Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

Three Up, Two Down, WCHA: Nov. 20

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Up

Chris Knowlton, Forward, Denver

Knowlton had a very respectable year in 2011-12 – he recorded 19 points in 30 games – but his stats to this point in 2012-13 are blowing those out of the water. Through 10 games, Knowlton has eight goals and 13 points, including seven points in his last three outings. His breakout is one reason why the Pioneers are the WCHA’s best team at this point in the season.

Adam Wilcox, Goaltender, Minnesota

After letting four pucks past him in a Saturday night loss in Mankato a few weeks ago, Wilcox has been lights out. In the four games since then, he’s allowed just five tallies and he’s making game-changing stops to help Minnesota pull out wins even when it hasn’t played its best hockey.

Danny Kristo, Forward, North Dakota

With North Dakota trailing UMD in Saturday night’s third period, Kristo did what Kristo does best and simply made plays. When the Danny Kristo show was over, UND had pulled out a come from behind overtime win to salvage a three-point weekend against the Bulldogs. For the series, Kristo had five points and was the best player on the ice for either team whenever he stepped on it.

Down

Josh Thorimbert, Goaltender, Colorado College

Thorimbert hasn’t seen a lot of rubber in the past four games (only 88 shots, or about 22 per night), but he’s let quite a few pucks behind him during that stretch (13 goals against, good for an .852 saves percentage). For a team that thought it had the problem of two good goalies, the Tigers have to be hoping for more out of the Thorimbert-Joe Howe duo in the near future.

John Ramage, Defenseman, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s best defender has exactly zero points as his team reaches Thanksgiving, but that’s not the player he is asked to be and no one is expecting Ramage to be a point-per-night guy. Instead, he’s supposed to be the shutdown, in your face blue-liner that plays the hard minutes against the other team’s best forwards. So how well is Ramage doing his job lately? In the last three games, he’s been on the ice for five of the eight goals the Badgers have given up, including the game-winner on Saturday against Minnesota when he went for a big hit, missed and allowed the Gophers the time and space to capitalize in crunch time.

Three Up, Three Down, WCHA: Nov. 13

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Up

Rylan Schwartz, Forward, Colorado College

After beginning the season with just five points through eight games, Schwartz officially broke loose against Bemidji State last weekend, notching five points (two goals, three assists) while helping the Tigers to a big WCHA sweep over the Beavers. That’s the Rylan Schwartz we expected to see, and it’s probably safe to say that he’s not finished putting up crooked numbers on a week-by-week basis.

Tony Cameranesi, Forward, Minnesota Duluth

For a team struggling to find consistent scoring, Cameranesi has been a welcomed addition to the Bulldogs. In his first eight collegiate outings, Cameranesi is second on the team in points with seven, including four in a series at Omaha last weekend. He’s probably UMD’s best center at this point, too, and he’s getting top-six ice time in all situations because of it.

Ryan Walters, Forward, Nebraska-Omaha

The Mavericks have won four in a row after starting the season with spotty play, and a big reason why has been the play of Walters. After opening with just three points in seven games, he’s gone off in his last three outings, posting eight points during that span. Last weekend against UMD, he had a pair of goals and three assists to spark the Mavs to a big series sweep.

DOWN

Zach Palmquist, Defenseman, Minnesota State

Last week’s WCHA Defensive Player of the Week wasn’t quite as good this weekend, to say the least. While his Minnesota State team was being swept in Denver, Palmquist recorded no shots, was a minus-3 and was on the rink for five of the Pioneers’ seven goals on the weekend.

Jordan George, Forward, Bemidji State

Coming off a season where he tallied almost 20 goals – he fell just a single goal shy – George has only a single goal so far this season. He’s supplemented that tally with just three assists, which is part of the reason why the Beavers average only 2.7 goals a game.

Nick Bjugstad, Forward, Minnesota

Sure, Bjugstad’s five goals in nine games is a good amount, but it’s not exactly what was expected out of Bjugstad. He’s only recorded a pair of assists and one multi-point game so far, which is way down from his production at this point last season, when he had 13 points and five multi-point games in the same span. For the Gophers to get the consistency in non-power play situations, Bjugstad has to be the Bjugstad we all expected him to be.

The Takeaway: Mullane, Gaudreau Lead BC Past Notre Dame, 3-1

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College defeated Notre Dame, 3-1, at Conte Forum Friday night. Second-period goals from Pat Mullane and Johnny Gaudreau carried the Eagles before an empty-night marker Gaudreau sealed the win in the third. Notre Dame freshman Thomas Di Pauli scored his second of the season at 7 minutes, 10 seconds of the third period to bring the Fighting Irish back into the game.

BC goaltender Parker Milner and Notre Dame’s Steven Summerhays performed well in the game. Neither team managed a great deal of shots, but quality scoring chances were plentiful for both sides.

What I Saw

  • The skill of Gaudreau and Mullane gave BC the win on Friday night. The linemates’ second-period goals came on odd-man rushes – Mullane’s a breakaway and Gaudreau’s a 2-on-1 – and ended with nifty moves to beat Summerhays. For the most part, the teams played even hockey. Chances came and went, but BC capitalized on its opportunities. Mullane scored the Eagles’ first goals at 4:41 of the second period, winning a faceoff in the UND zone and immediately heading up ice. BC defenseman Patrick Wey hit the streaking Mullane, who walked in on Summerhays and fine space in the five-hole for the goal. Gaudreau, meanwhile, walked in with Steven Whitney, and beat Summerhays with a wrist shot to the near-side top corner. (more…)

The Takeaway: BU completes sweep of hapless UMass

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

AMHERST, Mass. — Boston University overcame a slew of penalties and a penalty shot converted by Massachusetts to defeat the Minutemen 3-2 at the Mullins Center Saturday night. The Terriers dug out of a 2-0 hole and scored the game-winner with 1:22 remaining in the third. Sean Escobedo scored the game-winning goal on a 3-on-2 rush after UMass turned the puck over near center ice.

The victory marks a sweep of the weekend home-and-home series for BU. Meanwhile, UMass is left with blowing leads on its home ice against top Hockey East opponents in consecutive weekends. The Minutemen held a 3-0 lead over Boston College before bowing 5-4 last Friday.

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UNH and Northeastern battle to 0-0 draw

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

BOSTON — After a last-minute 4-3 victory on their home ice Friday night, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats played a physical, high-speed game against Northeastern at Matthews Arena that ended up being a battle of goaltending in a 0-0 draw.

The first 20 minutes brought a quick pace and physical play, with four penalties for hitting after the whistle. Solid goaltending from Brian Mountain and a physical defense from the Wildcats kept the game scoreless into the third period and eventually into overtime, as the two teams finished in a scoreless draw and each took one valuable Hockey East point.

What I saw

– Brian Mountain kept Northeastern in it through the first 20 minutes of play. He made 17 saves while the Northeastern offense notched just nine shots on goal, comparatively. His biggest test came in the first period’s final minutes as Goumas took a shot on a shorthanded breakaway, but Mountain forced him to the outside of the net, denying him the opportunity. The breakaway was the best chance for either team early on.

– New Hampshire’s offense created offensive opportunity again and again, despite the Huskies’ attempt to keep the game in control with a furious pace, the Wildcats continued to dominate with scoring chances. Grayson Downing, Kevin Goumas, and Greg Burke all had chances early on.

(more…)

10/26-27 CCHA Picks

Friday, October 26th, 2012

The CCHA staff took its first shot at predicting last weekend’s games, and here’s how we did:

Taylor Lewis: 9-6-5 (.575)

Avash Kalra: 9-6-5 (.575)

Sam Obermyer: 9-6-5 (.575)

Caleb Saunders: 6-9-5 (.425)

We release our CCHA Power Rankings yesterday, and those are subject to change based on this weekend’s results. Here are the staff’s picks for this weekend’s slate of games — and we have only one “consensus” pick out of the 10 games this weekend: (more…)

10/25 CCHA Power Rankings

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

A full slate of league play begins this weekend, and each team in the league has played between three and five non-conference games. It’s a small sample size, but based on the games thus far, here is the first edition of the CCHA Power Rankings. We’re at the stage of the season where these rankings are incredibly dynamic, with each team having the potential to move up (or down) several spots on an almost-daily basis. Also, keep in mind that power rankings represent a different consideration than ranking the “best” teams in the nation (which explains the difference between Michigan’s current national ranking and their power ranking here).

Tomorrow: the CCHA staff writers’ predictions for this weekend’s games.

1. Notre Dame (3-1-0)

The Irish already boast wins over Maine, Nebraska-Omaha, and Minnesota-Duluth, and goaltender Steve Summerhays has provided a steady presence for Notre Dame already. Summerhays and co. will be tested this weekend on the road against Northern Michigan. And… surprise, surprise. T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee (now playing at center instead of on the wing) lead the team in scoring through four games thus far.

2. Miami (3-0-1)

The RedHawks followed up an opening weekend sweep of Colgate with a tie and win against Providence. A pair of road games this weekend at Michigan and another two next weekend at Ferris State will be telling, but for now, underclassmen like Riley Barber are leading the way for Miami. CHN’s Caleb Saunders was reporting from the Miami/Providence series in Oxford last weekend and observed the quick start for the RedHawks’ freshmen goaltenders (haven’t we seen this before?). Here’s more from Caleb:

The freshman Ryan McKay made his second career start for Miami on Friday. His freshman counterpart Jon Gillies got the call for the Friars.  The two netminders are familiar with each other after both of them played in the USHL the last few years before going to their respective schools. McKay played three seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers and Gillies played two seasons with the Indiana Ice.

 “I’ve played against [Jon] Gillies the last few years, I’m friendly with him and he’s a good kid,” said McKay. (more…)

Boston College shuts out Northeastern in home opener

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

BOSTON — Saturday night at Conte Forum, the Boston College Eagles raised their 2012 National Championship banner to the rafters, and then preceded to remind the sold out crowd just how they earned it. After a road loss to Northeastern and a comeback 5-4 win against Massachusetts last night, BC returned to form with a 3-0 win over the Huskies in their home opener.

The Eagles struck early, with junior forward Kevin Hayes drawing first blood with a wrist shot from under the circle just over six minutes in. They wasted no time gaining a comfortable lead, and sophomore standout Johnny Gaudreau capitalized on a breakaway opportunity going five-hole on senior Chris Rawlings. The Northeastern defensemen hadn’t even caught up with Gaudreau by the time he was taking the shot.

Penalties plagued both teams throughout the three periods, but BC was able to outplay the Huskies despite several minutes in the box. When NU rookies freshman Cam Darcy and sophomore Dax Lauwers took penalties within seconds of each other to give the Eagles a 5-on-3 advantage, senior forward Steven Whitney capitalized almost immediately. At the point, he took a feed from Gaudreau and shot past Rawlings’ glove.

Despite renewed energy in the second period, the Huskies were unable to capitalize on any scoring chances and ultimately left Conte shut out by the Eagles.

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The Takeaway: Northeastern hangs on to defeat Merrimack

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

BOSTON — A three-goal first period lead Wednesday looked like it might turn into the same old story for Northeastern when Merrimack battled back in the second period and left the Huskies fighting for the win in the game’s final minutes. An empty netter from assistant captain Robbie Vrolyk sealed it for Northeastern with a 4-2 victory over the Warriors.

After missing the postseason by a point last season, the Huskies began this year’s conference play with a big first period offensively. Fifty three seconds into play, freshman defenseman Colton Saucerman passed to senior forward Garrett Vermeersch from the right point and Vermeersch deflected it over the shoulder of Merrimack goaltender Rasmus Tirronen. Northeastern struck again within five minutes of puck drop when forward Joseph Manno took a feed from freshman Kevin Roy to make it 2-0.

The offensive contribution from Roy continued in the first period, this time with a goal of his own on the power play. With that the Huskies ended the first period with a 3-0 lead, but the Warriors answered in the second period. First, sophomore forward Quinn Gould beat senior goaltender Chris Rawlings on a bouncing puck in front of the net to put Merrimack on the board. Justin Mansfield made it 3-2 with just under five minutes to play in the second.

Northeastern managed to hold on throughout the third period, picking up their first two extremely valuable Hockey East points of the season.

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Many Directions MSU Can Go At Coach

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

The Minnesota State coaching job is officially open for business after the school reassigned Troy Jutting Sunday evening. At a press conference this morning, Athletic Director Kevin Buisman said people have already inquired about the position. He says they will move quickly to fill the position.

I have no reason to think otherwise. Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press, who is the man to follow in this pursuit (@puckato on Twitter), also thinks it would behoove the Mavericks to move quickly on this. And if there really is a shortlist, this thing could get done by the end of the month.

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