Depth charge: Maine's talented forwards
| H. EAST | MAAC
Chris Heisten has points in nine straight and stands
fourth on the team with 25 points. He is one of six
Black Bears with between 21 and 27 points.
Photo courtesy of University of Maine, Monty
week's West Notebook
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coaches are liable to either laugh or cry when they hear
Maine head coach Tim Whitehead make the following statement:
not a team that’s overloaded with talent.”
Allow us some
clarification before you dismiss it as typical, woe-is-me
coach-speak. While Whitehead is obviously grateful for the
efforts of top-level players like Martin Kariya, Jim Howard
and Francis Nault, his point is this: Maine owes its remarkable
success to this point to its wave after wave of skilled,
hard-working players the coach can deploy.
the reasons we’ve been so consistent this year is
our depth,” said Whitehead, whose team is 20-2-4 (10-1-3
Hockey East) entering this weekend’s series at New
Hampshire. “We do have very good balance, and that
makes it very tough for other teams to match up with our
Six forwards have at least 11 goals. Six players are among
the top 20 Hockey East players in overall scoring. In 12
of their 25 games they’ve had at least one multiple-goal
scorer. Nine different forwards have recorded at least three
points in a game – on any night, you don’t know
who will beat you.
gets the headlines offensively – and rightly so –
a small army of other Black Bear forwards have made a name
for themselves. Earlier this year, after Todd Jackson scored
three goals in two games against Northeastern, the Huskies’
talented Mike Ryan called him one of Hockey East’s
most underrated players. Amazingly, teammates Robert Liscak,
Lucas Lawson, Tom Reimann and Chris Heisten could all challenge
Jackson for that title.
National Junior Team player, freshman Greg Moore, plays
on Maine’s fourth line. That’s testament to
the impressive performance of the team’s senior class,
which has accounted for 51.9 percent of Maine’s point
top scoring forwards
proud of (our depth),” Whitehead said, “especially
to see the guys in our senior class who are having their
best seasons – Heisten, Kariya, Lawson, (Gray) Shaneberger
– the list goes on. We have seven seniors and they
are all really key to our success.”
Fans across the
nation get their first chance to see this balanced attack
Sunday night at New Hampshire. While Maine has games televised
locally, their first appearance on a regional sports network
waits until the second day of February.
will see a lot of speed,” Whitehead said. “We
play a fast game. We’re a team that’s committed
to defense, and we’re a smart team. But remember,
the other team we’re playing is very fast, too, and
they’re one of the top teams in the country. It should
be a very exciting game.”
MORE NOTES NO FAN SHOULD BE WITHOUT
Roque ’n Roll and some other names –
A soft deadline for the Clarkson head coaching job has come
and gone, with the university indicating that applications
received before January 15 would be given “priority.”
one’s surprise, a number of prominent names have emerged
as candidates for this prestigious position since Mark Morris
was fired in November, in addition to interim head coach
are the former Clarkson assistant coaches: Greg Dreschel,
who is now a scout for the Los Angeles Kings; Jim Roque,
an assistant at Lake Superior; Ron Rolston, an assistant
at Boston College; and George Roll, who is enjoying a terrific
season coaching Division III Oswego State (currently ranked
No. 5 in the nation).
among those mentioned are former college head coaches Bob
Mancini, now a scout for the Edmonton Oilers, and Buddy
Powers, who has been volunteering with the U.S. National
Team Development Program.
name to keep in mind: Jeff Jackson. The former Lake Superior
State head coach was fired by the Guelph Storm of the OHL
after January 15. With Jackson’s successful track
record, expect him to have the opportunity to decide between
the professional level or a return to college. Regardless
of Clarkson's soft deadline, you’d have to think that
Jackson’s candidacy would deserve strong consideration
if he's interested in the job.
Great Weekend Getaways
Maine at New Hampshire (Sat.-Sun.)
will pack Manchester’s Verizon Wireless Arena
Saturday night before retreating to the relatively cozy
confines of the Whittemore Center on Sunday. Both venues
figure to be as loud as they’ll get all year.
It’s an intense rivalry, with a lot on the line
– Maine and New Hampshire, along with Boston College,
stand in a three-way tie atop the Hockey East standings.
While you’re there: If you like your seafood
– and you like it fried – pay a visit to
Newick's (Dover Point). The dining room is about the
size of the Whit’s Olympic-sized ice sheet, so
don’t expect a lot of ambience, but the food’s
worth the trip.
Semifinals (Mon.) – It’s clearly heresy
to not give this doubleheader top billing, but it
tells you how terrific the Maine-New Hampshire series
promises to be. As we beg forgiveness from the hockey
gods, we’ll call it a chronological list: start
in Manchester Saturday, stop by Durham Sunday, then
hit the Fleet for Monday night.
Editor’s Note: stay tuned to Inside College
Hockey for a complete Beanpot preview.
Dartmouth at Yale (Sat.) – If you like offensive
hockey, this one’s for you. These two teams
have terrific offenses and have given up goals at
such a steady clip that they both turned to new goaltenders
at midseason. Yale and Dartmouth rank first and fourth,
respectively, in the ECAC in conference goals per
game and ninth and 11th in goals against. Keep an
eye on the Big Green’s Hugh Jessiman, a local
product – he’ll be easy to spot (hint:
look for a 6-foot-5 guy with loads of talent).
The sun also rises – Expectations were high
this season for Colin Hemingway, coming off last season’s
breakthrough 33-goal campaign. That’s why something
as small as a four-game goal-scoring drought had the New
Hampshire winger – and Wildcat fans – concerned.
That ended Saturday
against Boston University, when Hemingway notched his 12th
and 13th of this season.
good to finally put a couple in the back of the net, that’s
for sure," said Hemingway, whose younger brother, Brett,
is headed to Durham next season and has been called even
more skilled than Colin. "I’d be lying if I told
you it wasn’t bothering me. It’s been a while
since I scored. You try to stay confident and not worry
about it, but sometimes it’s in the back of your mind.
I knew it was just a matter of time before a couple went
hope, after Saturday’s performance, that Hemingway
could be back on track. Even if he doesn’t resume
last season’s pace, the Wildcats were encouraged to
get two key goals from the senior in a game that New Hampshire
really needed to win – both to avoid a sweep and to
keep pace with Boston College and Maine.
really been trying to take it positively," head coach
Dick Umile told the Foster’s Daily Democrat.
"He’s watched some video. For him, the puck hasn’t
been bouncing right, so it was great to see it go in for
him. He stayed with it and he’s worked at it, and
he hasn’t become selfish, so it was important that
the puck start to go in for him. He can relax now and just
and the Wildcats have struggled with offensive consistency
all year, turning in some impressive efforts followed by
stretches with more shots but less scoring than a college
frat party. For example, Hemingway’s linemate Lanny
Gare – the team’s leading scorer – is
currently in a one-assist-in-five-games funk.
Where were you, smart guy? – A hearty welcome
back to Harvard and Princeton, who return to action this
weekend in conference games, while Harvard follows that
with its Beanpot semifinal against Boston University.
last we saw these teams – and it’s only been
three weeks, even if it feels like more – the Tigers
skated off the Bright Center rink with a shocking 2-1 win.
The break probably came at a bad time for Princeton, hockey-wise,
as Len Quesnelle’s troops had gathered two of their
three victories on the year in their four games before exams.
They face Dartmouth and Vermont this weekend to get things
meanwhile, starts the stretch run of its season the same
way it started things off – with a single game against
travel partner Brown. The Crimson hope for better results
than the 4-0 Yann Danis shutout to start the year.
head coach Mark Mazzoleni is happy not to have two league
games this weekend, a concession the ECAC made to help Harvard’s
Beanpot chances. In the past, the Crimson have played games
Friday, Saturday and Monday during the weeks of the Beanpot,
while their ’Pot foes – all members of Hockey
East – had the previous Saturday night off.
The race for eight – While every ECAC team
makes the playoffs this season, only eight move on in Hockey
East and the MAAC. As we enter the final month of the regular
season, it’s worth looking at how those races are
East: Barring a big surprise, this race will come
down to Northeastern and UMass Lowell. And while the league’s
focus during the last weekend of the regular season may
be on the New Hampshire-Boston College series, don’t
be surprised if eighth place isn’t determined until
the Huskies and River Hawks meet on March 1.
Lowell seems to have the easier schedule at first glance,
with only one game against the three current first-place
teams (Feb. 21 vs. UNH at home). Northeastern plays the
top three league teams four times (home-and-homes with both
New Hampshire and Boston College), not counting the Huskies'
Beanpot meeting with BC.
Army sits in eighth right now with 12 points in 16 games,
three points ahead of American International and Iona –
although those two teams both have a game in hand. Also
in the mix are seventh-place Connecticut (13 points in 17
games) and 11th-place Fairfield (eight points in 14 games).
Of those five
teams, Army and Connecticut have been playing the best lately,
so it may be especially tough for the other three to make
up the necessary ground. The Black Knights are 5-5-0 in
their last 10 games, while UConn went 1-1-0 last weekend.
The Huskies beat Army Friday night to move into seventh
place, then gave a talented Yale team a scare on the road
in a 4-3 loss.
WEEK'S NHL TRANSACTIONS
Thrashers – Placed left wing Shawn McEachern (Boston
University) on injured reserve, retroactive to Monday, with
a groin srain; recalled right wing Jeff Farkas (Boston College)
from Chicago of the AHL; assigned Farkas to Chicago.
– Recalled defenseman Bryan Muir (New Hampshire) from
Hershey of the AHL.
Jackets – Activated defenseman Scott Lachance (Boston
University) from the injured reserve list.
Los Angeles Kings
– Placed center Brad Chartrand (Cornell) on the injured
list with a back strain.
– Assigned defenseman Ron Hainsey (UMass Lowell) to
Hamilton of the AHL.
– Assigned center Greg Classen (Merrimack) to Milwaukee
of the AHL.
New Jersey Devils
– Recalled defenseman Ray Giroux (Yale) from Albany
of the AHL; assigned Giroux to Albany.
New Jersey Devils
– Acquired left wing Steve Kariya (Maine) from the
Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Mikko Jokela.
– Recalled defenseman Brian Pothier (Rensselaer) from
Binghamton of the AHL.
– Signed goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier (Cornell)
to a multi-year contract.
– Recalled right wing Eric Nickulas (New Hampshire)
from Worcester of the American Hockey League.
PRO TRANSACTION OF THE WEEK
Sound Tigers (AHL) – Signed goaltender Scott Stirling
(Brown) to a professional tryout contract. Stirling's father,
Steve, is the head coach at Bridgeport.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
The final stage of Nick Boucher’s climb into the Dartmouth
goaltending record book wasn’t easy. After tying the
school record for career victories with his 40th against
Vermont Jan. 4, Boucher was pulled in each of his next two
starts (Dartmouth losses). Then he watched sophomore Dan
Yacey take the next two starts for the Big Green. He got
back in the net last Friday and turned in a 30-save performance
against Union, only to have Dartmouth’s normally potent
offense pull up lame in a 2-0 loss.
got the hard-fought win No. 41 on Saturday night at Rensselaer,
his eighth victory of the season. He passed current head
coach Bob Gaudet in the Big Green’s record book.
felt like it was going to come," Boucher said. "Now
I just have to pad it – put some distance between
me and coach.”
It's no wonder why Boston College, Maine and New Hampshire
are the class of Hockey East – they rank 1-2-3 in
both team offense and team defense in conference games.
The Eagles are first in both.
The MAAC nearly got its first win over a Hockey East team,
but Merrimack scored five straight goals in the last nine
minutes to erase a 3-1 Holy Cross lead. Freshman Tyler McGregor
assisted on all three Crusader goals.
It took until Jan. 25 for Brown to get its first point from
a freshman. Cory Caouette posted an assist on the Bears'
goal against Merrimack. In fairness, the Bear rookies haven't
had many opportunities – thanks to the team's upperclass
depth, none have played more than eight games.
After this weekend, Clarkson and St. Lawrence close out
the regular season with six of their last eight games on
UMass Lowell had allowed a power-play goal in nine straight
games before holding Maine – and the conference's
second-best power play – off the board in four opportunities
Andy Franck, Mercyhurst
Lakers' rookie netminder has won six straight games
since taking over the starting duties full-time, allowing
just eight goals in the process.
Dave LeNeveu, Cornell
one more shutout to tie the school single-season record
(six). I believe it's held by a gentleman named Dryden.
Greg Mauldin, Massachusetts
had a hand in four of UMass' five goals last weekend
and has 24 points in the last 16 games. His line, with
Stephen Werner and Matt Anderson, has 57 points in the
last 15 games.
Merrimack, at 10-10-4, stands at .500 this late in the season
for the first time in 11 years, since it was 12-12-0 in
The top three scorers in the MAAC – Quinnipiac's Brian
Herbert and Matt Craig and Sacred Heart's Martin Paquet
– meet this weekend in a home-and-home series.
Scooter Smith has scored eight of Colgate's conference-low
23 goals in ECAC games. He has 15 goals overall, tied for
the ECAC lead with Evan Wax. Wax has more than half of his
15 goals in two games – his two four-goal games, including
one last weekend against Connecticut, are his only multiple-goal
games this season. Vermont's Jeff Miles is third in ECAC
overall goals with 14, after scoring in three straight games.
Cornell junior Ryan Vesce (29 points) is tied for the overall
ECAC scoring lead and is just one point shy of his career
high for points in a season, set last year. He carried a
six-game point-scoring streak into Thursday's game at Colgate.
Army's Jon Boyle has four goals in his last eight games.
All six of Boyle's goals this season have come in the first
Quinnipiac defenseman Wade Winkler netted his second hat
trick of the season – and the team's sixth –
against Fairfield last weekend. Winkler has all 18 of his
points in MAAC games, and he leads all defensemen in conference
You know the excitement of pulling a folded up $5 bill out
of a jacket you haven’t worn in months? I think I
can top it:
this week I dropped off four rolls of film at my friendly
neighborhood pharmacy. I knew one had some shots from the
holidays, another had some pictures of my dog, but the rest
I got everything back, I was thrilled to discover 24 shots
from last year’s Frozen Four. I booked my flight to
Buffalo that night. I can’t wait.
A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.