Archive for March, 2012

CCHA Quarterfinal Predictions

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The CCHA playoffs roll on tonight. Check out our full preview of the quarterfinals, but here are some predictions (I expect to predict no more than two of these series correctly):

No. 1 Ferris State vs. No. 11 Bowling Green
 
Bowling Green is playing its best hockey of the season right now, but Ferris State has only lost one time in 16 games so far in 2012. Bulldogs goaltender Taylor Nelson and defenseman Chad Billins were named to the CCHA All-Conference First Team earlier this week and are in great position to help lead Bob Daniels’ crew to Joe Louis Arena next weekend. Nelson should have no trouble stopping the No. 58 ranked offense in the nation, but since Ferris doesn’t have the most potent offense itself, expect a close game or two.
 
Prediction: Ferris State wins the series, 2-0
 
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 8 Notre Dame
 
As I wrote in the full preview of this weekend’s action, Notre Dame is up against history this weekend — trying to end Michigan’s streak of 23 consecutive CCHA semifinals. The Irish played well last weekend at home against Ohio State and are the toughest No. 8 seed imaginable for Michigan to face this weekend. (more…)

Who makes it to Atlantic City?

Friday, March 9th, 2012

This weekend is Quarterfinal weekend in the ECAC and the big question is who will end up in the Final Four. Last weekend’s ECAC first round was fully entertaining, with three of the opening round matchup’s going a full three games.

Here is what to expect in the second round.

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The Takeaway: Providence Upsets Lowell in Game 1

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

LOWELL, Mass. – The first game of the Hockey East Tournament ended in an upset, as seventh-seeded Providence beat second-seeded Massachusetts-Lowell on Friday night. Derek Army and Matt Bergland led the way offensively with two goals apiece, while Alex Beaudry stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced. Game 2 is Friday at 7 p.m. The Friars can advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2001 with a win.

The River Hawks opened the scoring 9:59 into the first when a Scott Wilson shot led to a scramble in front that ended with Josh Holmstrom knocking in a loose puck. Army tied the game 5:28 into the second when he ripped a slap shot inside the right post for a power-play goal. The Friars took the lead four minutes later when Andy Balysky knocked home a rebound after Doug Carr (36 saves) stopped a golden chance from Ross Mauermann.

Lowell knotted the game again 2:25 later when Wilson beat Beaudry blocker-side for a power-play goal. Army struck again to give the Friars a 3-2 lead late in the second when he took a pass from Damian Cross on a 3-on-2 and snapped a shot over Carr’s glove. Providence added an insurance marker with 8:30 left in the third when Tim Schaller hit the post and Bergland knocked in the rebound. The Friars would need it, as Matt Ferreira cut the lead to 4-3 with 4:29 to go. Bergland added his second of the game on an empty-netter with 1:35 to go. (more…)

CHN’s All-Hockey East ballot

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Hockey East’s official postseason awards will be handed out Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15. Day 1 will see all minor awards and the league’s all-rookie team, before the major distinctions and other honors are revealed the following evening.

The 2011-12 Hockey East season was a continuation of previous years of excellence from some players and teams. However, it also produced its share of revelations. As such, this was much harder to compile than I initially anticipated. In years past, there’s usually more unanimity for this type of stuff.

Some of the awards we decided were agreed upon by all CHN staffers that took part in my poll. In the next few weeks, we’ll see players and teams in this conference fight for the ultimate honor. Scott McLaughlin, Michael King, Joshua Seguin, Jill Saftel, Mike Machnik, Mike McMahon and I will be with you throughout the Hockey East Tournament up until Joe Bertagna hands out a trophy in nine days. For now, we’re taking the chance to hand out a few of our own. The seven of us voted and bantered, argued and agreed, eventually on the following names.

Let’s see if you agree. (more…)

My All-WCHA Ballot

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Because I cover the league as a whole, I do not receive an All-WCHA ballot. They are distributed by schools and their Sports Information Directors, generally to the local beat writers, radio guys, TV guys, etc. Coaches also get a vote, as do team captains. That’s how these guys are chosen.

Any scribes like myself who are not affiliated with a local daily or with the team itself do not get a ballot unless an SID provides us with one. Perhaps that will change in the new WCHA.

Anyways, without further ado, here is who I would choose if I had a ballot. I have no doubt I’ll be ripped, so you can do that in the comments below:

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Atlantic Hockey Wrap: First Round

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The first round of the playoffs are done, with all the higher seed winning. While the higher seed won, it’s clear that the craziness from the end of the regular season has carried over into the playoffs. AIC and Sacred Heart both pushed their series to three games. Next weekend is sure to have much of the same.

Canisius at UConn – The Huskies swept Canisius in two games. The Huskies eked out an overtime victory on Friday before Garrett Bartus shut out the Golden Griffins on Saturday. Cole Schneider had two goals and two assists while Brant Harris added a goal and three assists. It’s the third straight year that the Huskies have made it to the AHA quarterfinals. The Huskies will travel to Air Force in the quarterfinals

For the Golden Griffins, the season ends on a sour note but they will be returning much of the same team next year, with four of their top five scorers being sophomores right now. Taylor Law finishes him sophomore season with 26 points, well above the 11 he produced his freshman year. (more…)

The Takeaway: Vermont’s Season Ends With Loss to BC

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Chestnut Hill, MA. -  Vermont was unable to control the offensive prowess of Boston College and they were stymied on their own offense as they were outscored 8-1 on the weekend by a Boston College team that locked up the regular season conference title. Boston College scored late in the first period off a goal from Destry Straight, his second of the year and they never looked back in the game. Chris Kreider would score his 20th of the year at 6:50 of the second period and Pat Mullane would score his sixth of the year in the third period to make the lead insurmountable. Bill Arnold would add an empty netter to make it a 4-0 final.

Boston College with the win improved their record 25-10-1 on the season and locked up the regular season title with a two point advantage on second place Boston University. Vermont ends its season at a disappointing 6-27-1. The effort was there for Vermont but it was just not meant to be on the weekend. Boston College with the win moves up to first in the Pairwise rankings and they look poised to keep that through the playoffs. (more…)

The Takeaway: Northeastern defeats BU 5-4 in OT of season finale

Sunday, March 4th, 2012
BOSTON — The final game of the season for Northeastern came down to overtime tonight as they battled against Boston University to end the season on a high note. The Terriers’ victory over the Huskies last night knocked Northeastern out of the Hockey East playoffs, but that didn’t stop either team from coming out strong tonight. Halfway through the overtime period, Northeastern junior forward and former BU player Vinny Saponari got a shot past goaltender Grant Rollheiser to give Northeastern the 5-4 victory in their final game this seaon.Sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan scored two for BU tonight, once in the second and once in the third, while BU’s first two goals were scored by junior defenseman Sean Escobedo and senior captain and forward Chris Connolly in the first and second periods.Northeastern’s goals came from sophomore forward Braden Pimm in the first, junior defenseman Drew Daniels and junior forwards Alex Tuckerman and Garrett Vermeersch in the second.

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Hockey East Tournament Field, Matchups Set

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Friday night, Northeastern’s loss to Boston University cemented the eight-team field for the 2012 Hockey East Tournament. NU’s 5-2 loss to BU, paired with Massachusetts’ win over Merrimack and Boston College defeating Vermont, left the Huskies locked into the wrong side of the tiebreakers that ultimately decided who qualified and who missed out.

The Huskies and UMass finished tied in eighth place with identical records of 9-14-4 in Hockey East play. The tiebreakers for this exact scenario are as follows.

  1. Head to head record
  2. Wins in league play
  3. Record against first-place team, if that’s tied it goes to second-place team and so on

In head-to-head play, UMass and Northeastern played to 1-1-1 record, so that first tiebreaker doesn’t help. Second tiebreaker, being league wins, is equally useless, since they finished with the same record. The third tiebreaker, finally, gave us some answers. Boston College picked up its 12th Hockey East regular season championship with its sweep of Vermont. As a result, records of UMass and Northeastern against BC determined the final team. (more…)

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

We have an undisputed, outright WCHA MacNaughton Cup champion.

Minnesota made sure of that by winning over Wisconsin tonight. Even if they had stumbled, Minnesota-Duluth tied in St. Cloud, meaning the Bulldogs would have finished one point short anyways.

And while the results in Minneapolis and St. Cloud had no effect on seeding for the front-runners, it had plenty of meaning for the Huskies and Badgers.

Here’s what it means for them:

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