| HOCKEY EAST | MAAC
had more than enough time to savor big win
being the lowly Merrimack Warriors, picked to finish last
in Hockey East – unanimously – and facing four
straight top-10 teams early in the season. Then pack the
first three of those games into five days, and take 12 days
off before meeting the No. 1 team in the land.
like grounds for mutiny, especially for a team riddled by
early departures to the pros and welcoming 12 freshmen.
But other than Tuesday's freak accident that could cost
sophomore center Steve Crusco his season – more on
that later – head coach Chris Serino has welcomed
a happy bunch of Warriors to practice every day.
never want to have a break this long between games, but
we feel pretty good and have been practicing really well,"
Serino said. "If you lose the game before a break like
this, it feels even longer."
can thank the biggest upset of the young season for his
team's good spirits, as they dispatched Boston University
in the Hockey East opener for both teams, 5-3, way back
on Oct. 22.
two days removed from Michigan's Yost Ice Arena –
where the Warriors lost, 4-1 and 5-1 – Merrimack got
a goal and two assists from freshman Brent Gough and junior
Marco Rosa to beat the preseason conference favorites.
says the trip to Ann Arbor helped his team, especially its
out in Michigan, even though we lost twice, might have been
a good thing," he said. "We grew up a little faster
playing in that kind of environment, and hopefully that
will help us this weekend."
Friday – after a break that must have felt like another
off-season, but with slightly less loss of man-power –
Merrimack travels to New Hampshire, to face the nation's
No. 1 team in another hostile environment. And, oh yeah,
the Wildcats haven't lost to Merrimack in 24 meetings (20-0-4).
Warriors will shoot for another upset without Crusco, whose
wrist was lacerated by a teammate's skate on Tuesday. The
gruesome injury could cost the junior, who was centering
the team's second line, his season.
him even more of the offensive burden falls on freshmen
like Gough and Matt Johnson, who have played on Rosa's wings
on the top line, and Nick Pomponio, who leads the team with
three goals. Rookie Bryan Schmidt has also made an immediate
impact as a steady, strong, offensive-minded defenseman.
and Schmidt are both from Minnesota, good finds for Serino's
small North Andover, Mass., school. Another surprise addition
– NHL unrestricted free agent Byron Dafoe –
has been practicing with the team as well until he catches
on with an NHL club. Serino calls Dafoe a great character
guy, someone who has been so supportive, he's practically
part of the team.
that, chances are Dafoe can't wait for his upset-making
"teammates" to play another game.
MORE NOTES NO FAN SHOULD BE WITHOUT
What He Said
cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting
at one another."
– Richard M. Nixon
officials deserve kudos for engineering an element
of cooperation in last weekend's officiating schedule.
Derek Sheppard, a WCHA referee, officiated the Maine-Western
Michigan series, while Hockey East's John Gravallese
blew the whistles in Grand Forks for North Dakota-Niagara.
games do not consensus make. However, a little crossover
can help players and coaches see what, if any, differences
they might expect from officials in other conferences
once the NCAA Tournament rolls around.
Start me up – The six Ivy League teams begin
play this weekend, and with them comes the start of the
good rivalries highlight the first weekend of conference
play, as Harvard travels to Brown and Clarkson plays at
St. Lawrence. The Brown game marks the first official men's
game in the Bears' revamped facility, now known as the Pollard
Family Rink at Meehan Auditorium. The Pollard family donated
$1 million of the $4.3 million renovation of the 40-year-old
will see a renovated lobby, featuring new concession stands
and ticket booths, plus portraits of former Bear greats.
Recruits will see new team facilities and coaches locker
rooms, which never hurts in the battle for talent.
will be plenty of talent on the ice Saturday, as Harvard's
13 NHL draft picks face off against Bear goaltender Yann
Danis and his teammates. The Crimson are 6-0-1 in their
last seven trips to the "old" Meehan.
become a traditional season-opener for these oldest active
rivals in college hockey, as this marks the fifth straight
year and 10th time in 11 years that Harvard and Brown play
to start the season.
... and never stop – Boston College and Providence,
both 5-0-0, are two of only four unbeaten and untied teams
in the nation (not counting the aforementioned Ivies; 4-0-0
North Dakota and 2-0-0 Wayne State are the others).
the Eagles, it's their best start since 1983-84; the Friars
haven't been this hot out of the gates since 1976-77.
at Massachusetts Friday and at home against Princeton on
Sunday would give Providence its best start ever, surpassing
the 6-0-0 mark of that '76-77 team (which was led by former
Washington Capitals coach Ron Wilson). Friday's game marks
Providence's first away from Schneider Arena this season.
BC ascended to the top spot in the INCH
Power Rankings thanks to wins over Wisconsin and UMass
Lowell – both without star Ben Eaves. The Eagles look
to move to 6-0-0 at Notre Dame on Friday, the night before
the Irish football team looks to stay perfect against BC.
A kiss is just a kiss – or is it? –
A pair of ties featuring Hockey East and MAAC heavyweights
brought about very different reactions last weekend –
and not the typical, one team's happy, the other disappointed.
both New Hampshire and Northeastern sounded thrilled with
their 2-2 staredown, while Mercyhurst and Quinnipiac each
found their 3-3 tie lacking.
Umile's club may have only posted wins in half of its games
(2-0-2) and slipped from the top of the INCH
Power Rankings, but he knew not to complain about leaving
Matthews Arena with a tie.
like I told the team," Umile said, "when they
add them all up at the end of the season this will be a
in Erie, Pa., the MAAC co-favorites both had more in mind,
as Mercyhurst came from behind in the 3-3 tie.
disappointed," Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin said.
"We expect to win at home, and could have, but didn't."
had the edge in the first period and parts of the second,
but didn't finish our chances," Quinnipiac's Rand Pecknold
said. "Mercyhurst had great legs in the third period,
but we managed to hang on."
Isn't that special – "I will
field no questions about our power play," joked BU
coach Jack Parker after his team's 0-for-9 performance in
the Terriers' 6-4 win last Friday over Nebraska-Omaha.
with as many as six games in the books for many teams, some
special-teams trends have emerged that deserve note:
Great Weekend Getaways
North Dakota at Princeton, Yale
Fighting Sioux make like an ECAC team on its Southern
trip. The games provide big tests for Princeton and
Yale as they get their early-season legs under them.
While You're There: No Princeton trip is complete
without a visit to Hoagie Haven, on Nassau Street. Get
a steak and cheese, and ask for "salpeporegno."
Just trust us.
Boston University at New Hampshire (Sat.) –
Another great game at the Whit, as BU hopes to shed
memories of its Merrimack loss and UNH tries to hang
on to No. 1.
Harvard at Brown (Sat.) – The Cornell-Ohio State
game intrigues, especially after Clarkson's sweep
at the hands of the Buckeyes. But it's in the West
and thus out of range. We turn instead to Providence,
where the Big Red's biggest challengers – the
Crimson – start their season.
An exciting moment at an exciting time –
You think it's gut-wrenching when your team leads or trails
by a goal in the last minute and the trailing team controls
the puck deep?
if that team was awarded a penalty shot?
exactly what happened in Hamilton, N.Y., Friday night, as
Sacred Heart scrambled to tie the score against Colgate
with both teams seeking their first victory. Colgate took
a delay-of-game penalty with 24 seconds remaining and a
3-2 Red Raider lead. Martin Paquet – the MAAC Preseason
co-Player of the Year – lined up at center ice.
sophomore Steve Silverthorn lunged to his right, stopping
the shot and securing the win. The Red Raiders went on to
win Saturday as well, 4-3.
WEEK'S NHL TRANSACTIONS
Predators: Recalled center Greg Classen (Merrimack) from
Milwaukee of the AHL.
Penguins: Assigned forward Andrew McPherson (Rensselaer)
to Wheeling of the ECHL.
Louis Blues: Signed center Eric Boguniecki (New Hampshire)
to a contract extension.
Capitals: Assigned right wing Mike Farrell (Providence)
to Portland of the AHL.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Be sure to catch Dan
Shaughnessy's account in The Boston Globe of
former UNH goaltender Greg Rota, now a high school golf
coach in Massachusetts. Rota pointed out a scoring error,
thereby surrendering the state championship his team initially
appeared to have won.
a great story – and please, no jokes about UNH hockey
players not being able to win championships.
Jimmy Howard (2-1-0, 1.42, .934) and Providence's Bobby
Goepfert (2-0-0, 1.50, .945) rank 1-2 in Hockey East
in save percentage.
back-to-back shutouts over Iona and Army. The Engineers
have never had three straight shutouts (and St. Cloud
State's forwards probably appreciate our mentioning
Peter Fregoe, Providence
Friars' 6-5 win over UMass Lowell showed they're for
real; so is Fregoe. His hat trick, including the overtime
game-winner, gives him 15 points through 5 GP.
Union forwards Chris Konnick and Glenn Sanders and goaltender
Tim Roth will be eligible to play in the team's game at
UMass Lowell Friday night. The trio didn't accompany the
Skating Dutchmen on their 1-0-1 weekend trip to Bemidji
State after head coach Kevin Sneddon suspended them for
a violation of school and team conduct.
Northeastern's tie against UNH extended its unbeaten streak
at Matthews Arena against the Wildcats to 3-0-2.
Former Vermont goaltender Tim Thomas has won his first
two starts in the NHL following an extended minor-league
and European apprenticeship. His most recent win came
in a 7-2 Bruins victory over the Capitals. ''The guys
certainly gave me enough of a cushion, which makes it
a little bit easier,'' Thomas said. ''You're playing against
(Jaromir) Jagr, (Peter) Bondra and those guys and you
can't let them back in the game. That was my goal –
not to give them a sniff, not to let them think they have
Only five St. Lawrence players have suited up for all seven
of the Saints' games (including its exhibition against the
U.S. Under-18 Team).
Boston College's Patrick Eaves continues to tear up the
scoresheet, with 6-5—11 totals through 5 GP. He had
two goals against his father's Wisconsin team Friday night.
"There was a great atmosphere and a great crowd,"
said Patrick's brother, Ben, who sat out with injured ribs.
"It would have been great to be skating out there tonight
with my brother and against my dad, but I guess it just
wasn't in the cards tonight. I was really proud of Patrick
tonight. He had a great game."
The top eight scorers in the MAAC are from Holy Cross or
Quinnipiac (four from each school).
Boston College has won nine straight non-conference games
entering Friday's game at Notre Dame.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this