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Three Things I Think: ECAC 11/4

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

The opening of ECAC league play, came with bangs as both Rensselaer and Harvard picked up sweeps. Harvard was probably not a surprise,  but RPI certainly was. The Engineers have gotten off to a weird start to its season, at 1-4 but its win came against a strong Boston College team that has since gone 5-0-0. The weekend was certainly what the doctor ordered and I will talk about it more in depth below.

The ECAC again had a solid weekend in non-conference action, as it went 5-3-1 on the weekend. St. Lawrence picked up a win and a tie on the road against Penn State, Cornell swept Niagara, Brown lost a long game to Holy Cross and Colgate was swept by Providence. For all intensive purposes, the week was a success mainly because Princeton and Yale swept their respective Hockey East opponents at the Capital City Classic. Yale thrashed a previously unbeaten UMass team and Princeton defeated struggling Maine. The league still holds a .651 win percentage in non-league tilts, but are only 15-11-3 against the league’s other than the Atlantic. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 2

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

This weekend saw the Big Ten’s out-of-conference record fall even further. The conference recorded a 4-3-1 weekend, which included a sweep by Wisconsin over Arizona State. The Badgers weren’t the only Big Ten team to finally earn a win, as Ohio State defeated Mercyhurst 5-1 on Saturday night.

Penn State tied St. Lawrence the first night and then dropped a 4-2 decision. The powerful Nittany Lion offense stalled, which wasn’t surprising against St. Lawrence’s defense. The Wolverines split their series against Robert Morris, which included a shutout in a 4-0 loss on Saturday night. The Buckeyes also split their Atlantic Hockey series against Mercyhurst.

It’s still really early in the season, but it’s evident this will be another difficult year for the conference.

(After the jump: Inconsistency again, Michigan’s less-known rookie scorer, non-conference woes – again)

Inconsistency again

Last year this was a big issue, particularly for Minnesota and Michigan. Inconsistency was more noticeable with those two teams, as they fight each other for the conference title all season long. It’s still early in the season, butI it seems neither team has solved inconsistency issues. That makes sense for a very young Minnesota team relying on freshmen each night, but is worrisome for Michigan.

The Wolverines do have some rookie scorers – like Kyle Connor and Cooper Marody – but they still have a good group of veterans. And last year I thought inconsistency would solve itself with a veteran-laden Gopher team, and it never did. So it’s something to watch for Michigan as the season goes on.

Michigan’s freshman scorer who isn’t Kyle Connor

There was a lot of hype around Kyle Connor, Michigan’s freshman forward, after his standout year in the USHL. Before the season, I also wrote a feature on Connor, and it was clear that Red Berenson knew Connor would be one of the team’s top scorer. He is, and he’s tied for the team lead with seven points.

But alongside Connor is fellow draft pick, but certainly lesser-known, freshman Cooper Marody. Marody, who was taken in the sixth round, has kind of flown under the radar. He’s a player to watch for, especially as he develops at Michigan. The freshman has had three multi-point games this season and has seven points so far.

Non-conference woes

Ah, my favorite topic. I think I write about this every week – or at least I did last year. But it’s too big of an issue to ignore. While it’s way too early to think about PairWise rankings, the non-conference losses that are happening right now will really hurt the conference at the end of the year. Most likely, the Big Ten is only getting one team into the NCAA tournament.

There’s still time for the conference to start winning against its non-league opponents, but that probably won’t happen. Both the Badgers and Buckeyes are really going to struggle to win, while Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan State have had a hard time winning out of conference. And when the teams do win, it’s typically against Atlantic Hockey opponents.

ECAC Weekend Preview Oct. 29th

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

This week will mark the beginning of the season for the six Ivy League schools. Yale and Princeton will open their seasons at the Capital City Classic, Cornell will play a pair with Niagara, Brown will play host to Holy Cross all the while Dartmouth and Harvard play a set of league games. Union and Rensselaer will open the conference slate on Friday in Schenectady, where Union will be looking to lick their wounds after a winless weekend and RPI will be looking to rebound after a few rough weekends.

St. Lawrence is playing a pair of games at Penn State this weekend, Thursday and Friday nights so mark your calendars for that series. I am actually watching it now, which means I am really late in writing this. Check out this week’s Three Things I Think, from earlier in the week, also check out Chris’ article on Yale and Clarkson was also our CHN team of the Week.  Ivy fans out there should check out the league preview again and the things to watch for I did in the preseason.

There are many great non-league matchups throughout the league, as it will look to improve upon its already great inter-conference record. Without further ado here are some thoughts on this weekend’s matchups. (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Oct. 29

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Four Big Ten teams are in action this weekend – Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.

The Big Ten has continued struggling out of conference, and now holds an 11-16-5 record against non-Big Ten opponents. When you exclude the five wins against Atlantic Hockey opponents, the record drops to 6-16-5.

Michigan State and Minnesota are on byes.


Three Things I Think: ECAC Oct. 26

Monday, October 26th, 2015

The weekend probably couldn’t be drawn up any better, as league teams went 5-1-0 against NCHC competition on the weekend. Quinnipiac continues to impress with its early play, which I will talk about below, St. Lawrence picked up the most impressive win of the weekend and Clarkson had an impressive weekend in a weekend sweep. Colgate, whom I will also talk about below, swept RIT in a weekend series, while Union struggled in a winless weekend against traditional powers.

It is early, but the ECAC leads all conferences in inter-conference record at 21-10-3 (.662). This record should only improve in the coming weeks, as ECAC favorites Harvard and Yale begin play.  The Ivies will join the party this week and ECAC league play will also begin this week,with RPI visiting Union for each team’s ECAC opener. Harvard and Dartmouth will also play  a pair this weekend to open their seasons, beginning with a game at Thompson Arena on Saturday. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Oct. 25

Monday, October 26th, 2015

This weekend of Big Ten hockey saw Minnesota finally earn its first win of the season. The Gophers swept Northeastern, but Wisconsin and Ohio State were both swept by their opponents. This means the Badgers and Buckeyes are now the only winless teams in the conference.

Wisconsin and Ferris State were locked in a high-scoring, 5-5 affair on Friday night. The Badgers then dropped Saturday’s contest 2-1. The Buckeyes dropped both games to Providence, but the scores were close. Ohio State fell 2-1 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Michigan earned a tie and a win in New York. There were some struggles for the Wolverines, who scored five goals in both games. Michigan tied Union in the first contest amidst some back-and-forth scoring and beat RPI 5-2. The Wolverines are unbeaten on the season, but there are some issues that will hurt Michigan when it plays stronger competition.

Penn State’s offensive success continued against AIC, and the Nittany Lions finished the series with a sweep. Penn State has now scored four or more goals in all games this year, and at least five over the last three.

The Spartans received a boost with Michael Ferrantino’s return over the weekend, but still split its series with Lake Superior. The Lakers won the first game 4-2 before Michigan State won the second 2-0.

(After the jump: Belief in Eric Schierhorn, mistakes from the top teams and Penn State’s offense.) (more…)

NCHC Weekend preview: Oct. 23-24

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

NCHC teams went 12-2-1 in their nonconference games this week (with both losses coming in a CC sweep at Mass.-Lowell), and this weekend, Nebraska-Omaha opens its new arena as the Mavericks host Air Force, while elsewhere, two of the three teams in the country who are currently 4-0-0 square off — as St. Cloud, already with three shutouts in four games, travels to Vermont.

Weekend Schedule (all two-game series):

Nebraska-Omaha (4-0-0) hosts Air Force (1-2-1):  Following a pair of wins at Minnesota State, Omaha stayed hot on the road last week, sweeping Vermont, and as a result was named CHN Team of the Week on Wednesday. This weekend, the Mavericks open up their brand new facility, Baxter Arena, and will raise their Frozen Four banner honoring last season’s team that advanced to Boston. UNO’s success has been buoyed first of all by offense from its stars: (more…)

SCSU/QU Highlights Big Non-Conference Weekend in the ECAC

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

About three seasons ago, to have league teams playing the likes of Miami, St. Cloud State, Michigan and UNH all on the same weekend would have probably been a stretch. This week four of the top programs will visit league rinks. St. Lawrence will host Miami at Appelton, Michigan will travel to Union and RPI, UNH visits Messa rink to play Union and finally two undefeated teams will faceoff in Hamden, as Quinipiac plays host to St. Cloud. The visit from Michigan will mark its first trip to an ECAC rink since, January 3rd 1988.

The highlight of the weekend will be St. Cloud and Quinnipiac. Both teams enter the weekend undefeated, at 4-0. Quinnipiac is in dire need of a team to challenge them in non-conference play, which the Huskies certainly will. While Quinnipiac has played the likes of Holy Cross, Arizona State and Maine, its opponent is coming off a weekend sweep of Minnesota State. Quinnipiac looked the part as a good team on Tuesday against Maine, dominating its opponent on the scoreboard and in shots, but a real challenge is something they have yet to receive.

The Bobcats will need to find a way to beat Charlie Lindgren, who has three shutouts in his three starts. Last weekend against Minnesota State, he sent aside all 54 of the shots that he saw.The two teams split a weekend series last season, with Quinnipiac picking up a 4-1 win against Lindgren in the finale of that series. If anything, Quinnipiac has the confidence that it cant beat the Huskies. Based on how Quinnipiac played against Maine on Tuesday, I feel as though they may again be highly underrated. They have a huge chance to prove me right this weekend. (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Oct. 22

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

All six Big Ten teams are in action this weekend. Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan State are at home while Ohio State and Michigan are on the road.

There are several storylines to keep an eye on, including Minnesota’s offense. The Gopher only have on goal on the season. Minnesota, along with Ohio State and Wisconsin, are still searching for its first win.


Game Notes: QU Stays Undefeated With 4-0 Win Over Maine

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Hamden, CT. - Maine was no match for the Bobcats on a rare Tuesday night game. The Black Bears got off to a good start, holding Quinnipiac’s high powered corsi machine but it was a shortlived, as a power-play midway through the first period changed the game. Quinnipiac generated five shots on goal, and many other chances on the power-play. Its momentum grew even more, when Chase Priskie retrieved a puck in the neutral zone and went in all alone to score on Maine’s Matt Morris. The Bobcats took the one goal lead to the dressing room, but its possession took over as it sent puck after puck at the Maine net in the latter stages of the period. All told QU sent 33 shots, 17 right in front of Morris and 19 of them found its way on the net.

The onslaught continued in the second, but Quinnipiac was able to use its chances to generate scoring. Tommy Schutt slapped a shot off the post at 5:08 of the period, Devon Toews retrieved a puck off a Maine defender and shot it five-hole and KJ Tiefenworth received his own rebound to put the Bobcats up by a lofty four goals after two periods. It was much of the same in the third period, as both teams had chances but neither found the back of the net. QU improved to 4-0-0 on the season with the 4-0 win, while Maine is still winless at 0-2-3. Garteig picked his 13th career shutout for Quinnipiac and his second in a row. (more…)