Hockey East Picks (11/30 – 12/1)

Posted: November 30th, 2018 / by Mike McMahon

Last Week: 6-7-3
Season Total: 37-21-8 (.638)

Single Games

Northeastern over Merrimack: The Huskies are rolling and Merrimack is on the opposite side of that ledger right now. Northeastern looks like they haven’t skipped a beat and they might have the best goalie in Hockey East. Huskies take this one at home.

UMass over UConn: The Minutemen charge ahead and get another win over a team they’re simply better than. UMass fans will get insecure on Twitter when I say that the Minutemen will regress at some point (it’s inevitable, sorry. I mean seriously … I said UMass is top-two in the league and top-12 nationally and people seemed to get very upset. Calm down), but this weekend they move to 12-1.

Weekend Series

Vermont and Maine split: Maine is better, on paper, than Vermont but the Catamounts will find a way to get a win at least once at home. While I like the talent Maine has on the roster, the Black Bears have yet to put it all together this season.

Providence sweeps New Hampshire: The Friars have the Wildcats outmatched. The Friars winning at home is almost a guarantee and I really like their hockey sense, meaning they’ll use that bigger ice sheet at the Whittemore Center to their advantage. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, I think Providence is the best team in the league.

Boston College and Boston University split: It always seems to work out that way, doesn’t it? Both teams would like to be higher in the standings right now and both teams will get a win this weekend, probably at home. If one team is going to sweep, I think BU has the better chance to do so, but my official pick is a split. This could also be a high-scoring weekend for these clubs.

Comment on this Post ...

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 28

Posted: November 28th, 2018 / by Jashvina Shah

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I was off in Belfast, Northern Ireland, watching the Friendship Four. It’s not a Big Ten-related tournament but was definitly a fantastic experience and I encourage everyone to go.

Now back to the league. Since Thanksgiving passed recently, this week’s edition of Three Things will be a “three things teams should be thankful for.”

Here it is:

Penn State’s Offense

Stop me if this sounds familiar. The Nittany Lions have the nation’s top two scorers in Evan Barratt and Alex Limoges. The Big Ten actually has the top three scorers, as Taro Hirose is third.

But unlike years past when the Big Ten has had some of the nation’s most prolific scorers, the Big Ten also has better goaltending than it did at that time. But while some conference games have been played, this is mostly a reflection of the non-conference schedule.

Ohio State’s Tommy Nappier

Tommy Nappier actually leads the country with a .957 save percentage. The eight games he’s started is the most in the top three. Nappier has been splitting starts with Sean Romeo and after Romeo’s season last year, Nappier’s success is a bit of a surprise. But it’s helped Ohio State so far. Nappier also has been in net for five of the team’s wins.

A good non-conference slate

The Big Ten is obviously much better than it was a couple of years ago, so looking at the conference’s non-conference record isn’t actually that shocking. But most of the teams in the league have had non-conference success, including Michigan State. So I wanted to look at it anyway.

Right now the Big Ten is 28-17-3 against non-conference teams. That equates to a .615 winning percentage, which is the second-highest amongst the conferences. The league is 4-0-1 against Atlantic Hockey teams, 11-2 against ECAC teams and 4-2 against Hockey East teams. The conference has a losing record against both the NCHC and WCHA currently, but only by a couple of games.

Comment on this Post ...

ECAC Notebook: 11/26

Posted: November 26th, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

Up and down the out-of-town scoreboard, the ECAC saw success over the weekend. Rensselaer picked up a big win on the road against Umass Lowell on Friday night – an important outcome for Rensselaer. The Engineers led the River Hawks on Sunday, but ran out of gas and conceded four in a row in a 5-2 defeat. The steps RPI has taken this year have been impressive, and Dave Smith should be lauded for that. In all, the ECAC went 5-3-0 in non-conference play over the weekend

Both ECAC teams went 1-0-1 in Northern Ireland, with Union winning the Belpot in a 2-1 win over Boston University. Yale picked up a win against in-state rival, Connecticut, by a 6-3 scoreline. Quinnipiac continued its successful year with a sweep at the ever-difficult Alfond Arena against Maine. Odeen Tufto was ECAC player of the week picking up hat trick on Friday night and five points in the game. QU’s youngsters have also performed well, as Ethan De Jong won one of the ECAC Hockey Weekly Awards with a four point weekend. Princeton played in a highly entertaining overtime loss to UMass, and Harvard picked up a win against Cornell at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Atlantic Hockey Notebook 11/25

Posted: November 25th, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

In Atlantic Hockey conference action, Sacred Heart visited Canisius for a weekend series. The teams tied on Friday before the Griffs pulled off a win Saturday.

Jason Cotton opened the scoring early for the Pioneers Friday, but Canisius scored three straight goals to put themselves in a winning position. Kevin Obssuth, Dylan McLaughlin and Nick Hutchison all scored for the Griffs. But a pair of quick goals in the second period – just 39 seconds apart – tied the game. Zach De Concilys and Todd Goehring had the additional goals.

The teams remained locked and ended the game in a 3-3 tie. Josh Benson had 24 saves, while Blake Weyrick had 23. The teams rematched on Saturday, but this time, a very late shorthanded goal gave Canisius the edge.

Jordan Kaplan and Marcel Godbout scored in the first period for Sacred Heart, but the Pioneers’ effort fell apart from there. Grant Meyer got the Griffs on the board late in the first, and McLaughlin tied the game early in the third. Casey Jerry then scored shorthanded with just 1:46 remaining to win the game.

Brett Magnus had 21 saves, while Weyrick registered 25 saves in the win.

Elsewhere, Robert Morris topped Mercyhurst twice this weekend. Powered by goals from Aidan Spellacy, Jacob Coleman and Eric Israel, the Colonials pulled off a 3-1 win Friday over the Lakers. Joshua Lammon had the lone goal for Mercyhurst, while Stefano Cantali made 22 saves in the loss. Francis Marotte had 31 saves in the victory.

The Colonials then won Saturday’s game by an impressive six-goal margin, defeating the Lakers 7-1. Special teams were especially effective, as the Colonials had three power-play goals and two shorthanded tallies.

Justin Addamo led the team with a pair of goals; Daniel Mantenuto, Nick Prkusic, Kip Hoffmann, Kyle Horsman and Michael Coyne also scored for the Colonials. Joshua Lammon had the lone goal for the Lakers once again.

This time, Marotte made 24 saves. Cantali played the first twenty minutes of the game for the Lakers, allowing four goals on 20 shots. Colin DeAugustine played the final 20 minutes in goal, allowing three goals on 12 shots faced in the loss.

Niagara and Army also split their weekend series. The Purple Eagles captured a 3-1 win Friday. Ryan Cox, Dylan Mills and Niko Kovachis all scored for Niagara, while Mason Krueger had the only goal for Army in the loss. Jared Dempsey made 27 saves, while Brian Wilson had 26 saves.

The Black Knights beat Niagara 5-1 Saturday, powered by a hat trick from Dominic Franco. Colin Bilek had the other two goals for Army, while Zach Evancho registered three assists. Army had three of their five goals on the man advantage. Jared Brandt had the lone goal for the Purple Eagles in Saturday’s loss.

Dempsey made 16 saves, while Wilson had 24 saves.

Bentley also topped Holy Cross 4-2. Michael Zuffante, Luke Orysiuk, Alexey Solovyev and Ryner Gorowsky all scored for the Falcons. Jack Surowiec and Mitch Collett potted goals for the Crusaders.

Aidan Pelino stopped 23 of 25 shots faced for the Falcons, while Erik Gordon had 13 saves.

In non-conference action, the Crusaders tied Merrimack 2-2. Michael Laffin and Johnny Coughlin had the goals for Holy Cross, while Mitch Collett assisted on both goals. The Crusaders went 1-for-3 on the man advantage, and Gordon had 26 saves.

The Falcons also beat Boston College. Tanner Jago, Will Garin, Matt Lombardozzi and Jake Kauppila all scored for Bentley in the 4-2 win, and the Falcons went 2-for-6 on the man advantage.

Pelino had 22 saves.

Finally, the RIT Tigers fell 4-3 to non-conference opponent Northeastern.

Brody Valette, Adam Brubacher and Alden Dupuis scored for RIT. Logan Drackett stopped 23 of 27 shots faced in the loss.

Here are the current Atlantic Hockey standings:

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

Comment on this Post ...

Hockey East picks: November 23-25, 2018

Posted: November 22nd, 2018 / by Mike McMahon

Last Week: 7-2-1
2018-19 Season: 31-14-5

November 23

Boston University over UConn (Friendship Four)
Both BU and BC have struggled out of the gate, and I have more faith in BU to figure things out due to the overwhelming amount of talent on the roster. We’re not sure if Albie O’Connell is a great head coach, but we do know that Paul Pearl is very good at what he does.

Boston College over Bentley
The Eagles will face a talented Bentley team, but the Eagles are simply too good to fall to the Falcons.

Merrimack over Holy Cross
Holy Cross is, statistically, one of the worst teams in the country (last in the KRACH). Personally, I think the Crusaders are better than the record indicates (they’ve played a fairly tough schedule), but even a banged-up Merrimack, at home, should be able to find the win column here.

November 24

Boston University over Yale/Union over Boston University
The Terriers win the Friendship Four if they take on Yale in the final. But Union matches up well with BU and I think the Dutchmen have BU’s number should they meet in the championship game.

UConn over Yale/Union over UConn
Connecticut wins the in-state battle (in Belfast) should they meet on day two. But like BU, I think Union wins if they match up with the Huskies. 

Northeastern over RIT
The Tigers are off to a better start than I had anticipated, but so is Northeastern. This is a matchup of two of the more surprising teams nationally (at least right now). The Huskies continue their roll. 

Princeton over UMass
OK, bring on the haters! Seriously, I can’t wait until I’m called out on Twitter for being anti-UMass after I said I thought Providence was the best team in Hockey East last weekend. The Minutemen are VERY GOOD. They’re the second-best team in the league and top-12 nationally at the end of the year, I think. Providence, come March, will be better than that is my guess. Here, UMass faces a Princeton team that is desperate to get back on track. Plus, I think Princeton’s top line and Josh Teves match up well with UMass’ weapons.

Weekend Series

UMass Lowell sweeps RPI
Lowell has been one of the unluckiest teams in the country if you look at their PDO and shot/goal share to start the year. The River Hawks need goaltending badly. RPI will be a tougher challenge than some expect, but Lowell gets a weekend sweep in a home-and-home.

Maine splits with Quinnipiac
I had high hopes for Maine, and given their start, they have to be one of the league’s biggest early-season disappointments for me. Quinnipiac, meanwhile, looks like they’re back in the hunt as one of the top teams in the ECAC. Maine gets at least two points this weekend with the games happening up at Alfond.

Miami sweeps UNH
The Redhawks are flying high and UNH is limping along. The Wildcats will also be without their best player – Max Gildon – in the opener of the season due to a one-game suspension.

Providence splits at Denver
This is the matchup of the weekend nationally. The Friars really impressed me last week – I think they’re the best team in the league – and Denver might be the best team in the NCHC. Both of these teams could find themselves in the Frozen Four this April. 

Comment on this Post ...

ECAC Notebook: 11/20

Posted: November 20th, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

Quinnipiac made a big statement over the weekend with a sweep of Colgate and Cornell, while Princeton faltered twice on the same trip. This weekend Clarkson also had a really good weekend against Michigan Tech, sweeping the Huskies of the WCHA out of the North Country. The other North Country team, SLU, picked up a much-needed win against  Minnesota on Friday night in a great turnaround after its loss to Mercyhurst.

We are another week into the season, but the standings are still a mess. Although QU sits at the top with eight points, the uneven nature of the schedule means that Cornell is two points back, with a pair of games in hand. Dartmouth is also two points back and has played one less game. Interestingly enough, while QU has played six league games, the two north country schools have played just two. I wouldn’t write off Clarkson from being near the top at the end because they have played four less games and they have looked really good, at times, which I will talk about below. As I keep reminding everyone, look at standings and pairwise with a load of caution until, say, Christmastime.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Atlantic Hockey Notebook 11/18

Posted: November 18th, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

While the Robert Morris Colonials got a week off from game action, the other Atlantic Hockey teams were all in action at least once over the past week. Some, like AIC, fared better than others, like Canisius. Here’s a look at the week behind us.

First up: let’s talk about the AIC Yellow Jackets, who swept their weekend series over Air Force with a pair of shutouts. The Yellow Jackets put up five goals Friday and added four on Saturday, both afternoon contests, while holding the Falcons off the scoresheet.

Tobias Fladeby and Luka Maver each had a pair of goals in Friday’s win; Martin Mellberg also added a goal. Zackarias Skog stopped all 20 shots faced in the win – his second career collegiate shutout – while Zach LaRocque took the loss for Air Force.

Both teams went with the same goaltenders for the rematch on Saturday, and once again, Skog made 20 saves in the shutout victory. Fladeby scored his third goal of the weekend, while Patrik Demel, Darius Davidson and captain Shawn McBridge also scored for the Yellow Jackets.

With the losses, Air Force’s five-game winning streak finally came to an end.

Mercyhurst also grabbed a pair of wins this weekend, besting Sacred Heart twice. The teams exchanged goals Friday en route to a 3-2 overtime win for the Lakers. Joseph Duszak had the game-winning goal, while Steven Ipri, James Anderson and Derek Barach also scored for Mercyhurst. Vito Bavaro had a pair of goals, while Austin McIlmurray also scored for the Pioneers.

James Anderson then scored twice to power the Lakers to a 3-0 win the following night. Tommaso Bucci also scored for Mercyhurst, who tallied twice in the final 1:16 of play. Garrett Metcalf stopped 30 shots for the shutout win.

Elsewhere, Army West Point and Bentley split their weekend series. The Black Knights narrowly edged the Falcons 3-2 in the first game, on power-play goals by Brendan Soucie and Zach Evancho and a shorthanded tally by Souci. Michael Zuffante and Drew Callin scored for the Falcons.

The next night, Bentley put up four goals on the Falcons en route to a 4-2 win. Zuffante scored once again for his team, while Jonathan Desbiens, Alexey Solovjev and Luke Santerno also tallied for the Falcons. Colin Bilek and Dominic Franco scored for the Black Knights.

Finally, the Niagara Purple Eagles swept their series over the Canisius Golden Griffins, who lost all three games they played this week.

Niagara scored twice on the power play in Thursday’s game. Dylan Mills registered a pair of goals, while Noah Delmas, Ludwig Stenlund and Johnny Curran also scored for Niagara. Brian Wilson made 27 saves for the Purple Eagles. In his return to the net, Blake Weyrick had 24 saves in the 5-2 loss.

The Purple Eagles continued their dominance on home ice Saturday, topping Canisius by a score of 9-6. Reed Robinson had a hat trick for Niagara, who also received goals from Stenlund (2), Delmas, Chris Harpur, Eric Cooley and Kris Spriggs. Twelve different Niagara players registered at least a point in the big win.

Logan Gestro, J.D. Pogue, Keith Obssuth, Mitch Martan, Austin Alger and Nick Hutchison all scored for the Griffs, who are now on a three-game losing streak after falling to RIT earlier in the week.

The Tigers, meanwhile, only had one game this week, but used it to extend their winning streak to three games. Gabe Valenzuela and Will Calverley scored for the Tigers, who got two goals in exactly three minutes in the second period. Logan Drackett made 25 saves in his first collegiate shutout.

Holy Cross fell to No. 4 UMass 3-1 in their lone game of the week. Jack Surowiec had the only goal for the Crusaders, while Erik Gordon had 36 saves in net.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings:

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

Comment on this Post ...

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 13

Posted: November 13th, 2018 / by Jashvina Shah

Another week, another question of what’s really going on. There are a few teams that have been successful since October – like UMass and Arizona State, although we still haven’t figured out what’s “for real.” I actually believe UMass is for real, but I guess we’ll find out about that soon.

Big Ten play has begun, but so far it’s been hard to see who’s acrually better than who. We’ll find out soon, hopefully. 

Notre Dame has settled down 

It was hard not to wonder what happened when the Fighting Irish surrendered six goals to Mercyhurst en route to the Ice Breaker tournament championship. And it was still early enough in the season to wonder if that would be a trend for Notre Dame.

The Fightinng Irish haven’t allowed more than three goals since, and Cale Morris’ save percentage is resting at .927. Also those two three-goal games all came against Minnesota-Duluth.

The Fighting Irish that have barely allowed more than two goals per game and are mostly keeping opponents off the scoreboard more closely resemble the Fighting Irish we knew from later on last season as well as the Fighting Irish that I chose to finish first. 

It’s not unusual for teams to have uncharacteristic games at any point in the season, especially in the start, but when these games happen at seaosn’s start we don’t yet know if that’s how the team will actually play. Now we know it was just a blip for Notre Dame.

Daniel Lebedeff

Before the season started, Badgers head coach Tony Granato spoke highly of Lebedeff. The Badgers have badly needed good goaltending, especially with the young teams Wisconsin seems to be getting each year. There was hope, after St. Lawrence transfer Kyle Hayton wasn’t unable to fill the role last year, that Lebedeff will. 

I watched last Friday’s Gophers-Badgers border battle. He earned the loss but didn’t get any help from his team, which largely looked confused. One of his players also pushed a Gopher into him on a Minnesota goal, so it’s hard to fault him for that one. 

At .927 he is tied for second in Big Ten save percentages. He’s started the last three games and has played in the last six after not playing for the first three.

Penn State’s offense

The Nittany Lions have been scoring, a lot. It’s not surprising because that’s been an asset for them over the past few years. But Nikita Pavlychev and Alex Limoges have 16 points each, which currently ranks second nationally. The Nittany Lions have five of the country’s top six scorers and Penn State is averaging 5.78 goals per game, which is first nationally. 

Penn State is still averaging the most shots per game, with 42.67 shots on goal per game. They’re converting 13.5 percent of those chances, which is third nationally. That’s important, because a few years ago Penn State was shooting the puck heavily but not converting as high a number of those shots. 

Comment on this Post ...

Atlantic Hockey Notebook 11/12

Posted: November 12th, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

Air Force and RIT both captured a pair of wins this past weekend in Atlantic Hockey action, while Sacred Heart split its first conference action against Army West Point. Elsewhere, Holy Cross and Niagara split one game of their series and tied the other, and  Canisius beat ECAC opponent Clarkson.

Finally, Robert Morris dropped a pair of games to Penn State. AIC also went winless this weekend against RIT, while Bentley fell twice to Air Force. Mercyhurst won their lone game of the weekend, a non-conference matchup with St. Lawrence.

The Purple Eagles’ 6-3 win Friday was powered by five straight goals. Though they found themselves down 2-0 12:22 into the game, Niagara went on to score five times in a span of 17:48 (from 19:02 of the first to 16:46 of the second) to put themselves in a good position to secure a win. Kris Spriggs registered a pair of goals, while Noah Delmas, Jared Brandt, Jon Hill and Johnny Curran also scored.

In the rematch, Niagara got on the board first with a shorthanded tally, but this time, it was Holy Cross who would score three straight goals. Spencer Trapp tied the game on the power play, with Kevin Darrar and Logan Ferguson adding goals later in the second frame. Niagara received goals from Nick Farmer, Reed Robinson and Luke Edgerton to push the Crusaders to a tie.

Air Force put up eight goals in two nights to capture a pair of wins over the Bentley Falcons. Evan Feno scored twice, and Evan Giesler and Walker Sommer added goals, en route to a 4-2 win Friday. Bentley got on the board first Saturday on a goal by Brendan Hamblet, but Air Force scored four unanswered goals to capture another win.

Giesler added another goal, with Kyle Haak, Matt Pulver and Kieran Durgan also scoring. Zach Larocque had to make only 12 saves in the win.

On Friday night, the Sacred Heart Pioneers scored every way: even-strength, power-play and shorthanded – to steal a 4-2 win over Army West Point. Ryan Steele, Marc Johnstone, Austin Mcllmurray and Jason Cotton all scored for the Pioneers, while Brendan Soucie and Trevor Fidler tallied for Army.

Army rallied back the following night for a 4-1 win. Dominic Franco had a pair of goals, with Zach Evancho and Tipper Higgins also scoring. Marcel Godbout had the lone goal for Sacred Heart. Dalton MacAfee also had a pair of assists.

Elsewhere, RIT overpowered AIC in consecutive nights. Alden Dupuis scored shorthanded to put the Tigers up in the first period Friday night. The Yellow Jackets tied the game early in the third on a goal by Hugo Reinhardt, but Darren Brady scored less than three minutes later to regain the RIT lead, and the Tigers held on.

The following night, the Tigers found themselves up 4-0 early in the second period before AIC finally got on the board. The Tigers would add one more later in the second period before allowing the Yellow Jackets to get one more with just four seconds left in regulation. Erik Brown and Jake Hamacher each had a pair of goals, while Abbott Girduckis added a goal in the win.

In non-conference action, Robert Morris dropped 7-2 and 11-6 decisions to the number-eight ranked Penn State. Alex Tonge and Grant Hebert both scored in the first loss. Saturday night, the Colonials were keeping pace with the Nittany Lions, trading goals in the first period and early into the second. Halfway through the middle frame, Penn State took charge and scored seven straight goals to take a commanding lead.

Tonge registered a hat trick in Saturday’s loss. Luke Lynch, Nick Prkusic and Aidan Spellacy also scored.

Finally, Canisius beat Clarkson by a score of 6-3, thanks to four power-play goals. Though the Golden Knights got out to a quick 2-0 lead, the Griffs scored five straight to take an important lead halfway through the game. Dylan McLaughlin had a pair of goals, while Cameron Heath, Lee Lapid, Austin Alger and Nick Hutchison also scored.

Here are the current Atlantic Hockey standings:

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

Comment on this Post ...

ECAC Notebook: Nov. 12

Posted: November 12th, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

Another week, another one filled with interesting results. The Princeton Tigers appear to be the team to beat in the ECAC right now. The Tigers are 3-0-1 in the league and recently seem to score just for fun.  Behind them, a mess of teams has been on-again, off-again in recent weeks. Like Quinnipiac and Dartmouth. The Big Green lost to Brown on Friday, but beat Yale on Saturday. Likewise, Quinnipiac defeated RPI and lost to Union.

Since the RPI sweep, the Dutchmen have just a lone loss against Princeton. It is easy to see now: Those losses to the Engineers will prove costly. Cornell is obviously a team to watch, but the team has only played two league games. The Big Red swept Northern Michigan this weekend to make it four straight wins. Colgate deserved a better fate on Saturday against Ohio State, while Brown has looked better so far.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...