Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Take: Tirone Makes 30 Saves in 2-1 UNH Win Over PC

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Durham, NH - UNH entered the night an improved team because of a goalie addition that made for competition at the position, and tonight it continued to improve. New Hampshire scored first at four minutes, nine seconds of the first period. Grayson Downing was the beneficiary of a Tyler Kelleher pass from slot to slot and Downing backhanded the puck over the glove of Jon Gilles, giving UNH the 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, it was again Downing that made it 2-0 UNH but this time there was a little luck involved as the puck bounced up over the glove of PC goaltender, Jon Gillies and bounced right into the net. The two goals for Downing gives him 12 on the season and four in the last two games for UNH, all of its goals in those games. Providence answered a few minutes later on a power-play goal, by Noel Acciari to make it a 2-1 game.

Both teams played even hockey for the remainder, while both Jon Gillies and Dan Tirone put on a show for the few fans that came to the Whittemore Center on a cold Tuesday night. The 2-1 score held until the end and UNH picked up only its second win in Hockey East. Providence’s record falls 14-8-1 overall, 6-5-0 in Hockey East. UNH improves its record to 7-11-2, 3-5-1. The Wildcats are on a three game unbeaten streak, their longest of the season, and have not lost in regulation this half. In that time it has wins over Omaha and Providence College. Providence dropped consecutive games for the first time this season, as it lost to Brown on Saturday night.

See this line for highlights from UNH Athletics. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Jan. 13

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Big Ten play resumed last weekend, as Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan combined for a couple overtime games. Michigan finished with the sweep, relegating the Gophers to fifth in the conference.

The Wolverines are now tied with Penn State for the Big Ten lead, and have one conference game on hand. After scoring 11 goals on the weekend, Michigan’s offense is ranked second in the country. Zach Hyman now has 26 points, and is eight away from doubling his total from last season.

Ohio State held a 4-1 lead over Penn State before the Nittany Lions scored four goals in the third period to tie the game. Ohio State salvaged the game but winning in overtime, and is now 2-3-0 against Big Ten opponents.

There’s not much to say about Wisconsin except the Badgers are still bad. They tied BU, but that happened partly because the Terriers scored in their own net.

(After the jump: Minnesota is in trouble, from goalkeeping to offense, why Michigan will win the Big Ten) (more…)

Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week 13

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Big Ten conference play created some interesting games, with overtime contests between Ohio State and Penn State as well as Minnesota and Michigan.

Penn State, known for good puck possession, continued that trend as it possessed the Buckeyes in a weekend split. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s poor Corsi numbers continued as the Badgers tied and lost to Boston University.

The Corsi stats are listed below:

Three Things I Think: WCHA, Jan. 12

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

After this past weekend’s WCHA action, Minnesota State is beginning to pull away from its rivals at the top of the league standings. The Mavericks sweep of Lake Superior State, combined with Michigan Tech’s struggles against Northern Michigan, opened up a six-point MSU lead in the race for the MacNaughton Cup. Bowling Green kept pace with a three-point weekend against Alaska and are now just a point behind the second place Huskies, setting up a showdown between the two this coming weekend in Houghton.

Rapid Recap: Minnesota State continued its roll, sweeping Lake Superior State, 5-2 and 3-1. Mavericks freshman forward C.J. Franklin has two goals and three points in the wins. U.P. rivals Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan played a pair of high-scoring overtime games, with the Wildcats taking three of four points from the suddenly-slipping Huskies, drawing 3-3 Friday before NMU senior defenseman played hero Saturday, scoring the OT winner in a 5-4 win. Bowling Green pushed its unbeaten streak to nine with a 3-0 win and 4-4 tie against Alaska. The Falcons’ salvaged Saturday’s draw with three unanswered goals in the third period, including two from junior forward Ben Murphy, to erase a 4-1 deficit. Ferris State closed out its extended Alaska road trip on a high note, sweeping Alaska-Anchorage, winning 4-1 and 3-2. Senior forward Justin Buzzeo had a big weekend for the Bulldogs, tallying three goals and five points. Bemidji State gave itself some separation in the bottom half of the standings, sweeping rival Alabama-Huntsville with a pair of 4-0 wins. Beavers freshman goaltender Michael Bitzer posted back-to-back shutouts, stopping all 42 Chargers shots he saw.

In The Polls: Minnesota State is the new No. 1 team in the country in the latest poll, marking the first time in program history the Mavericks have held the top spot. They are the second WCHA team to sit atop the polls this season after Michigan Tech held that spot for a week back in November. The Huskies slipped out of the top 10 to No. 11 after a winless weekend, while Bowling Green, which owns the nation’s longest unbeaten streak, cracked the top 10 at No. 7. Northern Michigan (15) is the only WCHA team receiving votes in the poll.

In the PairWise, Minnesota State is back at No. 1, Bowling Green climbed to No. 5, and Michigan Tech fell to No. 14.


Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/12

Monday, January 12th, 2015

The national picture looks a lot better this week than it did last week. Despite a mediocre .495 non-conference slate, the conference has four teams in the top 15 of the Pairwise rankings. That is a far cry from last week, when only one team was in the top 15. Last weekend, Yale dominated its arch nemesis, Harvard at Madison Square Garden to move itself up. Harvard remains in the third position.

In one of the most surprising results of the weekend, Brown won the Mayor Cup on goal differential. It lost in overtime on Friday and defeated Providence College on Saturday night, 5-3.  Conference play returned in earnest over the weekend, with eight ECAC tilts. Quinnipiac and Colgate swept the capital region and North Country respectively. Quinnipiac pulled off the feat at home, while the Raiders swept at Appelton and Cheel. The latter is always an impressive feat and it seems as though Colgate is catching fire at this time just like it did last season. Ditto to Quinnipiac, which is one of the hottest teams in the nation since November 1st.

The league standings are still a work in progress, because everyone has played a different amount of games. Quinnipiac has an impressive six point lead, but as I said last week it has played more league games than anyone else. Harvard is six points back, but has three games in hand, while Colgate in third has four games in hand on QU. This weekend the league should start getting closer, as the Bobcats have a non-conference series, while everyone else plays in league. (more…)

NCHC Weekend Preview: Jan. 9-10

Friday, January 9th, 2015

As the second half of the season begins in earnest tonight, all NCHC teams with the exception of Colorado College (coming off a mid-week win at Connecticut) kick off big weekend series that have the usual broad implications (for national rankings, conference standings, and so forth) but also plenty of short-term meaning as well. Here’s a look at each series:

North Dakota (13-4-2, 6-3-1 NCHC) hosts Minnesota-Duluth (12-6-0, 7-3-0 NCHC): North Dakota, fresh off its strongest first-half in coach Dave Hakstol’s 11-year tenure, has won just one of its last five Friday night games heading into this weekend’s matchup against a Bulldogs squad that’s quietly played as well, in stretches, as any team in the nation so far this season. Certainly, traveling to Grand Forks to play a UND team that’s been strong at home likely won’t bother UMD very much, as the Bulldogs played the toughest schedule in the country through December, having already completed series against Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Miami, and Denver. UND’s balanced offense — though led by a line featuring the league’s leading scorer Drake Caggiula, paired with seniors Michael Parks and Mark MacMillan — will look to overwhelm UMD’s freshman goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo. Of course, that hasn’t been an easy task for opponents this season at all, as the freshman netminder has only one road loss all season. An experienced defensive pairing of Andy Welinski and Derik Johnson have played well against top opponent lines all season. On the other end, North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre has allowed two goals or less in six of his last seven appearances. Saturday night’s game is televised nationally on CBC Sports Network. Prediction: UMD wins Friday, UND wins Saturday.

St. Cloud State (7-10-1, 2-5-1 NCHC) hosts Miami (14-6-0, 7-3-0 NCHC): Unlike the UND/UMD matchup, this series features two teams that have played meaningful games much more recently — Miami is coming off a weekend sweep of RPI while St. Cloud split with Quinnipiac. The Huskies have surprisingly struggled to develop momentum through the first half, plagued by scoring difficulties and inconsistent goaltending. Meanwhile, Miami is rolling behind an offense that has consistently outshot its opponents, a trio of centers that are arguably the NCHC’s best faceoff men, and goaltender Jay Williams, who enters the weekend with a shutout streak of 121:59. For St. Cloud, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Huskies will have to rely on more than just the big names of its junior class —  players like forwards Jimmy Murray, Jonny Brodzinski and David Morley — to build success in the second half of the season. Freshman Judd Peterson scored the game-winner last Friday against Quinnipiac and will be among those who need a strong January. Prediction: Miami sweeps.

Nebraska-Omaha (12-5-3, 6-3-1-1 NCHC) hosts Denver (11-5-1, 4-3-0 NCHC): Plenty of young talent will be on display in Omaha in this weekend, between a pair of teams that have the capability to make a run for the league’s regular season title. You may have heard that there’s a freshman at BU named Jack Eichel who leads the nation in points per game. The second highest freshman scorer in Division I hockey is DU rookie forward Danton Heinen, who tallied five points against Dartmouth and Brown last weekend alone. Beyond Heinen, it’s difficult to understate how valuable the goaltending for DU has been this season. The storyline, of course, had been the departure of Sam Brittain, but the duo of sophomore Evan Cowley and freshman Tanner Jaillet have been exceptional thus far. Cowley’s save percentage (.935) is among the best in the country. UNO has no shortage of impressive young players as well — led this year by sophomores Austin Ortega and Jake Guentzel and freshman Jake Randolph. Ortega was the NCHC Player of the Month for December, while Randolph is part of a Mavericks freshman class that has amassed 60 points this season, second best in the nation. Prediction: Denver wins Friday, UNO wins Saturday.

And in non-conference action:

A home-and-home series between Western Michigan (7-9-2, 2-6-2-2 NCHC) and Notre Dame (9-9-2, 4-2-2 HEA): The puck drops for this one in less than two hours from now. It’s a matchup between old CCHA foes and a pair of well-respected coaches in Andy Murray and Jeff Jackson. For more, check out this preview from Dave Starman, who will be part of the CBS Sports Network’s TV coverage for the game tonight. Prediction: A weekend split, with each team winning at home.

ECAC Weekend Preview 1/8

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

A full slate of games this weekend, as most teams will return to conference play and some will play non-conference games. In the non-conference slate of games, rivalries will take center stage. Dartmouth travels to in-state rival New Hampshire, Brown will play Providence in the Mayor’s Cup and Yale faces off with its historic rival, Harvard at Madison Square Garden.

This could be separation week in the standings for a few teams, but as I caution below don’t take much into the league standings after this weekend because some teams will have more games remaining than others. The national picture will not be mentioned this week, because quite frankly it depresses me (ECAC has just one team in the top 15 and the last three out are from the league.). This weekend will also bring about one of the last chances for the league to do some damage in non-conference play, as four games against teams from the Hockey East are on the docket. Damage needs to be done this weekend because lately that has not happened. (more…)

WCHA Weekend Preview, Jan. 8-10

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

For just the second time this season all ten WCHA teams are in action this weekend, making for what should be an exciting week of league play. There are a number of series that are sure to have big effects on playoff positioning, as well as a couple of rivalry match-ups.

The series to watch is in Bowling Green, where the red-hot Falcons take on similarly streaking Alaska. Another fun one will be Alabama-Huntsville and Bemidji State renewing a rivalry that stretches two conferences and two divisions for a series that, for the first time in awhile, means something. As for the title race, Minnesota State heads into the weekend on top with 23 points, but both Michigan Tech and Bowling Green have the chance to make up some ground.

Hobey Baker Fan Voting: Seven WCHA players, from four different schools, are among the 59 candidates on the 2015 Hobey Baker Fan Ballot. This first phase of fan voting runs through Sunday, March 8, before the field gets whittled down to the ten finalists.

The nominees from the WCHA are: junior forward Bryce Gervais (Minnesota State), senior forward Tanner Kero (Michigan Tech), senior forward Jean-Paul LaFontaine (Minnesota State), senior forward Matt Leitner (Minnesota State), junior forward Tyler Morley (Alaska), senior goaltender CJ Motte (Ferris State), and junior goaltender Jamie Phillips (Michigan Tech).


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Jan. 8

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

All Big Ten teams take the ice this week, highlighted by a couple conference series. Michigan State hosts the NTDP, while the Badgers welcome Boston University to Wisconsin.

Michigan and Minnesota face each other in the Big Ten series to watch this weekend, as the teams were expected to compete for the first and second spots in the Big Ten. Minnesota struggled at its holiday tournament, while Michigan powered past Michigan Tech and Michigan State to win the Great Lakes Invitational.  but Minnesota

Penn State and Ohio State face off, as the Buckeyes continue their Pennsylvania road trip. While the Nittany Lions came back from the holidays healthy, the Buckeyes will be undermanned this weekend.

The Hobey Baker fan ballot was released, and the Big Ten had seven members nominated – Penn State’s Casey Bailey and Taylor Holstrom, Michigan’s Andrew Copp and Zach Hyman and Minnesota’s Mike Reilly, Kyle Rau and Adam Wilcox.


ECAC Power Rankings: Jan 7

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Another weekend of league-wide struggles in non-conference play has made it difficult to really gauge where the league is and which teams belong near the top. The break is always a good thing for some teams, while for others it turns out to be a bad thing. For Harvard, it seems  that it came it at the wrong time. The Crimson are 10-1-2 on the season, with a win after the break against Rensselaer, but have played a lone game this half. Before a loss to Northeastern on Tuesday night, Yale had won three consecutive games and six of seven contests.

Most teams will return to league play this weekend. Quinnipiac currently leads the standings, but near every team has games in hand on the Bobcats. The national picture for ECAC teams is downright ugly and I will admit it. At the present moment the first three out would be ECAC teams, as Quinnipiac, Yale and Colgate are currently 16, 17 and 18 in the Pairwise rankings. With most non-conference tilts done, the ECAC will need to battle just to get two or three teams in the tournament. Unless some teams like Union and Dartmouth get going,it may be a rough March for the league. (more…)