Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 23

Posted: February 23rd, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

Another weekend in the Big Ten, another slate of odd results. Well, most were expected actually, since Michigan beat Ferris State 5-2 and Michigan State swept Wisconsin. But the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions split the series. Penn State won the first game 6-1 and then Ohio State win 7-4.

But series splits with complete score reversals seems to be the norm for the Big Ten this year.

Since the Gophers were off and the Wolverines had a non-conference opponent, there were only two series to draw from. But it hasn’t helped determine which of the top teams are better. Although with the win, Penn State moved three points behind Michigan and four points behind Minnesota.

The Gophers and Wolverines battle this week for the first spot in the conference.

(After the jump: Wisconsin is the worst team in the Big Ten, the bye is very important and something to remember about the Big Ten teams in the PWR)

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Maine Beats Merrimack in Crazy Finish at Alfond

Posted: February 20th, 2016 / by Mike McMahon

ORONO, Maine — For 48:48, Merrimack and Maine played scoreless hockey on Saturday night at Alfond Arena.

Then, the floodgates opened.

Five goals in the final 13 minutes, including overtime, saw the Black Bears take a 3-2 win from the Warriors on senior night. Daniel Perez scored the game-winner for Maine after Merrimack struck twice with an extra attacker inside of the final two minutes.

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Yale and SLU Play an Interesting One at Ingalls

Posted: February 20th, 2016 / by Josh Seguin

It could have been billed as a matchup of two of the best goalies in college hockey, Kyle Hayton and Alex Lyon, but it turned out to be something else. Both Hayton and Lyon had their struggles, although Hayton was the better of the two most of the night.  Yale got a late winner with about a minute remaining from Ryan Obuchowski on a two on one pass from Joe Snively. Yale continued its hot streak defeating St. Lawrence, 4-3.

Yale had a marked advantage in shots and possession for much of the first two periods, but the Saints came on late despite allowing Yale a late winner.The Bulldogs outshot its opponent, 34-19 and out-attempted them 66-38 .In the thrid period the Saints held an 8-6 shot advantage, as it was the better team after Yale took a 3-2 lead.

The Bulldogs have now won six in a row and have just one loss since December 5th, a stretch of 15 games that has seen them go 12-1-2. Yale also clinched a first round bye and a home series in the ECAC quarterfinals. Yale still has a shot at the ECAC regular season crown, but it sits five points behind rival Quinnipiac with just three games to go. The two will play in Hamden next week, which might not mean much in terms of the standings if the Bobcats clinch tonight with a win.

St. Lawrence, who had also been hot, dropped its second game to Yale in about a month. The Saints entered with a six game run of their own, at 5-0-1. It is in a tie for the all important fourth place in the ECAC standings with Dartmouth. Those two will play next week in Canton, which could decide the last team that gets a bye. Read the rest of this entry »

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NCHC Saturday Feb. 20: Three Things

Posted: February 20th, 2016 / by Avash Kalra

In place of traditional weekend previews, check this space on the CHN blog each Saturday for developing mid-weekend NCHC storylines and observations from Friday night games.

Friday’s action saw St. Cloud State (4-1 at Omaha) and Miami (also 4-1, at Western Michigan) win on the road, while North Dakota won a 2-1 OT thriller in Grand Forks against Minnesota-Duluth in a game with plenty of conference standings and national [[Pairwise]] implications.  Meanwhile, reigning CHN Team of the Week Denver was idle following its Thursday night 4-1 win at Colorado College, as both teams practiced outdoors in anticipation for this evening’s “Battle on Blake” at the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field — the only outdoor college hockey game this season, and the first in the long and storied Gold Pan rivalry. Check out NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton’s thoughts about the game, and other conference topics, here.

1. Penalty Shot?

The most talked about moment of last night’s NCHC action was the decisive call in overtime in Grand Forks, when UND sophomore Austin Poganski was awarded a penalty shot after Minnesota-Duluth junior defenseman Carson Soucy took out Poganski on a partial breakaway to the net. The play (of course) happened quickly, but with the benefit of slow-motion replay, it appears that at the time of Soucy’s tripping infraction, he was parallel with Poganski — and if that’s the case, the play doesn’t meet one of the four conditions that “must be met in order for the Referee to award a penalty shot,” namely, that the “infraction must have been committed from behind.”

The other required criteria are that the infraction must have taken place in the neutral zone or attacking zone (yes, it occurred as Poganski collected a turnover and raced into the offensive zone), the player in possession and control must have been denied a reasonable chance to score (yes, certainly*), and the player must have had no opposing player between himself and the goaltender (yes).

*Of note, the NCAA rulebook notes, with regard to this criteria, that “the fact that he got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from the penalty shot consideration criteria” (a common misconception).

Predictably, each head coach had different opinions regarding the correctness of the call. Sandelin told Matt Wellens of the Duluth Tribune: “I don’t agree with the call at the end. It was a penalty, but I don’t agree with the penalty shot at all. I don’t care if that gets me in trouble. It certainly was a penalty and they capitalized.”

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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 19

Posted: February 19th, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

This weekend features five teams in action, with a little Big Ten break as the Wolverines face Ferris State. The Gophers are the lone team off this weekend, taking time off before battling Michigan for first place next weekend. Ohio State travels to Penn State while Wisconsin and Michigan State will battle to stay out of last place.

Since neither Michigan or Minnesota is playing in conference this weekend, the two won’t move in the conference standings. But Penn Sate, which is six points out of second, could reach Michigan in the standings with two regulation wins over Ohio State. Read the rest of this entry »

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Harvard Recruit Oliver Wahlstrom Injured at Youth Olympics

Posted: February 18th, 2016 / by Mike McMahon

Oliver Wahlstrom, a Harvard recruit, was taken off the ice on a stretcher Thursday in a game against Russia at the Youth Olympics in Norway.

According to Brian Pinelli, an Olympic reporter for the USA Today and New York Times, Wahlstrom was moving his arms and legs after taking a hit to the head from Russia’s Andrei Svechnikov.

Wahlstrom made headlines in 2014 when he committed to Maine as a 13-year-old. Last summer he decommitted from the Black Bears, where his father was a forward from 1988-90, and later committed to Harvard this past August. A top prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft, Wahlstrom is currently playing for the Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget Prep team.

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Projected Hockey East Standings Using KRACH (2/16/16)

Posted: February 16th, 2016 / by Mike McMahon
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Projected Hockey East standings using the KRACH rating system.

With two weeks to go in the regular season, Boston College is still projected to finish atop the Hockey East standings, despite Notre Dame pulling ahead of the Eagles this past weekend.

Using the KRACH to project points earned for every Hockey East team in the final two weekends, the Eagles, thanks to a much easier schedule than the Fighting Irish, are projected to win the league by more than one point.

Aside from that, the standings look much like they do right now. Boston University is projected to be the first team out of the first-round bye spots, with Lowell edging the Terriers by one point. Northeastern continues to surge here at the end of the season, and they also have the league’s easiest schedule remaining, but they can’t catch the Terriers regardless of how well they do. What Northeastern’s play, plus easy schedule, does for the Huskies is give them some breathing room with Vermont.

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Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/15

Posted: February 15th, 2016 / by Josh Seguin

The most surprising result of the weekend was obviously Quinnipiac dropping its first league game, but it was inevitable that it would drop a game. The Bobcats still have a comfortable lead in the ECAC standings, up five points on New Haven rival, Yale. The Bulldogs are hard charging to the race and it has become the team that we thought it would be in the preseason. it has five straight wins and has just one loss in its past 14 games. Harvard, who sits in third is two points back, dropping a game against RPI on Friday and rebounding on Saturday.

St. Lawrence had the most impressive weekend in the league, as it became the giant slayer in finally taking down the league undefeated Bobcats who had just a loss entering the week. The weekend sweep moved the Saints into the  final bye position and leaves it two points clear of Dartmouth and RPI who share the fifth place spot. Clarkson and plunging Cornell are the other two teams in contention for the byes, as the Golden Knights are three points back and the Big Red are four points back. It seems unlikely that either of those teams can recover, because it would have to gain points and pass 3-4 teams to get the bye. Union, who sits five points behind eighth is the only team that can mathematically get to eighth from the bottom four, but it is unlikely. Colgate, Brown and Princeton are assured of travelling the first round of the ECAC tournament. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 15

Posted: February 15th, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

The weekend of Big Ten play provided a few surprises. All three series were close, and I think Michigan State and Wisconsin surprised with their play. Michigan defeated Wisconsin and then tied the Badgers while Penn State defeated Michigan State on Friday before skating to a 2-2 tie. The Gophers swept Ohio State again by a pair of one-goal games, including an overtime decision on Friday.

Minnesota holds the first spot in the Big Ten, one point ahead of Michigan. Penn State is six points behind the Wolverines while Ohio State still has 12 points. The Spartans are in fifth with 10 points and Wisconsin is still in the basement with seven. And I know I only talk about wins, losses and ties, but shootouts do factor into the Big Ten standings.

The PairWise was shaken up over the weekend, with some of college hockey’s best teams failing to win. Michigan is at sixth right now, Penn State is 14th and Minnesota is 16th.

It’s kind of hard to say if the Big Ten’s bottom teams are better than we thought they were/if they’re improving or if the Big Ten’s top teams aren’t as powerful as we thought they were.

(After the jump: What’s up with Wisconsin, the battle for first, Michigan State’s the dangerous team)

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Quinnipiac’s First Conference Loss Almost Seemed Inevitable

Posted: February 13th, 2016 / by Josh Seguin

It was bound to happen and in all honesty Quinnipiac’s first loss in the ECAC has been brewing for some time. The Bobcats probably should have lost a few games in recent weeks. There was the miracle goal with 9.8 seconds left against RPI, which probably was put in by an Engineer defender, that provided a tie in that game. Then there was the comeback against Dartmouth from down three goals in the third period, which wasn’t all that special but more of a bloodbath. Before those games it was a win against Princeton, where it trailed by a pair in the second period.

To say the Bobcats were playing well, would have been a wrong assumption, but the fact they got this far without a conference loss is notable and an accomplishment. Since the break, whether it be complacency or overconfidence or peaking too early, QU just hasn’t been the team that it was in the first half of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

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