Archive for February, 2016

Mike Santaguida Returns For Vermont in Season Finale

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Vermont goaltender Mike Santaguida hasn’t played since Dec. 5, when he suffered an undisclosed injury against Boston University. He’ll make his return in tonight’s regular-season finale, when the Catamounts travel to Merrimack College, needing a win to clinch home ice in the Hockey East playoffs.

Santaguida dressed for the first time in almost three months last night, backing up freshman Packy Munson. The Catamounts fell behind 3-0 before eventually losing, 4-1, to the Warriors.

On the season, Santaguida has a 2.70 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage, including a 4-9-2 record as a starter. Munson was 8-9-1 between the pipes, posting a 2.40 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.

Santaguida returned to skating a little more than a month ago, and has been practicing with the team. WPTZ’s Jack Korte reported earlier this week that Santaguida would dress, but UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said he “might not play” this weekend.

NCHC Saturday Feb. 27: Three Things

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

In place 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 action involved several games with big implications for the conference standings. Most notably, North Dakota won on the road at Minnesota-Duluth, 4-2, to separate itself at the top of the league table as St. Cloud State fell at home, 4-1, to Minnesota-Duluth. Omaha’s loss also kept them off the pace of Miami (3-0 win on Friday vs. CC) and Duluth in the battle for the final top 4 spot in the standings. With three games to go in the regular season, UND, St. Cloud, and Denver (5-1 win over WMU on Friday) are locked into hosting quarterfinal series when the playoffs begin. Denver may be the hottest team of all, by the way, as the Pioneers are 11-1-3 in their last 15 games and were quicker to all the loose pucks in their win over Western Michigan last night.

Meanwhile, UMD, Miami, or Omaha will get the final home ice spot, while Western Michigan and CC will finish seventh or eighth.

1. Poganski, again

A week after his overtime penalty shot goal gave North Dakota a somewhat controversial win over Minnesota-Duluth, UND sophomore Austin Poganski continued his hot play on Friday in Omaha. We know all about the CBS line, but Poganski (20 points this season) is the highest scoring forward after the CBS trio (Drake Caggiula, Brock Boeser, Nick Schmaltz). Friday, Poganski had two assists — each time befuddling the Mavericks defense and then delivering the puck to a goal-scorer (Luke Johnson in the second period, Caggiula in the third). On the Johnson power play goal, Poganski also provided a screen in front of the UNO net. The sophomore now has points in four of his last five games and is clearly a player to watch as North Dakota continues its run toward the Penrose Cup (NCHC regular season winner) and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament

2. Miami PK

Miami’s 3-0 shutout win on Friday over Colorado College was the now-.500 RedHawks’ fourth win in their last five games, and Miami fans can thank their team’s penalty killing units, again. Miami has killed 104 out of 112 (92.9%) opponent power play chances this season, which is the second best penalty killing percentage in the country. Only Yale (killing off 93.9%) has been better. On Friday, the RedHawks killed all seven CC man-advantage chances, including two five minute major power plays. Moreover, on the first major, the RedHawks scored a shorthanded goal — in fact, the second career goal from senior defenseman Taylor Richart. It was an outside shot from the point that solved CC netminder Jacob Nehama — one of two long-range shots Nehama allowed in the game. Timely special teams play like Miami displayed on Friday night in Oxford may be the reason the RedHawks — if they can — end up with that final home ice playoff spot, the No. 4 seed in the upcoming NCHC quarterfinals.

3. Kept at bay by Kaskisuo

St. Cloud tried to keep pace with North Dakota at the top of the NCHC standings, but ran into UMD sophomore goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo. The Finnish netminder had 44 saves in the Bulldogs’ 4-1 road win. UMD helped its goaltender out by allowing only two St. Cloud power play opportunities, and on the other end of the ice, seemed comfortable using the wider and more open ice to their advantage. Kaskisuo was in the zone all evening, and played even more confidently as the Bulldogs built up a big lead. Tonight is likely a must-win for St. Cloud if it wants a realistic chance at the regular season championship, so it’ll be intriguing to note if head coach Bob Motzko makes any adjustments as his team tries to beat Kaskisuo tonight. Kaskisuo’s 1.98 goals against average is currently ninth-best in the nation.

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 25

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The last weekend of Big Ten play in February will see a showdown for first pace. The Gophers host Michigan, a rematch of a series split in Ann Arbor back in December. But this is also a battle to remain in a bye spot, because Penn State state isn’t far behind.

The Nittany Lions, along with the Spartans, are actually off this weekend while Ohio State and Wisconsin face play. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/24

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

As always the regular season hits its last weekend really quick, but here we are. Quinnipiac should clinch the Cleary Cup on Friday against Brown, but ya know Bruno has wrecked the dreams of Bobcats fans before and so has Saturday opponent, Yale, who could steal the Cleary Cup from its New Haven rival. Of course this script was written in Atlantic City and Pittsburgh in the year 2013, so it couldn’t possibly be relived? I doubt it, but stranger things have happened. QU has had a great season, but of late Yale has been better, so I am interested to see what happens this weekend.

Yale has a bye locked up and Harvard needs just a point this weekend to clinch one. The mess in the standings begins behind them. St. Lawrence currently has the fourth spot and is followed just one point behind by Dartmouth and RPI. Cornell also has a chance at the bye and sits two points back of SLU. The Saints and Dartmouth have a huge opportunity to make hay on Friday as the two of them will meet in a defacto bye championship game, well not really because good ole RPI and Cornell could sneak past if the two tie. I will take the Saints at home, because they have been really good in Canton this year.

Union still has a chance to host a first round series, as it sits in ninth just three points behind Clarkson. I find this comeback as unlikely but who knows I guess. What we do know is that Colgate, Brown and Princeton will be travelling in the first round of the ECAC tournament.

In terms of the pairwise, four ECAC would be in if the tournament started today. Quinnipiac remains in its lofty position at the top, Yale has climbed all the way to seventh with its great run of form, Harvard is in 12th but has a little cushion and Cornell after a strong weekend has moved into the 14th position. Of course, the Big Red shouldn’t rest on its laurels because someone could make the tournament that shouldn’t. Right  now both the WCHA and AHA champions would be out of the top 16. Check out this article on the current tournament picture(more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 23

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Another weekend in the Big Ten, another slate of odd results. Well, most were expected actually, since Michigan beat Ferris State 5-2 and Michigan State swept Wisconsin. But the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions split the series. Penn State won the first game 6-1 and then Ohio State win 7-4.

But series splits with complete score reversals seems to be the norm for the Big Ten this year.

Since the Gophers were off and the Wolverines had a non-conference opponent, there were only two series to draw from. But it hasn’t helped determine which of the top teams are better. Although with the win, Penn State moved three points behind Michigan and four points behind Minnesota.

The Gophers and Wolverines battle this week for the first spot in the conference.

(After the jump: Wisconsin is the worst team in the Big Ten, the bye is very important and something to remember about the Big Ten teams in the PWR)


Maine Beats Merrimack in Crazy Finish at Alfond

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

ORONO, Maine — For 48:48, Merrimack and Maine played scoreless hockey on Saturday night at Alfond Arena.

Then, the floodgates opened.

Five goals in the final 13 minutes, including overtime, saw the Black Bears take a 3-2 win from the Warriors on senior night. Daniel Perez scored the game-winner for Maine after Merrimack struck twice with an extra attacker inside of the final two minutes.


Yale and SLU Play an Interesting One at Ingalls

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

It could have been billed as a matchup of two of the best goalies in college hockey, Kyle Hayton and Alex Lyon, but it turned out to be something else. Both Hayton and Lyon had their struggles, although Hayton was the better of the two most of the night.  Yale got a late winner with about a minute remaining from Ryan Obuchowski on a two on one pass from Joe Snively. Yale continued its hot streak defeating St. Lawrence, 4-3.

Yale had a marked advantage in shots and possession for much of the first two periods, but the Saints came on late despite allowing Yale a late winner.The Bulldogs outshot its opponent, 34-19 and out-attempted them 66-38 .In the thrid period the Saints held an 8-6 shot advantage, as it was the better team after Yale took a 3-2 lead.

The Bulldogs have now won six in a row and have just one loss since December 5th, a stretch of 15 games that has seen them go 12-1-2. Yale also clinched a first round bye and a home series in the ECAC quarterfinals. Yale still has a shot at the ECAC regular season crown, but it sits five points behind rival Quinnipiac with just three games to go. The two will play in Hamden next week, which might not mean much in terms of the standings if the Bobcats clinch tonight with a win.

St. Lawrence, who had also been hot, dropped its second game to Yale in about a month. The Saints entered with a six game run of their own, at 5-0-1. It is in a tie for the all important fourth place in the ECAC standings with Dartmouth. Those two will play next week in Canton, which could decide the last team that gets a bye. (more…)

NCHC Saturday Feb. 20: Three Things

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

In place 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 action saw St. Cloud State (4-1 at Omaha) and Miami (also 4-1, at Western Michigan) win on the road, while North Dakota won a 2-1 OT thriller in Grand Forks against Minnesota-Duluth in a game with plenty of conference standings and national [[Pairwise]] implications.  Meanwhile, reigning CHN Team of the Week Denver was idle following its Thursday night 4-1 win at Colorado College, as both teams practiced outdoors in anticipation for this evening’s “Battle on Blake” at the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field — the only outdoor college hockey game this season, and the first in the long and storied Gold Pan rivalry. Check out NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton’s thoughts about the game, and other conference topics, here.

1. Penalty Shot?

The most talked about moment of last night’s NCHC action was the decisive call in overtime in Grand Forks, when UND sophomore Austin Poganski was awarded a penalty shot after Minnesota-Duluth junior defenseman Carson Soucy took out Poganski on a partial breakaway to the net. The play (of course) happened quickly, but with the benefit of slow-motion replay, it appears that at the time of Soucy’s tripping infraction, he was parallel with Poganski — and if that’s the case, the play doesn’t meet one of the four conditions that “must be met in order for the Referee to award a penalty shot,” namely, that the “infraction must have been committed from behind.”

The other required criteria are that the infraction must have taken place in the neutral zone or attacking zone (yes, it occurred as Poganski collected a turnover and raced into the offensive zone), the player in possession and control must have been denied a reasonable chance to score (yes, certainly*), and the player must have had no opposing player between himself and the goaltender (yes).

*Of note, the NCAA rulebook notes, with regard to this criteria, that “the fact that he got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from the penalty shot consideration criteria” (a common misconception).

Predictably, each head coach had different opinions regarding the correctness of the call. Sandelin told Matt Wellens of the Duluth Tribune: “I don’t agree with the call at the end. It was a penalty, but I don’t agree with the penalty shot at all. I don’t care if that gets me in trouble. It certainly was a penalty and they capitalized.”


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 19

Friday, February 19th, 2016

This weekend features five teams in action, with a little Big Ten break as the Wolverines face Ferris State. The Gophers are the lone team off this weekend, taking time off before battling Michigan for first place next weekend. Ohio State travels to Penn State while Wisconsin and Michigan State will battle to stay out of last place.

Since neither Michigan or Minnesota is playing in conference this weekend, the two won’t move in the conference standings. But Penn Sate, which is six points out of second, could reach Michigan in the standings with two regulation wins over Ohio State. (more…)

Harvard Recruit Oliver Wahlstrom Injured at Youth Olympics

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Oliver Wahlstrom, a Harvard recruit, was taken off the ice on a stretcher Thursday in a game against Russia at the Youth Olympics in Norway.

According to Brian Pinelli, an Olympic reporter for the USA Today and New York Times, Wahlstrom was moving his arms and legs after taking a hit to the head from Russia’s Andrei Svechnikov.

Wahlstrom made headlines in 2014 when he committed to Maine as a 13-year-old. Last summer he decommitted from the Black Bears, where his father was a forward from 1988-90, and later committed to Harvard this past August. A top prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft, Wahlstrom is currently playing for the Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget Prep team.