Archive for January, 2012

The Takeaway: Arnold scores a win for UML at NU

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

BOSTON — Derek Arnold scored at 2 minutes, 50 seconds of overtime to clinch a 3-2 win and a four-point weekend for UMass Lowell over Northeastern at Matthews Arena Saturday night. The goal, Arnold’s 10th of the season, came on breakaway following a chip through a neutral zone from UML’s Michael Budd. NU defenseman Luke Eibler and forward Cody Ferriero attempted to glove Budd’s chip down, but collided at the center ice. Defenseman Anthony Bitteto stood in position to play the puck at the NU blue line, before the puck skipped over his stick, allowing Arnold to corral it and walk in alone on Chris Rawlings.

Northeastern held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but couldn’t put a third past UML’s Doug Carr, who made 13 saves in the third period. The final 20 minutes tilted heavily in the Huskies’ favor after an even first 40. Carr kept the game tied, calmly brushing away the shots NU sent his way and getting his team to the overtime.

What I Saw

  • Even in the third period, watching Northeastern dominate play, UMass Lowell’s compete level and commitment to simple, smart play shone through. The Huskies outshot the River Hawks, 13-7, late in the game, maintaining possession for most of the period. Aided by a pair of power plays, the Huskies looked certain for a go-ahead goal at some point. Aside from Carr’s brilliance — and there really isn’t a better way to describe the sophomore — the UML skaters executed near flawlessly in terms of defensive assignments. Whether it was boxing out swarming NU players after shots, seamless line changes or getting clears when they needed them, UML was nearly perfect. One mistake stands out — a failed clear attempt kept a winded penalty kill unit on the ice for about 30 seconds longer than UML coach Norm Bazin would’ve liked. Carr bailed the River Hawks out in that instance. In general, this commitment to the most fundamental concept of hockey that every coach reinforces in his players’ minds every chance he gets — keep it simple — has put UML in its current position. (more…)

The Takeaway: Gutsy Effort Gives Merrimack OT Victory

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Durham, NH.- After New Hampshire defeated Merrimack in a 2-1 thriller on Friday night, Merrimack and UNH played to a 2-2 tie after regulation. The Warriors won it just 19 seconds into overtime on a goal by John Heffernan, who slipped a quick snipe right above the stick of Damon Kipp over the shoulder of the goaltender, Casey Desmith, and into the net to seal the win.

On a night where Merrimack made some key changes to their lineup, with the scratch of leading scorer Ryan Flanigan, the Warriors got two goals from their listed fourth line. This fourth line production coupled with the insertion of John Heffernan played dividends for them in the end as the latter scored the game winning goal in just his eighth game of the season.

UNH played from behind most of the game and used a goal midway through the third period to force the game to overtime, but it was just not meant to be. After a win against Merrimack on Friday night, UNH played arguably its best two games of the season on back to back nights. With the loss UNH stays in the eighth and final playoff spot by three points over Northeastern. With the win Merrimack moved up into a tie for second with Boston College with a two games in hand.

What I saw

-Merrimack played a gutsy game. On the first shift of the game, first line Center Carter Madsen was taken out on a stretcher. This must have been demoralizing on the bench but the Warriors instead turned it right around and controlled play for the first half of the first period. This strong play early led to Rhett Bly’s goal at 3:06 of the period, giving Merrimack an early lead in which they never fully relinquished.

-UNH played another phenomenal defensive game, their fourth in a row. The overtime game winner from Merrimack was a pretty snipe right over the stick of Damon Kipp. Every man was seemingly covered by New Hampshire which has not always been the case this season for them. Heffernan made a great play and shot. This is a loss that cannot be blamed on poor defense or lack of effort. (more…)

Mavericks and Mavericks wrap from Mankato

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

My intention tonight was to write a story on the Spirit of the Maverick trophy. It’s why I came down here. And with the teams tied at 1 headed to overtime, it looked like I was going to get the perfect scenario for such a story — a tie. An outcome where neither coach would be too overjoyed or disappointed and would be more than happy to engage in some rivalry trophy chatter…

Then overtime happened.

First, the important stuff. Under a minute into the extra session, UNO goaltender Ryan Massa was struck in the crease by Minnesota State defenseman Evan Mosey. Mosey was ridden into the goal by a Omaha defender and there was contact in the crease. Massa was motionless on the ice for several minutes and medical personnel was quick to get to him on the ice. After a delay of about 15 minutes, Massa was taken off the ice on a stretcher, and presumably taken to the hospital.


The Takeaway: BU crushes Providence, 6-1

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

BOSTON — The first period ended with Boston University leading Providence, 4-0, and, despite a strong effort in the final 40 minutes, the Friars failed to inch much closer, falling to BU, 6-1. The teams will play the second game of a home-and-home series Saturday night at Schneider Arena in Providence. The game will also decide the season series between the two clubs; PC defeated BU, 5-3, on Oct. 14.

Adam Clendening assisted on three of the Terriers’ goals, and six different players scored for BU. Kieran Millan made 36 saves in the game, preventing PC from mounting anything resembling a comeback Friday night.

What I Saw

  • Despite the five-goals loss, Providence played a good game. With BU leading 1-0 and eventually 2-0, the Friars went on the power play twice and created plenty of offense. Losing the battle in front of Millan, the Friars failed to capitalize on the second and third chances they generated. Following the game, PC coach Nate Leaman praised his club, pointing to a few tough bounces in front of Alex Beaudry leading to BU’s first three goals. The Friars outshot BU 20-11 in the second period, but a few key saves from Millan prevented PC from developing any momentum. Shane Luke’s goal at 8 minute, 59 seconds of the second period looked to spark the visitors to an extent, but nothing came of it. To say BU won this game solely due to some puck luck isn’t exactly fair to the Terriers. Still, to say the Friars lost, 6-1, because they were bad is equally unfair to the Friars. (more…)

The Takeaway: UMass defeats UVM at home, 4-3, to win season series

Friday, January 20th, 2012

AMHERST, Mass. ― In a battle between two teams trying to secure places in the Hockey East playoffs, Massachusetts defeated Vermont at the Mullins Center, 4-3, behind senior captain Danny Hobbs’ first-career hat-trick.

Sophomore defenseman Conor Allen scored the game-winning goal near the end of the third period, finishing a rebound opportunity that UVM goalie Rob Madore failed to properly secure.

UMass survived poor overall play in the second period, while scoring three goals in the third. Freshman goalie Steve Mastalerz started for UMass and played well in his follow-up performance to shutting out Boston College last weekend.

Hobbs’ hat trick was the second for the Minutemen this season. Allen scored three goals against Holy Cross in November.


WCHA Week 12 Power Rankings

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Not much was decided last weekend in the first one back in a while for conference teams. All 12 teams were in action against each other and there were 4 splits among the 6 series.

The big movers were Michigan Tech and Denver, who secured home sweeps over Alaska-Anchorage and Bemidji State, respectively.

Four more conference series are on tap this weekend, with Minnesota Duluth looking to avoid the Alabama-Huntsville trap with a series in Duluth this weekend. Michigan Tech will also host Northern Michigan in a single game Saturday night in Houghton.

If you feel inclined, give my column on hits from behind a read. It is here or linked on the main homepage. I have received plenty of feedback on Twitter regarding the column (follow me @CHNDanMyers if you’re not already). Clearly this is an issue that is front and center right now in all of hockey, especially with the increase in the number and the severity of concussions. Hitting from behind and shots to the head are clearly “culture” things that need to be changed from the youth levels up. But we can’t afford to wait 20 years for the next generation of hockey players to work their way up. Some changes need to be made now, and I made my own suggestion for the college game in the column. Check it out…

I will be in Mankato this weekend reporting on one of the more unique — and forgotten — aspects of the UNO-MSU rivalry, the Spirit of the Maverick Trophy. I will try to get to Mariucci for a spell on Saturday as well…

Now, onto this week’s power rankings:

1 — Minnesota Duluth (Last week: 1)

UMD saw its 17-game unbeaten streak end in a 2-1 loss Saturday night at Nebraska-Omaha. It’s too bad because it would have been nice to see how far that thing could go. Had they won or tied, the Bulldogs host Huntsville this weekend, where they’d be favored. Next weekend, they host Michigan Tech, where they’d be favored. In two weeks, they play at Alaska-Anchorage, where they’d be favored. It’s quite possible Duluth could have brought a 24-game unbeaten streak into its series with North Dakota in mid-February. That would have been good stuff. Instead, UMD should have no trouble starting a new streak this weekend. But I’ve said that before…

2 — Minnesota (Last week: 2)

Kent Patterson was brilliant in a losing effort last Friday night at North Dakota and only a late goal by UND prevented Minnesota from pushing that game to overtime. A split at North Dakota is nice, but it doesn’t do much to silence those that feel the Gophers are slipping. Since a 9-1 start over the first month and a half, Minnesota is a .500 team.


Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

1. Mercyhurst – The Lakers have lost just once in the last six games and have jumped over Air Force for the top spot in Atlantic Hockey. They continue their six game road trip at Holy Cross this weekend.

2. RIT – The Tigers started the 2012 off by beating ranked teams in back-to-back games. After losses at Wisconsin, the Tigers had back-to-back shutouts of Sacred Heart, scoring 13 times. The Tigers face off against surging Bentley this weekend.

3. Air Force – The Falcons haven’t won since the start of the New Year and have just two ties to their name. The Falcons even suffered their first home loss of the season to Bentley. They’ll look to turn things around against Army. (more…)

The Week Ahead Hockey East 1/19/12

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

After two weekends filled with Frozen Fenway festivities, Hockey East fans can now turn their full attention to the seven week stretch that leads to the playoffs. For some teams, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Massachusetts and Vermont, most notably, the points earned in these games are at a premium and are necessary if they wish to continue their seasons in March. With only six points separating positions four through nine in the standings, every game will have a huge impact on the standings.

Now that we are out of the non-conference schedule season, other than the Beanpot tournament and Maine’s two game home set against Huntsville, we can look forward to more meaningful battles on the ice between conference foes.  This weekend, eight out of ten Hockey East teams will face off in crucial two game series that have the potential of swinging the standings eight points in their favor. Here is my weekly take on trying to preview the weekend’s matchups. (more…)

Hockey East Power Rankings: 1/18/12

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

For the first time since the start of December, there’s a new No. 1 in my power rankings. There’s plenty of movement after that, too, as only the bottom two teams are in the same spot as last week.

1. Boston University (13-6-1, 10-4-1 HE) — Last week: 2

The Terriers trailed by two goals in both of their games this weekend, but managed to come away with a pair of 4-3 wins over Northeastern on Friday and Harvard on Saturday. They’ve won three straight and 10 of their last 12 to move into first in Hockey East and third in the PairWise. Wade Megan tallied two goals Friday and now leads the team with 10, while Chris Connolly registered his first two goals of the season Saturday.

2. Boston College (14-8-1, 10-5-1 HE) — Last week: 1

BC suffered a shocking 4-0 loss at UMass on Friday before rebounding with a 2-1 win over Northeastern at Fenway Park on Saturday. Freshman Brian Billett gave up three goals on 13 shots before being pulled Friday, while rarely used senior Chris Venti picked up his first career win Saturday. The Eagles are 6-7-1 in their last 14, and the offense has been the biggest problem of late. They’ve scored just 10 goals in their last six games. (more…)

Three Up, Three Down, January 17

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

New Hampshire senior Stevie Moses scored four times on Saturday in the Wildcats’ 4-1 win over Darmouth. A big win for UNH, no doubt, and a good sign for Moses, who is among the upperclassmen charged with helping UNH escape its dreadful first half of the season.

The four-spot moved Moses into the league lead and fourth in the nation in goals with 16 on the season, which would normally lift him into the discussion for player of the year or at least a spot in the favorable portion of this post. But, the streakiness of Moses’ season is one of many reasons the Wildcats enter this weekend’s home-and-home with Merrimack in eighth place. As I said, Moses leads the league in goals, but eight of 16 goals have come in two games — one of which was against Alabama-Huntsville.

Scoring four on Dartmouth? Well done. Scoring four on UAH? He could’ve missed the game entirely, and the Wildcats still would have won by four goals — UNH defeated the Chargers, 9-1. Moses is a great hockey player, easily one of the two or three fastest guys in the league with a dangerous wrist shot. But with half of his scoring production coming in two non-conference games, and his team treading water, Moses’ season is hardly as impressive as his numbers suggest.

Three Up

Spencer Abbott, Senior, Forward, Maine

Putting Spencer Abbott on this list may seem like a joke, especially after the point just made about Moses. Abbott received similar flack at the end of the first after a nine-point weekend against a struggling Vermont team accounted for more than one-third of his first half output.  (more…)