October 9, 2006
THE BIG STORY
East goaltenders, none of whom are named Cory Schneider.
Of the handful of teams playing real games this weekend,
Vermont's Joe Fallon and Maine's Ben Bishop (pictured,
right) may have been the standouts. Fallon stopped 54
of the 55 shots he faced as the Catamounts won the Ice
Breaker Tournament in Oxford, Ohio, beating Colgate
and Miami. At the Hall of Fame Game in St. Paul, Bishop
made 29 saves (16 of them in the second period, when
the Black Bears were outshot 16-3) as Maine beat Minnesota,
Schneider, by the way, made six saves
over two periods of Boston College's exhibition win
against St. Thomas University of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
The opening weekend was a mixed bag for
the ECAC Hockey League, what with league favorite Colgate
dropping a pair of games at the Ice Breaker and St.
Lawrence losing to Niagara at home, but two of the league's
teams deserve a mention here.
One is Union, which traveled to Big Rapids,
Mich., and swept host Ferris State. Goaltender Justin
Mrazek was the hero on Friday – his 41 saves were
the difference in the 2-0 Dutchmen win. Mrazek wasn't
quite as sharp the following night but he was just as
busy, turning aside 35 of 40 Bulldog shots. His teammates
were there to help, however, scoring six times in game's
first 35 minutes en route to a 6-5 triumph.
• Last week, Minnesota coach Don
Lucia announced that goaltender Kellen Briggs was
suspended three games for breaking an unspecified team
rule. Umm ... if the rule was unspecified, how was Briggs
to know he did anything wrong?
• Air Force hasn't beaten Colorado
College since 1985, but the Tigers held on (yup, you
read that correctly) to beat the Falcons, 2-1, at Cadet
Ice Arena last Friday. Air Force, which outshot CC by
a 26-19 margin, squandered five power-play chances –
including a five-minute opportunity – in the first
period. Even more deflating was a minor penalty the
Falcons incurred when a fan chucked a hat on the ice
shortly after Eric Ehn scored to cut the Tigers' lead
in half. It was the second time someone had lobbed an
object on the rink during play. CC didn't score on the
power play, but any momentum Air Force gained from Ehn's
goal was long gone.
Wins this past weekend that'll look good in March
We're a long, long way away from picking
teams for the NCAA Tournament. But based on the expectations
for the teams they beat, Maine's win against Minnesota
and Vermont's victories over Colgate and Miami ought
to come in pretty handy in down the road. The Black
Bears can tack on a couple more resume builders this
weekend when defending CHA champion Bemidji State travels
to Orono for a pair of games.
IT HAPPENED IN ...
... Green Bay, Wis.:
Brian Elliott made 23 saves, leading Wisconsin to a
3-0 win over Northern Michigan at the Resch Center.
In three starts in Titletown, the Badger senior has
stopped all 78 shots he's faced.
... Grand Forks, N.D.: While
we're on the topic of Hobey Baker Award candidates,
sophomore forward Jonathan Toews – one INCH staffer's
pick to win the honor this season – scored three
goals and an assist in North Dakota's 4-2 win against
visiting Quinnipiac Saturday.
... Canton, N.Y.: Matt
Caruana's goal with 5:03 left in regulation was the
difference in Niagara's 4-3 win at St. Lawrence Saturday.
The Purple Eagles, in search of a candidate to replace
goalie Jeff Van Nynatten, last year's CHA Co-Player
of the Year, got 38 saves from INCH All-Name Team candidate
... Colorado Springs, Colo.: Not
to be outdone, Colorado College's Scott McCulloch scored
four times in the Tigers' 8-1 romp over Alabama-Huntsville
Saturday. The first three goals occurred in rare natural-hat-trick
fashion during a 22-minute stretch spanning the first
and second periods. McCulloch scored five goals in 42
games last season.