Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

ECAC Standings Update, 3 Games Remaining: What Do We Know and What Can Be Clinched Tonight

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Last night, Union clinched at least a share of the Cleary Cup with three games remaining. Quinnipiac and Colgate mathematically have a chance to share that title, but it seems unlikely given the way Union is playing. The Dutchmen need just one point to win the title outright and clinch the number one seed throughout the ECAC tournament.

Battles are shaping up from positions 2-11. Union is the only team to clinch a bye. Quinnipiac and Colgate play tonight with the winner clinching a second first round bye. Cornell currently holds the final bye position in fourth, with Clarkson and Yale nipping at its heels. Yale and Clarkson are the only two that are currently not in bye position that has a chance at it. The Bulldogs are one point back of the Big Red and the Golden Knights are two points behind Cornell. Home ice positioning is even closer. Below I will go into each team’s positioning and what can be accomplished tonight. Check out the CHN standings page as a guide (more…)

The Takeaway: Cornell Grits Out 2-1 Road Win At QU

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Hamden, CT. - Cornell and Quinnipiac played a physical quarterfinal last season, in which Quinnipiac won in three games. Tonight, was much of the same and the bad blood continued between the schools, as the two played a very physical game. Quinnipiac scored first at 12 minutes, 54 seconds of the first period when a Cornell defender kicked the puck into his own net on a Quinnipiac feed from Tommy Schutt, who was credited with the goal. The Big Red, as it usually does, responded moments later, as Joakim Ryan sent a wrister from the point straight into the net. The teams took the 1-1 game into the second period and much of the same physical play ensued. Cornell broke the one all deadlock at 13:27 of the period when Brian Ferlin went in on a breakaway and beat Garteig, high over his glove.

The third period was much of the same, as Quinnipiac pummeled Andy Iles with shots and dominated the shot attempts, 38-6. Cornell held on to win on the road, 2-1, against the Bobcats. Cornell moves into fourth place all alone with a 13-7-5 overall record and 9-6-4 mark in the ECAC, one point clear of Yale for fifth. Quinnipiac falls to third in the ECAC standings with a record of 21-7-5, 11-5-3. Cornell also gained in the Pairwise rankings, where it now sits in ninth, while Quinnipiac remains in sixth place. (more…)

The Takeaway: Tyson Spink Nets Hat Trick in Colgate Win

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Princeton, N.J. – After recording two ties last weekend, Colgate returned to a barn where it was winless in its last three games. Tyson Spink struck first and finished the game with a hat trick, the third Colgate player to record one this season. Colgate controlled the first period, attempting 35 shots and 18 at freshman Colton Phinney. But Phinney played well, keeping Colgate from adding another.

The Tigers tied it up in the second period when captain Jack Berger scored his fifth of the season. But Colgate regained the lead 1:31 later when Tyson Spink netted his second of the game.

In the third period, It took Mike Borkowski slightly over one minute to make it 3-1 in favor of Colgate. The Raiders dominated from there, and a five-minute major to Princeton’s Ryan Siiro didn’t help the cause for Princeton. Colgate added two more power play goals and an even-strength tally to take the win.

Ryan Benitez appeared in relief for Phinney and played 12:30. It marked the first time Benitez saw collegiate playing time in his career. He finished with 11 saves and allowed one goal.

With the win and a Quinnipiac loss to Cornell, Colgate is now tied for second with the Bobacts with an 11-5-3 conference record. Princeton fell to 4-15-0 in ECAC play and currently sits in the last spot. (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 21

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Michigan (14-9-3, 6-5-1-1 B1G) vs. Penn State (5-19-2, 12-1-10-1 B1G): Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 22 at 5 p.m.

Penn State’s only Big Ten win of the season came over Michigan back on Feb. 8, the last time these teams met. This will be the first series between the two teams in Michigan.

Two Wolverines have three points against Penn State — JT Compher and Mac Bennett. Zach Nagelvoort has a 4.91 goals-against average and a .867 save percentage against the Nittany Lions, while Steve Racine replaced Nagelvoort in net in the Feb. 8 loss to Penn State.

Michigan has struggled to score in the first period of late, surrendering five goals and scoring one in the first frame over the last three games. Penn State has led in its past four games, but is 1-3-1 in that stretch.

Zach Hyman — who was verbally committed to Princeton when Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky was there — has netted four goals and three assists over the last seven games.

The Wolverines won’t have Andrew Sinelli and Michael Downing in the lineup because of suspension issues by the league.

Matthew Skoff has started the past three games for Penn State and has given up three goals total over that stretch. He was in net for Penn State’s victory over Michigan, stopping 32 shots in the shutout win.

Nittany Lion leading scorer Eric Sheid as well as Rickey DeRosa have a team-high three points against the Wolverines.

Michigan is on a three-game losing streak, but the past two losses came against Minnesota, Big Ten’s best team.

I think Michigan is still a better team than Penn State, and two of Michigan’s last three losses came against Minnesota. The Nittany Lions have been playing well lately, and I think they should be able to take another game from the Wolverines.

Prediction: Series split.

Wisconsin (17-9-2, 8-5-1-0 B1G) vs. Michigan State (9-13-7, 3-5-6-4 B1G): Feb. 21 at 9 p.m., Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Last week the Badgers earned their first road win since Nov. 16, and they’ll be back at home to face Michigan State.

The Spartans, with one of the best defenses in the country, have been playing their opponents well over the second half of the season. A win last weekend over Penn State snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak that consisted of four ties.

Michigan State’s goalkeeper, Jake Hildebrand, has played pretty well. His numbers have been improving all season, and he’s been backed by a team that blocks a lot of shots. In 10 of the last 11 games Michigan State hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game.

But the Spartans have struggled to score over their last eight games, failing to tally more than two goals in a game. It hasn’t been enough to turn Hildebrand’s effort into wins, even if the Spartans did win a game last weekend despite taking 13 shots on goal.

Last weekend, the Badgers put Nic Kerdiles, Mark Zengerle and Tyler Barnes back on a line together, and the trio responded with three goals and an assist in the win over Ohio State on Saturday.

The teams, who are meeting for the first time this season, will be playing at the Kohl Center. At home this season the Badgers are 15-2-1, and if they sweep they’ll have a 17-2-1 record, the best in Badger history at the Kohl Center.

Before the win, Wisconsin hadn’t netted more than two goals in six contests in a row. So the Badger offense might struggle against a Spartan team that doesn’t surrender many goals.

But the Badgers are just too good at home.

Prediction: Wisconsin sweeps.

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 17

Monday, February 17th, 2014

For the second time this season — and the first since  Nov. 16 at Miami – the Badgers won a game on the road. Wisconsin split the weekend series with Ohio State, and the Buckeyes now are tied for the No. 3 spot in the Big Ten standings with Michigan.

Ohio State’s Ryan Dzingel passed the 100-point mark in the loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. He’s the first Buckeye junior to reach the mark since R.J. Umberger scored his 100th in 2003. Dzingel, a Hobey Baker candidate, is one of the best forwards in the nation (and he’s in my Hobey Hat Trick). He leads Big Ten scoring with 38 points, but his assist on Saturday was his first point since Feb. 7.

The Nittany Lions tied Michigan State on Friday (and then lost in the shootout) and lost on Saturday. Penn State has scored more than three goals just once over its last 15 games. But, the Nittany Lions have been more competitive than the score indicates in some of those games. With four points so far, the Nittany Lions are locked into the sixth seed. (It’s actually mathematically possible for Penn State to move up a spot, but unlikely.)

For the Spartans, the victory snapped a seven-game winless streak. Over that stretch, Michigan State went 0-3-4 and allowed two goals or less in six of those seven games.

The Gophers, seven points ahead of Wisconsin, should have the No. 1 seed. Michigan and Ohio State are tied with 20 points while Michigan State has 19, but seeding doesn’t matter that much outside of the first two.

(After the jump: Where Wisconsin should finish, Big Ten goalkeeping and the state of Minnesota) (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC Week 18

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Another week down and two more to go in the regular season. Last weekend, Union grew its lead at the top and the bottom teams had a good weekend. Union now has a four point lead at the top of the standings on Quinnipiac, while the Bobcats have a two point lead on the hard charging Colgate Raiders in third. Cornell has fallen a bit in recent weekends, as it has lost three games in a row and now has no chance at the league regular season title. The Big Red have 20 points, which is three points behind third place Colgate, tied with Clarkson for third and it sits one and two points ahead of sixth and seventh place Yale, RPI respectively. The fight for the last bye is possibly going to be the the most entertaining of the battles in the coming weeks.

Another interesting fight is going to occur for the last home ice spot. Brown picked up an impressive home win against Quinnipiac on Saturday night but its followers followed suit. The Bears hold the eighth position by a point on both Harvard and St. Lawrence. Dartmouth picked up a weekend sweep and now sits three points behind Brown. Harvard and Dartmouth both struggled for long stretches of the season, but have come alive in the last week or so. The two travel partners picked up seven of a possible eight points in the North Country.

Trends are growing within the conference that must be noticed. Harvard, Union, and Colgate seem to be on the rise. QU, Clarkson and Brown seem to be trending down at this point. Those trends are big because of what is happening in the standings, as they are so closely packed. Without further ado here are my thoughts this week. (more…)

The Takeaway: BU Valiant in Comeback Attempt, But Falls 4-3 to UNH

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Durham, NH - On the night that UNH celebrated its seniors, the Wildcats came out rocking against a BU team that has been struggling in recent weeks.  Dan Correale scored the first of the night for UNH at the two minute, 52 second mark when he found a puck on the doorstep and put it past O’Connor in a scrum. BU, though controlled much of the play in the period. UNH, though, was ever advantageous of BU mistakes, as Eric Knodel scored on the power-play from the point. Matt Willows followed it up seven minutes later to give UNH a 3-0 lead. BU scored a 5 on 3 power-play goal with 8 seconds remaining in the first period, as Evan Rodrigues received a pass and buried it past Desmith to send the game into the first intermission, 3-1. The goal was a turning point in the game.

The teams traded goals in the second, as Boston University again dominated the territorial play against UNH. The Wildcats led Boston University, 4-2, heading into the third period. BU would make it interesting at 9:15 of the third, as Robbie Baillageron netted the Terriers’ second 5 on 4 power-play goal of the night. BU gave a valiant effort in the waning minutes of the game but Casey Desmith had every answer thrown at him, including a late glove save to preserve UNH’s 4-3 win over BU.

The win improved UNH to 17-15-1, 9-8-0 in Hockey East and BU dropped to 8-17-4, 3-9-3. The win moves UNH into a tie for third place with Maine, four points behind UMass-Lowell in second. UNH is one point ahead of Northeastern in fourth, which is the final spot with home ice in the quarterfinals, and two points ahead of sixth place Providence. Positions six  through 11 play first round games, while positions 1-5 have first byes with the top four getting home ice in the quarterfinals. BU sits in tenth place, three points behind home ice in the first round. The win also moves UNH up to 21st in the Pairwise, it would conceivably need to win out to get an at large berth. (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 14

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Michigan State (8-13-6, 2-5-5-3 B1G) vs. Penn State (5-18-1, 1-9-0-0 B1G): Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 15 at 3:30 p.m.

The Nittany Lions picked up their first Big Ten win on Saturday, defeating Michigan 4-0. Four different Nittany Lions picked up a goal, including David Glen. Matthew Skoff was in net for the victory.

In both games against Michigan last weekend, Penn State scored at least three goals. Several Nittany Lions, including Casey Bailey and team scoring leader Eric Scheid, recorded three points in the series.

Even before the win, Penn State had been playing well. The Nittany Lions turned in some competitive performances against Big Ten opponents, including Michigan State. Ultimately the Spartans swept that series, winning 3-0 and 3-2. Michigan State is 3-1-0 in the all-time series.

The Spartans tied Ohio State in both contests last weekend before losing in the shootout.

Michigan State ranks 10th in the nation defensively, allowing 2.33 goals per game. The Spartans have given yo two goals or less 17 times this season.

The Spartans block more shots per game than any other team, helping out goalkeeper Jake Hildebrand.  In eight of his last nine starts, the Pennsylvania native has allowed two goals or less. Hildebrand has also stopped 30-plus pucks in six of his last nine starts, and his .933 save percentage ranks seventh in the nation.

But the Spartans struggle to score. Last weekend Michigan State adjusted the lineups, putting Greg Wolfe, Lee Riemer and Ryan Keller together again for the first time since December. They scored seven of 11 points against Ohio State,

The Spartans have a stingy defense and Penn State’s offense is almost as bad as Michigan State’s. But, I thought Penn State had a chance to beat Michigan State the last time these two teams played, and I still think they came close.

Prediction: Series split.

Ohio State (14-9-3, 4-5-3-2 B1G) vs. Wisconsin (16-8-2, 7-4-1-0 B1G): Feb. 14 at 7 p.m., Feb 15 at 8 p.m.

Wisconsin just handed Minnesota its first two conference losses, as the Badgers swept the Gophers at the Kohl Center last weekend.

At the Kohl Center.

I’m not surprised the Badgers won at least one of those games, because Wisconsin is almost unbeatable at home. The Badgers have lost twice at home, but one of those losses came against the Buckeyes.

And now the Badgers will travel to Columbus for the first time since 1969.

Ohio State hasn’t lost in its last five games, a streak that started with the win over Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have scored two or more goals over that stretch, led by Ryan Dzingel. His 37 points rank first amongst Big Ten skaters.

Christian Frey, who holds a 2.11 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage, has started in the last five games. He was also in net when the Buckeyes took down the Badgers.

Ohio State has a powerful offense, but the Badgers have the best goalkeeper in the Big Ten in Joel Rumpel. His .922 save percentage is tied for first, while is 1.90 goals-against average is the best in the conference.

The Badgers are also 2-14-1 on Valentine’s Day, which irrelevant but interesting.

When I think about some of Wisconsin’s road games, I still question if they can win away from the Kohl Center — no matter how impressive the wins over Minnesota were.

But I was really impressed by those two wins over Minnesota.

Prediction: Series split.

Minnesota (19-4-5, 8-2-2-0 B1G) vs. Michigan (14-7-3, 6-3-1-1 B1G): Feb. 14 at 9 p.m., Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.

Last weekend Wisconsin swept Minnesota, snapping Minnesota’s 14-game unbeaten streak. That’s not really an upset, given how good the Badgers are at home.

The alarming issue for the Gophers is their lack of offense.

Over the past three games, Minnesota — which once had the nation’s second-best offense — hasn’t been able to score more than two goals in a game. In the past three, the Gophers have been limited to one goal.

Sam Warning still leads Minnesota’s offense, but hasn’t registered a point in the last five games.

This is the first conference meeting between Minnesota and Michigan, and the first time these two teams since Nov. 28, 2010. Three Gophers –  Nate Condon, Justin Hall, Tom Serratore — and two Wolverines – Mac Bennett and Luke Moffatt — have played in the series.

Condon, Minnesota’s captain, is the only current player with a goal in the series.

The Wolverines are 3-1-1 in their past four games, defeating Wisconsin and Michigan State.

I know Minnesota is struggling, but there’s nothing about Michigan that stands out to me.

Prediction: Minnesota sweeps.

ECAC Power Rankings Week 17

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Another week in the books and more movement, up and down the rankings last week. Union has become the clear favorite to win the regular season crown, while Quinnipiac is lurking three points back. Colgate, Cornell and Clarkson all sit within three games of the lead but someone please tell me why Union shouldn’t be the favorite, because it is. Union enters the top of the rankings this week, taking over the top spot from Colgate who entered the number one position two weeks ago, when I last got to Power Rankings.

The biggest mover in the past two weeks has been St. Lawrence. The Saints picked up a win against Union two weeks ago, at home, and it picked up an even bigger win on the road against Quinnipiac on Saturday. For ECAC fans, the last few weeks have been special, as it seems any team can beat another on any given night. Another team that has come on in recent weeks, has been Rensselaer. Both of those team have been dangerous but the teams, especially 1-10 are about as close as can be. This should make for an interesting playoff and run to the playoffs, as fights will ensue for the byes and home ice. Without further ado these are my rankings for the week.

1. Union (19-6-3, 13-3-0) – Last Time 2

Union has just gotten to the top and run with it. Since a two game losing streak, the Dutchmen have gone out and won three in a row. It has defeated three solid teams in the process, as it defeated Clarkson on the road and Brown and Yale at home. The Dutch have won consistently no matter where they are playing and its 10-2-2 record on the road is good for the second best mark in the nation. Union has become the clear favorite to win the league and its three point lead seems insurmountable for even QU right behind it. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC Week 17

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Another weekend in the books and for one team it was moving weekend, as Union was the only top team to pick up four points over the weekend. The Dutch not only opened up some breathing room on second place but it also opened up space down the standings. It now leads the conference by three points and has a six point lead over the ever important fourth place in the conference standings.  Quinnipiac has a two point lead for second place,while Colgate, Cornell and Clarkson  are all within one point for positions one through five. The fight for the last bye should go down to the last weekend. All these teams legitimately have shots at the regular season title, but at this point the Dutchmen have to be the favorites to hold onto it. It has yet to prove otherwise that it is willing to relinquish it.

Harvard bowed out of the Beanpot last Monday in the semifinals but together a solid performance against BU in the Consolation game on Monday night. The win marked the second in a row for the Crimson and the first time it had won consecutive games all season. St. Lawrence, had a surprising weekend in that it defeated Princeton and Quinnipiac. The former is hardly surprising, as most of the league has defeated the Tigers, but defeating the Bobcats on the road was a surprise, in some senses of the word. The Saints have quietly defeated both top teams in the league in the last two weeks, Union and Quinnipiac, which is quite the impressive two weeks of work.

The Pairwise finds four teams in the top 15 and six in the top 20, which is a testament to how good the league was this season out of conference. Harvard’s win on Monday finished a successful non-conference slate for the conference that saw the league post the third best winning percentage (51-38-16,.562) and garner the second most wins of any, with 51. No conference ran away with the season series with ECAC teams, and the leagues 20-22-8 record against Hockey East is something of a win in itself, although two games back. The conference has proved it can compete with the best teams in the nation. Quite frankly, I would put any ECAC team up against a team from another conference and think it would win. The talent is right there, top to bottom, if not better than in most conferences. (more…)