Archive for October, 2012

Hockey East Power Rankings: 10/31/12

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

At the end of the season’s first month, some teams are right where we thought they’d be, while others have started faster or slower than we expected. One thing we know for sure is that there will continue to be some surprises in November. Here’s how the teams stack up heading into the new month.

1. Boston College (4-1-0, 4-1-0 HE) — Last week: 1
The Eagles swept Lowell, winning 1-0 on Friday and 6-3 on Sunday. Parker Milner made 38 saves Friday to earn his second straight shutout and steal two points in a game in which BC was outshot 38-20. The offense certainly picked it up Sunday, though. The second line of Kevin Hayes, Bill Arnold and Destry Straight combined for four goals and four assists, and freshman defensemen Teddy Doherty and Michael Matheson combined for five assists. The power play went 3-for-5 in the game.

2. New Hampshire (4-0-1, 2-0-1 HE) — Last week: 2
The Wildcats remained undefeated with a 4-3 win over Northeastern on Friday, followed by a thrilling scoreless tie on Saturday. Kevin Goumas and Austin Block each had a goal and an assist in Friday’s win, and John Henrion scored the game-winner with less than a minute to go in regulation. Casey DeSmith saved all 34 shots he faced Saturday to earn his first shutout of the season. The Wildcats did a great job avoiding the penalty box, as they gave Northeastern just two power plays all weekend. (more…)

WCHA Power Rankings: 10/31/12

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The top three remain the same, but that’s about it. Due to the fact that there wasn’t a single split last weekend, everyone else is either rising or falling.

1. Minnesota (4-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 1
It wasn’t pretty, but the Gophers survived a scare from Canisius and came away with a 1-0 win Sunday. Kyle Rau scored the game’s lone goal 12 seconds in and Adam Wilcox made 20 saves to pick up his first career shutout. The gap between first and second in these rankings certainly shrunk this weekend, but I’m not going to drop Minnesota after a win, even if the game was closer than it should’ve been.

2. Denver (4-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Pioneers remained perfect after wiping the floor with Michigan Tech, winning 5-1 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday. They’ve scored five goals in all four of their games, and they haven’t allowed more than two in any of them. Nick Shore tallied four points on the weekend to give him nine in four games, good for first in the league in points per game. David Makowski also had a four-point weekend, while Shawn Ostrow and Joey LaLeggia chipped in three apiece. (more…)

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Another week is done and it’s time for the Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings. This week’s rankings have several teams moving spots, including a new No. 1.

1. Niagara – The Purple Eagles jump to the top spot after un defeated weekend, going 1-0-1 against Clarkson. Carsen Chubak may have moved closer to claiming the No. 1 role in net after he shut out Clarkson on Friday and then allowed one goal in relief of Cody Campbell, who allowed three goals on nine shots on Saturday.

2. Holy Cross – The Crusaders earned a tough two points with a win over UConn on Friday but then were blown out by Army on Saturday. The good news is that all three Crusader goals came on the powerplay. (more…)

ECAC Power Rankings 10/31/2012

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

All ECAC teams have finally played a game so things are starting to take shape. Cornell had a big weekend defeating Colorado College twice and Dartmouth won the annual Ivy Shootout. This week has two top movers as Dartmouth and Colgate both jump two spots. Quinnipiac and RPI both fell two positions on the week.

ECAC hockey has had a strong start to the year in terms of non-conference play. In the first three weeks of the season, the teams have a combined 16-10-5 record against teams in the other conferences, including a 3-1-0 record against Hockey East and a 7-4-2 record against the CCHA. This weekend will mark the beginning of the conference season for most teams and the teams that belong at the top will begin to stick out while the others will start to fall. (more…)

Three Up, Three Down, WCHA: Oct. 30

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Up

Drew LeBlanc, Forward, St. Cloud State

LeBlanc was granted a medical redshirt after suffering a terrible leg injury last winter, and many expected his return to bolster the Huskies offense immediately. It has. For the season, LeBlanc has 10 points, five of which (two goals, three assists) came last weekend against Minnesota State.

Joel Rumpel, Goalie, Wisconsin

After a lackluster debut against Northern Michigan a couple weeks ago, it looks like Rumpel is back on his game. While helping the Badgers earn three points in Duluth last weekend, he posted a shutout and a .969 save percentage and was the main reason why UW was in the position to make its third-period comeback on Saturday night.

David Makowski, Defenseman, Denver

Denver’s loss of scoring was a big worry surrounding the team at the beginning of the year. So far, though, it hasn’t been much of a problem, thanks largely to the contribution from the blue line. Makowski is just another example of a defenseman stepping up to put up points for the Pios, notching two goals and two assists this weekend in a sweep over Michigan Tech.

Down

J.P. Lafontaine, Forward, Minnesota State

After six games, Lafontaine is living the sophomore slump. He posted great rookie numbers in 2011-12, but Lafontaine has been invisible for the Mavericks so far this year, and his single assist at this point proves it. Against rival St. Cloud State last weekend, he had zero points and was a minus-four.

Matt White, Forward, Nebraska-Omaha

Omaha’s best returning forward hasn’t played well this year. White is way below his usual points-per-game mark, and his single point (a second-period goal on Friday) is a big reason why the Mavericks continued to struggle against Bemidji State.

Pheonix Copley, Goalie, Michigan Tech

Following a very solid showing against then No. 1-ranked Minnesota at home two weekends ago, Copley was given a taste of what it’s like to play on the road in the WCHA this past weekend in Denver. On Friday, he gave up four goals on 15 shots and was yanked after the second period. In Saturday night’s rematch, he surrendered five goals on 28 shots.

Atlantic Hockey Weekend Wrap

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Army has gotten off to one of their best starts in awhile. Their two conference wins are just one short of the total conference wins they had last season. And they scored seven goals against Holy Cross, considered to be one of the better teams in Atlantic Hockey, which is the most they have scored since 2009. They scored more than three goals just once last season. The signs are pointing to the Black Knights being better than last season. (more…)

The Takeaway: Merrimack, Vermont Skate to 2-2 Tie

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Mike Collins scored twice for Merrimack as the Warriors forced a 2-2 tie against Vermont to take three of four points on the weekend. The Warriors (2-3-1, 1-1-1 Hockey East) opened the scoring with 3:05 left in the first when Brendan Ellis walked in from the left point and found Collins at the back door.

They held the lead for nearly a full period before the Catamounts (0-1-2, 0-1-2 HE) tied it. Pete Massar poked the puck past a Merrimack defender, walked in alone and beat Rasmus Tirronen (31 saves). Vermont took the lead just 34 seconds later when Nick Luukko shot through a pile of bodies on a delayed Merrimack penalty.

The Warriors battled back in the third, though. Josh Myers drew a penalty while charging hard to the net on a 2-on-1, and Merrimack capitalized on the ensuing power play. After Brody Hoffman (32 saves) turned away one quality chance, Collins found a loose puck in the left circle and buried his second goal of the game. The Warriors got another power play in overtime, but they couldn’t capitalize. (more…)

The Takeaway: BU completes sweep of hapless UMass

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

AMHERST, Mass. — Boston University overcame a slew of penalties and a penalty shot converted by Massachusetts to defeat the Minutemen 3-2 at the Mullins Center Saturday night. The Terriers dug out of a 2-0 hole and scored the game-winner with 1:22 remaining in the third. Sean Escobedo scored the game-winning goal on a 3-on-2 rush after UMass turned the puck over near center ice.

The victory marks a sweep of the weekend home-and-home series for BU. Meanwhile, UMass is left with blowing leads on its home ice against top Hockey East opponents in consecutive weekends. The Minutemen held a 3-0 lead over Boston College before bowing 5-4 last Friday.

(more…)

UNH and Northeastern battle to 0-0 draw

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

BOSTON — After a last-minute 4-3 victory on their home ice Friday night, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats played a physical, high-speed game against Northeastern at Matthews Arena that ended up being a battle of goaltending in a 0-0 draw.

The first 20 minutes brought a quick pace and physical play, with four penalties for hitting after the whistle. Solid goaltending from Brian Mountain and a physical defense from the Wildcats kept the game scoreless into the third period and eventually into overtime, as the two teams finished in a scoreless draw and each took one valuable Hockey East point.

What I saw

— Brian Mountain kept Northeastern in it through the first 20 minutes of play. He made 17 saves while the Northeastern offense notched just nine shots on goal, comparatively. His biggest test came in the first period’s final minutes as Goumas took a shot on a shorthanded breakaway, but Mountain forced him to the outside of the net, denying him the opportunity. The breakaway was the best chance for either team early on.

— New Hampshire’s offense created offensive opportunity again and again, despite the Huskies’ attempt to keep the game in control with a furious pace, the Wildcats continued to dominate with scoring chances. Grayson Downing, Kevin Goumas, and Greg Burke all had chances early on.

(more…)

The Takeaway: Rumpel, Wisconsin stifle UMD

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

DULUTH, Minn. – Wisconsin sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel was good when he had to be in the Badgers’ 2-0 conference win against Minnesota Duluth, stopping all 29 shots he faced – including 12 in the final period – for his fourth collegiate shutout. Mark Zengerle (goal, assist) and Jake McCabe (two assists) led UW (1-2-0 overall, 1-0-0 WCHA) offensively. Rookie goalie Matt McNeely was solid for the Bulldogs (2-3-0 overall, 0-1-0 WCHA), turning away 24 shots in the losing effort.

What I saw

– Wisconsin’s defense was in complete control the game, even when the Bulldogs put on a late-game charge; the unit got the puck out of the zone quickly, limited their mistakes and chipped in offensively. Through two periods, UMD had only managed a handful of shot attempts from anywhere close to Rumpel, and once the Bulldogs woke up and started pressuring in the final period, UW’s blue-liners blocked shots and made simple, smart plays to clear any danger.

– Zengerle was great all night, and he probably could have had four or five points. There were several times when Zengerle gained control of the puck, changed speeds to create time and space, and then sauced a pretty pass into an area that only a teammate could get to. He also took advantage of shot opportunities (he threw nine pucks at the net in all) and it paid off with a snipe on the power play.

– Rumpel made some giant saves in the third to preserve the shutout and keep the Bulldogs frustrated. There was one save in particular – a sprawling backdoor stuff of UMD’s Joe Basaraba – that probably sealed the deal.

What I thought

– The Bulldogs have either played really well or really terribly in their first five games, and they need to find a way to play consistent hockey on a night-to-night basis. Several players – McNeely, Tony Cameranesi, and Drew Olson – played well tonight, but many other Bulldogs didn’t. Coach Scott Sandelin expected some growing pains, but, based on his emotions after the game, he’s not expecting anything like what we saw tonight out of UMD.

– Wisconsin responded very well to the adversity they faced, both coming into the series and during the course of the game. Obviously, losing a key player to injury is something that most teams deal with throughout a long season, but the Badgers didn’t miss a beat without center Derek Lee in the lineup. And when UW took a major penalty with the game still in question, it buckled down and killed it off thanks to some great efforts up and down the bench.

What they said

UMD coach Scott Sandelin: “Our energy level was good; our execution was not. We again dug ourselves a hole, and if Matty McNeely hadn’t been very good, it could’ve been more of a hole. Wisconsin played good, tight defense. We have to get into the tough areas and stay on pucks.”

UMD forward Tony Cameranesi: “We came out right away and then we kind of went on the brake pedal. We weren’t ready to play the whole game. Wisconsin is a good team, and you can’t just come out there and expect to win. It’s a team game, and they outplayed us in that category. We just got to do the little things. I think we have to go out there and work hard, get in the corners and do the little stuff. Hopefully the goals will come.”