All 12 Hockey East teams are in action this weekend with four playing home-and-home series in the league standings. Let’s take a look around the league with 12 thoughts for 12 teams …
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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…)
The results around Hockey East on opening weekend where, in a word, interesting. UMass swept Colorado College, Boston College and Boston University both suffered losses in the Capital Region while Providence impressed at Miami, Lowell beat a good RPI team and Maine picked up two ties in the IceBreaker, including one against North Dakota.
It’s dangerous to make any assumptions about a team — good or bad — based on one or two games, but here goes nothing …
Practices officially open on Saturday, which means college hockey is back this weekend. In Hockey East, 10 teams will host exhibitions with CIS programs Saturday and Sunday. Let’s take a look at them:
BOSTON — Hockey East officially announced its agreement with American Sports Network to produce its league television slate. It’s a two-year contract and will consist of 14 games for this upcoming season.
ASN is a production company, and will produce the games for its series of networks. Locally, it’s likely that games will continue to air on NESN, though that portion of the deal was not formally announced by the league on Monday.
BOSTON — With just two weeks to go before the exhibition season officially kicks off, a trio of Hockey East teams are entering the year with question marks thanks to some injuries to top players.
On Monday at the league’s media day, held at TD Garden, Boston College head coach Jerry York confirmed to WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin that goaltender Thatcher Demko could miss the start of the upcoming season. That’s certainly not what the favorited Eagles need heading into the season, though BC doesn’t play a league game until Nov. 3 when it hosts a UMass team that was picked to finish last in Hockey East.
Demko had surgery on his hips in the offseason. It’s the type of surgery that’s becoming more common for players at that position.
Down the road, Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is also unlikely to be ready for the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery over the summer. The BU captain is a key piece for the Terriers this season, who last Jack Eichel, Evan Rodrigues, Matt O’Connor and others off a team that won the Hockey East Championship last March.
Grzelcyk has been skating, but BU head coach David Quinn said on Monday that the Terriers will likely err on the side of caution and not rush him back into action.
UConn goaltender Rob Nichols had similar surgery to Demko, and according to a report in last week’s Hartford Courant, he might also not be ready for the start of the season. Nichols reportedly just got back on the ice last week and still hasn’t skated in back-to-back days, nor has he been cleared for game action.
BOSTON — You hardly see a National Hockey League player cry after a crushing loss. Last night, after a 4-3 loss to Providence in the national championship game, there wasn’t a dry eye in the Boston University dressing room.
That’s because in college hockey, at places like Boston University and everywhere else, you’re playing for something bigger than you, and you know it.
Players like Cason Hohmann, Evan Rodrigues and Anthony Moccia might play hockey beyond this season, but it will never be the same. Never.
In a blog post earlier this week on the website for The Lowell Sun, which covers UMass Lowell, a writer admitted that he didn’t “know squat” about the Pairwise. That’s fine. Unless you’re a college hockey diehard, you probably wouldn’t know the difference between the Pairwise and a pair a shoes.
But that didn’t stop the newspaper from publishing a front-page column on Tuesday, where the lede was “The UMass Lowell hockey team got screwed,” and calling the River Hawks “victims of a computer” in its headline.
Before I sat down to write this blog post, I asked my laptop if it had any bias against any particular college hockey programs. It didn’t answer me.
With the conference tournaments approaching, I’ve been running a lot of scenarios through CHN’s PairWise calculator. It started with my interest in Minnesota’s chances (since I cover Big Ten hockey) but has expanded since then.
According to the Pairwise Probability Matrix, there are about nine teams that are locked into the NCAA tournament, and two others (Providence and Quinnipiac) that have very high chances of making it. North Dakota, Minnesota State, Boston University, Denver, Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami, Nebraska-Omaha and Boston College are all most likely making the NCAA tournament.
Regardless of the results this weekend, the NCHC will have five teams make the NCAA tournament -North Dakota, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami and Nebraska-Omaha. Very few scenarios have Nebraska-Omaha – the lowest-ranked NCHC team – moving to ninth on the PWR list. I’ve encountered none that have the Mavericks dropping below ninth.
So below I ran through some points of interest, different scenarios, the likelihood of certain teams making it and what they need for that to happen. I will periodically add to this as I calculate more scenarios. (more…)
News broke on Thursday that undrafted free agent Frank Vatrano will forego his final two seasons of eligibility at Massachusetts, and has signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins.
At first the news took me by surprise. It’s not that Vatrano, who scored 18 goals and amassed 28 points in his first full season in college hockey, wasn’t talented enough to take his game to the next level. Far from it, in fact. But I never gave much thought to Vatrano leaving UMass after one season, especially not after essentially sitting out two years in order to get there.