November 25, 2003
Thanksgiving: A Time for Togetherness

By Nate Ewell and Joe Gladziszewski

 ECAC & Hockey East Notebook

This week's schedule
National TV Schedule

In the spirit of this week's holiday – and with four ECAC vs. Hockey East matchups on the slate Tuesday night – the INCH writers from the two conferences teamed up on a special combined notebook this week.

Each brings their unique league perspective to Tuesday’s games. Further down you’ll find our usual assortment of tidbits from around the conferences.

Brown at Providence (Mayor’s Cup)

Nate, Hockey East: The Beanpot it’s not, but this year’s Mayor’s Cup is much more than an opportunity for a Buddy Cianci joke. Providence is for real, and the only reason they fell out of this week’s INCH Power Rankings is their trouble in Hockey East – the Friars are 4-0-0 in non-conference games this year.

Brown could be getting Providence at the right time, however. The Friars lost two tough games this weekend – they showed grit and heart in a deceptively lopsided 7-4 loss to Boston College, and fell, 3-2, to Maine. They also could be without three of their top six forwards Tuesday night. Peter Zingoni and Cody Loughlean are struggling with injuries, and Jonathan Goodwin will sit out this game after receiving a game disqualification for punching Maine’s Luciano Aquino after the Black Bears’ game-winning goal Saturday night.

Nice that the Bears – after playing all of five games – got last weekend off. Their fresh legs could make a big difference, especially against an undermanned Providence team.

Joe, ECAC: While Brown certainly hasn’t played a large number of games thus far, the early games have included several formidable tests. The opening-night win against Harvard was a nice way to start the season, and after faltering at Dartmouth, Brown’s been on a roll.

The biggest factor for Brown, opposite of tonight’s counterpart, is the team’s return to health. Junior Les Haggett, the leading returning scorer, made his debut in Brown’s last weekend of play, sparking the offense in a 6-0 win over Yale and a 5-1 win over Princeton. Yann Danis earned INCH Player of the Week honors following that four-point weekend, but the honor could have easily been awarded to Haggett or freshman Brian Ihnacak (six points in those two games).

Another quirk of the Ivy League schedule. It’s Nov. 25 and Brown is playing its first non-conference game. The game will be locally televised on Cox3.

Dartmouth at Boston College

Joe, ECAC: As you read in last week’s ECAC Notebook, (and if you didn’t read it, click here) the Big Green’s defensive play has been a pleasant surprise and a big reason for Dartmouth’s undefeated start to the season.

Responsible defensive zone work and solid goaltending from Dan Yacey were necessary in five nailbiters to open the year. At the same time, coach Bob Gaudet was confident that goals would eventually start to come. He didn’t have to wait long, as Dartmouth posted a total of 15 goals against Yale and Princeton. Of course, those teams aren’t going to be confused with Boston College, but it is a reflection that this Dartmouth isn’t one-dimensional.

Of the four games tonight, this is the one I’m most excited about.

Nate, Hockey East: I was raised on Ivy League hockey, so this isn’t anti-ECAC bias talking – unbeaten or not, Dartmouth’s the clear-cut underdog here.

The teamwork of Ben Eaves and Tony Voce up front is something unmatched East of Grand Forks, N.D. These two are a threat at all times – even strength, power play, shorthanded – and, given their size and quickness, may be at their best if they get in a four-on-four situation.

Ryan Shannon has led a supportive second line, but even better in the last time out was head coach Jerry York’s all-freshman trio: Brian Boyle, Adam Pineault and Joe Rooney. Boyle had two goals in the 7-4 win against Providence, both in the third period – breaking a 4-4 tie and relieving Eagle fans, who have suffered through some surprisingly ugly third periods this year.

The Eagles have a little revenge working for them against the Big Green as well, since they suffered a 5-4 overtime loss in Hanover last year.

Vermont at Massachusetts

Nate, Hockey East: This one’s got the least marquee appeal among Tuesday’s four intra-conference matchups, and has all the makings of a letdown game for Massachusetts. The Minutemen ascended as high as No. 7 in this week’s rankings, their best ranking ever, and face a winless Vermont team. What’s more, they’ve got a trip to Nebraska-Omaha and a nationally televised game against the Mavericks looming after Turkey Day.

Head coach Don Cahoon has taken pride in keeping his team focused all year, despite the growing number of people ready to tell the Minutemen how good they are. This could be his biggest challenge yet. Perhaps it helps that, thanks to his time at Princeton, Cahoon is an ECAC guy – he’s got a six-game winning streak against the conference and is 9-3-1 in his four years at UMass.

The Massachusetts State Police and the Vermont State Police will play a
"Giving Thanks" charity hockey game at 2:30 p.m. at the Mullins Center, prior to the game.

Joe, ECAC: Reflecting back on the opening weekends of the season, Vermont has had its fill with teams from Hockey East. The Catamounts started with games against Boston College, New Hampshire, and Boston University, and it wasn’t much of a surprise that UVM would come out of those games without a win. What is surprising, is that Vermont hasn’t come through ANY of its games with a win.

As you might expect, when things aren’t going your way, bad habits start to form. Coach Kevin Sneddon is walking a tight rope. He needs to be firm-handed in making sure that players understand what needs to be done, while also being sure to maintain a sense of confidence in the dressing room.

Vermont leads the all-time series between these schools 23-7-3, but it’s very likely that UMass will close the gap in that record tonight.

Boston University at Harvard

Joe, ECAC: I just can’t keep from looking forward to springtime when thinking about this game. Last year’s down-to-the-wire nature of determining at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament creeps into my mind in looking at these two schools. Neither side has started its season as well as it would have hoped. A win in this game could turn into a solid starting point for building momentum through the month of December.

It could also be the difference between getting into the NCAA Tournament.

Speaking of the NCAAs, you probably remember that BU knocked Harvard out of the tournament with a 6-4 win in Worcester. The Terriers have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success against Harvard in recent years, most notably at the Bright Center, site of tonight’s contest. Harvard’s SID, Jamie Weir, reports that the Crimson carries a five-game home losing streak into tonight’s game against its cross-town rival. The Crimson’s last home win against the Terriers came on Dec. 1, 1982.

Fox Sports New England will have live television coverage of tonight’s game.

Nate, Hockey East: There’s a lot of concern on Babcock Street about goal scoring, and for good reason – in five of the Terriers’ nine games they have been held to two goals or fewer. “We’re absolutely looking for goal scorers,” said head coach Jack Parker, who sounds ready to place an ad in the student paper in search of somebody who can flip a red light switch.

But Parker has confidence that things will turn around, 1) because they’ve been getting quality chances, and 2) because their proven goal scorers, like Frantisek Skladany, Mark Mullen and Brian McConnell, have combined for two goals thus far. They are bound to break out of it.

A bigger anxiety may be the play of senior goaltender Sean Fields, seen as a major strength coming into the year. Fields ranks seventh among Hockey East goalies in goals-against average (2.71) and ninth in save percentage (.893).

“That’s a concern,” Parker confirmed. “I don’t think Sean has given us the type of games he did in the second half of last year. He hasn’t played poorly – and for him to play the way he did in the second half of last year is a lot to ask. But he’s been a slow starter, and if he had played the way he did late last year maybe we could have stolen a game or two.”


Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Rensselaer at New Hampshire (Sat.)
We’ll look past Tuesday night but stay within our ECAC-Hockey East theme for the best bet of the coming weekend. Rensselaer is riding high after its weekend sweep of St. Cloud State, but the Engineers would be wise to take note of their travel partner. Union was unbeaten before it paid a visit to the Whittemore Center, but came away with a 9-2 loss.

While you're there: Stick around Sunday for a top-flight women’s hockey matchup at the Whit. And guess what? It’s another ECAC-Hockey East game. Harvard visits to take on the Wildcats and will try to score on freshman goaltender Melissa Bourdon, who hails from Ile Bizard, Quebec, and has two shutouts in three games.

Stick Salutes

To a small group in the student section of Colgate’s Starr Rink on Friday night. When faced with an invasive Ohio State fan wearing a Dave Steckel jersey, the kids serenaded him with “The Victors” on the eve of the big Ohio State-Michigan football clash.

To former New Hampshire goaltender Ty Conklin, who showed the toughness of an Alaska native by not wearing a toque in Saturday night’s Heritage Classic. Despite the loss in that game, he’s played well enough to wrest the Oilers’ starting job away from the injured Tommy Salo. Conklin credits Dick Umile as the biggest influence on his career in a USA Today interview you can find on the INCH Newsstand.

Bench Minors

Cornell’s home-ice advantage seems to have disappeared. In four home games, all against CCHA teams, the Big Red has tied twice and lost twice. Cornell hasn’t won at Lynah since last year’s ECAC playoffs. The Big Red carried a 19-game home winning streak into the season.

Providence’s Jonathan Goodwin’s slugging Luciano Aquino after Maine’s game-winning goal could really cost the Friars. The five-minute major left PC shorthanded for the rest of the game and unable to erase Maine’s 3-2 lead, and he’ll have to sit our Tuesday’s Mayor’s Cup game.

Catching up with Colgate So often, it’s just one little thing that makes the difference between a win, loss, or tie. For Colgate, one bad line change turned out to be the difference in Friday’s 2-1 loss against Ohio State. With the game tied 1-1, and Colgate on a power play, the Raiders were attempting to change power-play units. Some miscommunication and a bad dump-in allowed Buckeye senior forward Paul Caponigri to score the game-winning goal on a breakaway.

“Quite simply we shot ourselves in the foot. We dumped the puck into a player who wasn’t looking. We were tired, and even Adam (Mitchell) who was trying to get off of the ice was in a situation where he tried to sneak off the ice and get a change. All of sudden the play was going the other way. Clearly we did not execute that well,” Colgate interim head coach Stan Moore said.

That goal came late in the second period, and revealed something about Colgate that Moore likes about his team. Colgate competed well in the third period but couldn’t manage the game-tying goal.

“They’ve responded well all year long. We’ve been in every game we’ve played except for the one against St. Lawrence University. We’ve really tried to play hard every game we could,” he said. “Overall we have a real solid work ethic. We have pretty strong team chemistry. They really work for one another for the most part.”


Hard to Yandle – Hockey East’s highest-scoring sophomore in conference games isn’t Massachusetts’ Stephen Werner, Maine’s Greg Moore, or even UMass Lowell’s surging Ben Walter.

It’s New Hampshire defenseman Brian Yandle.

Almost an afterthought on the Durham blue line a year ago, when he totaled 1-5—6 in 31 games, Yandle has 4-5—9 in his first seven Hockey East games this year (5-7—12 in 11 GP overall). He and his teammates face UMass Lowell in the only conference game Tuesday night before taking their turn against the ECAC Saturday vs. Rensselaer. Wildcat head coach Dick Umile credits Yandle’s experience and poise for his production this season.

“He's playing with confidence, and he can really move the puck well,” Umile said. "And he's very solid defensively for us, so we feel comfortable having him out there."

Look no further than UNH’s power play to see Yandle’s impact on the team. He’s manning the point, along with forward Justin Aikins (who, not coincidentally, leads all Hockey East players with 17 points this year). Forty percent of the Wildcats’ goals have come on the power play, and their 28.2 percent success rate leads all conference teams by a wide margin.

“We've been fortunate on the power play,” Umile said. "Those guys move the puck pretty well, and we've been able to get some goals."

Hopeful Huskies – Northeastern, despite its winless record and a tough challenge coming up Saturday at No. 2 Boston College, is maintaining its optimism.

“As strange as it sounds, we're a good hockey team,'' head coach Bruce Crowder told the Boston Herald after being swept by UNH. “It's not showing up in the wins column, but I like this team. I like their youth. I like their skating ability. We have to score more goals and keep getting the goaltending we've got the last 2-3 games.”

New Hampshire coach Dick Umile concurred.

“They're a good team,” said Umile. “I feel for Bruce. The team is well-coached, they work hard and they are going to win some hockey games. As I said to someone today, I hope they win a lot of games after tonight.”

All of that may not translate into a victory Saturday against the Eagles, but there’s additional hope on the horizon in the form of some future ECAC-Hockey East matchups. The Huskies’ last two games before the holiday break come against Vermont (also winless) and Princeton, and both are at Matthews Arena.


• Two talented Hockey East goal scorers missed on penalty shot opportunities this weekend: Maine's Colin Shields (Friday night vs. Gabe Winer) and New Hampshire's Steve Saviano (Saturday night vs. Keni Gibson).

John Connolly, the Boston Herald’s fantastic college hockey scribe, reports that Boston College head coach Jerry York mistakenly referred to Stephen Gionta as “Brian” after a recent game. Stephen, a sophomore, doesn’t have the skills of his older brother, but his improvement over the last year has been impressive. He stands fifth on the Eagles in scoring with 3-4—7 through 12 games.

• Many a mid-1980s Hockey East goal scorer could sleep better knowing that former Providence Friar Chris Terreri had retired. You’ll excuse them, then, if they woke up in a cold sweat Saturday night, when Terreri dressed as Ari Ahonen’s backup for the Albany River Rats of the AHL. Terreri, the River Rats’ goatending coach, had to step in when Boston College alum Scott Clemmensen was recalled to New Jersey.

• And speaking of sparkling goaltenders, Rensselaer’s Nathan Marsters and Union’s Kris Mayotte could be charged with grand larceny after stealing games against WCHA foes over the weekend. Marsters made a total of 64 saves as RPI swept St. Cloud State. Mayotte’s 43-save effort on Friday gave Union a tie against visiting Minnesota Duluth.

Clarkson rebounded from a 6-1 pasting by Colgate with a 3-1 victory over North Country rival St. Lawrence on Saturday. It also marked the end of a nine-game home stand for the Golden Knights. They finished the set with a 4-3-2 record. This weekend, Clarkson travels to Brown and Harvard.

• That was Andrew Alberts, not gifted offensive defenseman J.D. Forrest, manning the point on the Boston College power play that finished 5-for-7 against Providence. Alberts finished with three assists, and after scoring two goals on Tuesday vs. Merrimack he was named Hockey East Player of the Week. Forward Ryan Shannon mans the other point for the Eagles, and also had three assists against the Friars.

• As you read earlier, Dartmouth’s offense has come to life. Hugh Jessiman was a big reason for that, as the Darien, Conn., native returned to his home state and scored four goals and added an assist against Yale in Friday’s 9-4 win. The sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink included many Jessiman supporters, and undoubtedly more than a few New York Rangers fans that took advantage of seeing the Blueshirts prospect.

• Also credit Bob Gaudet’s experiment with sparking the Dartmouth offense. He moved Jessiman from his regular spot alongside Lee Stempniak and Mike Oulette to join up with Eric Przepiorka and Jarrett Sampson. Nathan Szymanski moved on to Oulette’s group and that group was responsible for four of the six goals in Saturday’s win.

UMass Lowell earned an impressive three points in a home-and-home with Boston University, but the River Hawks will lose their top defensive defenseman for a month or more with a broken bone in his hand. “Losing Matt Collar is a major loss, he’s been our best defenseman all year in a variety of areas such as killing penalties, regular shifts, and on power plays,” said head coach Blaise MacDonald. “It’s part of the game, and hopefully it will provide opportunities for other guys to step up and get into the lineup.”

• The River Hawks face a nationally ranked team for the fourth straight game Tuesday night at New Hampshire. Prior to the win at BU Friday night, UMass Lowell had been 0-16-2 in its previous 18 games against ranked teams.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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