Saturday, February 12, 2011
Michigan 2, Ohio State 1
CHN: After getting swept by Miami last week, Michigan responded with two tight wins against OSU this weekend, keeping itself in the mix for first place in the CCHA with Notre Dame and the Red Hawks. Just as importantly, Michigan re-solidified its Pairwise positioning, going back solidly into the Top 10.
Nebraska-Omaha 4, Wisconsin 3
CHN: Matt Ambroz scored twice and UNO fended off a late rally to sweep the weekend series in a rocking weekend in Omaha. UNO not only moved into third place in the WCHA, but is also tied for No. 7 in the Pairwise. Meanwhile, Wisconsin dipped to No. 15. And again, the trend continued for Wisconsin of not being able to beat the top teams in the league. ... By the way, this isn't necessarily a knock on Wisconsin -- not this year. This was to be a rebuilding year. The fact that Wisconsin has done as well as it has, is commendable. It's the sign of good coaching, really, that a team can get itself prepared enough to win all the games against "lesser" teams. Not being able to beat the upper echelon teams just means that those teams are better -- this year.
St. Cloud State 3, Minnesota-Duluth 3
CHN: After having such a strong season so far, getting only one point this weekend, and not playing well, has such a sudden detriment to the Bulldogs. Part of that is just because things are so tight, in the WCHA and nationally ... big weekend slip-ups can cause teams to plummet. UMD is now tied for third in the WCHA, and saw its Pairwise stock drop to No. 6.
North Dakota 3, Alaska-Anchorage 1
CHN: The win vaulted North Dakota into first place, and clinched home ice for the WCHA playoffs. But don't order the balloons and cake. It's no time for celebration, in the eyes of the Sioux. "We worked awful hard this weekend," UND coach Dave Hakstol said, "so it's nice to see we have something to show for it in terms of the standings. But I don't think anyone is going into tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday looking at the standings. We're going to concentrate on ourselves, concentrate on our game and try to get better." Still, the Sioux knew early into their game that league-leading Denver had lost to Minnesota and that a Sioux win to sweep the series from Anchorage would move the Sioux one point ahead of Denver in the standings. "A lot of us saw the Minnesota score before our game started." UND junior wing Jason Gregoire said. "We knew Saturday night in our rink is huge for us down the stretch. With one more home weekend (left), we needed this one, and the guys came out playing."
Miami 3, Western Michigan 1
CHN: After the shootout win Friday, Western Michigan finally saw its unbeaten streak come to an end at 14 games. The loss dropped WMU off the Pairwise bubble for now. But let's look at it this way for the Broncos: The season has been tremendously admirable so far ... they came into these final three weekends needing to do very well against a daunting trio of opponents to stay in the mix for an NCAA bid, its first since 1996, playing Miami, Notre Dame and Michigan ... and with the first of those weekends out of the way, yes, WMU has now slipped off the bubble. But still, the Broncos played well in the two games against Miami and has nothing to be ashamed of. If it can muster some upsets in the next couple of weekends, it just may yet get back on the good side of the Pairwise yet.
Notre Dame 5, Bowling Green 1
CHN: Sophomore right wing Billy Maday scored a pair of goals with Jeff Costello, T.J. Tynan and Jared Beers scoring single goals as Notre Dame remained in first place with a weekend sweep of BGSU. Freshman goaltender Steven Summerhays stopped 13-of-14 shots for the win. With the sweep, Notre Dame has clinched a bye in the first round of the playoffs. “It’s great once you get to this position,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson. “For me, it’s more about how well you are playing going into the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you finish first or fifth, you’re going to play a tough opponent in the second round.” ... For his team’s win on Saturday night, Jackson was pleased with his team’s play in all areas. “I thought we were a lot sharper tonight. Our approach was much better,” Jackson said. “Guys were focused and we did what we had to do. I was happy with our special teams. We got a couple of power-play goals and even the breakaway goal (Maday’s) was basically a shorthanded goal. That was really the difference in the game.”
Yale 6, Clarkson 3
CHN: Brian O'Neill's hat trick keyed a very important win for Yale, coming off Friday's loss in Canton. Yale, for now, remains No. 1 overall in the Pairwise, despite ending the weekend in second place in the ECAC behind Union. “We didn’t feel good about last night, and we responded the way a good team should,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “We had all four lines going and playing well.” ... O'Neill leads the team with 15 goals after his first career hat trick. “We kept it simple tonight. We were careful with the puck and didn’t turn it over. We got more chances by protecting it.”
Maine 4, Vermont 2
CHN: Maine came out to restore some pride after Friday's beating sent spirits spiraling downward, not to mention postseason chances. The Black Bears outshot Vermont 39-19, but fell behind 2-1 before rallying behind Gustav Nyquist's two goals.
Merrimack 3, New Hampshire 2
CHN: Before the season, CHN pegged Merrimack as the team that could be that "up and comer" of the year, and sneak into the NCAAs, like Northeastern did two years ago, and Alaska did last season. It's been great to see this new blood in recent years getting NCAA bids. And as the season went along, it looked like that was remaining a very real possibility, with the Warriors playing pretty well, getting some good wins along the way. ... But this has gone from "nice story" to WOW! as Merrimack won another game Saturday, this time an OT thriller to complete a weekend sweep of New Hampshire. With that, the Warriors have rocketed within three points of first place in Hockey East and into the Top 5 of the Pairwise. For a program that previously never had more than 16 wins in Division I, it's a remarkable achievement -- one that obviously is not complete yet, and could quickly go south without taking care of remaining business, but is nevertheless turning heads. ... In this one, Jordan Heywood scored at 1:42 into overtime for the win. On the only shot of the OT, Mike Collins fed Heywood on the point, who moved closer to center ice and fired a shot that slipped past the left pad of a screened Matt DiGirolamo to give the Warriors their third overtime victory of the season. The win was Merrimack’s 12th triumph in 13 games and was its sixth-straight. It also marked the second-ever sweep of UNH in the long history between the two teams. ... “We know we’re a good team,” said sophomore defenseman Kyle Bigos. “The mood before the game was just that we have a challenge in front of us and we have to go out there and get it done. We were focused.” ... Of course, the architect of all of this, national Coach of the Year favorite Mark Dennehy, remains cautious, just like a coach. “They weren’t handing out any trophies tonight,” Dennehy said. “It’s one win.”
Union 6, Colgate 3
CHN: Union fell behind 2-0, but rallied for the next five goals and went on to its seventh straight win. It remained in first place in the ECAC with four regular-season games remaining, and solidified a No. 7 spot in the Pairwise.
Bemidji State 1, Michigan Tech 0
CHN: The teams played more than 58 minutes without a goal Saturday, but with 1:33 left in regulation, BSU sophomore Jordan George scored unassisted to propel the Beavers to a three-point WCHA weekend and the 2011 Winter Carnival Championship at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich. “I thought it was a great hockey games both ways,” said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. “I thought we played very well for 60 minutes. I was pretty happy with our energy and I thought we had several quality scoring chances. ... “This was a critical two points if we are going to stay in the hunt and try to advance in the standings. It is still going to be awful tough, but we had to win.”
Minnesota 7, Denver 3
CHN: Minnesota scored the first six goals of the game, and laid a thorough beating on the Pioneers. Then things got ugly in the third, highlighted -- or low-lighted -- by a fight between Minnesota's Jake Hanson and Denver's David Makowski. Neither team could really afford to lose those players, but they will now, for at least a game. The loss knocked Denver out of first place, and the win kept Minnesota in striking distance of a home-ice spot in the playoffs.
Dartmouth 4, Princeton 1
CHN: Because of RPI's heart-wrenching weekend and Dartmouth's sweep, the Big Green are in third place in the ECAC and has evened itself with RPI in the Pairwise.
Cornell 3, Rensselaer 2
CHN: What a gut-wrenching weekend for RPI -- losing two home games in overtime. This team has played so well, and impressed so many -- these losses will be tough to absorb, but it will need some big wins again quickly to get back into better Pairwise position. It slipped from a solid No. 2 seed area to bubble area with the two losses.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Nebraska-Omaha 4, Wisconsin 1
CHN: Nebraska-Omaha strengthened their hold on fourth place, and its hand in the NCAA race, with this win in front of a school-record crowd of 15,137 in Omaha. The Badgers, meanwhile, continued a trend of being unable to beat the top WCHA teams.
North Dakota 6, Alaska-Anchorage 1
CHN: North Dakota's speed got the most of UAA, as the Sioux showed no signs of rust from a week layoff. With the win, it kept pace with Denver, as both teams jumped over Minnesota-Duluth in the WCHA standings. Goals by seniors Matt Frattin and Jake Marto 17 seconds apart early in the first period staked the Sioux to a quick 2-0 lead and rattled the defensive game plan of the Seawolves. Goals by Jason Gregoire, Corban Knight and Evan Trupp in the second and third periods kept the Sioux safely in front. "It was definitely our goal to come out fast and hard in the first five minutes" Frattin said, "and try to get the first one and set them off their strategy." The Sioux, playing without injured captain Chay Genoway and without forward Danny Kristo with frostbite issues, got strong play from everyone in the lineup. ... "I think it (speed) is a big part of our game, regardless who we're playing," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We did a good job of that tonight, coming up ice with some speed."
Western Michigan 3, Miami 3
CHN: Western Michigan has had a magical season, but to get to the NCAAs, it has to face a gauntlet in the last six games -- Miami, Notre Dame, Michigan. Well, so far so good. WMU got the tie for NCAA purposes, which works well enough, and got another shootout win for CCHA standings purposes. For the Broncos, it's a nation's-best 14th straight without a loss. Western Michigan has also now tied the NCAA record for ties in a season with 10. Minnesota State had 10 in 2003.
Notre Dame 2, Bowling Green 1
CHN: Freshman left wing Anders Lee put another stamp on his magical rookie season, scoring the game winner with 3:14 left in regulation, putting Notre Dame back into first place for the time being. Lee, at the end of a shift took a pass from Bryan Rust inside the Bowling Green blue line near the right boards before carrying it across the blue line to the center point where he sailed a wrist shot over Falcons’ goaltender Andrew Hammond’s shoulder. “It’s going to be like this the rest of the way,” said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson referring to the tight game. “Everyone is battling for position, everyone is playing that tough style. It’s always tougher in the latter stages of the season.” ... “Bowling Green played exactly how I expected them to play,” Jackson said. “That’s what we saw on tape last week against Western Michigan. They are playing a real tough style to play against right now. I give (WMU) coach (Chris) Bergeron a lot of credit. He has them playing exactly how they have to play and they are doing it well.”
St. Cloud State 8, Minnesota-Duluth 2
CHN: UMD took a 2-1 lead in the first, then watched in horror as things fell apart. Consequently, the Bulldogs dipped to No. 5 in the Pairwise and all the way to third in the WCHA standings.
Denver 2, Minnesota 1
CHN: Denver kept pace with North Dakota with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Minnesota. Freshman goaltender Sam Brittain tied a career-high with 36 saves and Minnesota Wild draftee Jason Zucker tallied the game-winner. ... On a down side for Denver, senior captain Kyle Ostrow missed his first career game after undergoing vascular surgery of the lower abdominal area this afternoon. Ostrow, who has 99 points in 150 career games, could return to the Denver lineup on March 4-5 vs. St. Cloud State.
St. Lawrence 3, Yale 2
CHN: Yale thought it put an end to its mini slump with a couple of wins last week. But with another loss, this time at nine-win St. Lawrence, the Bulldogs not only further jeopardized their No. 1 seed, further jeopardized their stature in the eyes of many doubters, but also fell out of first place in the ECAC. Yale (19-5, 13-4) outshot the Saints 33-24 but made too many mistakes to pull out of Canton in first place. Andrew Miller and Antoine Laganiere found the net for the Bulldogs while Ryan Rondeau made 21 saves. “Tonight we didn’t play well enough to win. We had poor puck decisions and we didn’t skate as a team,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “Our work ethic was not up to par either.” ... Yale did still manage to hang on to No. 1 in the Pairwise.
Merrimack 4, New Hampshire 2
CHN: Merrimack jumped to No. 6 in the Pairwise with the latest impressive win, a solid victory over New Hampshire. They won despite suffering a potentially devastating setback, losing star forward Stephane Da Costa to a knee injury. But maybe Merrimack can get through it anyway. Why not? Its season has been so tremendous as it is, can anything stop the Warriors right now? Not to get too giddy, but No. 6 in the Pairwise for a program that had never previously won more than 16 games in a season? The win was the eighth straight on the road for Merrimack.
Union 4, Cornell 0
CHN: Union went into first place in the ECAC with a sixth straight win, on a night when Yale lost again. The Dutchmen did it with a dominating performance, limiting Cornell to 9 shots on goal, as goalie Keith Kinkaid yawned his way to a shutout. Daniel Carr sparked the night for Union with his 17th goal.
Colgate 2, Rensselaer 1
CHN: RPI did so much to build its season to the cusp of an at-large NCAA bid, and it had dominated so much at home -- and playing a Colgate team with one ECAC win this season -- that it seemed so crazy to have this one slip away like this. But Colgate defenseman Kevin McNamara scored with 2:13 left in overtime to shock the Engineers. For Colgate it's actually the second straight win. For RPI, it's still tied for No. 7 in the Pairwise, so this wasn't a killer, but it was a stunning end to its momentum.