Saturday reading: AFA, upsets, WCHA recaps, CCHA, M. Schwartz

SCSU_KossilaThe Falcons’ special teams came up big as Air Force moved from fourth to a tie for second place in the AHA with a 2-0 home win Friday over Robert Morris. Goalie Jason Torf (30 saves) is why Falcons fans can again hope for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Around college hockey, it was a tough night to be a top 5 team. Only idle No. 2 Quinnipiac did not lose. Here are recaps from the WCHA and about those upsets.

No. 15/16 St. Cloud State 3, No. 5 North Dakota 1

GRAND FORKS —  No. 15/16 St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (15-10-0, 12-5-0 WCHA) took advantage of a dominant defensive performance to score a 3-1 victory at No. 5 North Dakota (13-8-4, 8-5-4 WHCA) on Jan. 25 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The victory helped the Huskies move into sole possession of first place in the WCHA with 24 league points thanks to a 2-1 victory by No. 14 Minnesota State at No. 1 Minnesota on Jan. 25.  The Gophers fell into second place tie along with Nebraska Omaha at 22 points.

SCSU outshot UND 33-16 in the contest and also held it scoreless until a third period power play goal broke the shutout for the Huskies.  In the first period, SCSU set the tempo by giving up only three shots on goal and followed with five shots allowed in the second period.

SCSU freshman Jonny Brodzinski opened the offense with a goal at 4:15 of the first period while senior captain Ben Hanowski added the game winner with his ninth goal of the season at 16:36 of the first period. Freshman Kalle Kossilla assisted for his 11th of the season.

No. 14 Minnesota State 2, No. 1 Minnesota 1

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s 10-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Friday night after No. 14 Minnesota State’s Brett Knowles tallied the 2-1 game winner with 44 seconds left in regulation.

For the first time in Minnesota’s last 10 games, the Gophers failed to reach the four-goal plateau although freshman goalie Adam Wilcox did his best to try and pick up the win regardless of the offensive production. The rookie netminder (16-3-4) made 31 saves – one off his career high – for his first loss of 2013. MSU goalie Stephon Williams recorded 37 saves to move to 13-6-2 this season.

Despite Minnesota State’s third period goal, the Gophers held a 38-33 shot advantage and rallied from what would have been only the third time this season an opponent outshot the squad with 20 shots in the third period (the Mavericks had nine in the final stanza).

Minnesota returns to action on Saturday in Mankato for the series finale against Minnesota State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS.

No. 13/14 Nebraska Omaha 5, Bemidji State 3

BEMIDJI —  Nebraska-Omaha got two goals and an assist from Matt White while Johnnie Searfoss and Jaycob Megna each pitched in a goal and helped on another to help the Mavericks hold off a late charge by Bemidji State and earn a 5-3 WCHA victory at Sanford Center Friday.

No. 20 Wisconsin 5, Alaska-Anchorage 2

MADISON — Junior forward Michael Mersch posts two goals and an assist while Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles scored a goal and an assist each to lead Wisconsin to a 5-2 victory against Alaska Anchorage on Friday night at Kohl Center.

Maine 4, No. 3 Boston College 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — On paper, it was a mismatch – Hockey East’s top team against the league’s cellar-dweller.

Maine flipped that mismatch on its head, however, in defeating third-ranked Boston College 4-1.

In pulling off the upset, Maine spoiled the return of BC coach Jerry York to the bench after missing four games while recuperating from surgery for a detached retina.

Martin Ouellette stopped 34 of 35 shots including all 20 in the second period when BC threatened on three power plays. He also benefited from a goaltender’s best friend, the pipes behind him, as the Eagles twice clanged iron.

The Black Bears, who hadn’t scored more than two goals in 20 of 23 games this year, took a 2-0 first-period lead, expanded it to 3-0 in the second, and after BC closed the gap to 3-1 in the third, added an empty-netter for the final margin.

“Frankly, we got some puck luck, which we perhaps haven’t had a lot of,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “It could have been very different if we hadn’t had some of those bounces.

“Marty [Ouellette] was fabulous. A lot of guys made some key blocks. Any time we didn’t make the block, Marty was able to bail us out.”

Here is the rest of the article.

Merrimack 3, No. 4 New Hampshire 2

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — After taking a brief 2-1 lead in the second, UNH allowed two unanswered Merrimack goals. The game-winner came from freshman Brian Christie, who started the third period by winning the opening faceoff, driving the middle and netting a marker through a defender’s legs just seven seconds into the final frame from captain Jordan Heywood and junior Mike Collins.

Collins and Christie both finished with three points on the night and Merrimack held the Wildcats scoreless for the remaining 19:53, winning 3-2.

“I didn’t even see it go in,” Christie said. “Fortunately, it did.”

Here is the rest of that article.

Of note from the CCHA: No. 9 Western Michigan defeated Michigan to take sole possession of first place and Miami beat Bowling Green to give RedHawks’ head coach Enrico Blasi his 300th career win. The RedHawks are now in second place while Notre Dame, losers in its last five, fell to third.

Also, this columnist tells us why Mandi Schwartz still matters to her teammates, loved ones and Yale.

Tuesday reading: Colorado College, North Dakota, poll, Wisconsin, Clarkson, AHA, Notre Dame, Northeastern, Penn State, Merrimack


Penn State’s Taylor Gross, a Pine Creek HS graduate, and Syracuse’s Kallie Goodnough fight for the puck during a 6-0 loss to the Orange Sunday at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The Nittany Lions are 1-3 this season. Abby Drey — Centre Daily Times Photo

Here is a fan’s take on CC and Wisconsin.

North Dakota junior goalie Clarke Saunders is profiled.

UND is No. 2 behind Minnesota in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

Here is my 3 Things blog about last weekend in the WCHA for USCHO.

Clarkson can take heart in its good showing on the road in Colorado Springs according to this ECAC weekend review.

Atlantic Hockey enjoyed a strong opening weekend.

Notre Dame’s goalie had a .962 saves percentage this past weekend, among other CCHA notes.

Here is more reaction to Northeastern’s big opening week.

Penn State got its first Division I men’s win on Saturday.

A former Merrimack coach succumbed to throat cancer recently.

CC garners votes in USA Hockey preseason poll

USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today released its preseason poll on Monday with Colorado College coming in at what would be tied for 19th if the rankings went that far. Air Force garnered a few votes as well. All the WCHA teams listed in the poll are bolded.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference fans will note that Miami (No. 9) and Western Michigan (11) also got some love.

 

Men’s Poll – Week 1: Sept. 24, 2012 

  Team

Points
(First Place Votes)

2011-12
Record

1 Boston College

476 (20)

33-10-1

2 Minnesota

476 (12)

28-14-1

3 Michigan

408 (2)

24-13-4

4 North Dakota

407

26-13-3

5 Union College

295

26-8-7

6 Cornell

233

19-9-7

7 UMass-Lowell

221

24-13-1

8 Denver

220

25-14-4

9 Miami

203

24-15-2

10 Notre Dame

186

19-18-3

11 Western Michigan

182

21-14-6

12 Minnesota Duluth

176

25-10-6

13 Boston University

158

23-15-1

14 Ferris State

123

26-12-5

15 Wisconsin

99

17-18-2

Others receiving votes: Harvard University, 58; University of Maine, 24; Quinnipiac University, 24; Michigan State University, 19; Colorado College, 19; University of New Hampshire, 17; Ohio State University, 17; St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, 15; Merrimack College, 7; Providence College, 6; Yale University, 6; United States Air Force Academy, 3; Northern Michigan University, 1; Michigan Tech University, 1.

 

Wednesday reading: Crabb, Trouba, LaLeggia, Merrimack AD

Former Tiger Joey Crabb talks about why he chose the Capitals: a chance to make the playoffs. Here is more from the Anchorage Daily News and that he likely will be on the fourth line.

Michigan signee Jacob Trouba, pictured, will not head to the OHL, which has denied offering Trouba, the top college-bound player chosen in the recent NHL Draft, $200,000 to go to Kitchener. He was the ninth pick overall by Winnipeg. He would have been the 22nd Wolverine to leave the program early or never even show up since 2000.

DU defenseman Joey LaLeggia is featured by the Edmonton Oilers in their daily development camp feature.

The Merrimack athletic director has been put on paid leave over a “personnel matter,” according to USCHO.

Sunday reading: Pairwise, Hamburg, Tigers record, AHA, CCHA, ECAC and Hockey East playoffs

Here’s the latest Pairwise rankings, which have CC in 19th and hoping some of the teams ahead of them stumble. Tiger fans should root against No. 15 Cornell, No. 16 Merrimack, No. 14 Northern Michigan, No. 18 Notre Dame, and No. 17 Western Michigan.

Bowling Green forced a Game 3 in their CCHA series with NMU tonight. Three ECAC first-round series, including one involving Merrimack, will be decided tonight.

CC’s Andrew Hamburg is playing better hockey of late, It looks like he is finally fully recovered from offseason surgery which is good news for the Tigers.

With Saturday’s win, Colorado College (18-14-2) is assured of its 12th winning season in a row. Congratulations, but that is not the goal for the team right now.

The Tigers could really use a sweep of Michigan Tech, which will be very, very tough to accomplish, and win  one, maybe two, Final Five games to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s a quick look at the WCHA first-round match-ups by Roman Augustoviz, who was burning the midnight (actually 1:38 a.m. CT) oil. IMO, the Gophers fans don’t give Roman enough credit for all his hard work. Six hours later he posted more reaction to the MacNaughton Cup (really Trophy) by goalie Kent Patterson, who bounced back from his first mid-game pull in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Wisconsin with a 2-1 win on Saturday. The win was sparked by Erik Haula’s shorthanded goal.

Here are the Hockey East match-ups: No. 1 Boston College vs No. 8 Massachusetts; No. 2 Lowell vs No. 7 Providence; No. 3 Boston University vs No. 6 New Hampshire and No. 4 Maine vs No. 5 Merrimack.

Two Atlantic Hockey Association series conclude tonight, which will determine if top seed Air Force hosts No. 8 UConn, No. 10 AIC or No. 11 Sacred Heart this coming Friday in a best-of-three quarterfinals.

Tigers move up to No. 5 in one poll, No. 6 in other

Colorado College’s road sweep at MSU-Mankato , which secured third in the WCHA going into the Christmas break, pushed the Tigers up to No. 5 from No. 7  in the USA Hockey poll. Defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth is a unanimous No. 1 followed by fellow league-leader Minnesota.

The USCHO poll is similiar with CC at No. 6 and Notre Dame at No. 5.

USA Hockey weekly poll

1. Minnesota Duluth (34)

2. Minnesota

3. Boston College

4. Ohio State

5. Colorado College

6. Notre Dame

7. Merrimack

8. Western Michigan

9. Boston University

10. Union College

11. Colgate

12. Ferris State

13. Cornell

14. Michigan State

15. Denver