Last weekend saw the most anticipated series’ of the Hockey East season, as Boston College and New Hampshire split a home and home series in front of two sellout crowds. With those results UNH has stayed atop this week’s CHN Hockey East Power Rankings, while Boston College continues in the second spot and the lead the ever important Hockey East standings by two points over the Wildcats. Arguments could be made both ways and in the most important rankings table both teams sit in a tie for first place in the Pairwise. This just seems like the way it should be. This week is a relatively light week for games and Providence College is in the spotlight, as they travel to UMass-Lowell and New Hampshire. Other great games dot the schedule so here is my weekly stab at previewing the games. (more…)
Archive for January, 2013
For the second time in two weeks a head coach lambasted WCHA officials. Whether it’s Dave Shyiak, who played college hockey in the WCHA at Northern Michigan in addition to coaching, an outsider like Cornell’s Mike Schafer or whoever speaks their mind next week, this seems to be picking up. I don’t know if it’s because this is the final year before college realignment takes place or the line between protecting player safety and letting them play grows smaller, but it seems like officials have become more of a scapegoat this season from people other than fans.
After the break, this week’s “3 Things” discusses the growth of Johnny nicknames in sports, Nebraska-Omaha’s troubles in Denver and my thoughts on the Minnesota-North Dakota series.
It was certainly another interesting weekend in the WCHA. Minnesota strengthened its hold on the top spot, while Wisconsin’s sweep of Minnesota State made things much more interesting in the middle of the pack. At the bottom, Alaska-Anchorage still isn’t making much noise on the ice, but coach Dave Shyiak certainly made some in front of the mic.
1. Minnesota (16-3-3, 8-3-3 WCHA) — Last week: 1
The Gophers extended their unbeaten streak to eight by sweeping UAA over the weekend. They needed two late power-play goals to get the 4-3 win on Friday before cruising to a 7-1 win on Saturday. Nick Bjugstad scored twice on Friday, Kyle Rau recorded a hat trick on Saturday, and Nate Schmidt tallied six assists on the weekend. The Gophers went 5-for-11 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. They lead the league in both categories.
2. North Dakota (13-6-3, 8-3-3 WCHA) — Last week: 2
UND’s seven-game unbeaten streak came to an end with a 4-3 loss to CC on Friday, but they bounced back with a 5-3 win on Saturday. Danny Kristo registered three goals and two assists in the series to pull within one of linemate Corban Knight for the team lead in points. Speaking of Knight, he extended his point streak to 17 games with an assist in each game, making it the longest by a UND player since Dixon Ward in 1990-91.
Another week of hockey, and another week that saw Quinnipiac go undefeated. If this seems like the same old song and dance it is, as the Bobcats are undefeated in their last 16 contests and their last loss was to a team they probably shouldn’t have lost to, AIC, over three months ago. As for the other teams they will continue to chase the Bobcats in these rankings. QU holds a ten point advantage on Princeton at the top of the league standings and sits in a virtual tie at the top of the Pairwise with UNH and Boston College. Yale and Dartmouth sit in ninth and 11th respectively in those rankings, while Colgate sits on the bubble in position 16.
1. Quinnipiac (17-3-3, 11-0-1) – Last Week 1
At this point kudos to the Bobcats. Last weekend they continued the streak that has now carried them from November 6 until today by tying RPI and defeating Union. On Saturday against the Dutchmen, the Q entered the third period down 2-0. They would go on to score three unanswered goals to secure a win that was in doubt for much of the tilt. Led by a goaltender that is one of the best in the nation and the nation’s best defense Quinnipiac should be in this position to stay until the end of the year. (more…)
Last weekend featured the series we’ve all been waiting for — UNH vs. BC. Although the split certainly wasn’t unexpected, the way the series played out was. The Eagles rolled to a 5-2 win on Friday, while the Wildcats outshot BC 39-23 in a 2-1 win on Saturday. In the end, that series didn’t change much about how I view the top of the conference. There’s still a clear top two, but the top spot could still go either way. Elsewhere in the conference, sweeps by Lowell over Vermont and Providence over UMass have helped solidify some other spots.
1. New Hampshire (14-4-2, 9-3-1 HE) — Last week: 1
Thanks to their bounce-back win on Saturday, the Wildcats hang onto the top spot. Kevin Goumas and John Henrion each had a goal and an assist in the series, while the third line of Dan Correale, Jay Camper and Matt Willows scored in both games. UNH went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and is now 63-for-67 (94.0%) on the season. One point of concern is that Casey DeSmith has an .886 save percentage since his school-record shutout streak came to an end back on Nov. 18.
2. Boston College (13-4-2, 10-3-1 HE) — Last week: 2
The Eagles’ big win on Friday certainly helped silence some of the talk about their recent struggles. Had they won or tied Saturday’s game, they would’ve moved back to the top of these rankings, but Henrion’s late goal prevented that from happening. Johnny Gaudreau registered a goal and two assists in his return to the lineup on Friday, while Pat Mullane scored twice. On Saturday, Michael Matheson picked up his second game misconduct in as many weekends.
For the first time in what seems like forever, all 12 Atlantic Hockey teams played two conference games this weekend. And 10 of those teams earned points. Only Sacred Heart (still winless) and American International went pointless. Currently six points separate second place Army and tenth place RIT. While not where the Tigers were expected to be, the standings show that they still have a chance to move up.
At this point, I don’t think anyone has a chance of catching Niagara. They hold an eight point edge over Army with two games in hand. The Purple Eagles have yet to lose an Atlantic Hockey game this year and haven’t allowed more than three goals in those games. (more…)
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — A three-goal second period propelled Merrimack College to a 6-0 victory over the Maine Black Bears on Saturday night in front of 2,489 fans at Lawler Arena. Junior Sam Marotta made 30 saves in his second career shutout.
Merrimack blew the game open in the second period as John Heffernan picked up his third goal of the season off of a rebound after a shot from Shawn Bates. Just over four minutes later, Vinny Scotti made the score 4-0 in favor of the home team with the assists going to his line mates John Gustafsson and Connor Toomey. Collins picked up a power-play tally with 1:20 left in the second period as he beat Matt Morris under his blocker.
Durham NH – UNH responded well after a 5 -2 loss on Friday night to the same Boston College team that they played on this night. The teams would play an even first period that saw BC leave with a 10-9 advantage in shots, but nothing to show for it and the teams tied at zero. The second period was much different however as BC freshman defender, Michael Matheson, would take two ill-advised penalties; first a hitting from behind two minute minor and then a contact to the head on a blindside hit as he exited the penalty box on his first penalty. UNH would then get a five on three power-play for two minutes midway through the five minute major. They sent shot after shot at Parker Milner but the BC goaltender stood tall and UNH wasted opportunities to take a 1-0 lead. 53 seconds after the penalties had expired, the Wildcats would get their revenge as Dan Correale faked a defender on a two on one and found Matt Willows all alone in front, where Willows gave New Hampshire the 1-0 lead with just 47 seconds left in the second period.
The third period was evenly played as Brooks Dyroff would tie the score at seven minutes, 57 seconds. UNH would get a late power-play on a Kevin Hayes tripping call and would capitalize. Justin Agosta took a one-timer from the point and John Henrion found the puck in front of the Eagle net and put it past Parker Milner to give UNH the late 2-1 lead with 4:48 remaining.
The Wildcats would hang on for the 2-1 win over Boston College sending home the sellout crowd of 6501 at the Whittemore Center home happy. The win improves New Hampshire to 14-4-2 and 9-3-1 in Hockey East, as Boston College fell to 13-4-2, 10-3-1. The win pulls UNH within two points of BC in the Hockey East standings with a game in hand and also pulls UNH into a tie with this same BC team and Quinnipiac for first in the Pairwise rankings. (more…)
Despite being outshot 42-22, and 21-6 to start the first frame, Denver defeated Nebraska-Omaha Friday evening at the Magness Arena, 7-4. Pioneer’s Matt Tabrum and Zac Larraza each recorded two goals on the night; the latter of which was credited with getting the game-winner. Maverick Ryan Walters put home his NCAA leading 14th goal, while also notching his 34th and 35th points. Nebraska-Omaha goaltender John Faulkner stopped just 15-of-21 shots.
MINNEAPOLIS- After defeating Boston College and Notre Dame, two top-5 teams, in a span of 9 days by a combined 12-2 score, Friday’s WCHA game against Alaska-Anchorage (3-12-4, 1-11-3 WCHA) was an easier match-up on paper for the top-ranked Gophers.
But of course that forgets one little detail: hockey is not played on paper.
After Seawolves sophomore Scott Allen gave his team a 3-2 lead with 5:47 remaining in regulation, Minnesota (15-3-3, 7-3-3 WCHA) scored power play goals by Nick Bjugstad, his second of the game, and Ben Marshall, with 50.8 seconds left, to defeat Alaska-Anchorage 4-3. Both goals occurred during a questionable five minute major to Tyler Currier for checking Gopher captain Zach Budish from behind with 4:08 remaining in regulation.
It was the second time Minnesota had to come back. Earlier, Quinn Sproule scored on Adam Wilcox, who made 17 saves, 5:17 into Friday’s game and UAA was the first team to hold a lead on the Gophers since November 30th. The Seawolves controlled play for much of the first 10 minutes, however, a power play goal by Kyle Rau and even-strength shot by Bjugstad gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead after two periods. That set the stage for Alaska-Anchorage forwards Daniel Naslund and Allen to score 4 minuets apart in the third period before Minnesota’s drastic comeback. (more…)