Here’s my ranked “Performers” and “Underperformers” for the weekend of October 18/19:
- Lake Superior State University – First, what are the logistics of getting from Sault St. Marie , MI to Schenectady, NY. It has to be a travel agents nightmare. Nevertheless, the Lakers showed no signs of travel lag as they swept Union College 6-5 in OT on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday despite being outshot 82 to 40 on the weekend. The two” Kevins” Murdock (Fri) and Kapalka (Sat) secured the goal and balanced scoring by LSSU (9 different players scored over the weekend) gave them the sweep. For their effort they are my performers of the week.
- Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green gets the nod for #2 on the basis of their entire weeks performance. After a come from behind win in knocking off in-state rival Ohio State on Tuesday the Falcons were back at it on Friday and Saturday battling to a 1-1 OT tie and a convincing 7-0 win over Colgate University. Colgate must have left Ohio shaking their head after being outshot 50-20 on Saturday and 89-40 for the weekend. Colgate will now prepare for the arrival of St. Cloud State University this Friday/Saturday.
- Quinnipiac University – Two 2013 Frozen Four squads met in a home and home series in an a key early season matchup. The Bobcats showed they should be considered a national contender once again as they swept UMass-Lowell by identical 3-1 scores. The Jones brothers, Conner and Kellen proved to be difficult to contain and were major factors in the Saturday night win.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) – One name. Ryan Haggerty. The 6 foot junior from Stamford, CT scored two goals on Friday vs Boston University and three goals on Saturday vs Sacred Heart for the weekend sweep. Haggerty now has 7 goals on the season.
- University of Massachusetts – In an early season matchup between Hockey East and BIG 10 schools UMass doubled up Michigan State by scores of 3-1 (Fri) and 5-2 (Sat). Specials teams for UMass were the difference on Saturday with 4 power play goals. Pretty tough to lose when you’re clicking at 50% on the PP.
- University of Minnesota – Simply put, a solid road effort by Minnesota in the sweep of Bemidji State University . Bemidji took the early lead in both games but couldn’t slow the offensive minded Gophers who responded in bunches the entire weekend. The Gophers took Friday’s game 6-3 and responded with a similar effort on Saturday with a 5-1 win. Sam Warning was Saturday’s hero with two goals and Gopher netminder Adam Wilcox was solid both nights. Gophers are getting balanced scoring and very good play from their youngsters and look to be the class of the BIG 10 at this point.
- Minnesota-Duluth – The Bulldogs took to the road and had themselves in the uncomfortable position of win Saturday or be swept on the road by the Tigers. Colorado College got the Friday win by getting the early 2-0 lead and persevering for their first NCHC conference win. Saturday was a different story however as the Bulldogs dominated from start to finish, outshot CC 44-14 and left with a convincing 5-1 victory. UMD radio announcer Bruce Ciskie hailed this game as a nearly perfect road win.
- Minnesota State – Mankato – The Mavericks were behind the eight ball after a disappointing weekend in Providence getting swept. The WCHA favorite rebounded with a convincing sweep of UConn winning on Friday 2-1 and outshooting the Huskies 48-17 on Saturday in the 6-1 win.
- Air Force – There’s been lots of excitement around the Penn State hockey program but they are finding out early that it’s never easy to get wins on the road. They traveled to Colorado Springs, Co and fell twice to the Falcons by a 5-2 score Friday and 3-1 Saturday. Three Falcon goals in the third period Saturday capped off the sweep.
- Michigan – It’s never easy to win at UNH but Michigan found a way to earn a 1-1 OT tie on Friday after being outshot 35-18 and return with a 3-2 OT win on Saturday. The power play was the difference on Saturday for the Wolverines who have to feel good about going 1-0-1 at UNH.
- Western Michigan – The trip to Alaska for the Alaska Goal Rush Tourney is tough but it apparently didn’t phase the Broncos who dispatched University of Alaska-Anchorage 6-2 Friday (2 PP goals and a short-handed goal) and a 3-3 OT tie with a solid Alaska squad
- Northeastern – The Huskies earned the sweep over a outmatched Holy Cross squad. Not much more to be said.
- Notre Dame – This was a difficult series to get a handle on looking at the box score. Certainly Michigan Tech felt they deserved a better fate on Friday and with the weekend officiating having to kill off a combined 22 Notre Dame power play opportunities. Give MTU credit, they killed off 9 of 10 PP chances on Friday only to fall by a 3-2 score. Saturday saw more of the same with Notre Dame busting open an early second period 2-2 game with two consecutive power play goals. The final result was 4 power play goals on 12 chances and a 7-3 win. I’ll give them “performer” status with an assist from the officials.
- Wisconsin – Let’s get to the point. When a team is ranked #2 in the country and gets it’s you know what handed to them 9-2 Friday by Boston College and 7-3 Saturday by Boston University there’s not much more to say. They deserve top honors for underperformer of the week . Details not needed. Lets just move on.
- Michigan State University – The Spartans left Amherst, Mass 0-2-0 after getting swept by UMass. The penalty kill was a disaster on Saturday allowing UMass a success rate of 50%. They inched out Denver University for honors by virtue of less travel for the Spartans.
- Denver University – Granted, it’s never easy to garner wins in Alaska. However, I’m sure first-year coach Jim Montgomery never expected to lose both games albeit in OT to both Alaska schools. Denver simply couldn’t hold the lead in either game losing 3-2 to UAA in OT on Friday and 3-2 in OT to Alaska on Saturday.
- Penn State University – Welcome to the grind of Division 1 hockey. Air Force played a solid weekend of hockey and upended Penn State by 5-2 and 3-1 scores. It could be a long year for the Nittany Lions.
- UMass – Lowell – Were this a sweep on Quinnipiac’s home ice I might give the Riverhawks some slack. However, this was a home and home series and a chance for this 2013 Frozen Four finalist to earn a split with a win on Friday. It was not to be as QU won both nights by scores of 3-1.
- Connecticut – The Huskies were underdogs heading in this series with Mankato and it’s not a surprise they were swept. From that standpoint I’m not even sure we can call their effort underperforming.
- Colgate University – In Colgate’s 2013-14 team preview video Coach Don Vaughan preached “we have to do a good job of playing team defense”. The players stated the “biggest thing is our defensive game”. Well, back to the drawing table. After getting outshot 89-20 over the weekend and blitzed 7-0 Saturday by Bowling Green the Red Raiders have a whole week to prepare their defense for #9 St. Cloud State University.
Team of the Week : Lake Superior State University Lakers