Archive for October, 2012

Three Things I Think, October 23: WCHA

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

After this past weekend, every team in the WCHA has played at least one game that’s counted in the standings. Most, including an Alaska Gold Rush contest between Alaska-Anchorage and part of North Dakota, have been non-conference yet there was something sweet about the way the conference kicked off the last season as we know it.

The single opening series last weekend was between two teams in Michigan Tech and Minnesota who go back to the original 1951 founding of the league. They have a history that heated up in the 1970s with both teams being national title contenders and with the uncertainty of the future, the Gophers going up to Houghton may be a thing of the past. While the rivalry may have cooled off since, having a series between the home of the MacNaughton Cup and the team currently holding it is a good treat for fans who like tradition. (more…)

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

It was a rather disappointing weekend for Atlantic Hockey, going 1-8-2 in non-conference games. Holy Cross’ victory over Clarkson prevented the league from having a winless weekend. And so here are this week’s Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings.

1. Holy Cross – The Crusaders are the only unbeaten left in Atlantic Hockey, albeit they’ve only played two games. Paul Pearl’s team scored six goals in their first regular season game and followed it up with a win over ECAC foe Clarkson. Brandon Nunn has four points in the two games while Jake Youso looks primed for a big sophomore season.

2. Niagara – Aside from a 10-2 blowout lose at Colgate, the Purple Eagles have had a chance to win every game so far this season. Unfortunately, they’ve only come out with one win so far. In both games against Michigan State this weekend, the Purple Eagles led 2-0 going into the third period but could only muster one tie.

3. Bentley – Like Holy Cross, the Falcons have only played two games so far this season. They beat Sacred Heart before falling to Michigan. Brett Gensler, fresh off a 50-point season, already has six points in two games. (more…)

Boston College shuts out Northeastern in home opener

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

BOSTON — Saturday night at Conte Forum, the Boston College Eagles raised their 2012 National Championship banner to the rafters, and then preceded to remind the sold out crowd just how they earned it. After a road loss to Northeastern and a comeback 5-4 win against Massachusetts last night, BC returned to form with a 3-0 win over the Huskies in their home opener.

The Eagles struck early, with junior forward Kevin Hayes drawing first blood with a wrist shot from under the circle just over six minutes in. They wasted no time gaining a comfortable lead, and sophomore standout Johnny Gaudreau capitalized on a breakaway opportunity going five-hole on senior Chris Rawlings. The Northeastern defensemen hadn’t even caught up with Gaudreau by the time he was taking the shot.

Penalties plagued both teams throughout the three periods, but BC was able to outplay the Huskies despite several minutes in the box. When NU rookies freshman Cam Darcy and sophomore Dax Lauwers took penalties within seconds of each other to give the Eagles a 5-on-3 advantage, senior forward Steven Whitney capitalized almost immediately. At the point, he took a feed from Gaudreau and shot past Rawlings’ glove.

Despite renewed energy in the second period, the Huskies were unable to capitalize on any scoring chances and ultimately left Conte shut out by the Eagles.

(more…)

The Takeaway: UNH Stems Slow Start, Defeats BU 4-1

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Durham, NH.-  Boston University looked to be in cruise control early as they scored just 43 seconds into the game off the stick of Wade Megan. But UNH would respond with two goals in 18 seconds by John Henrion and Nick Sorkin later in the period. These goals would prove to be enough on the night as UNH would go on to win 4-1.

The game was evenly played for most of the night, but the big difference was goaltending.  New Hampshire’s Casey Desmith gave his team a solid performance with 24 saves on 25 shots while BU freshman, Sean Maguire, struggled in his 30 minutes of play giving up four on 14 shots. He was replaced midway through the second period by Matt O’Connor, but the damage had already been done to the tune of a 4-1 lead for UNH. The 4-1 lead would hold until the final buzzer. (more…)

The Takeaway: Four-goal third period gives BC comeback win over Massachusetts in OT

Friday, October 19th, 2012

AMHERST, Mass. – Two goals and an assist from senior Pat Mullane helped Boston College overcome a 3-0 deficit after two periods and come away with a, 5-4, comeback win in overtime over Massachusetts Friday night at the Mullins Center. Johnny Gaudreau scored the game-winner three minutes, 32 seconds into overtime to complete the comeback. Mullane scored twice in the third period, including the game-tying goal at the 17:54 mark, and assisted on Gaudreau’s game-winner.

Parkner Milner stopped 20 shots for BC while UMass sophomore Steve Mastalerz made 37 saves in a losing effort in his season debut. The Eagles outshot the Minutemen 42-24 on the night and 16-5 in the third period alone, four of those shots found the back of the net.

What I saw

The Eagles finally got back to that championship form after going down 3-0 late in the second period. BC started to control the puck on the offensive end and it became clear that UMass was tiring defensively playing with only five defensemen after Joel Hanley, who is a fixture on the Minutemen special teams play, received a game misconduct only one minute, 35 seconds into the game for hitting from behind. The Eagles responded well by constantly attacking and making life difficult on Mastalerz, who was forced to make some solid glove saves to keep the shutout in tow after two periods. As BC pushed the attack in the third period, UMass appeared to get complacent and spent a majority of the period skating backwards, resulting in such a discrepancy in shots in the third.

The Minutemen looked like a much faster team than the Eagles were for a majority of the first two periods, winning the race for the puck and playing more physical than BC. One thing UMass showed throughout the game was the ability to block shots, which was key in killing the five-minute major on Hanley’s game misconduct. The team spoke during the week of the importance of getting pressure and creating traffic in front of the net in order to beat Parker Milner, and that’s exactly what they did throughout the first two periods. As a result the Minutemen found the net on their second-chance opportunities, including Rocco Carzo’s first of two goals coming off a rebound on the backhand and his second coming off a loose puck after Steven Guzzo’s shot attempt was deflected.

The way the game ended was clear confirmation that BC was simply more talented and more accustomed to winning than the Minutemen. The Eagles refused to show any sign of slowing down despite such a large deficit in the game, and came out and attacked right away in the third period, only needing one minute, 11 seconds to get on the board in the frame. After cutting the lead to 3-2 on a goal by Destry Straight, UMass responded immediately with a goal from Darren Rowe to put the Minutemen up 4-2 at the 9:35 mark. But yet again, BC went to work and continued to attack a wearing UMass defense that once again started to get complacent.

What I thought

Mullane showed everyone why he is the captain of this team, leading the charge back in the third period and overtime. The Eagles fed off the energy he brought to that top line featuring him, Gaudreau and Steven Whitney, who proved to be the difference after accounting for the final three goals in the game. Although it took BC’s top group until the 16:44 mark to get on the board, they were the premier aggressors throughout that game-changing third period and it only made sense for them to be the difference in the game.

Both teams took a step in the right direction Friday. After a poor outing against Northeastern at Matthews Arena last Saturday in their season opener, the Eagles were once again off to a slow start through a period and a half, but finally started playing on that championship level that carried them to the national championship last season. Each of the first two lines contributed to that attack. After going 0-2 in Amherst last season, outscoring the Minutemen 5-1 in the final 23-plus minutes is certainly a relief. UMass also has to feel pretty good about the way it skated with BC throughout the night. The Minutemen certainly were the better team in the first two periods, the scoreboard says it clearly, but that inability to match the Eagles’ talent-level and being a man down defensively caught up to them in the end.

UMass still has a long way to go to become a contender in Hockey East. The team certainly looks like its buying into the way Micheletto wants them to play, which is a fast and physical style, but with no consistency between the pipes with Mastalerz and fellow sophomore Kevin Boyle both trying to earn a No. 1 role and only four seniors on the roster, this may be something that can’t change overnight. Carzo said after the game that the team started to get comfortable and that some guys believed the game was sealed well before the final horn went off. With losing seasons in four of the past five years, I think the team simply showed that it is not used to being a consistent winner, which is something that will need to be built over time.

What they said

“It was a game of almost two halves I thought where UMass certainly had the better of the first half of the game. They made some really good plays on the puck on us and had that 3-0 lead. I though we started to get back into the game and had an excellent third period. … It showed a lot of resolve from us and I feel good about our team character to hang in there and still not get discouraged about the scoreboard.

“We started to play BC hockey. We were more thorough, we were skating better and just playing with more of a purpose.”

-BC coach Jerry York

“Heck of a hockey game, excited to get into league play. It’s always good to challenge ourselves against one of the better teams in our conference. I was real proud of the way our guys got after it tonight.

“It would’ve been nice to get out of the first two minutes of the third period and been able to push the momentum a bit and the tempo of the game. I think that (first BC goal) prevented us from being on our toes and put us on our heels a bit. In the early stages of where we are it’s an important lesson for our guys moving forward. The way we’re going to play will be more like you saw in the first 40 than the last 20.”

-UMass coach John Micheletto

What else you should know

The Eagles return to Conte Forum Saturday night for a rematch against Northeastern for its home-opener at 7 p.m.

The Minutemen return to the ice Friday night at Agganis Arena for the first of a home-and-home next weekend with Boston University at 7:30 p.m.

Pat Mullane notched his 100th career point with the assist on Gaudreau’s game-winning goal in overtime to cap off a three-point night.

Rocco Carzo’s two goals marked the first multi-point night of the senior’s collegiate career.

ECAC picks 10/19-10/21

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Friday 10/19

Bowling Green @ Colgate ( Bowling Green 3-2)

RPI @ Minn State ( RPI 2-0)

St Lawrence @ Maine ( Maine 3-1)

Ohio State @ Quinnipiac ( Quinnipiac 4-2)

(more…)

CCHA weekend predictions, Oct 19-20

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The season is (finally) underway, and the CCHA’s own Northern Michigan was recognized this week by the CHN staff as the Team of the Week. Perhaps a fitting start to the 42nd and final CCHA season. Here on the CCHA section of the blog, we’ll be posting weekend predictions every Thursday night, as well as mid-week Power Rankings beginning next week.

Our staff of CCHA writers – Caleb Saunders, Sam Obermyer, Taylor Lewis, Susan Crosby, and myself, Avash Kalra — will pick the games each weekend, and we’ll keep track on our ability (or lack thereof) to pick the games each week. Here’s our first shot at it, with consensus picks italicized. We’ll review how we did after the weekend.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 19

Bowling Green at Colgate: Colgate (Avash, Taylor, Sam, Caleb)
Ohio State at Quinnipiac: Ohio State (Avash, Sam, Caleb), Quinnipiac (Taylor) (more…)

The Weekend Ahead Hockey East, 10/18/12

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

As with every week in Hockey East, this week brings us some key matchups that will have some intriguing story-lines  Looking for revenge, Boston College will host Northeastern, a week after a loss at Matthews Arena. Another key, early conference matchup will pit Boston University and New Hampshire. The rest of the conference will take part in important non-conference matchups. Here’s to previewing the weekend’s games around the conference:

Boston College at Massachusetts (Friday)

The Eagles will travel to UMass on Friday night to take on the Minutemen. This matchup is a rematch of a hard fought Hockey East Quarterfinal series last season that saw Boston College sweep UMass in two games.  BC comes off a loss to Northeastern, while UMass comes off a win against UConn. During the regular season last year, UMass went 2-1 against BC. Both of their wins were at the Mullins Center and one should expect a raucous crowd on Friday night. (more…)

ECAC Power Rankings: 10-17-2012

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

This week’s installment of the ECAC power rankings will probably be the most difficult to do all season. It is tough to rank teams that have not played against teams that have already played games. The Ivy schools begin their season in the Ivy Shootout, the weekend of October 26th and 27th.The Non-Ivy schools have already begun their seasons.

So far on the season, the ECAC has posted a 7-7-1 record in non-conference action. The big surprises have been a Union loss to Merrimack College and a Quinnipiac win at Maine, both of which occurred on opening night last Saturday.

1. Cornell (0-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC) – Preseason: 2

The Big Red have yet to play a game. Cornell was ranked second in the preseason rankings, paired with a Union loss to Merrimack College in week one Cornell moves up one to the top spot. (more…)

WCHA Power Rankings: 10/17/12

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

I tried not to overreact to one weekend. Yet some of the rankings this week absolutely look like overreactions. Truth is, I had teams 3-9 so close before the season that it opened the door for teams that earned sweeps to jump a few spots and teams that got swept to fall a few. In theory, these rankings will become a little less volatile over the next few weeks.

1. Minnesota (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 1
The Gophers really couldn’t have started any better. They totally demolished Michigan State in a weekend sweep, winning 5-1 on Friday and 7-1 on Saturday. The most ridiculous stat of the weekend is that Minnesota had 17 players record at least one point. Zach Budish led the way with four, while Nick Bjugstad, Erik Haula, Kyle Rau and Christian Isackson all had three.

2. North Dakota (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) — Preseason: 2
North Dakota hasn’t played a regular-season game yet, so naturally it’s staying second. UND has won a pair of exhibition games, though. In Friday’s 6-4 win over the U.S. Under-18 Team, a line of Rocco Grimaldi, Corban Knight and Danny Kristo combined for four goals and four assists. (more…)