Archive for March, 2013

The Takeaway: Mass.-Lowell Wins Its First Hockey East Tournament Title With Win Over BU

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

BOSTON – Massachusetts-Lowell wins its first Hockey East tournament championship with a 1-0 win over Boston University Saturday night at TD Garden. The win gives the River Hawks their first ever Hockey East tournament title, while BU’s season comes to an end with the loss. This also ends BU coach Jack Parker’s 40-year coaching career after announcing his retirement two weeks ago.

Derek Arnold scored the game’s lone goal on a wraparound 11 minutes, 9 seconds into the third period. Scott Wilson and Chad Ruhwedel got the assists on the play.

UML goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was named tournament MVP following his 36-save shutout against the Terriers. BU goalie Sean Maguire had yet another strong night in goal, making 28 saves in the losing effort.

What I Saw

  • In a game that saw little quality chances throughout, the River Hawks broke through at 11:09 in the third period when Arnold beat Maguire with the wraparound to make it a 1-0 game. UML had done a solid job of generate rushes in the second and third period, and finally broke through with a 3-on-2 that started in the defensive zone with Chad Ruhwedel and Arnold trading passes through the neutral zone. Arnold fed Ruhwedel in the slot, but the defenseman’s shot deflected off Scott Wilson and onto the stick of Arnold. The junior then completed the wraparound well out of the reach of Maguire’s outstretched glove. The play exemplified what the River Hawks were trying to do to BU all night, but the Terriers executed well defensively. They had another big chance to beat Maguire 3:25 into the period when Colin Wright got out on the breakaway after leaving the penalty box, but his shot rang off the post and back into play.  (more…)

The Takeaway: BU Rallies With Five Straight Goals To Top BC And Advance To The Hockey East Finals

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

BOSTON – Trailing 2-0 midway through the second period, Boston University scored five unanswered goals to beat Boston College, 6-3, Friday night at TD Garden in the Hockey East semifinals. With the win, BU advances to Saturday’s final against UMass Lowell at 7 p.m.

Danny O’Regan and Evan Rodrigues each scored twice for the Terriers, while Sean Maguire made 44 saves in the winning effort.

BC’s top line of Steven Whitney, Quinn Smith and Pat Mullane accounted for two of its three goals in the game with Whitney and Smith scoring the goals while Mullane had a pair of assists.

Parker Milner struggled in net for the Eagles, making 21 saves and allowing five goals in the loss.

What I Saw

  • After Quinn Smith put BC up 2-0 8 minutes, 46 seconds into the second period, a sense of urgency clicked in with the Terriers and they stepped their game up to a whole new level. They played with speed on both ends of the ice and took advantage of Eagles breakdowns on their way three goals in less than six minutes to close the second period with a 3-2 advantage. BC was in complete control up until that point, playing a fast game that BU simply couldn’t keep up with. But the momentum took a complete 180-degree turn at 12:17 when Evan Rodrigues used some nifty stick work to avoid a Quinn Smith pokecheck, then fired a shot past Parker Milner. Matt Lane put it upon himself two minutes later, forcing a turnover at the point in his own defensive zone, then racing to the other end of the ice to beat Milner 1-on-1 to tie the game.  (more…)

The Takeaway: Third period goals push Lowell past Providence 2-1 in Hockey East semifinals

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

BOSTON - Two third period goals powered Massachusetts-Lowell past Providence College with a 2-1 win in the Hockey East semifinals. The River Hawks came back from a first period 1-0 deficit to cement a spot in the conference championship game Saturday night.

Freshman forward Kevin Rooney’s first career goal came at the right time for PC as the Friars took an early lead. It came on a rebound off Lowell freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck at 8:59 when Noel Acciari fed Rooney in front of the net. Despite outshooting the Friars 15-7 in the second period, the River Hawks couldn’t match Rooney’s goal until the start of the final period.

Just 34 seconds into the third, freshman forward A.J. White nabbed his second career goal, beating freshman goaltender Jon Gillies with a rebound, leaving the teams to battle out of the 1-1 tie through the final twenty minutes of regulation play.

It was Lowell who found the net first, when sophomore forward Scott Wilson took a beauty of a pass from senior forward Riley Wetmore and found the back of the net with a one-timer for the 2-1 lead with 7:30 left in regulation.

What I Saw

  • Lowell put a ton of offensive pressure on the PC defense and of course, Gillies. They outshot the Friars 15-7 in the second period after an evenly matched 10 shots per team in the first, but came out of the period with nothing to show for it.. Riley Wetmore and Joseph Pendenza both had shots that could have been goals on most other Hockey East goalies. It wasn’t that the River Hawks weren’t creating Grade A chances, it was just nearly impossible to get anything past Gillies. They finally broke through in the third.
  • The battle between two of the league’s best and youngest goaltenders didn’t disappoint. Gillies and Hellebucyk, both freshmen, made 33 and 32 saves respectively after standout seasons. Hellebucyk has a .944 save percentage with 1.49 GAA while Gillies is working with a .931 save percentage and 2.08 GAA. They both lived up to those numbers tonight. Gillies carried PC, but Hellebucyk’s performance isn’t to be overlooked with only a two-shot differential between the two teams.  (more…)

Pairwise Live Blog

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Follow this live blog all weekend as we discuss the up-to-the-minute ramifications every game has on the Pairwise.

The Pairwise is the system used by the NCAA to select and seed the NCAA Tournament. For more on how it works, check out our Pairwise Primer. Also, check out our You Are the Committee tool, which allows you to plug in projected winners of every game this weekend and see how it would affect the Pairwise.

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The Takeaway: PC clinches second consecutive trip to the Garden with 3-2 victory over UNH

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Providence booked their second trip to the TD Garden for the Hockey East semifinals in as many years with a 3-2 win over the University of New Hampshire in the third game of the series. All of the scoring came in the first two periods, and goaltender Jon Gillies and the Friar defense held off the Wildcats in the third for the win.

Mark Jankowski got the early lead for PC with a beauty of a backwards pass to Schaller, who moved the puck across the crease back to Jankowski for the clear shot on net and the 1-0 advantage. The Wildcats answered late in the first at 17:07 when John Henrion tipped in a rebound after an original shot from Trevor van Riemsdyk.

UNH pulled ahead when Grayson Downing struck on the power play with an assist from van Riemsdyk at 10:31 in the second period for the 2-1 lead. But two goals late in the second period undid the Wildcat lead and sealed the victory for PC. First, Tim Schaller ripped one from the bottom of the circle at 16:29 to beat goaltender Casey DeSmith. Nick Saracino got the go-ahead goal at 17:13 when the puck was knocked around in front and he jammed in a rebound while DeSmith was on his back. (more…)

The Takeaway: Wisconsin Advances to the Final Five Defeating Minnesota-Duluth 4-1

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

MADISON – The Kohl Center errupted when the Wisconsin Badgers finished off the first round of the WCHA playoffs by defeating the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 4-1 in Saturday night’s showdown.

The Badgers sounded the horn for the first goal of the night from Jefferson Dahl just under three minutes into the game, followed by another tally from Michael Mersch.  UMD Bulldog Justin Crandall kept the scoreboard active by cutting Wisconsin’s lead in half, 2-1, all within the first five minutes of the game.  Wisconsin’s Kevin Schulze tallied another goal for the Badgers in the first period to send the home team into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.  The second period failed to produce scoring from either team, but Tyler Barnes recorded his 11th goal of the year in the third period, capping off the weekend with a 4-1 win.

With the sweep of Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin will play either Colorado College or Denver in the first round of the WCHA Final Five tournament in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The Badgers join the Gophers, who have already swept Bemidji State in teams that will participate in the 2013 Final Five.

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The Takeaway: Ben Marshall caps off Minnesota’s comeback against Bemidji State

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS- It may be a cliche but few things are more valuable in the playoffs than defense and a hot goaltender.

Unfortunately for Bemidji State (6-22-8), those translated into a pair of heartbreaking losses to end the season.

A night after Kyle Rau scored his NCAA-leading 7th game winning goal in overtime, Ben Marshall became Minnesota’s newest hero Saturday when he put the Gophers ahead for the first time with 52.7 seconds left. Their resiliency overshadowed 37 saves from Beavers goaltender Andrew Walsh and goals by Jordan George, Cory Ward and Jeff Jubinville.

Despite Minnesota (26-7-5) out-shooting Bemidji State 12-8 in the first period, George scored the lone goal following a penalty to Nick Bjugstad. The Beavers made it 2-0 9:27 into the second period when Ward tipped in a shot by Sam Rendle. Bjugstad, meanwhile, made up for his earlier penalty, scoring 7 seconds into the Gophers’ first power play to cut the lead into one with 4:27 remaining but Jubinville scored 14 seconds later to make it 3-1 Bemidji State.

That was the Beavers’ high point, though. Nate Condon tipped in an Erik Haula shot with 1:06 remaining in the second to make it 3-2 following the second intermission. Minnesota came out strong, peppering Walsh with the first 8 shots of the 3rd, and eventually tied it 7:38 into the period when  freshman A.J. Michaelson was left open on a line change. Overtime for the second straight night seemed inevitable before Marshall skated through the neutral zone, around a BSU defender and beat Walsh between the legs to send the Gophers to the Final Five on a 5 game winning streak (the last 4 against the Beavers).

Minnesota next plays Friday against an opponent to be determined. (more…)

The Takeaway: BU Wins Parker’s Final Home Game, Reaches Semis

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

BOSTON – In Jack Parker’s final home game, Boston University beat Merrimack 5-3 to advance to the Hockey East semifinals for the 11th time in the last 12 years. Ben Rosen broke a 3-3 tie 5:11 into the third when he took in a nice backhand pass from Matt Lane and beat Sam Marotta on a second effort. The Terriers shut down Merrimack for the remainder of the game and will now face archrival Boston College in the late game on Friday. They will most likely need to win to make NCAAs.

What I saw
-A crazy second period. BU tied the score at one 1:31 into the period when Danny O’Regan fed a charging Matt Nieto, but Merrimack retook the lead three minutes later when Mike Collins shot through a Josh Myers screen for the Warriors’ second power-play goal of the game. The end of the period was even more frantic than the start, though. Cason Hohmann scored on the power play to tie the game with 3:48 to go. Then John Gustafsson capitalized on a BU turnover to make it 3-2 Merrimack with 1:20 left. Not to be outdone, the Terriers took advantage of a late power play when Sam Kurker jammed a loose puck past Marotta.

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The Takeaway: BC Sweeps Vermont With 4-2 Win

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Chestnut Hill, Mass - Boston College had the opportunity to send Vermont home on Saturday night, as the Eagles entered with a 1-0 series lead after last night’s 3-2 win over the Catamounts. Vermont began the game very undisciplined, as they gave BC six power-plays in the first period. BC took advantage at 12 minutes, 12 seconds of the period as pretty passing ended up on the stick of Steven Whitney and Whitney roofed it to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The lead would hold until the 16:45 mark of the second period, when Patrick Brown banked a shot off a Hoffman’s skate to give BC the 2-0 lead.

Johnny Guadreau would add his 20th goal of the season four minutes into the third period, as an insurance marker to give BC a three goal lead. Pat Mullane and Matt White would score for their respective teams, as Boston College defeated Vermont going away 4-1. BC advances to next week’s semi-finals at the TD Garden in Boston to play Comm Ave rival Boston University, while Vermont’s season ends. The win moves BC up to a one seed in the tournament, as they now sit in fourth place in the Pairwise, with games still to be played out west.
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The Takeaway: Hat trick from UNH’s Willows forces Game 3 for Friars and Wildcats

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A hat trick from sophomore forward Matt Willows boosted the University of New Hampshire 4-1 past Providence College to tie up the quarterfinal series at a game apiece and forced a Game 3 Sunday to determine who advances to the semifinal round.

Last night, the Wildcats saw shift after shift of good play and didn’t have a problem getting pucks on net, but the scoring didn’t come proportionally. That play paid off early Saturday when sophomore Matt Willows took the puck following a faceoff win in the PC zone. With some stick work in front of Jon Gillies, he went outside and beat the goaltender for the 1-0 lead at 15:19 in the first.

The Wildcat lead grew when Willows struck again, this time on an open net when Goumas sent the puck across to his linemate at 1:45 in the second period. Gillies was still facing Goumas by the time Willows took the slap shot. The two-goal lead was short lived for UNH, and once again it was freshman Nick Saracino who proved dangerous to the Wildcats, and with an assist from freshman defenseman John Gilmour, he beat Casey DeSmith to bring the Friars within one. The 2-1 score in favor of UNH held through the end of the second.

PC’s best chance to tie it up came when a Tim Schaller shot rang the underside of the crossbar, but rebounded down and out. But the third period scoring was all UNH. Jeff Silengo, who replaced Nick Sorkin on the third line, went five-hole and beat Gillies on one he’ll surely want back. Willows sealed both the game and a hat trick with an empty netter for the 4-1 UNH final, forcing a Game 3 to determine which team heads to the TD Garden for the Hockey East Championship. (more…)