Archive for the 'Hockey East' Category

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…)

The Takeaway: UVM Dominates UNH in 5-2 Road Win

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Durham, NH - It was a typical UNH-UVM hockey game, which saw very few chances. UNH scored first at six minutes, 22 seconds off the stick of Kevin Goumas, who got a pass into the slot from Matt Willows. The lead was shortlived, though, as UVM would score two quick goals 42 seconds apart at 10:11 and 10:53. UVM took the 2-1 lead into the second period. Late in the second stanza, Connor Brickley added to the lead on the power-play. The Catmounts entered the third period, leading UNH 3-1.

UNH turned the momentum early in the third period, as Brett Pesce wristed a shot from the point into the net to bring the game within a goal. But UNH would get no closer, as UVM smothered and scored two goals of its own in the period. Vermont picked up the impressive, 5-2 win over UNH on the road. Vermont improved to 14-3 overall and 6-7-0 in Hockey East. UNH falls to 16-14-1, 8-7-0 and misses its opportunity to move up in the league Standings or gain some distance. Vermont currently sits in seventh place in the standings with 16 points, two points behind second in the league while Vermont sits in seventh with 12 points. The loss will also hurt UNH in the Pairwise, while Vermont gains with games still to be played. (more…)

The Takeaway: Willows SHG Propels UNH to Sweep of Notre Dame

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Durham NH - UNH needed wins heading into this weekend but Notre Dame did as well. The Irish sat on the bubble of the national tournament picture and UNH was on the outside looking in. But UNH was the team this weekend that pounced on opportunities and was able to respond well to its opponents charges. New Hampshire took the first game of the series last night on Friday night, defeating the Irish 4-2.

New Hampshire took an early lead midway through the first period at 10 minutes, 21 seconds when Tyler Kelleher fed a trailing Maxim Gaudreault on a 2 on 1. Mario Lucia answered seven minutes later for the Irish on a wicked snipe from the slot to send the game into the first intermission tied at one. The two teams traded goals in the early stages of the first period, as Tynan and Speelman scored. But UNH would get a late highlight reel goal by Matt Willows late in the period and cruise from there to a 5-2 win over Notre Dame. UNH lifts itself into fourth place in Hockey East with the win and to a record of 16-13-1, 8-6-0 Hockey East. UND falls to 15-11-1, 4-8-1 and is in a tie for eighth place in the conference. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East, Jan. 28, 2014

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Massachusetts senior Michael Pereira earned his 100th career point Saturday night in a 3-2 loss to Merrimack. Pereira scored twice in the game, both in the second period and on the power play. UMass lost the game, however, and the story of Pereira’s career in Amherst received another troubling chapter.

In the fall of 2010, Pereira arrived at UMass, along with about a dozen other freshmen. Naturally, that team struggled badly in Hockey East, winning only five games and just barely sneaking into the league tournament. At times, Pereira, Branden Gracel, Conor Sheary and other youngsters on that club revealed the talent and skill that made people wonder about the future.

In the last three-and-a-half years, that class has produced the occasional great result, but they, like UMass classes before them, have never amounted to much more than some good players who can’t win games. Mix in the departure of Don Cahoon as head coach two summers ago, and it’s been a difficult career for Pereira and his talented classmates.

Seven years ago, UMass was in the midst of one of only a few successful seasons since the program’s rebirth more than 20 years ago. That year, guided by all-American goaltender Jon Quick, was supposed to signify the beginning UMass’ ascent to regional prevalence. Instead, Quick bolted and everything fell apart. The Minutemen haven’t finished above .500 since that season, and the next couple seasons don’t look much brighter.

When John Micheletto took over for Cahoon in August 2012, he proclaimed, as everyone associated with that programs always has, that UMass would become “the place to be.” Moving toward the end of his second season with UMass, Micheletto is banking on his recruiting talent to turn UMass around. It’s inevitably going to take some time, especially with nine players graduating this season. At this point, though, it’s difficult to think it will ever actually happen.

(After the jump: BC’s Hockey East dominance; UMass-Lowell is very good no matter what else you’ve read; Still not sold on Northeastern? Nope.) (more…)

The Takeaway: UNH Battles In 3-2 Win Over Rival Maine

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Durham, NH. - UNH and Maine faced off in the so called Border War on Friday night, and the start was typical and similar to most starts between these two teams at the Whittemore Center. UNH scored an early goal at 47 seconds of the first period for the lead, as a Maine turnover at the blue line to Nick Sorkin deking Martin Ouellette and putting it past the Maine netminder. Maine answered 2:09 later when Will Merchant scored his first of the year. Maine outshot UNH 6-3 in the first eight minutes, but the Black Bears stormed back to dominate the last 12 minutes. It outshot UNH 12-0 in the last 12 minutes of the first period.

The second period was much of the same in terms of possession and shots, but UNH scored a go ahead goal off an Eric Knodel midway through the period to take a 2-1 lead. That lead held into the second intermission. UNH scored an early goal in the third period to take a two goal lead into the latter stages of the third period. Mark Anthoine brought Maine to within one goal with 54.7 seconds remaining in the game, but UNH would hold off a fierce Maine rally attempt to win 3-2 in front of a sell-out crowd. UNH improves its record to 14-12-1 overall and 6-5-0 in Hockey East play, while Maine falls to 11-9-2, 5-4-2. New Hampshire moves up to 17th in the Pairwise rankings with the win, with Maine falling to 23rd. (more…)

The Takeaway: Union Picks Up Road Sweep of UNH

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Durham, NH - While it was snowing outside, New Hampshire and Union put on a show in front of smallish crowd at the Whittemore Center. Union opened the scoring at 15 minutes, five seconds of the first period when Mark Bennett put in a goal from zero angle on the backhand to give the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead. UNH responded seconds after its star defenseman, Trevor van Riemsdyk, went down with an apparent right leg injury, as Kyle Smith sent a pass to Tyler Kelleher to send the game into the first intermission tied at one.

The second period was a sluggish period of hockey, at best, by both teams. Union scored the only goal of the second period at 17:26 off a beautiful tip from Max Novak. The Dutchmen took the 2-0 lead into the third period, looking for its second win in as many nights against UNH. Union added an empty netter in the third period to cap the 3-1 win, securing the weekend sweep at UNH. Union improves to 15-4-3 on the season, while UNH falls to 13-12-1.

(more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East, Jan. 14

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

College hockey’s winter break came and went pretty quickly. As teams traveled to various holiday tournaments and other series around the country, Hockey East clubs produced some results that, as they often do, offered as many questions as they answered.

Even now, after another weekend of games, it’s difficult to say with any certainty where most teams stand.

The jump into the second half also leads to year-end award discussions. These arguments reveal as much about the league as any of the results on the ice. Within Hockey East, the coach of the year conversations are as wide open as any in recent memory. In the last two seasons, it came down to either Massachusetts-Lowell’s Norm Bazin or Providence’s Nate Leaman. With more than 50 wins in that time, Bazin was the clear favorite.

However, the presence of Jerry York always means there’s another candidate to discuss. Once again, York has his Eagles in great position. BC is atop the Hockey East standings to this point and in equally great shape on the national scene. That was expected, though. The Eagles are among the nation’s most talented clubs, and nothing they do really surprises anyone anymore. York’s the best at what he does. If he won the coach of the year award every season, it really wouldn’t come as much of a shock.

Beyond York, and even Bazin, there are four candidates warranting serious consideration. Leaman’s Providence team is in position to earn a bye in the Hockey East Tournament and an NCAA bid. Again, though, most anticipated a strong year from the Friars led by goaltender Jon Gillies and junior center Ross Mauermann. Outside of Leaman, Northeastern’s Jim Madigan, Maine’s Red Gendron and Vermont’s Kevin Sneddon are all guiding teams currently outpacing their preseason expectations.

Each, of course, comes with some caveats that we’ll get a better understanding of in the next two months. At this point, I’d give Madigan the nod. Northeastern missed the last two Hockey East Tournaments thanks to horrendous regular-season campaigns. While that can’t happen again as a result of a new playoff format, the Huskies are currently tied for second in Hockey East with Providence. NU holds the tiebreaker over PC after defeating the Friars, 2-1, last Tuesday in overtime and playing to a 3-3 tie at Matthews Arena in December.

There are some concerns with Northeastern moving forward (more on that later), but the Huskies continue to prove they’re a legitimate contender within Hockey East play. NU hosts Vermont this weekend for two games (only one is a conference game) before traveling to South Bend, Ind., in two weeks for a pair with Notre Dame. Outside of league play, the Huskies are ninth in the Pairwise.

Like it will for every club, the next few weeks will reveal Northeastern’s true standing. At this point, though, it’s not fair to say they haven’t earned some respect.

(After the jump: Northeastern’s possession problems; BC’s depth; Maine’s coming road test.) (more…)

The Takeaway: Dartmouth Wins First of Six

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Boston, Mass - Though winless since Dec. 6 and in the midst of a five-game Hockey East stretch, the Dartmouth Big Green downed Boston University 4-2 Wednesday night at Agganis Arena in the first meeting between the two teams since 2008. Charlie Mosey, Brad Schierhorn, Nick Lovejoy and Eric Neily tallied goals for Dartmouth, while Cason Hohmann and Matt Grzelcyk scored for the Terriers. Big Green goaltender Charles Grant made 26 saves on 28 shots.

What I saw:

– Dartmouth was very aggressive in the offensive zone, attempting 55 shots over the first two periods, also totaling 20 grade-a chances throughout the night.

– Boston’s defense seemed sluggish at times, specifically its backcheck, which led to several Big Green odd-man rushes, and approximately four or five 2-on-1’s.

What I thought:

– Dartmouth came to play, and it was evident from the get-go. The Big Green was winning battles and races at both ends of the ice, and also looked to be skating with a greater sense of urgency. For a team that’s gone just 3-11-2 this season, it was certainly a pleasant surprise.

– Boston struggled in its second game back from winter break; not good for a Terriers team that has gone 0-4-1 in its past five. It definitely feels like Boston hasn’t found its identity yet, which will need to come together soon given the start of the second half.

(more…)

The Takeaway: Willows Hat Trick Leads UNH Past UNO

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Durham, NH- It is amazing how fast a game can change at times, but for UNH it took all of one minute, and 42 seconds in the third period to turn a deficit into a win. Nebraska-Omaha scored the only goal in the first period, when Josh Archibald got a lucky bounce off the fist of Brett Pesce that went into the net to give UNO a 1-0 first intermission lead. Much like the first period, the second period was a defensive chess match but UNH scored a tying goal one minute, 52 seconds into the period when Casey Thrush backhanded a rebound into the net.

The Third period, however, was much different. Nebraska-Omaha scored a go-ahead goal off the stick of Ryan Walters to give them a 2-1 lead. That lead held until the 13:46 mark of the third, when it became the Matt Willows show. Matt Willows tied the game at two and then scored a go ahead goal 1:42 late. Nick Sorkin put the game away moments later on the power-play. Willows completed the hat trick with an empty netter, which he accomplished in 4:30. The win completed the sweep for UNH and improves its record 12-10-1 on the season, while Nebraska-Omaha falls to 8-9-1. (more…)

The Takeaway: Pendenza’s 3rd Period Goal Leads UML Past Clarkson

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Lowell, MASS - The River Hawks and Golden Knights have seen each other a lot in recent weeks, as the two non-conference opponents squared off for the third consecutive game, for both teams. The teams played to a 1-1 draw of Friday night at the Tsongas Center, but on this night the first period saw more goals than the previous night. Clarkson came out flying early in the first and racked up as it found the net twice in the first five minutes of the contest. A.J. Fossen opened up the scoring at three minutes, 11 seconds of the first as Aj. Fossen scored into a wide open net after a rebound. Clarkson followed that up two minutes later, when Matt Zarbo found a puck right in front of UML goaltender, Doug Carr, giving his team a 2-0 lead. Scott Wilson scored on a net drive at 9:45 of the period to bring the River Hawks within a goal but the scoring was done, and the teams went into the first intermission with Clarkson leading, 2-1.

Clarkson continued to control the possession in the second period, but Lowell had the upper-hand on goal scoring. Lowell scored the first two of the second period off the stick’s of Ryan McGrath and Chris Maniccia, while Clarkson got a goal from Sam Labreqcue to send the teams into the second intermission tied at three. Lowell got a go-ahead goal at 9:55 of the third period when Joe Pendenza tipped a puck from out of nowhere giving the River Hawks the 4-3 lead. The lead held for a final as the River Hawks defeated the Golden Knights 4-3. The win improved UML’s record to 14-5-1, while Clarkson’s record fell to 12-6-2. (more…)