Notre Dame goaltender
Morgan Cey ducked out of the Joyce Center quickly last Thursday,
eluding reporters who had just watched him make 38 saves in a season-opening,
2-2 draw with WCHA favorite Minnesota Duluth.
would have frustrated the fourth estate, but Cey had a couple solid
excuses working in his favor. It was nearly 11 p.m. and Fighting
Irish players, unlike the visiting Bulldogs, had to attend classes
the next day. Besides, his performance on the ice spoke volumes.
Dame's Morgan Cey missed most of the 2003-04 season with a knee
A native of
Wilkie, Saskatchewan, Cey started 70 of 79 games in his first two
years at Notre Dame. Coming into this season, however, he was virtually
an afterthought – a knee injury limited him to just 14 appearances
last year and opened the door for David Brown, who went on to post
a 14-7-3 record, a 2.32 goals against average and a .925 save percentage
in his stead.
is the strongest and healthiest Morgan has been in his four years
here,” Fighting Irish coach Dave Poulin said. “The strength
and lateral movement, particularly the leg strength and the hip
strength…he’s better than he’s ever been.”
While the physical
recovery from the knee problem took time, Cey’s mental recovery
took even longer.
in as a freshman and did really, really well,” senior forward
Brad Wanchulak said. “He never really had to work that hard.
Dave came in and challenged him a little bit. Then with the injury,
it was more of a mental battle for him.”
UMD relentlessly in the third period of last week’s game.
The Bulldogs got a goal from forward Tim Stapleton with less than
eight minutes remaining to force overtime, but there likely wouldn’t
have been an extra session without Cey, who stopped 19 shots in
the final period.
The strong showing
was critical for the Irish, who need their veteran netminders to
shoulder the load early on this season as they break in three freshmen
on defense against a brutal schedule – Notre Dame faces another
NCAA Tournament qualifier, Miami, for two games this weekend. Funny,
then, that the rookies playing in front of him probably have more
experience at their positions than Cey does at his.
start playing goalie until he was 14,” Poulin said. He’s
only nine years into his career. From a technical standpoint, he’s
still at the neophyte stage of goaltending.”
Though he may
not have mastered the many nuances required of goaltenders, Cey’s
vision and rebound control have improved, he’s very good at
squaring his body to shooters and at 6-foot-3, he appears to fill
the entire net. And while it’s unlikely that he’ll return
to his former role as the workhorse in goal, a healthy, productive
Cey is crucial if Notre Dame is to return to the NCAA Tournament
for a second straight season.
pretty much the key to our team,” Wanchulak said. “He
determines how far we go.”
– Mike Eidelbes
CRACKED REAR VIEW
A trip to Boston,
site of last April's NCAA title-winning effort, must bring back
good memories for the Denver Pioneers, right? Not if their coach
can help it.
return to Beantown this weekend for games with Boston College and
Northeastern. Other than staying at the same hotel that housed them
six months ago, DU coach George Gwozdecky is hoping to put the Amazing
April completely behind them and concentrate on improving their
current 0-1-0 record.
year's team accomplished is something we're very proud of, but it
was a different time, a different team, and different chemistry,"
said Gwozdecky after his team's season-opening 5-2 loss to Minnesota
in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game. "This team needs to establish
a new identity and its own identity."
So there will
be no seeking out the same restaurants that fed the Pioneers title
run, or visiting the same off-day sites they visited in April. With
the Bruins not playing, there won't even be any reason to visit
the arena where they won the title.
we're playing at BC's arena and Northeastern's arena, not the Fleet
Center, but I'm glad we're not trying to repeat any of the things
we did last year," Gwozdecky said. "We need to establish
new leaders and new chemistry, and we need to do it ASAP."
– Jess Myers
winless streak to start the season last year was better measured
in months (two and a half) than games (11). That made the Huskies’
season-opening win over No. 1 Michigan that much sweeter.
WE'D PAY TO
WATCH ON SATELLITE
Hampshire at Michigan (Friday)
Two programs accustomed to playing into April met
in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year in Manchester,
N.H. A day after Michigan’s impressive win over the
Wildcats they were out of the tournament.
They both want happier endings this year
– preferably in Columbus, site of the Frozen Four.
They meet Friday in Yost Ice Arena for a fantastic early-season
test between two teams that like to play offensive hockey
and have the talent to do it well.
WE'D PAY TO
WATCH IN PERSON
vs. Minnesota (Friday)
Pay to watch this one and chances are you’re
buying a long plane ride, as these teams meet in the first
round of the Nye Frontier Classic in Anchorage, Alaska. But
it could be worth it.
The only two hat tricks of the young season came courtesy
of Massachusetts’ Matt Anderson and Minnesota’s
Ryan Potulny. Both are sophomores who missed significant time
last year to injury (in Anderson’s case, the whole year),
and both will be counted on to lift a team that suffered significant
– if not devastating – losses to graduation and
This is a compelling matchup even without the similarities
between Potulny and Anderson, but their efforts on the first
weekend of the season ensure that they’ll share the
spotlight under the Northern Lights. The winner of this one
plays the winner of Alaska Anchorage and Canisius and will
be heavy favorites to take the tournament title.
What bodes well
for the Huskies and head coach Bruce Crowder is not just that they
won, but how they won. Senior goaltender Keni Gibson, who was shaky
for long stretches last year, made 31 saves in the 4-2 win. He will
need to continue his strong play this weekend as Northeastern hosts
defending national champion Denver.
was very solid,” Crowder said. “He made the first save,
and our defense did a good job, not forcing him to make three or
four more saves. As much as Keni needs to have a big year, our whole
defense needs a big year, and they played well.”
to sophomore Adam Geragosian in net for Saturday’s 6-2 loss
to Miami – following up on a plan to play everyone he brought
on the trip to Dayton, Ohio – but there’s no doubt that
Gibson is the team’s No. 1 goaltender.
be back in goal against Denver and for the foreseeable future, especially
since the Huskies don’t play on back-to-back nights until
Nov. 19-20. By the time that series with New Hampshire arrives,
they will have played Michigan, Miami, Denver, Colgate, North Dakota
and Maine, among others. It’s a star-studded lineup that could
be more than a little daunting for a team that has finished last
in Hockey East for two years in a row.
for the kids,” Crowder said of his challenging schedule. “They’re
going to get great experience playing against those teams, and we’re
going to be better in that first [Hockey East] game against Maine.
And [it’s] especially for the students here, who don’t
get a chance to see teams like Denver and North Dakota – they
should be great games.”
– Nate Ewell
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
best remembered as coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and
winner of three NCAA championships behind the Minnesota bench, but
St. Cloud State will honor the late Herb Brooks
this weekend by dedicating the street that abuts the Huskies’
home rink in his name.
Brooks was the
Huskies’ head coach in 1986-87, recording a 25-10-1 mark and
piloting SCSU to third place in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
He also was a major force behind the Huskies’ move to the
Division I level the following season. Herb Brooks Way will be formally
christened at a ceremony between periods of the Huskies’ game
against Northern Michigan Friday.
drafted New Hampshire’s Sean Collins
in the ninth round back in 2002, before Martin St. Louis made
it trendy, instead of terrifying, to stand 5-foot-9, 170 pounds.
packs tremendous offensive gifts into that undersized frame,
and has averaged nearly a point per game in four years in
Durham. Last weekend, playing without longtime teammate
Steve Saviano for the first time in three years, Collins
showed once again that he’s more than a skilled sidekick.
Collins had five points as the Wildcats captured the Ice
Breaker Tournament title, including two goals in a 25-second
span in the third period of Sunday’s championship
Hampshire is home to some pretty good football these days, with
the Wildcats ascending to No. 7 in the Division I-AA ranks. Their
hockey team, with an off day between games at Michigan and Michigan
State, will get a chance to see college football on an even
bigger stage Saturday at Spartan Stadium for the MSU-Minnesota
football game. Perhaps linemates Sean Collins and Justin Aikins
can pick up a few things from Gopher tailbacks Marion Barber and
Laurence Maroney before they head over to Munn Ice Arena for practice
after the game.
• St. Lawrence also visits Michigan State,
where athletic director and former hockey coach Ron Mason is a Saint
alumnus. Despite that connection, the two teams haven’t played
in East Lansing since well before Mason played at St. Lawrence –
Dec. 5, 1952 was their last meeting at Michigan State.
• Colgate defenseman Mike Campaner had a pretty impressive
weekend when you consider his team-high five points (all
assists) in the Raiders’ two-game sweep at Ferris State. It
gets better, though, upon closer examination: Campaner finished
+7 on the weekend, on the ice for all seven of Colgate's even-strength
or short-handed goals, and no goals against.
sixth goal against Northeastern was an empty netter, as the
Huskies pulled the goalie even though they already trailed by three.
“We thought we might as well try something,” Crowder
said. “We set it up so that the goaltender could change on
the fly when they got the puck, but they got one before he could
get back in. Oh well.”
• In a
move that could have serious ramifications for College Hockey
America, the NCAA’s Division I Championships and
Competition Cabinet last month reaffirmed its requirement that conferences
must have a minimum of six members in order for its champion to
earn automatic qualification into an NCAA tournament. If the conference
drops below six members, it loses the auto-bid.
has six members – Air Force, Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji State,
Niagara, Robert Morris and Wayne State. However, Niagara unsuccessfully
applied to join the ECACHL during the summer, and rumors abound
that the Purple Eagles, Robert Morris and Air Force could all be
considered as future members of Atlantic Hockey.
International, fresh off a 5-25-4 showing and a last-place finish
in Atlantic Hockey last season, can ill afford to lose experienced
players. But that’s what happened, as senior goalie
Chad Davis left the team. Davis, who was expected to share
time with fellow senior Frank Novello, graduated earlier this year
and decided not to pursue his final year of eligibility. Novello
becomes the undisputed No. 1 now, with sophomore Matt Tourville
getting back-up time.
Dame’s Poulin has proved to be one of the college
game’s most quotable coaches. Following his team’s
tie against Minnesota Duluth last week, he showed he was in mid-season
form when asked about the abundance of penalties that resulted in
a combined 23 power play opportunities.
frustrating in the sense that you can’t get as many people
into the game as you’d like,” Poulin explained. “At
this level, very often your penalty killers are also the same guys
that are on your power play. It’s really funny…at some
points you wouldn’t mind declining some of those penalties.”
He went on to
laud his team’s penalty-killing unit: “[Penalty killing]
is a lot like cleaning. It’s hard work and you don’t
necessarily get a lot of glory for it. But if your house looks really
clean when it’s done, everyone is happy.”
this to a friend
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