Archive for the 'Commentary' Category
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — For the second time this season, Merrimack outshot New Hampshire by a wide margin but walked away without a win, as the Wildcats took the lead in the best-of-three Hockey East playoff series after scoring a 3-1 win over the Warriors last night.
UNH leads the series, 1-0. Merrimack will need to win tonight’s Game 2 in order to extend its season or else the Warriors will become the first team in college hockey this season to see it’s campaign come to a close.
Merrimack finished the night with a 79-50 Corsi advantage (61.2%), and earlier this season, when the Wildcats beat the Warriors 4-2 on Halloween, Merrimack had a 75-30 Corsi advantage (71.4%). In those two losses alone, Merrimack controlled 65.8% of the possession.
“I think if we play like that again we’re going to win,” Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. “That’s been my experience. You throw that much rubber at a goaltender, and it wasn’t like these were all outside shots, they were inside, too. I thought we had plenty of chances to score. You tip your cap and get back at it.
“What we need to do is pay attention when we’re not in their zone. Their first goal, we just fell asleep. We had five guys back, it was a little quick counter and those guys don’t need a lot of space to score goals. That’s on us. You can’t fall asleep there. That’s too easy a goal, especially after how hard we need to work. You know that they can be sleepy. That’s what they do. It’s like the old Miami Dolphin defense, bend don’t break, right? They give up 15 shots and then they go down and they score. They transition, so you need to pay attention. You can’t fall asleep for a second.”
UNH received two goals from freshman Marcus Vela, who scored from the slot after a blocked shot early in the third period, and then tacked on the empty-net goal from the neutral zone to ice the game.
“Every shot in here is a good shot,” said UNH coach Dick Umile. “We watched them play and they throw the puck to the net a lot. Deflections, rebounds, and if you are in position to go to the net, you get some scoring chances.”
With two weeks to go in the regular season, Boston College is still projected to finish atop the Hockey East standings, despite Notre Dame pulling ahead of the Eagles this past weekend.
Using the KRACH to project points earned for every Hockey East team in the final two weekends, the Eagles, thanks to a much easier schedule than the Fighting Irish, are projected to win the league by more than one point.
Aside from that, the standings look much like they do right now. Boston University is projected to be the first team out of the first-round bye spots, with Lowell edging the Terriers by one point. Northeastern continues to surge here at the end of the season, and they also have the league’s easiest schedule remaining, but they can’t catch the Terriers regardless of how well they do. What Northeastern’s play, plus easy schedule, does for the Huskies is give them some breathing room with Vermont.
It was bound to happen and in all honesty Quinnipiac’s first loss in the ECAC has been brewing for some time. The Bobcats probably should have lost a few games in recent weeks. There was the miracle goal with 9.8 seconds left against RPI, which probably was put in by an Engineer defender, that provided a tie in that game. Then there was the comeback against Dartmouth from down three goals in the third period, which wasn’t all that special but more of a bloodbath. Before those games it was a win against Princeton, where it trailed by a pair in the second period.
To say the Bobcats were playing well, would have been a wrong assumption, but the fact they got this far without a conference loss is notable and an accomplishment. Since the break, whether it be complacency or overconfidence or peaking too early, QU just hasn’t been the team that it was in the first half of the season. (more…)
Maine at Notre Dame — Maine hits the road after getting swept by Providence last weekend, while Notre Dame is looking to put together a new unbeaten streak, after Boston College snapped the longest streak in the nation two weeks ago. The Irish got back on track with a sweep over Vermont last weekend.
During a stretch of 15 games where the Irish have gone 11-1-3, goaltender Cal Petersen has a .946 save percentage.
For Maine, much of any success rest of season will come down to how well its goaltender plays. In overall games (not just conference games), Maine’s 1.93 goals per game is worst in Hockey East. Last weekend, in a 1-0 overtime loss to Providence, Matt Morris made 50 saves to almost earn Maine a point, despite the Black Bears getting almost doubled-up in shot attempts, 85-45 (75-39 at even strength).
At College Hockey News, we endorse the KRACH ratings as the best way to compare college hockey teams. The KRACH stands for “Ken’s Ratings For American College Hockey,” and it was first applied to college hockey by statistician Ken Butler, hence the name.
Butler uses a mathematical model known as the Bradley-Terry rating system.
With injuries sidelining Boston College goaltenders Chris Birdsall, Alex Joyce and Ian Milosz, the Eagles will turn to their student manager, Chuck Van Kula, to backup Thatcher Demko tonight in the Beanpot.
From what I can find on Google, Van Kula played at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia and was an ICSHL All Star in 2013. He started 93 games over his final three years at St. Joseph’s, posting a 2.84 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage his senior year.
Van Kula is a sophomore at Boston College, and is scheduled to graduate in 2018.
The league standings started to take shape over the weekend and some teams certainly made the most of their opportunities against teams near them. Harvard outclassed Cornell at Lynah on Saturday, which saw them build on a good win at Colgate on Friday night. Dartmouth continued its resurgence with a weekend sweep opposite of Harvard, while Clarkson and Yale picked up three points. Quinnipiac still has a wide margin in the league standings, followed by Harvard, RPI, Yale and Dartmouth. The Big Green are now 7-1-0 since the break and are on a current five game winning streak, including four against conference opponents.
Over the weekend I got to visit the two Central New York rinks and had a good time in doing so, certainly both share interesting histories and a certain charm. It is always tough to see old barns close, like Starr, and I really enjoyed that rink. Cornell of course had quite the atmosphere for the Harvard game, but it was quelled fast as Harvard never looked challenged by the Big Red. Cornell is winless in its last four and is dropping fast, as its offense has sputtered in recent weeks. (more…)
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Northeastern captain and senior forward Kevin Roy returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 13 on Friday night, missing 12 games with an upper-body injury. Roy finished with an assist, helping on Dylan Sikura’s goal in the third period as the Huskies extended their unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) in a 5-2 win over Merrimack.
Roy was listed on the line chart on Northeastern’s third line, alongside Brendan Collier and Sam Kurker
“I thought he looked really well,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “He played 200 feet, he went on the offense, he snapped a couple off, he was really good away from the puck coming back, and that’s how we’re playing as a team. He’s been watching a lot and he has seen it. He jumped right in there and I thought that this was one of his best games all year. I thought he skated really effortless and a lot of fluid to his game. It was nice to see him back. He snapped off a couple of passes there, one to Sikura there for the goal.
“You mention third line, but we have three lines we think can score goals. If Kevin Roy is our third-line winger we might be in the NHL next week.”
Providence and Vermont went at it in a heavyweight fight last weekend, and the result was one of the most controversial games of the season. Kevin Sneddon was suspended one game after berating officials and throwing water bottles over the ice. Clearly, that’s something punishable by the league and according to Hockey East’s release, Sneddon accepted the suspension and apologized to officials, but I also think his frustration was warranted.
“I accept it with humility and regret,” Sneddon said. “It’s time to move on.”
That game was a mess.
Simply put, the officials lost control. Providence just welcomed back Jake Walman after an injury he sustained in early December, and he took a charge from Brady Shaw that nearly re-injured him. According to Mark Divver of the Providence Journal, Walman was in a red no-contact jersey this week.