The premier early-season matchup featuring
a rematch of last year’s national semifinal between
Boston College and North Dakota at Conte Forum was canceled
during the second intermission of a 0-0 contest due to fog.
About 100 miles to the west, UMass and UMass Lowell fought
through similar conditions, with the teams skating to a
2-2 draw. And, somewhere in the middle, a preseason NBA
game featuring the Celtics and Nets at the DCU Center in
Worcester was canceled at halftime due to melting ice seeping
into the floor.
“The humidity was oppressive,”
UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “It was 85 [degrees]
on the bench, 80 on the ice, but both teams went through
it. I thought Lowell handled it much better than we did.
It was so uncomfortable. I took my jacket off because I
was soaking wet. The dew point was so high and the humidity
was so incredibly intense that it was impossible to keep
the rink clear and the air quality good. They were terrible
Unlike their neighbors to the east, there
were no discussions of canceling or postponing the game
at the Mullins Center. For Cahoon, though, the thoughts
“Only in my own mind,” he said.
“Because, at one point in the third period, I couldn’t
see the puck. It was on the far end in the corner, and I’m
thinking I can’t even see the puck. I can only imagine
what the goalies were seeing, but no one said anything to
me and we kept playing through it.”
Cahoon said he had seen similar conditions,
but he’s never played a game when the heat and humidity
were so intense at the same time.
“I don’t ever remember being on
the ice for anything like that, and I’ve been in enough
games in the old Boston Garden and in other big rinks, where
the weather would just overcome you,” Cahoon said.
“You would skate across the ice and just get hit with
air that would feel 95 degrees, but I’ve never played
in that fog like that.”
The Eagles have seen things like this before.
They were set to play Boston University at Conte Forum Dec.
1, 2006, but temperatures pushed 70 degrees, creating a
fog and postponing the game. Conte Forum opened in 1988,
before arenas were built with air conditioning and dehumidification
systems. It’s an issue the BC athletic department
is hoping to resolve.
The UMass campus had shifted into winter mode
long before last weekend. Therefore, the air conditioners
had been shut down, and there was nothing the administration
could do “without the most sophisticated systems,”
according to Cahoon.
Even if the campus was not in winter mode,
though, there still would have been a problem. If there
air conditioners were on, according to Cahoon, there would
have been a dew forming on the roof of the Mullins Center,
and it would have rained down while the game was going on.
“It’s pretty hard to overcome
a dramatic day like that,” Cahoon said.
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
The kids are all right: The
National Hockey League's Central Scouting Service this week
released its list of what it calls "players to watch"
— prospects eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
— from Canada's junior A hockey leagues, the U.S.
junior hockey leagues, U.S. high schools, and the U.S. National
Team Development Program. Players are divided into three
cagetories: A-rated players are predicted to be selected
in the first or second round of the 2008 draft; B-rated
players are considered potential mid-round selections; C-rated
players are plotted as late-round picks.
Of course, usual suspects Boston College,
Boston University, and New Hampshire have their share of
recruits sprinkled about the ratings. But it's refreshing
— and perhaps a testament to the new coaching regimes
at some of the league's institutions — to see representatives
from the up-and-coming Hockey East programs on the list.
Take Northeastern, for example. The Huskies
have three recruits (Avon Old Farms defensemen Danny New
and Kent School twin forwards Drew and Justin Daniels) projected
as mid-round picks. Merrimack has a pair of ranked prospects
in U.S. National Development Team goaltender Joe Cannata
and BC High forward John Heffernan. Likewise, Providence
has two recruits, Minnesota high-schooler Rob Maloney and
Tilton Prep defenseman Chad Johnson in the early rankings.
Of the 21 players projected as potential first-
or second-round selections in the 2008 draft, three are
slated to attend Hockey East schools starting next fall.
They are Indiana (USHL) defenseman John Carlson, who is
committed to Massachusetts, U.S. NTDP forward and future
Boston College Eagle Jimmy Hayes, and Chicago (USHL) defenseman
Max Nicastro, who will attend Boston University.
— Mike Eidelbes
Great Weekend Getaway
College at New Hampshire (Fri.-Sat.)
There’s a pretty good slate of games this weekend
with Maine visiting Northeastern for a pair and Boston
University heading out to Michigan for a double dip.
But our best bet involves UNH’s pair of home
contests with Colorado College, two teams ranked in
the top-six of the INCH power rankings
While You’re There: Visit
Portsmouth. It’s just a few minutes down the
road, and there’s plenty to do. But don’t
forget your coat. It’s actually supposed to
act like October this weekend.
My grandfather, Richard Patten,
passed away last week. Among his many accomplishments,
he was an Air Force fighter pilot, a graduate of the
University of New Hampshire, a father of four and
a huge sports fan. This space isn’t conducive
to everything I could say about my grandfather; just
know the respect his family has for him is immeasurable.
Mother Nature has to chill out with
the atypical heat waves around these
parts. Games were affected all across Massachusetts
last Friday due to some combination of heat/humidity/fog/El
Niño/global warming/whatever else Al Gore is
complaining about now. The college hockey world lost
the entire third period of Boston College-North Dakota
due to Big Mami’s recent heat binge. That’s
not what we’re looking for.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• The third time
was a charm for New Hampshire coach Richard Umile, who became
the ninth active coach to win 400 career games when his
Wildcats topped Boston University 4-1 at Agganis Arena Friday.
Umile had two previous cracks at the milestone, but UNH
fell to Boston College 5-2 in last year’s Hockey East
championship game before being downed by Miami, 2-1, in
the first round of the NCAA tournament.
• James vanRiemsdyk, the Wildcats’
heralded freshman forward, will be linked to Umile’s
milestone. vanRiemsdyk tallied a goal and an assist in his
first career game.
• Don Cahoon has repeatedly referred
to freshman goaltender Paul Dainton as “athletic.”
Before the public back lashings begin — “He’s
an athlete, of course he’s athletic!” —
just know the UMass coaching staff was always quick to mention
Jon Quick in the same regards.
• Merrimack is 3-0-0, its best start
in 14 years. It also marks the first three-game winning
streak for the Warriors since 2003-04.
• Northeastern fell to No. 1 North Dakota
3-0 Saturday, and the Huskies fell to 7-4-4 against No.
1 teams since 1997.
• Vermont scored a pair of third-period
goals to overcome a two-goal deficit Sunday against Boston
College. The Catamounts were 0-11-0 when trailing by two
goals after the second period last year.
• Boston University has scored first
in all three of its games this season and has held the lead
at the end of eight of nine periods.
• UMass is 35-0-1 in its last 36 contests
when scoring four or more goals. The last loss came March
14, 2003, a 5-4 defeat at the hands of UNH in the Hockey
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Jeff Howe can be reached