— Clayton Keller has been the name almost everyone is talking about when it comes to BU, and for good reason. You’re not the No. 7 overall pick in the NHL Draft by accident. Keller could be in the NHL next season. To some extend, Patrick Harper’s incredible start to the season has been lost in the shuffle, what with him only being a fifth-round draft pick, and not a first-round pick like most of the other players on his team. Harper had two goals at Colgate on Saturday night, and three more in the exhibition. This isn’t a newfound skill for him, either. He had 20 goals in 27 prep games last season and 19 goals in 13 midget games. Between Avon Old Farms and the Neponset Valley River Rats U18 team, he’s been averaging almost one goal per game the last two seasons combined.
Archive for the 'Hockey East' Category
With Notre Dame’s departure from Hockey East coming at the end of the 2016-17 season, the league is moving forward with plans for an 11-team schedule beginning with the 2017-18 season.
According to several sources, plans were discussed by league athletic directors and administrators over the course of this summer, and while nothing has been formally finalized, the leading scenario would include a 24-game league schedule with all 11 teams qualifying for the Hockey East tournament. Currently, Hockey East utilizes a 22-game league schedule (11 opponents x 2 games), however many coaches wanted to see more league games added in an effort to minimize the number of non-conference games that need to be scheduled on a yearly basis.
Expansion plans for a 12th team have been discussed, but nothing is imminent. It appears that the league is willing to wait for the right fit and won’t be in a rush to court another program just to get the league back to 12 teams. After all, Hockey East functioned for many years as a nine-team league. While an even number of teams is ideal from a scheduling standpoint, it’s certainly not necessary.
The proposed 24-game schedule would consist of:
- Two games against each of the other 10 Hockey East opponents broken into one home and one away game, with exceptions made for Vermont and Maine (2 home or 2 away, alternating yearly).
- The final four league games would be determined by an algorithm based on the standings from the previous season. Those four games would include two home games and two road games.
- Each team would play 12 home games and 12 road games.
Everything is pretty normal until we get to that second bullet point, where it’s been proposed that they utilize a weighted schedule. Teams can fluctuate so much from year to year, especially with the graduation of a large senior class or a slew of pro signings. However, there’s no fair way to project regression. It’s similar to the old league schedule where teams would play opponents three times, two on one campus and one at the other. There seems to be much more thought going into this proposed schedule, whereas before the 2-and-1 format felt like it was randomized, alternating on a year-by-year basis.
It has also been proposed that all 11 teams make the Hockey East tournament, with the top-5 teams getting byes in the first round and 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 12 and 8 vs. 9 determining the final three spots in the quarterfinals. Many believed, when Hockey East adopted the format where all teams qualified, that it was done so in an effort to help the team seeded fifth. Within a 12-team league, that fifth team would host the last-place team for a series at home, more often than not giving them two more wins in the Pairwise which could help Hockey East get another team into the NCAA Tournament. That rationale won’t exist in a format where the top-5 teams receive byes.
One week ago today, the Boston College Eagles lost to Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four, with Michael Garteig turning aside a pair of Ian McCoshen shots inside of the final 75 seconds.
Since, there’s been a mass exodus.
Teddy Doherty and Travis Jeke are the only series losses for BC due to graduation. Brendan Silk graduates as well, but he only appeared in one game and Peter McMullen dressed in 15 games, but didn’t record a point and only had one shot on goal.
It’s all the early signings that have haunted BC.
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.”
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Vermont goaltender Mike Santaguida hasn’t played since Dec. 5, when he suffered an undisclosed injury against Boston University. He’ll make his return in tonight’s regular-season finale, when the Catamounts travel to Merrimack College, needing a win to clinch home ice in the Hockey East playoffs.
Santaguida dressed for the first time in almost three months last night, backing up freshman Packy Munson. The Catamounts fell behind 3-0 before eventually losing, 4-1, to the Warriors.
On the season, Santaguida has a 2.70 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage, including a 4-9-2 record as a starter. Munson was 8-9-1 between the pipes, posting a 2.40 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Santaguida returned to skating a little more than a month ago, and has been practicing with the team. WPTZ’s Jack Korte reported earlier this week that Santaguida would dress, but UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said he “might not play” this weekend.
ORONO, Maine — For 48:48, Merrimack and Maine played scoreless hockey on Saturday night at Alfond Arena.
Then, the floodgates opened.
Five goals in the final 13 minutes, including overtime, saw the Black Bears take a 3-2 win from the Warriors on senior night. Daniel Perez scored the game-winner for Maine after Merrimack struck twice with an extra attacker inside of the final two minutes.
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.
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).