off their first Hockey East win since before Halloween,
you had to imagine the post-game feeling at Providence Friday
night was one of jubilation, energy, and more than a little
bit of relief.
more than any of that, head coach Paul Pooley was basking
in what it felt like during the team's 3-2 win
was nice to be in a game like that, when we weren't coming
from behind," said Pooley. "It's a whole different
feeling. We really felt confident that we were going to
not to say there weren't nerve-wracking moments for the
Friars, despite jumping to 2-0 and 3-1 leads. A little over
midway through the third period Maine's Josh Soares scored
on a play where most in Schneider Arena expected an icing
call. It was waved off, Soares scored, and Providence could
feel shades of its controversial overtime loss at UMass
Lowell two weeks earlier.
was almost a sense of all right, here we go again,"
Pooley said. "But our guys have been good, they didn't
that lead was crucial for the Friars, who could finish seventh
or eighth in the standings with three games to play. They
are 7-4-3 in games when they score first; 1-15-1 when their
from the power play could be just as important to getting
the lead. Pooley emphasized the power play again in practice
this week, hoping to improve on a unit that's clicking on
13.2 percent of its chances, ranked last in the league.
biggest trouble has been the lack of a distributor at the
point, a la All-American Stephen Wood last year. Providence's
top-scoring defenseman this year is Eric Lundberg, with
11 points; Pooley has tried him and other defensemen at
the points, as well as forwards like sophomore Jamie Carroll,
but hasn't discovered the right combination yet.
their struggles, Providence remains one of the league's
hardest working teams, a theme reinforced by a handful of
opposing coaches and echoed by Pooley.
seniors have been good, our captains have been good, really
everyone has shown the character of our club," he said.
"We have a vision for our hockey club. We haven't reached
it yet, but our guys have kept working."
running out, but with some fast starts and power play support,
Pooley's got faith in his team.
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Mystery – There’s plenty in Hockey
East that we may never understand: Is there a good way to
pass the time on the drive up to Orono? Why does Providence
ever change its jersey? And how many ways can you mangle
the pronunciation of Conrad Hache’s last name?
the most puzzling question of all, at least this year, has
involved Boston College’s inability to put the puck
in the net. Why can’t the Eagles, with a league-high
36.8 shots per game, generate more than 3.17 goals per game?
trying to sink the 35-foot downhill putt every time,”
said head coach Jerry York. “Sometimes you just have
to put it close and then tap it in.”
hopes to combat the baffling 40- and 50-shot efforts that
result in just one or two goals – and, all too often
for his taste, ties and losses – by reinforcing the
importance of putting the puck on the net. It started at
Sunday’s practice, hours after the Eagles’ sweep
at the hands of UMass Lowell.
tried to emphasize that you don’t have to go top-shelf,
left-hand corner every time,” he said. “Sometimes
the five hole is a better option. Sometimes if you just
shoot the puck hard it will find its way through the goalie,
or to you or a teammate on the rebound.
been a little too high-risk,” he added. “We
just want to get it on goal.”
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
UMass Lowell at Maine (Fri.-Sat.) This
could be a preview of the 4 vs. 5 quarterfinal matchup,
although the red-hot River Hawks would like to change
the site. With two wins this weekend, Lowell could
overtake Maine for the fourth spot and potentially
move that playoff series to Tsongas Arena. T
Black Bears bounced back well from their 3-2 loss
to Providence, posting a 6-2 win on Saturday night.
They return to Alfond Arena, where they started the
season slowly but now boast a 10-game unbeaten streak.
They’d like nothing better than to ensure that
they will be back home in two weeks.
UNH’s first line is marvelous to watch, and
the trio led Hockey East in scoring for much of the
season. But the Wildcat who has done the most offensive
damage of late is sophomore Jacob Micflikier,
who has the skills to be one of the nation’s
best players, especially if he keeps improving at
his current pace.
Special teams have simply buried Massachusetts.
The Minutemen are last in league games in both power
play and penalty killing.
Is anyone – c'mon, anyone – surprised
that Boston University’s nine-game
unbeaten streak has coincided with the arrival of the Beanpot?
The success Merrimack had outside the league,
where the Warriors went 7-4-1, never translated to Hockey
East play. A big reason is the power play, which was a big
weapon for them a year ago. Merrimack had a 26.4 percent
success rate on the power play in non-league games, but
just 12.3 percent – next-to-last in the league –
in Hockey East.
Not long ago, UNH had three linemates ranked
1-2-3 among league scorers. Now a fourth Wildcat, sophomore
Jacob Micflikier, leads Hockey East in scoring with 28 points
in 20 league games. Micflikier, who also leads the league
with 14 goals, has been especially impressive lately, with
7-5—12 totals in his last four games.
Cory Schneider’s knee injury clouds Boston
College’s playoff goaltending scenario. If
the injury were to keep him out for three more weeks, Jerry
York said, it would be awfully tough to throw him back in
action in the FleetCenter or the NCAA Tournament.
not like a defenseman coming back, where he’s one
of six guys back there,” he said.
the Eagles’ other injuries, York is optimistic that
Greg Lauze can return to action soon with a brace on his
injured shoulder. Andrew Alberts is probably looking at
a return for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.
At the other end of the spectrum, Boston University
is enjoying the return of its stars from injury. Chris Bourque
hsa been back for a while from the knee injury suffered
at the World Junior Championship, but he certainly seemed
back at the top of his game last week. Meanwhile, John Curry
returned and posted three straight wins in goal.
Paul Pooley shrugs off thoughts that the Friars might be
hoping for any specific first-round matchup, like Boston
College who PC tied three times
this year. "We've got to focus on our game," he
said. "We're trying to catch UMass, trying to get as
many wins as we can."
John Yaros and Peter Vetri got a lot of attention –
co-Players of the Week honors – but don’t
overlook junior center Elias Godoy’s contributions
to UMass Lowell’s sweep of Boston
College. With 1-3—4, Godoy had a hand in
four of the River Hawks’ seven goals on the weekend,
and he now shares the team scoring lead with Ben Walter.
Perhaps most impressive, Godoy had three of his four points
at even strength. With Blaise MacDonald spreading his offensive
talent among his top three lines, the River Hawks are a
near-constant threat to score.
Massachusetts takes Hockey East’s
final dip outside of conference play before the NCAA Tournament
this weekend, traveling to Niagara for a Saturday game.
The Purple Eagles, who have lost twice to UMass
Lowell this season, will have played teams from
the UMass system almost as often as teams in their own conference.
Northeastern senior Tim Judy, a defensive
defenseman for his entire career on Huntington Ave., had
just 28 points in 92 games before the start of February.
Since then he’s got 3-7—10 in seven games. He
may be cursing that it's the shortest month of the year.
Between advance ticket sales and the cancellation of the
NHL season, Hockey East officials expect sold out crowds
on both nights of the Hockey East championship weekend at
the FleetCenter. With five, even six teams entering with
a legitimate shot at the title, the level of play should
live up to the expectations. It’s worth getting your
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this