Comings and goings in Hockey East
erased a 2-0 Boston College lead and wrapped up a 3-2 win
at Conte Forum Friday night, it made the start of the season
seem like a distant memory – as antiquated as Grand
Theft Auto on the original Playstation.
These two teams
– which opened the year with a 6-0 Eagles win in Amherst
– have been high-tailing it in opposite directions
lately. BC, after an 8-0-1 start, is 2-5-2 in its last nine;
UMass, which started 2-4-0, is 10-3-1 in its last 14.
head coach Don Cahoon may protest that his young troops
aren’t a top-tier Hockey East team just yet, but they’ve
got two more wins than the highly-regarded Eagles (albeit
in two more games). And even with only two seniors on the
roster, they’re playing like veterans – their
last three victories have come by one goal. UMass is 6-3
on the year in one-goal games and have come back from two-goal
deficits to win four times.
certainly not in the upper echelon,'' said Cahoon. ''But
we're a young team that works hard.''
a two-game set against Hockey East’s other surprise
team, Merrimack, this weekend, UMass could continue a charge
towards possible home ice in the first round of the Hockey
East tournament. This after finishing ninth (of nine) in
the conference each of the last two years.
Jerry York and BC try to battle through injuries and bad
puck luck. All five Eagle losses this season have come by
one goal, so clearly it's not as bad as the 2-5-2 stretch
Shannon’s return from the World Junior Championship
should help, as will the pleasant surprise that Ben Eaves
should be back for this weekend. Eaves was originally expected
to miss at least three weeks with a groin injury.
we're in a tough cycle,'' BC coach Jerry York told the Boston
Herald. "We've played some very close games and we've
tied some, lost some. We just have to keep plugging.''
MORE NOTES NO FAN SHOULD BE WITHOUT
Happy returns? – It’s easier to predict
New England winter weather than guess how players will respond
in their first games back from the World Junior Championship.
Some return bolstered by the experience of playing against
top competition with national pride on the line; others
are exhausted from a grueling schedule or disheartened by
schools welcome top young talent back to their lineups this
weekend (click here for the U.S. roster, and don’t
forget Cornell’s Dave LeNeveu, who played for Team
Canada). One good thing – unlike many years, players
didn’t have to fly from Europe, since the tournament
was in Nova Scotia. And since the bronze medal game was
on Sunday, they’ve had a few days to recuperate.
Who catches fire
and who cools off could have a big effect on the league
races. Could Ryan Shannon (BC) or Chris Higgins (Yale) give
their team a big spark? Shouldn’t Ryan Whitney and
Brian McConnell make BU even better? Of course. But keep
an eye out. A post-WJC slump could really hurt teams that
expect too much from these returning freshmen and sophomores.
What He Said
you ask the president which he'd rather win, New Hampshire
or the election, he'd have to think before he answered."
– Josh Lyman, The West Wing
Dartmouth and New Hampshire have bigger goals in mind
this season than being crowned the best team in the
state. But given the way both are playing, next Wednesday's
matchup at Manchester's Verizon Wireless Arena deserves
a little extra attention.
Wildcats were very impressive in two wins last week
after a so-so December. In conference play, they've
got Hockey East's best offensive player this year
(Lanny Gare) and its second-best goaltender (Mike
Dartmouth has turned heads with its 9-4-0 record,
including a title in the Ledyard National Bank Classic
in which it beat a CCHA team (Notre Dame) and a Hockey
East team (UMass Lowell). The Big Green are 8-1-0
since Nov. 9.
fantastic to see this game taking place at the state's
premier arena. The Wildcats hold a commanding 27-15-1
lead in a series that, admittedly, has never been
much of a rivalry. But this year, at least, the being
the best team in New Hampshire really means something.
Yeah, but could he stop dad? – Hall of Fame
forward Mike Gartner was one of the best pure goal scorers
the game has ever seen. But while it might have come naturally
to him, goal scoring was not among the traits he passed
along to his son, Josh.
just fine for Yale head coach Tim Taylor. Over the holidays,
Josh – a freshman goaltender – emerged as the
third goaltender to start between the pipes for the Bulldogs
made his collegiate debut in hostile territory, stopping
17 of 18 shots in a relief appearance against Minnesota
at Mariucci Arena. The next day he stopped 44 of 45 Bowling
Green shots to help earn Taylor’s 300th career victory.
was a real positive,” Taylor said after the Minnesota
game. “He made some very, very good saves and was
competing ferociously. That was a really good way to get
his feet wet in Division I.”
faced another top-10 opponent last week, as his second straight
start came against New Hampshire. Although he was lifted
in the third period of the 5-0 loss, he made some impressive
stops to keep it a one-goal game through the first 35 minutes,
including a save on a Sean Collins breakaway.
gives Taylor – who says, “my rule of thumb is
to play whoever is hot” – a strong option in
goal to support Yale’s outstanding offense, which
ranks fifth in the nation (4.29 goals per game). Gartner
has a 1-1-0 record, a 3.02 goals-against average and a .920
save percentage, numbers which, in limited action, compare
well to sophomore Peter Cohen, who has seen the bulk of
the work this year (7-4-0, 3.32, .877).
Bulldogs face another potent offense Friday in another hostile
environment – Harvard’s Bright Center. With
the eight top scorers in conference play all on the ice,
the goaltenders – Harvard’s Dov Grumet-Morris
and Gartner or Cohen for Yale – had better be sharp.
Joe Lovell leads Bentley's balanced scoring attack.
in Division I
Fast turnaround – Maybe there’s something
to the theory that the MTV generation has short attention
spans. Bentley first-year head coach Ryan Soderquist, the
youngest coach in Division I (25 years old), hasn’t
taken a gradual, patient approach when it comes to turning
around the Falcons’ fortunes.
Indeed, rebuilding has occurred well ahead
of schedule in Watertown, where Bentley stands tied for
third in the MAAC with 12 points (6-5-0). Even despite Tuesday
night’s surprising 7-2 loss to last-place Fairfield,
the Falcons victory total in the MAAC is one shy of their
total from the last two years combined. The three-game win
streak that the Stags snapped was Bentley’s first
since making the move to Division I in 1999-2000.
goaltender Simon St. Pierre has been a big reason for the
resurgence, as he earned his second straight MAAC goaltender
of the week honors following last weekend’s sweep
of Sacred Heart. He stopped 57 of 61 shots (.934 save percentage)
in the two wins.
Offensively, Soderquist relies on a balanced
attack, without one player among the top 17 scorers in the
MAAC. Junior Joe Lovell, with 13 points in 17 games, leads
a group of 10 players with between two and six goals.
It’s a young team, too, as juniors
and seniors have combined for only 11 goals (more than half
from Lovell). Young or not, Soderquist certainly has their
attention – and that of the rest of the league.
Right back where we started from –
If the Boston College-Massachusetts game made the start
of the season seem like a distant memory, there was Providence’s
upset of Maine to remind you that it really wasn’t
that long ago. The calendar said 2003, but it felt like
October 2002 in Schneider Arena as the Friars raced to a
4-0 lead and won, 4-2.
Returning from a long layoff (28 days),
Providence recaptured the glory of its 7-0-0 start and ended
Maine’s 16-game unbeaten streak. Terrific special
teams (one short-handed goal, two power plays) helped a
great deal, as did the return of Peter Zingoni (two goals),
who missed four games due to injury.
“We put a lot of emphasis on special
teams this week," Zingoni said. "We had a great
practice week, things were flowing well, and we proved it
Meanwhile, as Providence’s Bob Goepfert
was outplaying Maine’s Jim Howard at the World Junior
Championship, the Friars also got the better of the battle
between the teams’ “other” goalies. Nolan
Schaefer stopped 31 shots to earn the win, perhaps establishing
the Friars’ goaltending tandem as the best in Hockey
East, if not the nation.
And although they lost the next night to
Massachusetts, maybe a little time off was just what the
Friars needed to feel like things were starting all over
Great Weekend Getaways
Yale at Harvard (Fri.)
fact that the conference’s top eight scorers will
be playing in this game is testament to how good these
two offenses are (and a little bit to how wacky the
ECAC schedule can be before Harvard and Princeton take
While You're There: There are plenty of places in
Harvard Square, just across the river from Bright, worth
checking out. But I used to make pizzas at Giannino's,
and if they still make 'em like I used to, you can't
Cross at Mercyhurst (Fri.) – The MAAC’s
second- and third-place teams both snapped six game
winless streaks Saturday night (in fact, the Crusaders
had lost six straight). The ships appear to have righted
just in time for this key league matchup – and
heck, even if they haven't, it's better than seeing
the premier of Just Married.
Rensselaer at Union (Fri.) – These two Capital
District rivals have hovered around .500 in the league
all year, each showing signs that they could make
a run into the upper half of the ECAC. The Engineers
hope to finish off a season-series sweep of the Engineers
for the first time since 1995-96.
In the championship game at the Everblades College Classic,
Maine’s lineup featured just one true freshman, while
Massachusetts featured just one senior.
Credit New Hampshire with some strong performances at the
right times last week. Facing one of the nation’s
best offenses at Yale, the Wildcats turned in a shutout.
Then, against one of the nation’s hottest goaltenders
in Joe Exter of Merrimack, the offense hung eight goals
on the board (six against Exter). The defense was bolstered
by the return of Garrett Stafford, a much needed addition
with the loss of senior stalwart Kevin Truelson to a nagging
Ten players scheduled to participate in the American Hockey
League All-Star Game, which will be held in Portland Feb.
3, played college hockey in the East. Yale’s Ray Giroux,
New Hampshire’s Darren Haydar, Maine’s Niko
Dimitrakos and Rensselaer's Brian Pothier were selected
as starters. Former Black Bears Chris and Peter Ferraro
will serve as captains for one team.
Quinnipiac, with a stranglehold on the MAAC standings at
10-1-1 in the conference, faces a challenge in a home-and-home
against Iona this weekend. The Gaels are 4-1-0 in their
last five conference games, starting with their upset of
This year marks the first time since 1920 that Massachusetts
beat both BC and BU in a season and the first time ever
they beat BC, BU and Northeastern in one year.
Boston University has done everything right during its
six-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 29-9. Offensively,
credit senior John Sabo, who leads Hockey East with nine
goals in conference games, and Frantisek Skladany, who
has 5-4—9 during the winning streak.
Dartmouth's road game
Big Green finally won away from Thompson Arena, beating
Vermont, 3-2. They get a bigger test Friday at Clarkson,
where they've never won at Cheel (0-10-1).
top nine scorers in Hockey East (overall) are all
thanks for televising three U.S. games from the World
Junior Championship. Maybe if the Yanks hadn't given
Roger Clemens $10 million, you could show more college
Cornell's Todd Marr did an exemplary job in his first
action of the season, filling in for starting goaltender
Dave Leneveu. Marr posted a 2-2-0 record with a 1.76 goals-against
average and a .923 save percentage.
UMass senior forward Tim Turner has a career-best 10-game
point-scoring streak. Maine senior forward Martin Kariya
has 6-8—14 during an eight-game streak of his own.
Connecticut's Matt Grew had a hand in every goal (1-3—4)
as the Huskies earned a 4-4 tie with Mercyhurst Friday
night, and recorded the team's only goal in Saturday's
Quinnipiac's 32.2 percent power play is second in the nation
behind only Colorado College. The Bobcats are even better
in MAAC action, at 33.8 percent.
Clarkson alumnus Todd White, now a member of the Ottawa
Senators, was named the NHL's Player of the Month for December.
White had 7-11—18 in 15 GP as the Senators went 10-3-2-0.
Jerry York enters Friday's game against UMass Lowell with
654 career victories, one shy of Inside College Hockey's
Sauer for fifth on the all-time list.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this