game as the Hockey East’s leader offensively but was stifled during the first and second periods. (more…)

The Takeaway: Millan Leads BU to Ugly Win Over BC

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Kieran Millan had one of his best games as a Terrier, stopping 42 of 45 shots as BU beat BC 5-3 at Conte Forum on Friday despite getting tripled up in shots. BU opened the scoring 10:15 in when Charlie Coyle walked through the left circle on the power play and beat Parker Milner (10 saves) with a snap shot over the right arm. The Terriers (8-4-1, 6-3-1 HE) added to the lead seven minutes later when Yasin Cisse caught a great pass from Alexx Privitera and beat Milner on a breakaway for his first collegiate goal. Garrett Noonan made it 3-0 BU midway through the second before BC (10-5-0, 7-3-0) finally got on the board with a goal from Bill Arnold. Cason Hohmann and Corey Trivino also scored for BU.

What I saw

-The Terriers continued to look great on the penalty kill for the first half of the game. They barely allowed BC to get set up on two power plays in the first period, as they applied consistent pressure to the puck carrier and forced BC into turnovers and bad shots. That continued on BC’s first power play of the second, but BU appeared to tire after that, as the Eagles began to pepper Millan beginning with their fourth power play of the game.

-Although BU scored two power-play goals, its man advantage didn’t really look that good. The Terriers struggled to gain possession in the offensive zone for much of their first three power plays. They finally got set up in the last 30 seconds of their first one and made it count when Coyle scored, but it was far from a good-looking power play all things considered. The Terriers scored again on a five-minute power play in the third, but that only came after two-plus minutes of doing absolutely nothing. The box score will show that the Terriers went 2-for-6 on the man advantage, but they didn’t look nearly as good as they have recently. (more…)

Frustration setting in for Mavericks

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

For much of Friday’s game between first place Minnesota and last place Minnesota State, it was difficult to decipher who was the top team and who was the bottom one. The answer to said question came in the third period, when in the span of about 10 seconds, the Mavericks had a chance to win, and then lost on a goal at the other end.

Playing shorthanded, MSU senior forward Michael Dorr raced in on a breakaway on Gopher goalie Kent Patterson. His shot whistled well high and wide, directed around the glass and onto the stick of a Gopher. Minnesota charged to the other end and Nate Schmidt set up Erik Haula on a slap shot from the blueline — hit not that especially hard — that somehow found its way into the Maverick net.

MSU head coach Troy Jutting thought it was a shot that should have been stopped, as were the other two that got through senior goaltender Austin Lee.