Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 17

Posted: November 18th, 2014 / by Jashvina Shah

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

Posted: November 18th, 2014 / by Avash Kalra

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.

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Three Things I Think: WCHA, Nov. 18

Posted: November 18th, 2014 / by Ryan Evans

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 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

Posted: November 17th, 2014 / by Josh Seguin

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Posted: November 16th, 2014 / by Josh Seguin

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Posted: November 14th, 2014 / by Josh Seguin

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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ECAC Weekend Preview, Nov. 15-16

Posted: November 14th, 2014 / by Josh Seguin

After two weeks, Rensselaer has the ECAC lead but several other upstarts have begun the conference slate with success. Harvard and St. Lawrence have also begun their slates undefeated, while Quinnipiac has as well. All three of those teams have four points, while the resurgent Engineers have six points. Cornell has struggled to begin the year. It is one of two teams that have zero points heading into this weekend, joining Brown who also lost a pair last weekend.

It is much too early to look at the conference but one can see trends. Harvard looks as good as any team in the league. Union is struggling with just a lone point in four conference games. Yale has begun quiet and Princeton picked up a win against Cornell last week to give coach Ron Fogarty his first win as a head coach. It is tough to prognosticate so early in the season and the early results have proven that. There is always that mantra, some teams play better in conference. That team may just be RPI. I have seen team’s struggle in non-conference play but win the conference title, it happens. For this week though I will attempt to preview the games, briefly to give you a better idea what to expect. Read the rest of this entry »

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NCHC Weekend Preview: Nov. 14-15

Posted: November 14th, 2014 / by Avash Kalra

A few hours from now, as part a yet another intriguing slate of games involving seven of the eight NCHC teams this weekend, Denver hosts in-state rival Colorado College in the continuation of college hockey’s most frequently played rivalry — a rivalry that, in the past, has included plenty of drama beyond just the closely contested games and a pair of passionate fan bases. For example, a game in the 1960’s involved such as massive on-ice brawl that CC students got involved; that led to the cancellation of the season series for a year. And a game in the mid 1970’s resulted in CC goaltender Eddie Mio getting knocked unconscious by a chicken — yes, a frozen chicken — thrown at him by a Denver fan during a game.

Separated by just over 60 miles on Interstate 25, the two private schools have combined for nine national titles, 24 Frozen Four appearances, and 13 Hobey Baker Award finalists (including three combined Hobey winners since 2003). They’ve seen plenty of each other since their first meeting in January 1950, and for the last four seasons, they’ve alternated possession of the “Gold Pan” trophy (an ornate bragging right to the winner of the season series), with CC winning it last year.

Tonight, as long and dramatic as the history between the programs might be, the focus is very much on the present and future. It’s the first meeting between coaches Jim Montgomery (in his second year, of course, with the Pioneers) and Mike Haviland (who, in his first season with the Tigers, gets his first taste of the rivalry tonight). CC has lost six straight games overall, allowing 30 goals over that stretch. Freshman goaltender Chase Perry played well last Friday in a 3-0 loss to Miami, and played well in stretches the following night too until the RedHawks blew the game open with rapid-succession power play goals late in the second.

The defensive lapses, combined with a struggling offense, has understandably led to plenty of problems for this young CC team, and things aren’t getting any easier as they travel to Magness Arena tonight. Denver has played well overall, although allowing 10 goals in its weekend series split with Western Michigan last weekend was somewhat uncharacteristic for its typically robust defense. Ty Loney and Joey LaLeggia played particularly well in last Friday’s win — just two of many offensive weapons the Pioneers boast this year. The key tonight, as in most rivalry games, may be which team handles the early game emotion the best. Puck drop is at 7:37PM mountain time. I’ll be at Magness for this one tonight and will have thoughts from the game posted here over the weekend. Prediction: Denver wins.

The other NCHC series this weekend:

North Dakota hosts Miami: UND is unbeaten in eight games, and Miami has won seven of nine, in the matchup of two of the top teams in the country. As we mentioned in this space earlier in the week, Miami’s success this year seems to stem from a renewed commitment to defensive accountability, combined with timely lineup changes that have off-loaded the RedHawks’ two undisputed stars (Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik). They’re still averaging a point per game, but coach Enrico Blasi, who in the offseason was candid about the fact that he had to take an honest look at his team and the coaching staff’s approach, has moved Alex Wideman to the top line to play with the Barber/Czarnik duo. In doing so, he moved Cody Murphy off that line to play on the wing with center Blake Coleman, and placed Sean Kuraly with Anthony Louis on a line that’s both quick and physical. As a result, three lines that are scoring proficiently. All of North Dakota’s games thus far have come against teams currently below .500 — including the winless Wisconsin team that UND swept in Madison this weekend. This is easily North Dakota’s toughest weekend opponent yet (especially now that freshman Nick Schmaltz will be out of the lineup due to injury), and I wouldn’t expect anything close to the 9-2 UND win the last time the two met in Grand Forks. This is the first meeting since Miami stunned North Dakota in the NCHC semifinals last March. Prediction: Miami wins Friday, North Dakota wins Saturday

Western Michigan hosts St. Cloud State: The Broncos and Huskies both enter the weekend at 3-5-0 overall. WMU split it series with Denver last weekend, while St. Cloud suffered a sweep at home against Minnesota-Duluth. For St. Cloud, the memory of back-to-back wins against Union and Minnesota (last season’s national title game participants) seems a distant memory now after three consecutive losses. The surprising downfall over that stretch has been an inability to score 5-on-5. The Huskies’ last even strength goal was over 125 minutes of game time ago — a surprising fact considering the offensive talent St. Cloud boasts, especially in its junior class. For Western Michigan, the Broncos are looking for more consistent netminding from its duo of Frank Slubowski and Lukas Hafner. The offense, fortunately, has been better lately. Junior center Nolan LaPorte and defenseman Kenney Morrison both enter the weekend with three-game point streaks, while sophomore center Sheldon Dries scored goals in both games against Denver last week. The Broncos and Huskies also have two of the best power play units in the country, but it’ll still likely be the team that can score 5-on-5 that gets the edge this weekend. Prediction: Western Michigan wins Friday, St. Cloud State wins Saturday.

And finally, in non-conference action:

Minnesota-Duluth at/vs. Minnesota: Minnesota-Duluth was named CHN Team of the Week after sweeping St. Cloud State last week, and our Nicole Brodzik took a look at the new-found success of the Bulldogs’ offensively-minded defensive corps. This weekend, obviously, represents an enormous test for Scott Sandelin’s club, in its home-and-home with arguably the best team in the country. The Gophers 7-1-0 overall (their only hiccup coming against St. Cloud) and have enjoyed early season success from all of the expected contributors. Seniors Kyle Rau and Sam Warning (12 points and 6 points, respectively, in 8 games) have played well out of the gate, as have sophomores Taylor Cammarata, Justin Kloos, and Hudson Fasching. Defensively, Mike Reilly not only has helped out his goaltender Adam Wilcox, but has already contributed 11 points (tied for second-most on the team). Needless to say, the weekend presents a great challenge for the Bulldogs’ rookie goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo. Prediction: Minnesota wins Friday, Minnesota-Duluth wins Saturday.

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Hockey East Weekend Preview: Nov. 14

Posted: November 14th, 2014 / by Joe Meloni

Friday night, Connecticut, fresh off its win and draw against Hockey East’s Boston powerhouses, will play Sacred Heart at the 950-seat rink of the Taft School in Watertown, Conn.

The game is in honor Jason Pagni, a beloved member of the Connecticut amateur hockey community. Pagni recently died in a car accident at the age of 43. His memory has been honored by numerous members of the Connecticut hockey family.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who grew up in Hamden, Conn., and played his college hockey at Massachusetts put an homage to Pagni on his mask. “Everybody rides,” it says.

I don’t know much about the situation, so here’s Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register on the game and its meaning. The piece is certainly worth a read.

For UConn, this game is especially important in its ongoing process to earn and maintain legitimacy in college hockey. Sacred Heart may not be the out and out doormat it was a few years ago, but the Huskies need to win this game.

Any Given Sunday type sayings aside, UConn must show it can win games against low-level Atlantic Hockey teams to deserve the kind of praise it received after its impressive display last week moving forward.

Tougher matchups Rensselaer, Vermont and Boston University await the Huskies after the meeting with SHU. There are games UConn should win and Friday’s is just that. Read the rest of this entry »

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ECAC Power Rankings: Nov. 13

Posted: November 13th, 2014 / by Josh Seguin

Lots of love on here should be a breath of fresh air in comparison to what happened in Hamden, Connecticut last weekend. I was on vacation in the great west but the hockey did not stop, poor vacation planning on my part. Harvard made a statement against Boston College, Quinnipiac has come out of nowhere to be the team we thought they could be, St. Lawrence is just killing teams right now and others are just playing that line that doesn’t see them mentioned at the top. Lots of trends began to take shape last weekend, hence there will be a plethora of movement throughout the rankings this week

Some of the top teams just a few weeks ago, have struggled in recent weeks. Colgate will still be good but dropped a game at Quinnipiac on Friday. Cornell is winless on the year, have struggled to score and are looking like they aren’t the team we thought they would be. Union is winless in five, who would have ever thunk that possible? That proves that preseason can be arbitrary but then again it is still early. As will be evident throughout, the less games played the more movement in these rankings. Without further ado here we go.

1. Colgate (7-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) – Last Week 1

I am going to get hell from all of Quinnipiac and probably everyone in the league on this one. I still think Colgate is really good and the best team in the league, hence I keep them here. The Bank is a tough place to play and it showed. Colgate had these games last year and I think we would be remiss to think they were just going to disappear this season. Good luck finding me a deeper team, lets not dwell on one blowout loss. Those things happen to all teams. Gate has lost to Mercyhurst, St. Cloud and Quinnipiac. Those teams are all good squads. The loss of Mike Borkowski will prove to be a big one, however. Read the rest of this entry »

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