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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 17

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Last weekend, Big Ten found some of its best success in out-of-conference play. The Spartans (expectedly) dropped their game to Boston College, although in an unexpected fashion.

All teams defeated their Atlantic Hockey opponents. Michigan netted a 7-3 win over Niagara, Penn State swept Sacred Heart and Ohio State swept Canisius. The Buckeyes are now on a three-game winning streak and have scored 15 goals over their last three games. After an 8-2 win over the Purple Eagles, the Nittany Lions recorded a 3-2 win.

In Minnesota, the Gophers split with the Mavericks.

(After the jump: Michigan State’s offensive boost, Big Tem powerhouse offenses vs. defense and the early Pairwise that doesn’t matter) (more…)

NCHC Saturday Nov. 14: Three Things

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Something a little different – 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 St. Cloud State (5-2 at Western Michigan) and Denver (3-0 at Minnesota-Duluth), and a dominant home win by North Dakota (6-2 over Miami).

1. Highlight Reel

Thanks in large part to a quick start from North Dakota (two fourth-minute goals, separated by 20 seconds), the ultimate result in the UND/Miami game in Grand Forks last night was essentially decided long before a pair of highlight reel third period goals, one by each team. Check them out here. But those goals are also notable for typifying the remainder of the game. First, for Miami, Josh Melnick scored his fourth goal of the season (second-most on the team) to pull the RedHawks within three — it was an impressive individual play below the left circle for the sophomore, who corralled the puck while falling down and sniped a wrist shot into the top left corner behind UND netminder Matt Hrynkiw.

Taking nothing away from Melnick’s outstanding goal, it typified Miami’s play on Friday by highlighting the reliance on individual plays, without few signs of the teamwork displayed just a week ago in the RedHawks’s sweep of Western Michigan. Less than 90 seconds later, Nick Schmaltz finished off a spectacular four-player passing play to punctuate UND’s win — after a dizzying series of five passes between Schmaltz, Brock Boeser, Troy Stecher, and Drake Caggiula. All night, UND played well as a unit — routinely situating two players in front of the Miami goaltenders (Jay Williams and Ryan McKay), and that teamwork was highlighted again with Schmaltz’s highlight-reel goal.


Hockey East Nov. 13: 12 Thoughts for 12 Teams

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Another week in Hockey East kicked off on Thursday, when Notre Dame beat Northeastern 3-2 in South Bend. The rest of the league schedule kicks into gear tonight. Here are this week’s 12 thoughts on Hockey East’s 12 teams …


Weekend Preview: ECAC 11/13

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Another full weekend of conference games will again help us to sort out the contenders from the pretenders. The highlight of the weekend will indeed be Quinnipiac and Harvard in Hamden on Friday night. The two heavyweights will battle in what could ultimately be a title match preview. The other highlight of the weekend, pits the North Country rivals, SLU and Clarkson, against each other. In all honesty, it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, rivalry in the league.  Those are just two of the premier matchups that dot the schedule this week, without further ado here are some thoughts for the upcoming weekend.


Harvard at Quinnipiac

We should learn a lot about these two in this game. Harvard has looked good in its minimal action so far and it will take on an unblemished Quinnipiac team that is now 8-0-0 on the season. For Harvard, this will probably be the toughest test for them to date because unlike Yale, QU has a dangerous offense that sends a ton of great chances toward the net. We all know that Harvard has the offense, but whether or not its defense will hold up against a team like QU, is something that we have no idea about yet. It looked good against Yale, but there wasn’t much in the way of dangerous up and down play in that game. This will also be the Crimson’s first big road test, against a good team. For Quinnipiac, it still needs a tough road test to quell the juries. This home game, however, could go a long way in telling us if they belong in the tier as Yale and Harvard.

Prediction: 5-2 Harvard (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 13

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

This is one of the last weekends of non-conference play, as Big Ten contests will be underway soon. The conference fared better last weekend but have still really struggled. Wisconsin, which upset North Dakota on Friday, is off this week.

Much of the Big Ten play this week is against Atlantic Hockey, with Michigan playing Niagara, Penn State hosting Sacred Heart and Ohio State facing Canisius. The Spartans also travel to Boston College while Minnesota faces Minnesota State.


Three Things I Think: ECAC 11/11

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

The first full weekend of the conference slate always tells us a lot, but it also tells us that we shouldn’t overreact to some of the results. Rensselaer took three out of four points in the North Country, while Union took a pair of points against SLU. The results were the most surprising in the league last weekend, as I really like both St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Both are going to be strong teams in the league this year. The three points, gives RPI seven out of eight possible points in ECAC play. It is an impressive start for a team that I put seventh in preseason but has struggled , save a win against Boston College. But lets not forget that last year, RPI raced out of the gates to lead for a while then dropped off. This year it seems more sustainable because of the lack of injury bug that it found last season.

The three elite teams, in Harvard, Yale and Quinnipiac all had come from behind victories over the weekend to Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell respectively. I was flying cross country that night and left Chicago knowing that Cornell had a 3-0 lead when I took off, while Yale trailed Dartmouth 2-0. QU and Yale both scored four unanswered to take home the wins. It seems as though both Yale and Harvard took a bit to come out of the emotional high that was the game at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Friday night. I will talk about that more below, but without further ado here are some thoughts.

I would also like to take this time, seeing it is Veterans day, to thank all my readers that have served in the armed forces. It is much appreciated what you have done and I hope you hear this a bunch today or this week.


Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 9

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Big Ten hockey’s weekend was highlighted by an upset win from Wisconsin over North Dakota. The Badgers ended the series with a split. Penn State played Niagara to a 1-1 tie, Michigan State’s offense broke out in a sweep of New Hampshire and Minnesota split with Notre Dame.

(After the jump: Luke Kunin OHL rumors, the term “Upset” and the Gophers aren’t there yet.) (more…)

NCHC Saturday Nov. 7: Three Things

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Friday’s action involving NCHC teams included league wins by Denver, UNO, and Miami — all of whom were playing at home — in addition to a North Dakota loss in Grand Forks to Wisconsin. North Dakota was undefeated (6-0-2) prior to the 3-1 loss to the Badgers.

1. Tape to tape

After three consecutive road losses during which the RedHawks were outscored 11-4, Miami returned home with a 2-1 win over CHN’s Team of the Week, Western Michigan. Freshman Jack Roslovic, a native of Columbus, Ohio, scored his sixth goal of the season — most among rookies nationally. His power play goal in the second period tied the game for Miami and was an impressive example of how to open up passing lanes on a power play. Louis Belpedio at the left point and Roslovic in the right circle combined on multiple tape to tape passes, stretching the space between the WMU penalty-killers (particularly junior forwards Aidan Muir and Michael Rebry) and allowing for the opportunity for one-timer by Roslovic. As a team, Miami was notably more accurate with its passing compared to its most recent road losses, and the RedHawks have a chance to move back over .500 with another win tonight.

2. Backing off

Colorado College’s woes were compounded on Friday, as the Tigers dropped to a dismal 0-9-0 following a 5-3 loss at Denver. CC joins Army, Niagara, Brown, and Maine as the only winless teams in the country, and Tigers head coach Mike Haviland now has just six wins in 44 games behind the bench for CC. In the rivalry contest on Friday, the CC defense looked alarmingly passive in its own zone, setting the stage for multiple DU goals. With the game tied 1-1 in the second, the Pioneers put the game out of reach with three goals — by Danton Heinen, Will Butcher, and Trevor Moore. On the first two of those goals, Heinen and then Grant Arnold were able to gain the zone with easy along the left wing  (Arnold set up Butcher for his goal), and on the third goal of the period, Moore gained the zone on the right wing with similar ease. It’s been a long, rough journey for CC already, but the defensive effort will have to improve if the Tigers plan on trying to build any momentum at all within arguably the toughest conference in the country. Moreover, CC has the worst penalty killing unit in the NCHC but continues to lead the league in overall penalty minutes per game.

3. Score early, score often

Nebraska-Omaha stayed unbeaten in its new home facility, Baxter Arena, following the Mavericks’ 4-2 defeat of Minnesota-Duluth. UNO scored two first period goals, continuing its trend of fast starts. The Mavericks have now scored 14 goals this season (more than any other NCHC team in the game’s opening 20 minutes), while scoring 13 in the second and third combined. Austin Ortega (who else?) scored the ultimate game-winner, and leads the nation in goals. His goal, which at the time put the Mavericks up 3-1, came on the power play thanks to a textbook down-low passing play in which Ortega and freshman Steven Spinner made sure their sticks were on the ice for re-directions that led to the goal. Freshman Evan Weninger earned the win, and remains in the top 10 nationally in both goals-against average and save percentage.


Hockey East — 12 thoughts for 12 teams: 11/5/15

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Hockey East enters another weekend with some home-and-home conference games as well as UNH and Merrimack hitting the road for non-conference action. Here are 12 thoughts on the 12 teams throughout the league …


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 6

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Four Big Ten teams will play this weekend – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan State, while Michigan and Ohio State both have a bye. None of the Big Ten teams have fared well in out-of-conference, non-Atlantic Hockey matchups this season.

All six Big Ten teams have struggled this season, especially the Badgers and Buckeyes. Wisconsin has the biggest out-of-conference test this week as the young squad travels to NorthDakota, while the Gophers will be challenged by Notre Dame. The Spartans have also struggled to win, making their series against the Wildcats one to watch.

But aside from that, the non-conference schedule isn’t asvict bad for the Big Ten this weekend.