tries to take something positive from a tough loss to Dartmouth
game featuring a dramatic third-period comeback can be wildly
entertaining for fans, and can be a springboard for future
success for the team that comes away with the win.
what about the team that blew 7-3 and 8-5 leads? What happens
now to New Hampshire, a team that has been cruising along
in the top 10 all season, only to lose that stunner against
in-state rival Dartmouth last week?
think it’s a good thing that it happened now and we
got it out of the way, to be honest,” said senior
forward Preston Callander. “Things were almost going
too smoothly. That game pushed us in the right direction.”
perspective helped head coach Dick Umile – who, like
his players, acknowledged that he never experienced a game
quite like the Dartmouth loss – use that experience
to deliver a message. After two days of practice and a players-only
team meeting, the Wildcats turned in an impressive 8-2 win
return to Hockey East play exclusively for the rest of the
regular season, including a showdown with No. 2 Boston College
on Saturday, the Wildcats hope the lessons of last Wednesday
have been learned.
offense has been good, but you can’t just forget about
defense,” Umile said. “You can never not play
defense, especially against a good team like Dartmouth.
You hope that it can be a teaching tool. You always have
to play defense.”
players, to their credit, got the message.
of the things was that we were taking defense for granted,”
Callander said. “The whole team was – we were
expecting our goaltenders to bail us out and we were leaving
them in impossible situations.”
that message received, the seventh-ranked Wildcats could
become even more dangerous in the Hockey East race. They’ve
been a good defensive team for most of the year –
their 2.10 goals against per game ranks third in Hockey
East play, and other than the Dartmouth aberration, they
have gone two months without giving up more than three goals
offense, meanwhile, hasn’t been a concern, led by
the first line of Callander, Sean Collins and Brett Hemingway.
They rank 1-2-3 among Hockey East players in scoring, and
they are ably supported by players like defenseman Brian
Yandle and forwards Daniel Winnik and Jacob Micflikier.
in Hockey East New Hampshire stands in third place, points-wise,
but the Wildcats have the conference’s best winning
percentage. Saturday’s meeting with BC, featuring
the conference’s two teams with one loss, could help
determine the conference championship – not to mention
whether UNH has successfully learned its lesson.
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Returns – Bret Tyler made a big splash –
especially considering his 5-foot-8 frame – early
this season for Maine, showing an ability to move the puck
and jump into the play. Esteemed Boston Herald reporter
John Connolly went so far as to compare the former Junior
Bruins star to Chris Imes, the one-time Black Bear All-American.
time, however, Tyler's size seemed to catch up with him,
hurting his defensive zone play. And his offensive numbers,
with just six points entering last weekend, weren't reflecting
earned Tyler healthy scratch status for three straight games
as the Black Bears recovered from a three-game winless skid.
But when head coach Tim Whitehead plugged him back in the
lineup Saturday night at UMass, he made the most of his
scored two goals, his second and third of the year, to lift
Maine to a 5-2 win. His second, on the power play midway
through the second period, showed the kind of offensive
savvy that makes him valuable. With Mike Hamilton providing
a screen in front, Tyler didn't try to blast a slap shot
from the point – instead, he put an accurate wrist
shot on net that gave his team a 3-2 lead.
like Imes might have done.
– A scoreless tie – just the second
in school history – was a strange way for UMass Lowell
to wrap up its non-conference schedule (at 9-0-1) and extend
its unbeaten streak to 12 games (9-0-3).
oddities: the River Hawks used two goalies to record the
shutout. Chris Davidson pitched a scoreless first period
as a surprise starter before yielding to impressive freshman
Peter Vetri to start the second.
was late for warmups, and you can't have your goalie late
for warmups," head coach Blaise MacDonald told the
Lowell Sun. "He had a valid reason, as it
turned out. I told him he would play at some point, but
that he wouldn't start."
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Boston University at Maine (Fri.-Sat.)
two teams have a well-earned reputation for good defense
over the past few years, but right now they stand
1-2 in conference offense. That could make for some
exciting hockey, and both games are available on NESN
if you can't make the trip north.
You're There: Wear blue on Friday if you want to fit
in with the crowd. It's Maine's first "Go Blue
Day" of the spring semester.
For our money, Steve Rushin is right
up there with Gary Smith as the best writer on the
Sports Illustrated staff. But Rushin, despite his
Minnesota roots, might have gained a slight edge with
his terrific take on the BC-BU rivalry in
this week's issue (subscription required).
With UMass Lowell and Boston College, especially,
Hockey East has had some streaking teams lately. But
with the good streaks also come the bad, and as Merrimack
and Providence enter this weekend without
wins in their last four games, it's not hard to see
why. Both have scored just five goals in their four-game
Nine current and future Boston College Eagles dot
the mid-term rankings for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft,
released this week by Central Scouting. Dan Bertram, at
No. 32 among North American skaters, leads all current Hockey
East players. Another entry in the rich-get-richer category
comes from Maine goaltending recruit Ben Bishop, the seventh-ranked
North American goalie. The Black Bears, of course, already
boast junior Jimmy Howard and highly regarded freshman Matt
Lundin in net.
With seven weeks left in the regular season, the race for
the Hockey East scoring crown is wide open: seven players
are within two points of the league lead.
Congratulations to Peter Trovato from UMass, one of five
finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. Trovato founded
the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund which honors the
sacrifices of the state's soldiers in the war on terrorism.
Like Maine's Bret Tyler (above), Carter Lee of Northeastern
responded to his first ice time in a while with two goals.
Lee had a much longer wait than Tyler, however, as he played
Saturday night against Providence for the first time since
Nov. 23. Lee, who head coach Bruce Crowder says has an NHL
shot, displayed it with the first two goals of his career
in the 6-0 win.
Just a few more days to visit hobeybaker.com
and nominate your favorite players for consideration in
Vote for Hobey. The nomination phase closes on Sunday.
INCH sends our condolences to Maine head coach Tim Whitehead
and his family. Whitehead lost his mother, 87-year-old Eleanor
Ferguson Whitehead, last week. Memorial contributions in
her memory can be sent to: Ross Manor, 758 Broadway, Bangor,
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this