Lou Lamoriello, Hockey East’s
first-ever commissioner, has done some incredible
things, not just for the league he helped establish,
but for all of hockey. His legacy lives on when teams
from Hockey East and the WCHA get together and plan
either a one-time meet-and-greet or a multiyear series.
One of Lamoriello’s most significant
orders of operation was to create an interlocking
schedule between the two leagues back when Hockey
East was starting up and looking for a bit of credibility
in 1983. Those days were recalled this weekend with
Colorado College and Denver visiting Boston University
After taking a trip down memory lane,
UMass coach Don Cahoon recalls the origin of the league
“I actually left Europe and came
back to the University of Lowell back in 1983, when
the league was formed,” Cahoon said. “I
became the recruiting coordinator out there, and it
seemed like we used to play every other weekend out
west. That did a great deal to create the rivalry
that you now see, and it enhanced both leagues. Certainly,
with Hockey East just starting up, it gave it instant
credibility on a national level. Certainly, the programs
that were in Hockey East were going to do that on
their own, but that just made it happen all the faster.
“This is great that we are able
to sustain that and having these interlocking games
is terrific. I think it’s wonderful for the
fans to come out and see these great programs up close
in person and recognize what we’re confronted
with when we go into their buildings and try to win
Both Boston University and UMass came
out victorious in thrillers on Friday night, and the
WCHA teams swept the pairings on Saturday, with three
of the four weekend slugfests decided by just one
Denver coach George Gwozdecky commented
not only on how closely the two leagues play each
other but also on how the two leagues almost mirror
each other’s style of play.
“How they play in Hockey East
is so similar [to the WCHA] compared to the old days
when the east and west played and the styles were
so completely different,” Gwozdecky said. “Nowadays,
good teams are good teams, whether they are in the
east or the west.”
After losing 4-3 to the Minutemen in
one of the more exciting games to date this season
on Friday night, Colorado College staved off two Terrier
goals in the final 90 seconds and eventually won with
a Brett Sterling lamplighter 52 seconds into overtime
on Saturday. CC coach Scott Owens noted how excited
his team was to play on the east coast for a change,
but that excitement may have also caused a few gray
hairs for the bench captain this weekend.
“It’s healthy for us to
get out here to play and for [Hockey East teams] to
swing out west,” Owens said. “These are
four very good teams, and for us it’s a chance
to get out. We play a lot on the road in our league,
but we don’t get a chance to play on the road
a lot in non-conference games. Our guys were excited
to come out even though it was Thanksgiving because
it was something new and something fresh.”
Obviously, the student-athletes aren’t
old enough to remember the heydays of the interlocking
schedule, but for a player like UMass captain Stephen
Werner, he was just excited to be a part of the biggest
win the team has seen in the last two years.
“I think we’ll definitely
remember the win,” Werner said. “A split
against those teams was good, but beating the third-ranked
team in the country was a huge step for our program
Young and old, everyone involved in
this weekend’s interleague activities was impressed.
Unfortunately, most of the nations top Division I
programs have their schedules set through 2008 and
into 2009, but if Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna
and WCHA head man Bruce McLeod could somehow work
out future matchups between the conferences, college
hockey as a whole would greatly benefit.
Think about it. This is the week of
the ACC – Big Ten Challenge in college basketball,
one of the most highly anticipated early-season mini-tournaments
featuring the two best leagues in the country; the
same is said about Hockey East and the WCHA.
College hockey has very limited television
exposure, especially at a national level, where TV
contracts are virtually non-existent. If these two
leagues can hook up their top teams like the ACC and
Big Ten, collegiate hockey would profit – and
it could capitalize by the NHL being in limbo right
now after the lockout.
It would also unify the eastern college
hockey world with that of the west, since the two
sides are so unfamiliar with each other due to lack
of exposure. Obviously, new rivalries would come about,
and after taking a glance through some arenas over
the past several years, it’s very clear that
every single one of these teams has a loyal fan base
that is willing to travel with its team.
The growth of these two conferences
in the last 20 years has been amazing; the original
interlocking schedule is an idea that could be revisited.
It definitely wouldn’t hurt.
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Bad News Black Bears –
As if losing three of their last four games
wasn’t bad enough, six Black Bears have recently
found themselves in a whirlwind of legal trouble stemming
from an alleged fight that happened inside an apartment
near the Orono campus.
According to the Bangor Daily News,
junior Mike Hamilton and sophomore Wes Clark were
charged on Monday, Nov. 14, with assault and aggravated
criminal trespass for a fight that happened Sunday,
Nov. 13. In addition, senior Travis Wright, junior
Brent Shepheard, sophomore Bret Tyler and sophomore
Rob Bellamy were all summonsed and charged with criminal
The group, which also included several
other students, showed up at the apartment where Hamilton’s
ex-girlfriend was with a member of the Maine baseball
team. An argument between Hamilton and the baseball
player escalated into a fight. Clark, Wright, Shepheard,
Tyler and Bellamy entered the apartment according
to what police told the paper, and Clark allegedly
punched and kicked the victim, who was taken to Eastern
Maine Medical Center in Bangor to receive stitches
over his left eye.
Hamilton and Clark were suspended indefinitely
by the team, while the other four received one-game
suspensions, which were served in Maine’s exhibition
game against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Nov. 19. Wright,
Tyler and Bellamy were all in the lineup in the team’s
loss to Vermont on Sunday.
“We’ll let the [legal] process
take its course. Until then, I don’t want [Hamilton
or Clark] wearing a jersey. Hopefully, everything
will be resolved before December 23 [the court date].
That’s a long time in limbo,” Maine coach
Tim Whitehead told the Bangor Daily News.
Blake James, the UMaine athletic director,
commented to the paper on the one-game suspensions
to the other four players.
“They were part of the situation,
and that’s the reason they’ve been suspended.
But what they were charged with is different than
what Hamilton and Clark were charged with,”
Tyler has one goal and six assists in
11 games this season after he was the top-scoring
blueliner for the Black Bears last year. Bellamy has
two goals and three assists in 12 games, Wright has
a goal and an assist in 13 games, Hamilton has three
assists in nine games, Shepheard has two goals in
11 games and Clark has yet to play a game this year
after breaking his leg during training
Great Weekend Getaway
College vs. Boston University It may be the best rivalry in
all of college hockey, and it resumes this weekend
when Boston University and Boston College lock
up for a home-and-home series. Friday’s
meeting takes place at Conte Forum with the
opening faceoff slated for 8 p.m., before the
two clubs relocate about seven miles down the
road to Agganis Arena for a 7 p.m. start on
There: Buy yourself some very neutral clothing.
Stay away from reds, whites, maroons and golds.
But make sure you keep away from anything in
pinstripes; the Boston folk don’t take
kindly to those, either. To be safe, just find
yourself a Larry Bird jersey.
Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy
can finally breathe a little easier after his
Warriors picked up their first league win on
Tuesday night in the most unlikely of fashions.
They shut out UNH, which was tied for first
place with Providence and also the top-scoring
team in Hockey East, 1-0 in North Andover. After
beginning the conference season with an 0-5
record, it was the first league point Merrimack
had earned since its 2-2 tie at Maine on Dec.
3 last year and first league victory since Nov.
28, 2004, 366 days before.
relation to the “Seen and Heard”
section, shame on Maine for
suspending Travis Wright, Brent Shepheard, Bret
Tyler and Rob Bellamy for just an exhibition
game. The one-game suspension is fine, but make
it during a game that actually counts in the
standings, like the Vermont game this previous
Sunday, which was the team’s next regular
season game after the suspensions were handed
down. Suspending players during an exhibition
game is useless, and it just provides them with
rest and relaxation – not remorse.
‘Cat Fight –
By now, everyone knows how good UNH is on offense,
but seriously, this is starting to get unfair. Daniel
Winnik was named Hockey East Player of the Month for
November after totaling four goals and nine assists
in the Wildcats’ nine games during the year’s
Now, to the unfair part: the two
runners-up for this award were none other than Winnik’s
two linemates, Brett Hemingway and Jacob Micflikier.
Hemingway racked up four goals and eight assists while
Micflikier lit the lamp four times but struggled mightily
compared to the other two in the helpers department,
only being generous enough for seven assists.
OK, so UNH has one line that scored
12 goals and tallied 24 assists for 36 points in just
nine November games.
Wait, it gets better – or
worse, depending if you’re on UNH’s schedule
In league games, the top line
(Winnik is 5-9—14, Micflikier is 4-9—13,
Hemingway is 5-7—12) has accounted for 14 goals
and 25 assists for 39 points in just nine Hockey East
bouts, and they are ranked 1-2-3 in the conference,
respectively. But the Wildcats’ top-two defensemen,
Brian Yandle and Craig Switzer, have each contributed
a pair of goals and eight assists in those nine games,
too, meaning UNH has the top-five scorers in league
contests in all of the Hockey East land.
Now they’re just showing
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• After spending days buried in
the INCH research lab in preparation for the weekend
series between BU and BC, here are some findings:
In regular season contests since the 1999-2000 season,
BC owns a 12-5-1 advantage, outscoring BU 60-36 in
that stretch. BC has won seven of those 12 games at
home, while BU has won four of its five games at home.
Before BU’s 3-2 victory on Dec. 3 of last year,
BC had won seven straight in the series, but BC has
still won eight of the last nine. The two teams have
not tied since a 4-4 affair on Jan. 8, 2000. By the
way, that tie marked the only time in those 18 meetings
since 1999 that BU has scored more than three goals,
and they were held to less than three goals in 11
of those contests.
• Merrimack has scored
just one goal in the last 199:26 of play, which is
5:26 longer than the actual running time of the movie
“Titanic.” Both the Merrimack offense
and the actual Titanic are still presumed to be missing.
• UMass’ 4-3 victory over
Colorado College on Friday was the program’s
first-ever win over a team from the WCHA. UMass goalie
Gabe Winer made 33 of his 42 saves during that game
after the first intermission, and it was his first
start between the pipes in 20 days.
• Sunday’s hurrah between
Maine and UVM featured the nation’s best two
penalty killing teams, respectively, and they did
not disappoint, as the two squads combined to be 0-of-7
on the power play.
• In Providence’s 13 games
this season, the team has scored 18 of its 36 goals
in the third period. However, the Friars have only
outscored their opponents 18-12 in the final frame.
When PC scores two or more goals in the third period,
its record is only 3-3. In the seven games the Friars
have outscored their opponents in the third, they
are 5-2, but when they are outscored in the final
20 minutes, they are 1-4-1.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.