Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Three Things I Think: ECAC, Final Edition

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

In all honesty, I have no idea where the time went. The best time of the year is upon us, as eight teams will play this weekend for a chance to advance to the quarterfinal round, where Union, Colgate, Quinnipiac and Cornell wait in the wings with byes. I will have a more complete preview of the ECAC first round later this week.

The last weekend, showed the true grit of playoff hockey. Union, despite not playing for much, was locked into a battle with Brown on Saturday. On Friday night the Bears and RPI were locked into a playoff hockey game. Some teams flourish in the environment and it will be very interesting to see who that team is this season. Last season it was Brown, but this season there are a few teams that could be that team.

I am going to a highlight some things below and give some opinions on to who I think will go forward in the tournament. I don’t give much in the way of an opinion in the preview, so this is a much better avenue to do so. All in all, I could see 11 of the 12 teams going to Lake Placid, as the league is so strong. Right now the two favorites among readers seems to be Quinnipiac and a really gritty Union team, I would agree with them. Because of the way this season has gone, there is always thought that the clear-cut favorites wont make it and a team that no one expects will be there, I will say that probably will happen. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, March 4

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

There are just two weeks left in Big Ten regular season play. There will be no more bye weeks, as each team has four games remaining.

The Gophers swept Penn State at home over the weekend by scores of 5-3 and 2-1. Minnesota finished the season 15-1-3 at home, and it’s the first time in Mariucci’s 20 years the Gophers have only lost once at home.

Minnesota ranks No. 1 in the PairWise and have 38 points in the Big Ten conference. The Gophers are ahead of the Badgers by seven points and have won four straight since dropping a pair to Wisconsin.

The Nittany Lions scored first on Friday, but the Gophers netted three tallies before the end of the first period. The next night, P.J. Musico made his first start of the season for Penn State and finished with 35 saves in the 2-1 loss.

The Wolverines are now unbeaten in their last three games and have 27 points. Michigan will face Michigan State and Minnesota to close out the season.

In the exhibition match, the USNTDP U-18 team defeated Michigan State 4-3, and future Spartan Edwin Minney made 20 saves and allowed three goals in the win.

Currently the Gophers are first and the Badgers second in Big Ten standings. Wisconsin is four points ahead of Michigan. The Wolverines could still earn a first-round bye through multiple scenarios.

(After the jump: The first annual Mike Ricther Award, Ohio State’s updated netminding situation and what the weekend means for Michigan.)

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The Takeaway: Brown Squanders Oppotunity for Home Ice in the First Round in 3-0 Loss to Union

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Providence, RI. - Brown had everything on the line, with home ice at stake in its game against Union. The Dutchmen had just the national picture to play for. For the second night in a row, Bruno played in a tight checking, physical playoff type game. Defensive and tentative best described the first two periods, as both teams were able to keep each other off the board.

The third period was much of the same, until Kevin Sullivan fed a wide open Daniel Ciampini in front of the net to give the Dutchmen the 1-0 lead at 12 minutes, 51 seconds of the third period. Daniel Carr added his 17th of the year at 16:17 to give the Dutch a commanding 2-0 lead. Kevin Sullivan added an empty netter and Union defeated Brown, 3-0.

With the win, Union finishes the regular season 24-6-4, 18-3-1 in the ECAC. Brown squandered its opportunity to host a first round series with the loss. Its record falls to 11-15-3, 8-13-1 to finish the regular season. Union will have next weekend off with the bye and the number one seed, while Brown will travel to St. Lawrence for a series against the Saints in the first round of the ECAC tournament. (more…)

ECAC Playoff Picture

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Lots of shuffling occurred at the top on Friday night, while RPI clinched home ice in the first round and Quinnipiac clinched the third of four byes. The championship is locked up for Union but the final bye and final home ice spot are up for grabs in the last weekend. Lets go through some scenarios but check out the standings page for a more complete record and pts standing. (more…)

The Takeaway: RPI Clinches 1st Round Home Ice With 3-0 Win Over Brown

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Providence, RI. - Brown and RPI entered Friday night with a lot on the line. Rensselaer entered the evening in seventh place, just two points ahead of Bruno for that spot. Both teams could clinch home ice with a win and the way the chips fell, Rensselaer would have left the night with home ice, win, loss or tie.

The game had a playoff type feel and both goaltenders went toe toe. The first two periods did not disappoint, as the teams entered the third period scoreless. Jacob Laliberte broke the tie at five minutes, 45 seconds of the third period as a loose puck came to him on the doorstep of the net and he was true to give Rensselaer the first lead of the game. Mark Miller scored five minutes later to make it 2-0 Engineers. Rensselaer added an empty netter off the stick of Zach Schroeder and would hold on to the defeat Brown, 3-0. The win clinched home ice in the first round for the Engineers, while Brown holds on to dear life to eighth place one point up on Harvard, SLU and Dartmouth in the ECAC Standings for home ice in the first round.
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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 28

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Michigan (15-10-3, 7-6-1-1 B1G) vs. Ohio State (15-10-3, 5-6-3-2 B1G): Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m., March 2 at 1 p.m.

The Wolverines won both games over the Buckeyes when the two teams met earlier this season. Michigan leads the all-time series 73-33-11 and will make its first trip to Nationwide Arena on Saturday.

While JT Compher leads the Wolverines in scoring with 27 points, Zach Hyman has netted 11 points over the last eight games. But the Wolverines may be without captain Mac Bennett, who left last Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.

Goalkeeping continues to be a question for the Wolverines, as Steve Racine has started three of the last four games. He was in net for Michigan’s win over Penn State, which snapped a four-game losing streak. Racine’s Feb. 14 start was his first since Dec. 28. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC Week 19

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Can anyone else believe that we have hit the last weekend of the season? It seems like just yesterday that Clarkson faced off in the Ice Breaker, but we have reached the last weekend of the year my friends. Union clinched the Cleary Cup outright on Saturday night with its win against St. Lawrence. Colgate became the second team to clinch a first round bye in the ECAC tournament, as it defeated QU on the road. Quinnipiac at 25 points needs just one point to clinch a first round bye, while Cornell sits in fourth and needs a win to clinch because Clarkson three points behind owns the tiebreaker on it. Only Yale and Clarkson could stake a claim on catching QU or Cornell for a bye.

Just like the battle for positioning for byes is interesting so is home ice, but Clarkson and Yale have clinched spots for home ice if they are unable to catch a bye. Rensselaer and Brown currently hold the final two home ice positions. RPI sits in good position but needs to pick up two points, either by a win or a St. Lawrence loss because the Saints would hold the tiebreaker if RPI only picked up one point when St. Lawrence picked up two wins. Complicated stuff but it’s like that I guess. Brown is ahead of St. Lawrence by one point and ahead of both Dartmouth and Harvard by three. The right things would have to fall into place fr Harvard or Dartmouth to get a first round home series, but it isn’t impossible. Princeton will enter the ECAC tournament as the twelfth and final seed, finishing in last place. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 24

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Badgers have 31 points in Big Ten play this season, just one point behind Minnesota. It doesn’t really matter who finishes first or second, just who finishes in the first two spots. The Gophers were off this week, so the Badgers picked up six points to close the gap.

With the pair of wins over the Spartans, the Badgers are now eight points ahead of Michigan for the No. 2 spot. The Badgers have four games left while Michigan has six, so it is possible for the Wolverines to overtake Wisconsin. But it’s unlikely, since the Badgers face Penn State and Michigan State to close out the season.

Ohio State also did not play last weekend, while Michigan split its series against Penn State. The only two conference wins the Nittany Lions have earned this year were both over the Wolverines. The Friday win was Penn State’s only conference win on the road.

(After the jump: How the Badgers have played at Kohl this season, Michigan’s struggles and Big Ten hockey success at the Olympics.) (more…)

Weekend Results Set Up SCSU/UND showdown

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Each team in the NCHC has four games to play, but it may very well be next weekend’s St. Cloud State / North Dakota series in St. Cloud that determines the first NCHC regular season champion.

NCHC
Conference Overall
GP W-L-T SOW PTS GF-GA GP  W-L-T GF-GA
1 St. Cloud State 20 12-5-3 39 71-53 30 18-7-5 109-80
North Dakota 20 13-7-0 39 67-56 30 18-9-3 95-79
3 Nebraska-Omaha 20 10-8-2 1 33 68-59 30 13-15-2 98-100
4 Western Michigan 20 9-9-2 2 31 59-61 32 15-12-5 86-84
5 Denver 20 8-9-3 2 29 49-49 32 14-12-6 81-72
6 Minnesota-Duluth 20 8-10-2 2 28 54-60 30 13-13-4 84-87
7 Colorado College 20 6-9-5 1 24 46-56 30 6-18-6 60-92
8 Miami 20 5-14-1 1 17 48-68 30 11-16-3 88-92

We learned this past weekend that even the teams that have struggled for much of the season — namely, Miami and Colorado College — can’t be taken lightly. On Friday night, the RedHawks toppled St. Cloud, energized by the return of Blake Coleman, who scored two goals in his first game since December 6. More importantly, Miami survived the first several minutes without allowing a goal and enjoyed steady goaltending from Jay Williams for the first time in a while. Colorado College, meanwhile, is suddenly 4-2-2 in its last eight games, including a three game win-streak after sweeping archrival Denver thanks to goals over the weekend from six different goal-scorers.

North Dakota swept Minnesota-Duluth, dropping the Bulldogs to sixth place in the standings, and Dave Hakstol’s team — as they often do this time of year — is peaking, and may just be the favorite to finish the season in first place. Again, though, if St. Cloud or North Dakota has to play Miami or Colorado College in the first round of the playoffs, we saw this weekend that neither will be an easy task.

This week on CHN look for a feature about the St. Cloud/North Dakota showdown, and we’ll also look into Nebraska-Omaha’s roller-coaster February.

The Takeaway: Colgate Impresses Again in 3-1 Win at QU

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Hamden CT. - Colgate and Quinnipiac entered the night deadlocked for second place in the ECAC. The first period is exactly what one would have expected, as the two played up and down hockey. Quinnipiac appeared to score twice in the period, only to be ruled no goal on the ice. The first was when Brice van Brabant went in all alone but held up a Colgate player to get the puck originally. The second was a controversial kicking call, called on the ice as such. Those two were the only close calls in the period, which ended with the teams both scoreless. Colgate took the lead at nine minutes, 14 seconds of the second period when Tylor Spink went around the net and sent a wicked wrister straight past QU goaltender, Michael Garteig. QU responded minutes later when Matthew Peca sent a wrister toward the net that was tipped home by Connor Jones.

The teams entered the third period tied at one goal apiece. It stayed that way until Tylor Spink scored his second of the game, deking Garteig out as he was all alone in front of him. Darcy Murphy added an empty net goal late in the third period, giving Colgate a 3-1 victory at Quinnipiac. The win moves Colgate into second place all alone with a record of 16-11-5 overall, and 12-5-3 in the ECAC. Quinnipiac, meanwhile, falls to 21-8-5, 11-6-3 and to third in the ECAC standings. QU also falls to seventh in the Pairwise rankings, while Colgate rises into an at large bid at 13. (more…)