Archive for the 'Notes, Thoughts, Ramblings' Category

Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Dec. 3

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

It was a busy weekend for Atlantic Hockey, as every team aside from Robert Morris played at least one game. Niagara came out on top with a pair of wins to regain the top spot in the conference.

Canisius is now second in the conference despite falling to non-conference Clarkson this weekend. Army, meanwhile, fell three spots in conference standings after this weekend’s games.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings as of December 3:

  1. Niagara
  2. Canisius
  3. Holy Cross
  4. RIT
  5. Army
  6. Robert Morris
  7. Bentley
  8. AIC
  9. Mercyhurst
  10. Air Force
  11. Sacred Heart


NCHC: Big League Weekend Starts Now

Friday, December 1st, 2017

We’re less than 2 hours from a critical slate of NCHC league games kicking off this weekend, with all of these six teams currently ranked in the top 15 of the Pairwise.

Denver at Minnesota-Duluth  7:07 CT Compare Radio  Map
St. Cloud State at Nebraska-Omaha  7:07 CT Compare Radio  Map
Western Michigan at North Dakota  7:37 CT Compare TV Radio  Map


Miami also hosts Cornell for a two-game nonconference series, in a pair of games that (given their strength of schedule), is likely to be more important for Cornell than for Miami. That series kicks off in just over an hour.

But clearly, the main event this weekend is a rematch of April’s national title game, with Minnesota-Duluth hosting reigning champion Denver. The Pioneers were just 3-3 in November, although have won three of four. The key will be whether UMD can slow down Denver’s offense — which, through all the ups and downs, has been the one constant. Montgomery’s team has scored at least four goals in each of its last nine games. Henrik Borgstrom, Troy Terry, and Dylan Gambrell — often used on different lines this season — have combined for 25 goals. Still, I would expect lower scoring games this weekend, especially with the intensity expected in this series after the two teams battled for the championship trophy in Chicago.

It will be interesting to see, as well, if two UMD freshman defensemen (Scott Perunovich and Mikey Anderson — who of course had nothing to do with April’s title game) — can continue to generate offense from the blueline for a young, developing UMD team that showed what it is capable of with a well-rounded 3-1 win over Minnesota State last week.

Finally, in case you missed it… two NCHC features this week published on the main site:

  • Tough Love:  A look at Montreal Canadiens first-round prospect Ryan Poehling and St. Cloud State. Poehling shared a great anecdote about his childhood that led him to play hockey.

I also asked Ryan about his relationship with his brothers, Nick and Jack — all of whom are sophomores this season for the Huskies.

“We’ve always been competitive,” said Ryan. “It comes with everything, even when we work out. I see it in golf a lot too, where we always want to be better than one another. I think it’s just friendly competition. We know at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, but at the same time, it’s always nice being able to beat your brother. That’s why we compete so hard.”

  • Second Chance for Nick Jones at North Dakota, after he started his college career at Ohio State

The Fighting Hawks host first-place Western Michigan and will be looking to snap a three-game winless streak at home. Pleasing the home crowd in Grand Forks is one of many goals for UND this weekend. Jones had this to say about North Dakota’s home-ice advantage:

“It’s unbelievable. I grew up going to Oilers games, which are sold out every night. But I can’t recall one Oilers game I’ve ever been to in my life that compares to the Minnesota series out here. The crowd is unbelievable. I’ve never seen a crowd like our crowd. It’s special to play here for sure.”

Western Michigan won three of four games against UND last year.

Friendship Four in Belfast is Quite the Experience

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

I was skeptical of the Friendship Four tournament in Belfast, Northern Ireland a few years ago when it was introduced to the college hockey landscape, and honestly many coaches and programs didn’t want to subject their teams to the travel, either. But three years have passed and over the weekend I quickly learned why Hockey East and ECAC coaches should be flocking in droves to do this. It has become one of the most successful holiday tournaments.

The Friday afternoon match that pitted Clarkson and RPI saw probably 4,000 people. Most of the crowd was comprised of school children from local schools that hosted the players during the week, where the teams taught them about hockey and why it is a great sport to play. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Nov. 26

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Following a busy week in Atlantic Hockey, there’s been quite a shake-up in the standings. Canisius jumped several spots to the top of the conference, while Bentley also made an impressive jump following a pair of wins this weekend.

Army and Niagara remain among the conference’s top three teams after playing three games each over the past week. Niagara won one of three this weekend, while Army tied once and lost twice. These games, combined with the Griffs’ pair of wins, shook things up at the top of the conference.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings, as of November 27:

  1. Canisius
  2. Army
  3. Niagara
  4. Holy Cross
  5. RIT
  6. Bentley
  7. RMU
  8. AIC
  9. Air Force
  10. Mercyhurst
  11. Sacred Heart


Three Things To Be Thankful For: Big Ten

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Since it’s Thanksgiving, I decided to put together a list of three things the Big Ten and its members/associates should be thankful for. Right now Notre Dame leads the standings with 12 points, Minnesota is second with 11 and Wisconsin is third with 10. Michigan has nine, Penn State has six and Ohio State and Michigan State each have three.

It’s too early to look at the Pairwise, but we can, so we might as well. Minnesota, as usual, leads the Big Ten at No. 7. But Michigan State is right behind them at No. 10. Michigan is No. 13, Wisconsin No. 16 and Ohio State No. 18.

Last weekend featured almost a full non-conference slate, but the teams resume conference play this weekend as Ohio State plays Michigan, Michigan State plays Penn State and Minnesota plays Notre Dame. Wisconsin hosts Mercyhurst.


Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Nov. 22

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Atlantic Hockey has a busy weekend ahead, with fourteen games over the next few days. Although a lot of that action will be between conference teams, several teams will also face non-conference opponents, including Arizona State, Connecticut, and Wisconsin.

Last weekend, Army failed to beat Holy Cross and tied with Sacred Heart, while Canisius swept Bentley and Robert Morris swept AIC. RIT and Air Force split a pair of games.


Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 17

Friday, November 17th, 2017

The Big Ten is ready for another weekend of play, but it will only feature on conference matchup as the Wolverines and Badgers face each other. In non-conference action, Notre Dame will be at RPI, Michigan Sate hosts Ferris State, Penn State will at Arizona State and Minnesota will host Harvard. The Buckeyes are on a bye week after defeating and tying UConn.

Last weekend Notre Dame swept Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State split and Michigan and Minnesota played in a couple high-scoring games with Michigan winning one game and teams tying the other.

(After the jump: The Fighting Irish are back, this is the Gophers and Michigan is good)


Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, November 13

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

As Atlantic Hockey continued its action this past weekend, it was exciting to see the conference’s top two teams – Army and Niagara – face off in a pair of games. In the end, they split the weekend, with Army remaining atop the conference standings.

Meanwhile, RIT won twice to make its way up to third in the conference, and Canisius’ Dylan McLaughlin had himself quite a weekend to earn honors in the conference and NCAA.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1.  Army
  2. Niagara
  3. RIT
  4. Holy Cross
  5. Canisius
  6. AIC
  7. Robert Morris
  8. Mercyhurst
  9. Bentley
  10. Air Force
  11. Sacred Heart


Injury Riddled St. Lawrence Struggling with Depth

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Entering Brown’s Meehan Auditorium and taking a look at St. Lawrence’s line chart on Saturday night, I was struck by one thing and one thing only- On that line chart, the Saints had just three forward lines and three D-pairs, which is something I had never seen before in my career of covering DI college hockey. It has always been normal to see a team missing maybe one on that chart and dressing 17 skaters, instead of the normal 18, but seeing a team short three bodies is something I cannot think of. I am sure it happened a lot in the old days, but today it just never happens that way.

In retrospect, the line chart had just eight forwards listed as Philip Alftberg was playing a wing and he is a natural defender. Going deeper, eight of the fifteen were freshmen and only two of the forwards were upperclassmen. The fact half the lineup were freshmen would cause any team to struggle, but coupled with the depth issues it is just a disaster.

Depth is so key in college hockey and not having it often times leads to even more problems, so to see a team have so many injuries is something that is just uncommon. On Saturday, I felt SLU was giving their all and Mark Morris was coaching enough to show there is hardly an issue with either of those aspects, but the numbers game just was not in their favor. In fact, I will go as far to say being so short is just not competitive and if the injuries are long term, it will be a long season in Canton. It is normal for a team to be missing guys, but to be down 7 of 15 forwards is just tough.

Morris didn’t want to talk on Saturday, understandably so. Morris called me on Monday, and called this season “one of the most challenging seasons I have ever experienced.” Those are strong words considering how long he has been coaching at a high level. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC, 11/14

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Another weekend, another set of surprises in the ECAC. As I was watching results pour in over the weekend, I couldn’t help but to think to myself how topsy turvy the league is setting up to be. Quinnipiac fell twice in the capital region, falling to 0-4-0 in ECAC play, while Harvard is 2-3-0. On the flip side of those two is Union, who I picked 10th in preseason. The Dutchmen are now 5-1-0 in the ECAC play and have looked good in the process. Its only loss was to Clarkson last week, while it has defeated RPI twice, St. Lawrence, Quinnipiac and Princeton. Like the Dutchmen, Colgate is off to a surprising start and is 3-0-1 in ECAC play and is on an overall seven game unbeaten streak. The Raiders have also won their last three games and I will talk about this success below.

Cornell is the only defeated team left in the nation, at 6-0-0. The Big Red were expected to be up in the top echelon of teams but they are looking the part of one of the better teams in the ECAC. This success, is setting up for a huge showdown against long-time ECAC rival Clarkson. The REAL Golden Knights are also off to a great start, with a 4-0-0 record in the league. Honestly, these two teams have looked like the best teams but it is still early.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts of the week… (more…)