Archive for November, 2012

The Takeaway: Merrimack and Colgate tie up, 1-1

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Merrimack College and Colgate skated to a 1-1 tie on Friday afternoon at J. Thom Lawler Arena. A first-period goal by Mike Collins put the Warriors on the board and Joe Wilson knotted things up early in the second period.

Freshman netminder Spencer Finney stopped 23 shots for the Raiders (6-6-2) while the Warriors (4-6-2) were backstopped by Rasmus Tirronen, who made 21 saves.


The Week Ahead Hockey East 11/22/12

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

If non-conference action is what you like this weekend will be a dream for you. Hockey East action takes a back seat this weekend to the 11 games that will be played against the WCHA and ECAC. These games do not play a role in the Hockey East standings, but this weekend will be absolutely crucial for many teams if they have hopes of making the NCAA tournament come seasons end. This may be one of the most important weeks in terms of the conference there will be, so here is my try at it.

Colgate at Merrimack (Friday)

The Warriors have been lackluster in non-conference action, with just a victory on opening night to Union in their hands. Since a four game unbeaten streak Merrimack has three straight losses. Last weekend they took a 3-0 lead against Boston College seven minutes, 39 seconds into the second only to have that lead disappear five minutes later. They would eventually lose that game to the Eagles 4-3.

Merrimack will need a bounce-back from that game but can take some positives, as they took a 3-0 lead against arguably the best team in the country. Their opponent this weekend is playing some great hockey and ranked fourth in this week’s CHN ECAC Power Rankings. Colgate defeated both Dartmouth and Harvard at home last weekend, but a silver lining that Merrimack might be able to take advantage of is the Raiders lack of prowess on the road. They are winless in five games on the road this season, going 0-4-1.

Prediction: Gate 4-3 (more…)

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

There’s not a lot of change in this week’s power rankings. Many of the teams in Atlantic Hockey are holding steady with only Niagara and Holy Cross separating themselves from the pack. The Purple Eagles are just one point up on Holy Cross but have a six point lead over Bentley.

ANd if you haven’t seen it already, check out the Atlantic Hockey Tenth Anniversary video here.

1. Niagara – If you can score on Carsen Chubak, it’ll be the highlight of your season at this point. The junior allowed just one goal this past weekend and now has a nation leading five shutouts along with a ridiculous 0.99 goals against and a .970 save percentage.

2. Holy Cross – The Crusaders have taken points in their last four games, winning three of them. At this point, they are the only real threat to Niagara at the top of the standings. The Crusaders 7-3 win over RIT was their first regular season victory over the Tigers since 2006. (more…)

Three Things I Think, November 21: WCHA

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Sorry for the belated nature of this week’s “3 Things.” Hopefully you still enjoy it between Thanksgiving courses.

The University of Denver once again finishes a weekend being the talk of the WCHA following their sweep of in-state rival (and previously unbeaten in the WCHA) Colorado College to gain a foothold for The Gold Pan. This comes a week after the now 9-1-0 Pioneers swept Minnesota State on the road.

It is easy to say things are going well for them – Denver now has a four point lead in the conference over Minnesota – but the challenges only get tougher. DU-CC is one of the more underrated rivalries in the country and sweeping the Tigers is no easy task. However, they have a chance to make a major statement this weekend when 8-1-1 New Hampshire visits Magness Arena Saturday. The Wildcats, who swept St. Cloud State earlier in the season, have given up one goal in their last four games and Denver’s tenacity to score faces a challenge in sophomore Casey DeSmith. Something has to give.

It may not count in the WCHA standings but if the Pioneers can beat New Hampshire, they have a legitimate argument to be the top team in college hockey.

After the break, more on what was a contradictory weekend in the WCHA, Adam Wilcox and I settle the age-old argument of which is better to watch between a line brawl and goalie fight. (more…)

ECAC Power Rankings 11/21/12

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Last weekend was another interesting weekend throughout the ECAC. The last undefeated team, Dartmouth, fell but does this mean we have a new number one? Quinnipiac is red hot and a perfect 4-0-0 in conference play, while Cornell continues to falter going 0-1-1 on the weekend. Dartmouth leads the conference outright with nine points, but parity throughout the conference is reigning supreme as every team except for RPI has points on the year and seven teams have five or more. With all the parity throughout, fans should be getting excited because there will be some great games at all the ECAC rinks his winter. In the mean time, enjoy the weekly Power Rankings. (more…)

Hockey East Power Rankings: 11/21/12

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The top three continue to solidify their positions, while everyone else struggles to find any sort of consistency.

1. Boston College (9-1-0, 8-1-0 HE) — Last week: 1
The Eagles fell behind Merrimack 3-0 on Friday, but they came storming back to earn a 4-3 victory and extend their winning streak to nine games. Steven Whitney scored two goals, including the game-winner, and Johnny Gaudreau registered two assists. Gaudreau continues to have at least a point in every game this season, and he is now tied for the conference lead with 14 total. BC is first or second in Hockey East in offense, defense, power play and penalty kill.

2. New Hampshire (8-1-1, 6-1-1 HE) — Last week: 2
Casey DeSmith and the Wildcats earned their third straight shutout on Friday, beating Lowell 3-0. They extended their program-record shutout streak to 204:40 before BU scored on them Sunday, but UNH still won the game 3-1. DeSmith now ranks second nationally with a .961 save percentage, a mark that’s 20 points better than anyone else in Hockey East. The Wildcats went 8-for-8 on the penalty kill and now rank second in the country at 94.6 percent on the season.


WCHA Power Rankings: 11/21/12

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Going into Thanksgiving, we still have a clear top six and a clear bottom six. Within those two bands, there continues to be plenty of movement, aside from at the top, where Denver has put some space between itself and the rest of the pack.

1. Denver (9-1-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Pioneers strengthened their hold on the top spot by sweeping Colorado College, winning 6-5 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday. They’ve scored three or more goals in all but one game, and they now lead the country with 4.50 goals per game. Ten different players registered multipoint weekends, with Chris Knowlton’s three goals and two assists leading the way. Knowlton now has eight goals in the last five games. Denver went 3-for-7 on the power play in the series.

2. Minnesota (7-2-2, 4-2-2 WCHA) — Last week: 2
The Gophers stay at two after taking three of four points from Wisconsin. They tied 2-2 on Friday before coming away with a 3-1 win Saturday. Adam Wilcox stopped 38 of 41 shots on the weekend and now ranks third in the conference with a .924 save percentage. The Gophers are first in the WCHA in team defense with a 1.91 goals against average. Erik Haula registered a goal and two assists in the series and is now tied for second in the league with 14 points.


The Takeaway: UMass recovers from bad loss, defeats UVM

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

AMHERST, Mass. — Massachusetts shook off an 8-2 loss two nights earlier to rival UMass Lowell to earn a 3-1 victory over Vermont Tuesday night at the Mullins Center. Junior Branden Gracel scored twice for the Minutemen against a Vermont team that strove to limit scoring chances for its opponent.

UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle earned the start after the spending the entire 8-2 debacle watching from the bench. The sophomore made 24 saves and killed off four Vermont power plays along with his defense.


Three Up, Two Down, WCHA: Nov. 20

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012


Chris Knowlton, Forward, Denver

Knowlton had a very respectable year in 2011-12 – he recorded 19 points in 30 games – but his stats to this point in 2012-13 are blowing those out of the water. Through 10 games, Knowlton has eight goals and 13 points, including seven points in his last three outings. His breakout is one reason why the Pioneers are the WCHA’s best team at this point in the season.

Adam Wilcox, Goaltender, Minnesota

After letting four pucks past him in a Saturday night loss in Mankato a few weeks ago, Wilcox has been lights out. In the four games since then, he’s allowed just five tallies and he’s making game-changing stops to help Minnesota pull out wins even when it hasn’t played its best hockey.

Danny Kristo, Forward, North Dakota

With North Dakota trailing UMD in Saturday night’s third period, Kristo did what Kristo does best and simply made plays. When the Danny Kristo show was over, UND had pulled out a come from behind overtime win to salvage a three-point weekend against the Bulldogs. For the series, Kristo had five points and was the best player on the ice for either team whenever he stepped on it.


Josh Thorimbert, Goaltender, Colorado College

Thorimbert hasn’t seen a lot of rubber in the past four games (only 88 shots, or about 22 per night), but he’s let quite a few pucks behind him during that stretch (13 goals against, good for an .852 saves percentage). For a team that thought it had the problem of two good goalies, the Tigers have to be hoping for more out of the Thorimbert-Joe Howe duo in the near future.

John Ramage, Defenseman, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s best defender has exactly zero points as his team reaches Thanksgiving, but that’s not the player he is asked to be and no one is expecting Ramage to be a point-per-night guy. Instead, he’s supposed to be the shutdown, in your face blue-liner that plays the hard minutes against the other team’s best forwards. So how well is Ramage doing his job lately? In the last three games, he’s been on the ice for five of the eight goals the Badgers have given up, including the game-winner on Saturday against Minnesota when he went for a big hit, missed and allowed the Gophers the time and space to capitalize in crunch time.

Three Things I Think, Nov. 20: Hockey East

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

New Hampshire’s win at Agganis Arena on Sunday cemented the Wildcats as a contender in Hockey East. UNH entered the game on a three-game winning streak, allowing a single goal in that span. The offense-by-committee approach Dick Umile counted on before the season had worked effectively, while goaltender Casey DeSmith continued the dominant play that almost carried UNH to a first-round upset of Boston University in last year’s Hockey East tournament.

Sunday, the Wildcats again found themselves on the road against BU with something to prove. The combination of opportunistic scoring and DeSmith’s brilliance carried UNH to a late 2-1 lead before Kevin Goumas sealed it with an empty-net goal. DeSmith stopped 45 shots on Sunday, and the goals came from Goumas, twice, and third-liner Maxim Gaudreault. Goumas is the Wildcats’ clear leader on offense. Even with Austin Block’s tem-high eight goals, Goumas’ playmaking and possession-driving ability have propelled UNH in October and November. His pair of goals on Sunday gave him three for the year to go along with his 10 assists and a plus-11.

Currently, UNH’s 8-1-1 mark and 6-1-1 record in Hockey East has them three points back of Boston College for the top spot in the league standings. Nationally, UNH is currently No. 2 in the Pairwise, behind WCHA leader Denver, which the Wildcats happen to visit this weekend. Defeating BU for the second time this season removed any doubt about UNH as a regional contender. Friday and Saturday’s games with Denver and Colorado College will put their position as a national contender into perspective. (more…)