was a day off, followed by a day of music, laughter, and
gifts all around.
might not expect such revelry from the lone Hockey East
team without a conference win in 2003-04, but given the
events of the last month, there’s no denying that
Northeastern deserved a little merriment.
a four-game winning streak and the championship of the Rensselaer
Holiday Tournament, the Huskies have plenty to celebrate
this week. They took Tuesday off, held their Secret Santa
on Wednesday, and are now firmly focused on keeping that
positive momentum going headed into Saturday’s game
against Boston College.
aforementioned music belongs to leading scorer Jason Guerriero,
who got a CD of Mexican tunes from his Secret Santa. (If
you assumed Guerriero – actually an Italian name –
was Hockey East’s answer to Scott Gomez, you apparently
weren’t alone.) The reigning INCH
Player of the Week, Guerriero had 3-4—7 in the
two games at Rensselaer to lead Northeastern.
can just tell coming to the rink for practice,” Guerriero
said after Wednesday’s festivities. “Everyone’s
excited. We’re all on a high.”
Huskies have put it together after an incredibly frustrating
0-9-2 start in which Guerriero’s offensive output
mirrored the performance of his team. Recognized by coaches
around the league as one of Hockey East’s most dangerous
offensive players, he had no points in the first four games
and just 3-0—3 in the first nine.
season) didn’t start off the way I had planned it,”
he said. “It didn’t feel like I was getting
any breaks. I knew it was a matter of time before things
started clicking, but in college hockey it’s only
a 32-game season plus playoffs. You can say it’s just
a matter of time, but all of a sudden you’re halfway
with 4-8—12 in his last six games, Guerriero is rolling.
Early in the year, if one thing was working for the Huskies
– goaltending, special teams, the offense –
something else would fail. Now it seems to be all coming
together, and the timing is perfect with the bulk of the
Hockey East schedule and the Beanpot ahead.
best, perhaps, is the team’s upbeat mentality. In
both games this weekend, against Colgate and Mercyhurst,
the Huskies trailed in the second period only to come back
maybe we had the lead against UNH, then they would come
back and you would sink your head,” Guerriero said.
“You wouldn’t say it, but you could feel it.
Now we have confidence that we can come back, even if we
get down. That’s the biggest difference.”
while the four-game winning streak has all come outside
the conference, Guerriero warns that people shouldn’t
dismiss Northeastern’s streak because of the opposition.
Colgate and Mercyhurst – the two teams the Huskies
beat at Rensselaer – are both around .500 with some
impressive wins this season.
was not an easy weekend by any means,” Guerriero said.
“Put any of the best teams in the country in that
tournament and they’d be in two tough games, just
like we were. That’s how tough college hockey is.
doesn’t matter to us whether we’re playing the
Toronto Maple Leafs or Mercyhurst,” he added. “We’re
going to play hard either way.”
an approach that could keep things festive in the Northeastern
locker room through the second half of the season.
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Pandolfo is among Hockey East's hottest scorer with
six goals in his last five games.
Kids – With 17 or 18 freshmen and sophomores
in his lineup, UMass Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald
wasn’t sure where his team would be by the midpoint
of the season.
considering that youth – and the fact that a year
ago the River Hawks were still in search of their first
win – he’s thrilled to see them at .500 overall
and 4-3-1 in conference play. It’s not so much that
those records have exceeded their goals – in fact,
MacDonald’s team is establishing its goals as it goes.
you have a team with the makeup such as we have, it’s
very difficult to set quantitative goals,” he said.
“There’s so much room for evolution.”
biggest gains have been made by a sophomore class that showed
skill as rookies, but didn’t enjoy much success. Five
sophomore forwards stand stacked atop the River Hawks scoring
list, led by Elias Godoy and Ben Walter.
into a home-and-home rivalry weekend with Massachusetts,
MacDonald needs contributions to continue from those players,
including sophomore Mark Pandolfo, who has scored goals
in five straight games. His six goals in that time are double
his season total from last year, and his nine goals on the
season are three times what he had as a rookie.
been blessed to have some gifted offensive players in the
sophomore class,” MacDonald said. “And we’ve
also gotten some big contributions from unlikely sources,
like Mark Pandolfo. He’s really been a threat offensively,
spot where UMass Lowell has struggled of late has been in
goal, where junior Chris Davidson had a solid start, but
has allowed 10 goals on the last 23 shots he’s faced
– a stat that MacDonald recites with the familiarity
of someone who’s been lying awake thinking about it.
Backup Paul Mammola got the win in the third-place game
of the Badger Showdown last weekend.
was scheduled to arrive in the second semester in the form
of John Yaros, a transfer from Army who has dazzled the
River Hawk coaching staff in practice. But he’s been
sidelined for nine weeks with mono, and MacDonald isn’t
sure when he’ll be back in playing shape.
Worker – There’s a great moment in
the trailer for the upcoming Disney movie, “Miracle,”
in which one of the players says, “A lot of guys from
Boston and Minnesota.” His teammate, disbelieving,
replies, “Yeah, that’s gonna work.” (If
you need a goosebump fix, check out the trailer here,
under ESPN Motion.)
1980 Olympic team is defined by BU and Minnesota guys –
specifically Mike Eruzione and Herb Brooks, although there
were many more. And when the Terriers and Gophers face off
this weekend at Mariucci Arena, there will be plenty of
Lake Placid memories.
of those Lake Placid characters, including Eruzione and
goaltender Jim Craig, take part in CSTV’s show, “Coach”,
on Jack Parker. If you’re tracking down DirecTV to
watch Friday night’s BU-Minnesota game on FOX Sports
North, be sure to check in an hour early for this feature.
a good blend of interviews and highlights, with a casual
conversation between Eruzione and Parker mixed in throughout.
While showcasing the championships Parker has won, the show
focuses on his connection with his players. That inevitably
leads to some sadder moments in Terrier hockey history,
like Travis Roy’s accident and the loss of Mark Bavis
on 9/11, but the show does a terrific job of addressing
those moments while remaining an upbeat tribute to Parker.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
The future of Massachusetts’ third-leading
scorer, Chris Capraro, is up in the air after the sophomore
missed last weekend’s games in Vermont. Capraro has
left the team indefinitely and will not play in this weekend’s
series against UMass Lowell, although UMass officials have
not made a formal statement regarding his future with the
who had 7-16—23 as a rookie, had been playing on the
Minutemen’s second line with Mike Warner and Kevin
Jarman. He had earned acclaim as a terrific all-around player,
someone head coach Don Cahoon felt comfortable playing in
Capraro’s long-term status with the Minutemen is the
larger concern, UMass will be very thin up front for its
series this weekend. Sophomore Stephen Werner is busy lighting
it up for Team USA in the World Junior Championship, and
Warner is battling an injury. When faced with a similar
shortage of forwards in a game earlier this year, Cahoon
used do-it-all defenseman Thomas Pöck as both a forward
New Hampshire’s Eddie Caron faces
some former teammates when Yale visits the Whittemore Center
on Saturday. After spending his freshman year at UNH, Caron
transferred to Yale for the fall semester last year, but
returned to Durham about a year ago.
Great Weekend Getaway
vs. UMass Lowell (Sat. at Lowell; Sun. at Amherst) UMass
Lowell holds a 20-12-4 all-time edge in the rivalry
with fellow state school Massachusetts, and historically
the River Hawks have been favored in these meetings.
That may not be the case any more, as Don Cahoon continues
to build the program in Amherst, but Lowell may still
have an edge heading into these meetings. Massachusetts
hasn’t posted a win since Nov. 25 (0-2-4 since
then), and will be short-handed without Stephen Werner
and Chris Capraro.
Joe Pearce’s Great Lakes Invitational
MVP performance is all the more remarkable given his
struggles in his first appearance this year (five
saves, three goals against in just over a period of
work vs. Merrimack). Expect he and Jerry York to both
have a lot more confidence in his abilities after
his work at Joe Louis Arena.
to see Joe Exter sign on with the
Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate. He reported to
the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL to begin his pro
the small appetite for televised hockey in the U.S.,
it’s not a surprise that Team USA’s World
Junior Championship games aren’t anywhere on
your satellite dial. Still, it would be great
to watch the exploits of Stephen Werner and
the boys. As it is, our only hope for a televised
game is if the U.S. and Canada meet in the championship
game, and if you have the NHL’s Center Ice package.
Um, never mind. Turns out TSN's broadcast of Saturday's
U.S. semifinal will be available on the NHL Center
Ice package. This bench minor apparently results in
a short-handed goal!
WCHA referee Jon Campion will officiate the UNH-Yale
game and the Vermont-Maine tilt on Sunday.
Just a hunch on my part, but I bet the Wildcats are happy
they aren’t seeing WCHA official Derek Shepherd, who
did their game against Minnesota two weeks ago.
UNH will head west for a holiday tournament
again next year (or more accurately, as we turn the calendar,
at the end of this year). The Wildcats have signed on as
the fourth team in the Great Lakes Invitational, and will
try to stretch Hockey East's hold on the GLI to three years.
Although Boston College and Northeastern
both came home with titles, it wasn’t a fantastic
holiday season for Hockey East teams. The other five teams
involved in holiday tournaments combined for a 3-5-2 record.
Merrimack had the holidays off, but returns
to action this weekend with a non-league pair at Princeton’s
Hobey Baker Rink. Special teams have helped carry the Warriors
all season, and they should have a huge edge if either of
these games are penalty-filled. Merrimack is seventh in
the nation on the power play (22.0 percent) and tied for
16th in penalty killing (86.2 percent); Princeton is 42nd
and 51st, respectively.
Kudos to the folks at Providence and Dunkin’
Donuts for bringing a terrific holiday tournament to New
England. With the exception of the Dartmouth/Vermont event,
it’s a shame that each holiday season the best games
are being played in Detroit, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida
(although perhaps not a shame for those folks who get to
go to Florida). While the Coffee Pot didn’t draw great
crowds, it did host some good hockey.
The Friars dropped their first non-conference
game of the year against St. Cloud State in the Coffee Pot
championship game. They’ll try to build on their 5-1-1
record outside of Hockey East against Quinnipiac on Friday
Defenseman Matt Collar returned for UMass Lowell
at the Badger Hockey Showdown after missing six
games with a broken wrist. Collar was the River Hawks’
best defenseman at both ends of the ice for the first two
months of the season.
Don’t blame Jimmy Howard’s injury for Maine’s
struggles at the Everblades College Classic. Frank
Doyle was impressive in goal, compiling a .930 save percentage
as the Black Bears fell to Ohio State and Notre Dame. They
try to get back on track with another non-league game, against
Vermont on Sunday in Portland.
Ryan Shannon has a point in each game of Boston
College’s current 12-game unbeaten streak,
the longest point streak by a Hockey East player this season.
We’ve long marveled at Thomas Pöck’s offensive
abilities, but the numbers are reaching the absurd stage
after he had a hand in seven of Massachusetts'
eight goals last weekend. The defenseman currently stands
tied for third in the nation with 27 points.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this