Archive for January, 2014

The Takeaway: Brown Snaps Colgate’s 6 Game Winning Streak

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Providence, RI - Brown and Colgate entered Friday night’s contest, as two teams that were heading in the right direction. Although, Brown lost 6-0 to Yale on Friday night but had been trending in the right direction. Colgate entered the night on a national leading seven game unbeaten streak and six game winning streak. Tonight, though, showed a new level for the Bears , as it scored two late goals in the first period and never looked back.

The Bears opened the scoring at 14 minutes, 54 seconds when Garnet Hathaway took a misplay in the neutral zone by the Colgate defense all the way for the goal. The goal was a preview of things to come for both teams. Moments later, Mark Naclerio would get rebound for his first of two goals on the night. The Bears took the 2-0 lead into the second. The second was much of the same, as Brown would find the back of the net three times. Colgate got two goals by the Spink twins in the period and it was 5-2 after two periods of play.

The third period was a stalemate between the teams, as neither was able to find the back of the net. Brown left with an impressive 5-2 victory over Colgate. The loss was the Raiders first in seven second half tilts and it snapped a six game winning streak, a streak that put it atop this week’s ECAC Power Rankings. With the win Brown improves to 9-8-3 overall, 5-6-1 in the ECAC. Colgate falls to 13-10-3, 9-4-1. The loss sends Colgate back into third place in the standings two points behind first place Quinnipiac, while Brown is in a tie for sixth place just eight points back. (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Jan. 31

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Michigan (12-6-2, 4-2-0 B1G) vs. Wisconsin (14-7-1, 5-3-0 B1G): Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

The last time Michigan and Wisconsin faced off, the Badgers swept the Wolverines But those two wins happened at the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin is 13-2-1 this season. On the road, the Badgers are 1-5-0.

The Wolverines are 6-1-1 at home, returning to Yost for the first time since Dec. 11.

Joel Rumpel won four of his last five starts for the Badgers, but had his nine-game winning streak snapped when Wisconsin last to Ohio State last weekend.

Michael Mersch and Mark Zengerle lead the Badger offense with 24 points each. Zengerle is one assist away from breaking into the school’s top-10 career assist list, while Mersch recorded his first career hat trick in the last series between the teams.

Wisconsin’s offense is tied for fifth in the nation, averaging 3.50 goals per game. But they’ll face Zach Nagelvoort, who has a .935 save percentage.

JT Compher leads Michigan with 20 points. The freshman netted five points last weekend when the Wolverines swept Michigan State. When the Wolverines score at least three goals, they are 9-0-0.

Both teams are “ranked,” not that it matters much. Michigan hasn’t looked too impressive this season, but it’s still questionable whether Wisconsin can win away from home.

Prediction: Series Split

Ohio State (12-9-1, 2-5-1 B1G) vs. Penn State (4-15-1, 0-6-0 B1G): Jan. 31 at 7 p.m., Feb. 1 at 2 p.m.

Penn State’s David Glen will miss both games while he recovers from donating bone marrow. Ohio State will host a Be The Match drive at Value City Arena, where fans can register for the National Marrow Donor Program.

These teams have only met once before, and Penn State came away with the 5-4 win in 2012.

Ohio State, which will celebrate 50 years of Buckeye hockey on Saturday, averages 3.50 goals per game. Ryan Dzingel leads Ohio State and the Big Ten with 30 points a 1.36 points per game. He’s part of a Buckeye junior class that averages 5.36 points per game.

Christian Frey and Matt Tomkins have continued to split starts in net.

The Nittany Lions — still winless in conference play — are on a six-game losing streak and have won once in their past 13 games.

Eric Scheid’s 15 points are a team high. Eamon McAdam has started four of the last five games and holds a 3.94 goals-against average and .889 save percentage on the season.

While Penn State is still struggling to find wins, they’ve been playing better –at times — than their record indicates. But the Buckeyes just split a series with Wisconsin last weekend, a big win for a program that’s been playing well.

Prediction: Ohio State sweeps

Minnesota (18-2-4, 7-0-1 B1G) vs. Michigan State (8-12-3, 2-4-2 B1G): Jan. 31 at 9 p.m. Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.

The Golden Gophers are on a 12-game winning streak, the team’s longest sine 2006-07, when the Gophers went undefeated in 22 games. Over the unbeaten streak, Minnesota has converted 33 of 36 penalty kill attempts.

Minnesota averages 3.83 goals per game, second in the nation. Leading the attack is Sam Warning, who has 27 points on the season. Kyle Rau has 23 points, and the Gophers are 56-8-5 when he nets at least one. He also has four points against the Spartans all time.

Adam Wilcox holds a .929 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average. All time against Michigan State, Wilcox is 2-0-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Jake Hildebrand has started in 15 straight games for the Spartans and is 2-3-1 in his last five games. Both wins came over Penn State.

Over the past 11 games, the Spartans have won three times, including a victory over Michigan at the Great Lakes Invitational. The team’s only conference wins have been over Penn State.

Minnesota is without question one of the best teams — if not the best — in the nation.

Prediction: Minnesota sweeps the series.

ECAC Power Rankings: Week 15

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

While I was in South Carolina last week, I failed to find time to do a Power Rankings blog because I got busy, but the hockey didn’t stop. I will do my best to rank the teams as to where I think they are today. Over the last two weekends a few trends have been seen. Dartmouth has begun to falter far into the doldrums again, Rensselaer has picked up its game, starting to win, and SLU has a winless streak that now dates two months. Union continues to lead the standings, but they are really close with many teams that will be vying for the Cleary at the end of the season. Be sure to read this week’s, Three Things I Think, for an even more in depth coverage of the conference as a whole and the trends of the week. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East, Jan. 28, 2014

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Massachusetts senior Michael Pereira earned his 100th career point Saturday night in a 3-2 loss to Merrimack. Pereira scored twice in the game, both in the second period and on the power play. UMass lost the game, however, and the story of Pereira’s career in Amherst received another troubling chapter.

In the fall of 2010, Pereira arrived at UMass, along with about a dozen other freshmen. Naturally, that team struggled badly in Hockey East, winning only five games and just barely sneaking into the league tournament. At times, Pereira, Branden Gracel, Conor Sheary and other youngsters on that club revealed the talent and skill that made people wonder about the future.

In the last three-and-a-half years, that class has produced the occasional great result, but they, like UMass classes before them, have never amounted to much more than some good players who can’t win games. Mix in the departure of Don Cahoon as head coach two summers ago, and it’s been a difficult career for Pereira and his talented classmates.

Seven years ago, UMass was in the midst of one of only a few successful seasons since the program’s rebirth more than 20 years ago. That year, guided by all-American goaltender Jon Quick, was supposed to signify the beginning UMass’ ascent to regional prevalence. Instead, Quick bolted and everything fell apart. The Minutemen haven’t finished above .500 since that season, and the next couple seasons don’t look much brighter.

When John Micheletto took over for Cahoon in August 2012, he proclaimed, as everyone associated with that programs always has, that UMass would become “the place to be.” Moving toward the end of his second season with UMass, Micheletto is banking on his recruiting talent to turn UMass around. It’s inevitably going to take some time, especially with nine players graduating this season. At this point, though, it’s difficult to think it will ever actually happen.

(After the jump: BC’s Hockey East dominance; UMass-Lowell is very good no matter what else you’ve read; Still not sold on Northeastern? Nope.) (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC Week 15

Monday, January 27th, 2014

The news of the weekend had to be “the Melee,” that occurred at the end of Saturday night’s Union-RPI game at the Times Union Center. A plethora of suspensions were handed out because of the incident. Union probably got the short end of the stick in regards to the players that will miss out, as Matt Bodie, Eli Litchtenwald and Daniel Ciampini will miss two games this weekend, but RPI is also without its star scorer, Ryan Haggerty for its game on Friday. See the full story on the suspensions, here, which also includes other players and a two game suspension to Union coach Rick Bennett by the school. Bennett addressed the media Monday evening.

Don’t get me wrong, I am of the opinion Bodie and Bennett should have gotten more than their two for their respective parts, but the league did a great job in handling the situation in such a timely manner. The decisions that were made, although tough to make, had to be made and the league steered on the conservative side with them. This approach should be applauded but considering the last two games between these team’s have ended up with ridiculousness, as I call it, the league had the opportunity to send a stronger message, which it strayed away from. Will I question this fact? I will refrain, but the message may not have been strong enough to stop these situations from happening again. Lost in the melee was that 7,100 people watched a game in Albany NY, which is always a great for the league and the schools.

As I stated a few weeks ago, the standings were closer than most thought. Colgate again picked up four points in conference, defeating north country teams, Clarkson and St. Lawrence on the weekend. Colgate now sits in a tie for second place with Quinnipiac at 19 points, while Union continues to lead the league with 20 points. Union has a game in hand on the two teams right behind them and Cornell who sits tied in fourth, four points behind the lead. Clarkson has the same number of games remaining as Union and they sit in a tie for fourth with 16 points, four points back. Also check out the Pairwise Rankings, which features four ECAC teams in the top 15 and 6 in the top 18. Without further ado, here is what I think within the conference this week: (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Jan. 27

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Wisconsin finally returned to the ice, as the Badgers took on Ohio State at home. This season, the Badgers have been phenomenal at the Kohl Center, and they’re now 13-2-1 at home.

Only two teams had Big Ten series last weekend, and Michigan and Michigan State were the other two conference teams that tangled. The Wolverines swept the Spartans, snapping a six-game winless streak. Michigan’s J.T. Compher led the conference in scoring over the weekend with five points (3g, 2a).

The Gophers went outside the league and competed for the North Star College Cup. Minnesota won the inaugural tournament but also reminded us that no tournament can be taken seriously when it ends in a shootout. Yes, Minnesota won the championship game in a shootout.

Speaking of the Gophers, Adam Wilcox is really good. And the Gophers are one of the best teams in the country, but we already knew that.

The Nittany Lions also played out of conference, hosting Boston College. Penn State lost once again, but the team played the Eagles closely and limited them to three goals in the game.

Boston College averages 4.48 goals per game and has the nation’s top-two leading scorers.

That’s not bad for Penn State, especially since they faced Thatcher Demko in net.

I still haven’t figured out how I feel about Wisconsin, and I probably won’t until they can consistently win away from home. Right now the Badgers are 1-5-1 on the road, and all five of its Big Ten wins have come at home.  

(After the jump: Why David Glen is doing a great thing, Michigan’s struggles and the Buckeyes becoming elite) (more…)

The Takeaway: UNH Battles In 3-2 Win Over Rival Maine

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Durham, NH. - UNH and Maine faced off in the so called Border War on Friday night, and the start was typical and similar to most starts between these two teams at the Whittemore Center. UNH scored an early goal at 47 seconds of the first period for the lead, as a Maine turnover at the blue line to Nick Sorkin deking Martin Ouellette and putting it past the Maine netminder. Maine answered 2:09 later when Will Merchant scored his first of the year. Maine outshot UNH 6-3 in the first eight minutes, but the Black Bears stormed back to dominate the last 12 minutes. It outshot UNH 12-0 in the last 12 minutes of the first period.

The second period was much of the same in terms of possession and shots, but UNH scored a go ahead goal off an Eric Knodel midway through the period to take a 2-1 lead. That lead held into the second intermission. UNH scored an early goal in the third period to take a two goal lead into the latter stages of the third period. Mark Anthoine brought Maine to within one goal with 54.7 seconds remaining in the game, but UNH would hold off a fierce Maine rally attempt to win 3-2 in front of a sell-out crowd. UNH improves its record to 14-12-1 overall and 6-5-0 in Hockey East play, while Maine falls to 11-9-2, 5-4-2. New Hampshire moves up to 17th in the Pairwise rankings with the win, with Maine falling to 23rd. (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Jan. 23

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Michigan (10-6-2, 2-2-0 B1G) vs. Michigan State (8-10-3, 2-2-2 B1G): Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., Jan 24 at 6:30 p.m.

The teams will play a home and home series that starts Thursday at the Joe Louis Arena. It marks the 50th time the two teams have met at the Joe, and they have played there every year since 1990-91.

The Wolverines played the Spartans on Dec. 27 at the Great Lakes Invitational, falling 3-0.

Michigan has been fairly idle over the past month, playing four games over a six-week span. The Wolverines are on a five-game losing streak and haven’t won since Dec. 2. Over that span, the Wolverines have failed to score more than two goals. When Michigan scores three goals this season, they are 8-0-0.

Since Steve Racine returned from his injury, he has been sharing the net with Zach Nagelvoort. Nagelvoort is 6-5-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. Racine is 4-1-1with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East, Jan. 21

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

A year ago, the final night of the regular season decided the Hockey East title. Massachusetts-Lowell defeated Providence to earn its first regular-season championship, but four different teams could’ve claimed the distinction with some slightly different results.

It was, for most, the most exciting ending to a regular season in the league’s history. Similar results were expected this season, but it’s not likely to happen. With about seven weeks left before the postseason, Boston College has the trophy wrapped up. It will take a bit of a collapse from the Eagles and near perfect performances from Northeastern, UMass-Lowell or Providence to get past BC.

With eight league games remaining, BC has 21 points with a 10-1-1 record through its first 12. UML looks like the only realistic contender to knock off BC. Even then, the River Hawks essentially can’t lose more than once or twice to do the job and must sweep BC in the process.

The Hockey East Tournament promises some drama to decide the 2014 recipient of the Lamoriello Trophy. For now, though, the hardware handed out for the regular season champion is almost guaranteed to land in Chestnut Hill.

(After the jump: Four critical points at stake between Providence and Lowell; Notre Dame needs to get going; A tough year for BU isn’t all on its first-year head coach)

(more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC Week 14

Monday, January 20th, 2014

As I stated last week, the standings were a lot closer than met the eye.  Both Union and Quinnipiac had the weekend off from ECAC play, playing non-conference games instead. Teams right behind them, like Clarkson, Colgate and Cornell played two conference games and the three of them gained on the top two teams. One team, Clarkson will pick up another game this weekend and has a possibility of leading the conference by the end of the weekend. The Golden Knights have two games this weekend sitting three points behind Quinnipiac in third, while Union sits in second place just a point behind Quinnipiac and two ahead of Clarkson. Union has a lone conference game against Harvard this weekend.

In recent weeks, the ECAC conference has excelled in non-conference tilts and this past weekend was no different. Union picked up a big two wins on the road against New Hampshire. Quinnipiac defeated Merrimack College on Friday, but fell to those same Warriors on Saturday. In terms of inter-conference records, the conference sits in third place in winning percentage but if the tournament started today, the league would have five teams in the NCAA tournament. Two teams, Quinnipiac and Union, would have one seeds in the tournament as well as the two sit third and fourth in the Pairwise Rankings. Without further ado here is what I think this week: (more…)