Archive for November, 2015

NCHC Saturday Nov. 28: Three Things

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Instead of traditional weekend previews, check this space on the CHN blog each Saturday for developing mid-weekend NCHC storylines and observations from Friday night games.

Friday’s results: three nonconference wins by NCHC teams over Big 10 foes (St. Cloud State over Minnesota, UNO over Ohio State, and North Dakota over Michigan State), while CC and Western Michigan continued to trend in the wrong directions with losses to Air Force and RPI, respectively.

1. Left wing locked down

UNO took control of its game in Omaha against the Buckeyes with a pair of second period goals, about five and a half minutes apart — first from Luc Snuggerud, then David Pope. Snuggerud (pinching in from his left defense position) and Pope both fired home shots from the left faceoff circle after finding open spots within a porous Ohio State defense — their first and second goals of the season, respectively. You wonder if it was a point of emphasis in the second period after the coaching staff potentially noticed a weak spot in the OSU defense. Regardless, it’s important for the players playing on the left side for UNO, especially with the playmakers they have at the center and right wing positions.

2. Welcome back, Cam

While Drake Caggiula continued to highlight the scoresheet for North Dakota, the big story for the Fighting Hawks was the strong play of Cam Johnson, who had been out since mid-October with a lower body injury before playing sparsely in relief last weekend. In that relief appearance though, things didn’t go too well — with Johnson giving up three goals on 13 shots. Last night in East Lansing, Johnson stopped 24 shots in a 3-1 win over the Spartans and appeared confident between the pipes, where Matt Hrynkiw had played superbly in Johnson’s absence.  I’d expect Hrynkiw to continue finding a way to some playing time as Johnson works his way back into the rotation for UND, now 11-2-2 this season.

3. CC loses heartbreaker

Still searching for their first win, the Tigers found themselves in penalty trouble and allowed the Falcons to score the game winning goal in the final minute of the game. CC fell to 0-13-0 this season. Last week, CC head coach Mike Haviland told me that, despite the record, the attitude within the locker room has remained positive — which is impressive considering some of the varied ways the Tigers have lost. The rematch is of course tonight. Haviland said on Wednesday, ““You’ve got bragging rights for Colorado Springs. And that’s been the message. And also we can’t be looking too far down the road. We have to take one game at a time and break it down to one period at a time.” Check the main site for a full story on CC this Monday

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 27

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Fresh off the age-limit proposal controversy, the Big Ten is back in action in its last weekend of regular-season play before Big Ten play begins. The conference has been playing a little bit better as of late, but still struggles against top-tier opponents.

Wisconsin has a bye this weekend, but all other five teams are in action.


Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 25

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The Big Ten finished an okay weekend in non-conference play. But it’s what happened off the ice that is tremendous not only for Big Ten hockey, but for college hockey as a whole. The conference proposed a legislation to the NCAA that would penalize players who entered their freshman year of college aged 21 or older.

The players would forfeit a year of eligibility, a rule the Big Ten is pushing to limit the age of college hockey. This, unsurprisingly, was met with discontent by many across college hockey from teams to coaches and fans, and even some alumni. The proposal is something that would benefit maybe a dozen teams in college hockey, most notably the Big Ten, which has struggled since its inception.

On the ice, Michigan State registered a winless weekend against Michigan Tech with a tie and a loss. The Wolverines split with Boston University, Wisconsin also played Denver to a tie and a loss while Penn State earned a tie and a win against Alaska Anchorage.

(After the jump: The Big Ten’s proposal, a different Michigan State and Wisconsin isn’t who we thought they were.)


Breaking Down The Power Structure of the NCAA Council Vote

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

When the proposed Big Ten legislation on enrollment age for college hockey goes to vote in April, each of the 32 Division I conferences will receive a vote. However, some of those votes will count more than others. The votes are weighted, and the power conferences count more than the rest of Division I. The five autonomy conferences have their vote counted four times, while other non-FBS conferences have their votes counted twice and the rest of Division I conferences have their votes counted once.

It’s important to note that when the Big Ten legislation goes to vote, it will be decided by non-hockey conferences. In fact, the Big Ten itself is the only conference with direct voting power on the council.

“Legislation that is considered through the Council structure generally does get a final vote in April,” said Michelle Hosick, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA. “The Council members each have the ability to vote on legislation, whether or not they sponsor ice hockey. Some members without ice hockey may recuse themselves, but that doesn’t always happen.

“Every conference has a representative on the Council. The vote of a representative from one of the five autonomy conferences counts four times. The vote of a representative from one of the five non-FBS conferences counts two times. The vote of remaining representatives count once.”

Other schools could have influence on how their individual conference votes, but there’s no guarantee. To pass the legislation, all it needs is a simple majority.

There are 22 programs (36.7% of college hockey) that has no representation whatsoever on the NCAA council that will vote on this new legislation.

Here is a breakdown:


Reacting to the Proposed Big Ten Legislation

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

As reported by College Hockey News on Tuesday, the Big Ten has proposed legislation to the NCAA that would lower the age limit on incoming hockey recruits from 21 to 20 years old, or two years after a player’s expected high school graduation date.

That proposal, and the manner in which it was proposed, has stirred considerable controversy.

First, there’s the proposal itself. The timing of it and the intentions are considered suspect by some coaches who are adamantly opposed to it. Then there’s the process in which it was proposed. Instead of debating this legislation as a college hockey body in Florida at the annual coaches convention, as all legislation in the past has been handled, the Big Ten proposed this unilaterally, without notification to its other conference partners.

That could be the bigger concern.


Three Things I Think: ECAC 11/24

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

As each week moves along, we learn more about all the teams in the conference. Over the weekend, RPI continued its seven game unbeaten streak, Quinnipiac remained undefeated and SLU made inroads and proved that maybe they belong in the conversation as well. Clarkson provided QU with its first blemish on the season, in a 1-1 tie in Hamden but were unable to back it up, dropping a 3-0 game to a much improved Princeton team that I will talk about in more depth below.

Rensselaer and Quinnipiac are tied at the top of standings, as the Bobcats squandered their chances to take an outright lead with two ties. Both teams are now 4-0-2 and have 10 points already in the bank. Harvard and Cornell are nipping on their heels, as the Big Red picked up a win at Brown and an impressive tie at Yale, but every team in the top six remain within three points of the lead. The Pairwise continues to be bloated, but this weekend will prove to us just how many teams are capable of being in the tournament. There are big games up and down the schedule this weekend. Harvard and RPI participate with Notre Dame and Western Michigan in the Shillelagh Tournament in South Bend. Dartmouth travels for a pair against Michigan, while Colgate and Brown participate in the Friendship Four. All told, the ECAC has six teams in the top 15 of the Pairwise, thanks mainly to a .667 win percentage in non-conference contests.

If you haven’t read the wonderful piece by CHN editor, Adam Wodon, on the Big Ten’s attempt to put an age limit in college hockey, I highly suggest you read it in the next couple of days. Also, as is normall customary for me, I would like wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys their families and falls asleep because of all the Triptofan. Oh and don’t forget there are great college hockey games on Friday morning, from Belfast when Colgate and Brown open the Friendship Four on NESN and TSN at 11am eastern time. (more…)

NCHC Saturday Nov. 21: Three Things

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

Again, instead of traditional weekend previews, check this space on the CHN blog each Saturday for developing mid-weekend NCHC storylines and observations from Friday night games.

Friday’s results: road wins by North Dakota (4-3 at St. Cloud) and Minnesota-Duluth (5-0 at Colorado College), and a pair of 3-3 ties (Nebraska-Omaha at Miami, and in the lone nonconference game of the night, Denver at Wisconsin). Though the game ended as a 3-3 tie for NCAA record purposes, Miami earned the extra NCHC standings point by scoring in the 3-on-3 OT period. As a reminder, NCHC conference games play a five minute 5-on-5 OT followed by a 5 minute 3-on-3 OT if the game remains tied (and then, if still tied, a shootout).

1. Slow out of the gates

It was an unfortunate opening minute for Colorado College last night, playing at home against Minnesota-Duluth At least three turnovers in the defensive zone led to groans around the World Arena in Colorado Springs, with fans looking for a one-time powerhouse to show some signs of life. CC came into the night with an 0-10-0 record and 1:12 into the first, fell behind 1-0 thanks to UMD’s Austin Farley’s seeing-eye wrist shot from the slot.

Certainly, UMD pressured the Tigers and came out of the gates looking for a goal as quickly as possible, but it was far from reassuring from a CC standpoint to see the Tigers start so slowly — all things considered. Netminder Tyler Marble had little chance on the goal, which is a shame considering the flashes of talent he still is able to show (one example was on a UMD breakaway in the second period). The Bulldogs put the game away in the second with three quick even-strength goals in a 4:14 span. The Tigers mustered just 19 shots on goal, fell to 0-11-0 (the last remaining winlesss team in the nation), and continue to test head coach Mike Haviland.


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 20

Friday, November 20th, 2015

The Big Ten continues this week with out-of-conference play. After splitting with Minnesota State, the Gophers are back on a bye this weekend. The Buckeyes, who are on a three-game winning streak, are also on a break.

Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State are all in action this week.


Weekend Preview: ECAC 11/19

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Most teams will be in conference action this weekend, while Union, Dartmouth and Harvard all have the weekend off. RPI plays a lone non-conference game on the road against Bentley. One has to wonder how long Quinnipiac’s winning streak will go on, as it approaches the absurd at this point. The 11 game winning streak to start the season is the longest such streak to start a year, since Air Force won 12 to begin the 2008-09 season. The Bobcats will host the North Country teams this weekend, after a 6-2 triumph on Tuesday against a struggling Uconn squad. Cornell-Yale looks to be the best game on the docket, but either Quinnipiac games should  also be entertaining.

With RPI playing a lone non-conference game, its lead on Quinnipiac sits at two and the Bobcats will take the lead in the Standings this weekend playing two conference games. The Pairwise also looks good, but I caution one in taking too large of a look, but as a whole the league is in good position. Also check out my Three Things I Think from earlier in the week and a feature on RPI’s Cam Hackett. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 11/17

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Another weekend in conference action, again there were surprises. Brown left the weekend with three points, and almost four as it had an overtime goal disallowed that probably shouldn’t have been. RPI picked up three points and picked up a win against Yale on Friday, in arguably the biggest upset of the weekend. Quinnipiac continued to roll with wins over Harvard, Dartmouth and UConn. They have looked good and this Quinnipiac team is scary offensively, which I will talk about below. It is still much too early to look at the league standings but RPI is the surprise early leader by two points over QU, which has two games in hand.

The CHN pairwise is up, but I will caution against looking too deeply at it as the sample size is much to small. But the good trend is the number of ECAC teams that are in the top 20 and in the tournament spots today. QU sits at the top with their undefeated record, Cornell, Harvard, St. Lawrence ,Yale and Clarkson join it in the top 15. Rensselaer also sits on the outside looking in at number 23. But again it is much too early, what the league needs to do is continue its dominance in non-conference play that is has shown early in the season. Also be sure to check out my feature on Rensselaer’s Cam Hackett, who is a former Cornell commit and excelling in the absence of Jason Kasdorf