Archive for the 'Notes, Thoughts, Ramblings' Category

ECAC Power Rankings: Nov. 19

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Another interesting week has led to even more movement in the Power Rankings. Yale impressed me in a weekend road trip to Harvard and Dartmouth. Quinnipiac, Rensselaer and Harvard are tied at the top of the ECAC standings, but hypothetically QU is the leader because it has two games in hand against the others. I am reluctantltly keeping Colgate at the top, but QU, Yale and Harvard are nipping at its heels. Without further ado, here is my weekly take.

1. Colgate (8-3-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) – Last Week 1

Colgate continues its reign at the top of the ECAC power rankings, a place it has yet to relinquish this season. The Raiders have been pretty inconsistent over the past few weeks, but they are still in my astute estimation the best team in the conference top to bottom. Injuries are plaguing them, with two of its top scorers out. That billing may change in the coming weeks, if the results continue to be inconsistent. Last weekend it beat SLU and tied Clarkson, at home. It hangs on to the top spot by a small margin.

2. Quinnipiac (7-2-1, 4-0-0) – Last Week 4

Maybe I should jump back on the Quinnipiac bandwagon? Well I am not fully ready to do so because I do not fully trust a few weeks of good goaltending and defensive play. I need a week more to think there is any more improvement. There seems to be on the surface, which is a good sign. With it the Bobcats could just be the best team in the conference. Regardless, they will still light up the possession stats but I say use caution. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East, Nov. 19

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Penn State beat Massachusetts-Lowell, 4-1, on Saturday in the second game of two at Tsongas Center over the weekend.

The night before, UML cruised by PSU with a 5-3 win that really wasn’t that close. PSU added a pair of goals late in the third period after C.J. Smith gave UML a 5-1 lead at 8:21 of the period.

Seeing a fledging program like PSU knock off one of the nation’s best team in UML was a bit jarring, it seems, to many. The River Hawks’ 6-1-2 start before last weekend’s games was the best the program has seen since moving to Division I.

Losing to Penn State won’t be great for UML’s Pairwise standing later in the season. However, it’s not exactly a devastating blow either.

Freshman goaltender Jeff Smith, who’s split time with Kevin Boyle to this point, was due for bad start. In his three starts prior to Saturday, he’d stopped 73 of 76 shots. Some pucks were going to sneak past him eventually, and it just so happened to come Saturday night. Moreover, UML as a club wasn’t quite as dominant as its record suggested.

In his first three seasons at UML, Norm Bazin has found a way to make sure his teams are at their best once the second half begins. UML is 38-11-5 in regular-season games after winter break in his three years. There’s no reason not expect UML to get even better than it’s been to this point.

Some things haven’t come together as they will for the River Hawks. A split with Penn State, however, won’t prevent any of that from happening. Relying on a .750 winning percentage in the second half to get favorable league and national tournament seeding can be a dangerous proposition. For UML, though, it just seems like standard procedure. (more…)

The Takeaway: Harvard Blanks Dartmouth in Hanover for the First Time Since 1953

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Hanover, NH - Harvard and Dartmouth played one of those Tuesday night games no one shows up for, but on the cold night in Northern New Hampshire the two squads put on quite the show. Dartmouth controlled play throughout the contest and the attempts showed, but it was Harvard that would strike first. Patrick McNally carried the puck over the blue-line with no Dartmouth skaters in sight and took a snap shot over the glove of James Kruger, giving the Crimson a 1-0 lead at nine minutes, 26 seconds of the first period. The lead stuck until the third period.

Harvard held onto the to 1-0 throughout and added a an empty-net goal off the stick of Jim Vesey to defeat Dartmouth, 2-0. The shutout marked the first time Harvard had shutout Dartmouth in Hanover since January 10, 1953, in a 5-0 Harvard win. Harvard improves to 4-1-2 on the season, and 3-1-2 in the ECAC. Dartmouth falls to 2-3-1, and 2-3-1 in league play. Harvard with the win moves into a three-way tie for first place in the ECAC conference. Dartmouth out-attempted Harvard 90-49 in the game but only out-shot the Crimson 29-24 in the game. (more…)

Big Ten: Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Six

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Minnesota was swept by Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, suffering losses of 3-0 and 2-1. Both Penn State and Ohio State split their weekend games, while Michigan swept AIC. The Spartans dropped a 3-2 decision to Boston College.

Ohio State’s Corsi numbers seem to be improving, and most teams in the conference have Corsi numbers around the 50 percent mark. Michigan had the highest Corsi close and 5-on-5 Corsi from the weekend as they dominated AIC.

Here are this week’s Corsi stats, with Corsi close and other explanations listed below:

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 17

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

What a weekend of college hockey. Michigan Tech is still undefeated, Minnesota lost both games to Minnesota-Duluth and Ohio State played Bowling Green well — and earned the series split.

Ohio State and Minnesota’s results were very surprising, but for different reasons. The Bulldogs earned 3-0 and 2-1 wins, backed by Kasimir Kaskisuo in net. On Friday, Minnesota’s home winning streak of 17 games was snapped with the shutout loss. The last time the Gophers lost on home ice was also to the Bulldogs.

After an early 2-0 hole on Saturday, the Gophers battled back in the third. But it was too little too late, and Minnesota wasn’t able to tie the game. The already intense rivalry became more intense when Dominic Tonanato hit Minnesota’s Kyle Rau in the closing minutes of the game, forcing a scrum that almost turned into a full-fledged flight.

The Buckeyes pleasantly surprised this weekend against in-state rival Bowling Green. In the first game, the Falcons struck first. But the Buckeyes scored three goals in the third — including the game winner from Anthony Greco with 34 seconds left in regulation. Scoring was more spread out the next night, but the Falcons also scored the game-winning tally late in regulation.

It was an interesting weekend for Penn State as well. The Nittany Lions lost to UMass Lowell 5-3, which prompted a goalkeeping switch to Eamon McAdam in the middle of the game. McAdam started the second game, helping Penn State to a 4-1 win. Casey Bailey had four points on the weekend, while Taylor Holmstrom — who’s tied for the nation’s lead in points — had five. His 16 points also leads the Big Ten.

As expected, the Spartans fell to Boston College. After a 2-0 deficit, the Spartans rallied just short and lost 3-2. Michigan State blocked less shots than BC, something to keep an eye because they were notorious for blocking shots last year.

Michigan swept AIC at home, but that indicates nothing of how Michigan will play this season, especially in conference games. The Wolverines won 5-2 and 5-3, and Andrew Copp had four points on the weekend, while Zach Nagelvoort started both games.

(After the jump: More goalkeeping controversy, stop looking at PairWise, and the great rivalries)
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A look back at UMD’s sweep against Minnesota

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Over the weekend, reigning CHN Team of the Week Minnesota-Duluth continued its red hot play with a two-game sweep against Minnesota. CHN’s Kara Hille was there, and here she takes a look back:

UMD dominant in in-state rivalry matchup against Minnesota

By Kara Hille

With an in-state rivalry like the one between the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and UMD Bulldogs, there’s a demand for high-energy play from the moment the puck drops. Though the Gophers were 134-73-17 against UMD, the Bulldogs were the first to get on the board Friday night at Mariucci Arena in their 225th match against “The U.”

Bulldogs sophomore Austin Farley scored just over two minutes into the first, putting UMD on trend for a possessive period, outshooting the Gophers 15-7.

“They obviously come out flying right away,” said Gopher forward, Justin Kloos following the game. “There’s a lot of Minnesota kids in that locker room, so I think they have this one marked on the calendar.”

Facing the Bulldogs without key players, the Gophers looked to fill gaps left by defenseman Brady Skjei and forward Travis Boyd, both players suffering lower-body injuries earlier in the season.

The series opener was without a doubt a battle of the goaltenders, pitting Gopher senior Adam Wilcox to UMD newcomer, Kasimir Kaskisuo. By the end of the second, Wilcox faced just nearly twice the shots as Kaskisuo, making an additional nine saves as sophomore defenseman Dan Molenaar scored his first career goal for the Bulldogs halfway through the period. UMD kept their opponents on their heels through the end of the second period – causing Minnesota’s frustration to boil over in the third.

In the third period, the Bulldogs were able to capitalize on another Minnesota penalty. Scoring his eighth goal of the season, Dominic Toninato, a second-generation UMD forward, put the Bulldogs up 3-0, which would remain the score until the 60 minutes of play were over.

The final period saw four Gopher penalties including a five-minute boarding major for senior Christian Isackson shortly following Toninato’s goal. UMD registered two minor penalties while Minnesota racked up 17 penalty minutes in total.

“I was really disappointed, I had not seen that, I’m embarrassed with some of those penalties at the end,” said head coach Don Lucia. “That’s not the way we play, that’s not the way we coach.”

In the first game of the series, the Bulldogs outshot the Gophers 38-17. Though Wilcox made a season-high 35 saves, UMD handed Minnesota its first home loss in 17 games – since they last played Minnesota Duluth on Nov. 24, 2013.

“For the second time in two years, we didn’t match their intensity and we had a similar outcome,” said Kloos on Friday night. “It’s really disappointing right now, but we get to get some revenge tomorrow.”

The revenge would have to wait.

Much like Friday night, the Saturday tilt played at Amsoil Arena in Duluth opened with an early Bulldog goal from Toninato at only 28 seconds into the game. The first period finished 2-0 as freshman Karson Kuhlman scored his fourth goal of the season and the third UMD power play goal of the series after Hudson Fasching was sent to the box for slashing.

Shortly thereafter, UMD’s Justin Crandall was handed a five-minute major for kneeing as well as a game misconduct. In a scoreless second period, Minnesota’s AJ Michaelson received five minutes for checking from behind as well as a game misconduct.

In front of a record crowd of 7,424 at Amsoil, Leon Bristedt was the first and only Gopher goal of the series, finding the back of Kaskisuo’s net with under nine minutes left in the game assisted by Seth Ambroz and Jack Glover. The rally, however, was too little too late for Minnesota, and the score remained 2-1 until the end of regulation.

By the end of the third, UMD outshot Minnesota for the second night in a row, this time 34-25. Though the Gophers were able to put more pucks in front of Kaskisuo, Wilcox kept them in the game with numerous show-stopping saves.

In true rivalry fashion, the series finished in a flurry of penalties. Four minors were assessed for unsportsmanlike conduct, shared by UMD’s Carson Soucy and Alex Iafallo as well as Minnesota’s Michael Brodzinski and Leon Bristedt.

Minnesota Duluth swept Minnesota for the first time since 2009.

Though the all-time record now stands at 134-75-17 in Minnesota’s favor, there’s no doubt they’re still looking for revenge. There’s a possibility the teams could meet in late January as part of the North State College Cup at the Xcel Energy Center.

For now, Minnesota Duluth will travel to face Nebraska-Omaha (6-1-1) this weekend while the Gophers take on the US Under-18 team back at Mariucci on Friday night.

Three Things I Think: WCHA, Nov. 18

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

For a conference trying to re-build its image as one of the best in the country, having a team ranked No. 1 in the polls is a huge step in the right direction. The WCHA’s Michigan Tech now occupies that spot after pushing its record to 10-0-0 with a sweep at Bemidji State this weekend. With 10-straight wins to start the season, the Huskies are now off to the best start in the program’s 94-year history.

The sweep of the Beavers wasn’t Michigan Tech’s most dominant performances of the season, but good teams find ways to win and the Huskies did that. They face their stiffest test of the season this weekend in welcoming reigning WCHA playoff champion Minnesota State to Houghton.

In the latest edition of the USCHO.com poll, following bye weeks, the Mavericks remained at No. 9 and Northern Michigan moved up a spot to No. 17. After splitting with Ohio State, Bowling Green also jumped a spot to No. 18. Ferris State (53) is the only WCHA team receiving votes in the poll.

Rapid Recap: In conference play, Michigan Tech grinded out a pair of wins in Bemidji to remain the NCAA’s lone unbeaten team, Ferris State’s offense exploded in a sweep of Alaska Anchorage, and Alabama-Huntsville and Lake Superior State split – pushing the Chargers’ record in their last four games to 2-1-1. Elsewhere, Bowling Green and Ohio State split a non-conference home-and-home series, with each winning at the other’s barn. The WCHA is now 22-17-4 (.558) in non-conference play this season.

(After the jump: My Three Stars of the Weekend in the WCHA and thoughts on what went down)

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Three Things I Think: ECAC Nov. 17

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Another interesting weekend in ECAC league play, brought another weekend that teams made statements. Quinnipiac continues to win, it has now won six games in a row. Yale swept Harvard and Dartmouth over the weekend on the road. Brown, Cornell and Princeton continue to struggle. Rensselaer continues to sit atop the ECAC standings, but it is now tied with Quinnipiac for the top spot. Again it is still early to really pay attention, but now into the second week we are starting to see some trends.

As an ECAC fan, we don’t want to look at the Pairwise yet because they are hardly being kind in the early going. Despite having three teams in the top 15, all three of those teams are on the bubble from positions 12-15. Yale looked good over the weekend, I was able to see them twice thanks to a last minute change in my schedule on Saturday. It was the smarter team and it looked the part of being a team that is just a year removed from being a national champion. I will speak more to this below, but also expect a feature in the coming days on why they were so consistent. But for now here are the three things I think after the second full week of conference games. (more…)

The Takeaway: Yale Grits Out 2-1 Win at Harvard

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Cambridge, Mass. -Another chapter in the storied rivalry of Yale and Harvard was written on Saturday night as 2575 watched an entertaining contest between two good teams. Alex Lyon and Steve Michalek put on a show for much of the game. The teams went into the third period scoreless, but the period would see three goals. Ryan Obuchowski opened the scoring on a weird play from the side wall that found its way into the net at six minutes, 48 seconds of the third period. Yale would add an empty netter late in the third, but Harvard responded with 17 seconds to go in the game to make for an entertaining final moments. Despite a chance to tie, Alex Lyon and his Bulldogs held on for the 2-1 road win, which finished the weekend sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard.

With the win, Yale improves to 3-1-2 overall, and 2-1-1 in the ECAC. Harvard was handed its first loss of the season and its record drops to 3-1-2, 2-1-2. Harvard drops to third place in the ECAC, while Yale moves up to fifth in the conference. (more…)

The Takeaway: Yale Runs Away From Dartmouth, Wins 4-1

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Hanover, NH - A good crowd of 3,121 showed up to Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena to watch two Ivy League rivals play for the 151st time. Dartmouth came out flying in the early going, registering the first four shots on goal. Yale. though, would pick up the first goal at six minutes, 17 seconds of the first period when Charles Orzetti sent a point shot that bounced in front of the net and hit the leg of Mike Doherty to give the Elis a 1-0 lead. It was Yale that came out flying in the second period and Frankie DiChiara scored three minutes in to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.  Dartmouth came on midway through the period, when Mosey found the back of the net. But Brandon Kirk took a dumb boarding call seconds later, which Yale capitalized on to kill the momentum.

Yale scored the only goal of the third period, off the stick of Ryan Hitchcock to seal the game and give them a 4-1 win over Dartmouth. The win improves Yale to 2-1-2 on the season and 1-1-1 in ECAC play. Dartmouth falls to 1-2-1 and 1-2-1 in league play. (more…)