Performers / Underperformers #8…

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Here’s my ranked “Performers” and “Underperformers” for the weekend of December 6/7 :

Performers:

  1. St. Cloud State University Huskies – The Huskies are the first team to repeat as “performer of the week”. Heading into the road series with the UMD Bulldogs the question was whether SCSU could sustain their success at a venue where they’ve struggled somewhat since 2007.  They were also facing a team that defeated #1 Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio State and Notre Dame. Surprise – the “Saturday”  Bulldog squad showed up on Friday and unquestionably carried play through the first two periods outshooting the #2 ranked Huskies  25-10 yet the game was tied 2-2.  But,  goal scorers can bust things open and in the third, it was Jonny Brodzinski who stepped up  scoring the GWG (unassisted) on a wicked wrist shot from outside the circle at 14:29 for a 3-2 lead. He added an empty netter to top things off and a 4-2 win. Ryan Faragher was exemplary in goal stopping 36 of 38 SOG.  On Saturday, it was a different game as the GWG was scored by Brooks Bertsch at 15:57 of the first period and the Huskies cruised to a 5-1 win.  Faragher got the win in goal and David Morley had a nice offensive night with 1-2-3 and +3. The successful weekend earned the  SCSU Huskies 11-1-2 (6-1-1) my vote for performer of the week.  
  2. University of North DakotaNorth Dakota made the trip to Kalamazoo to face the Broncos and in two close games earned 6 league points. On Friday, after spotting WMU the early lead, Luke Johnson scored two consecutive PP goals and Derek Rodwell  a third at 9:26 of the third for a 3-2 win. WMU outshot UND 38-24 for the game but Zane Gothberg stopped 36 of 38 SOG in the win. In a much tighter defensive game Saturday, WMU took the early 1-0 lead but NoDak scored three straight including the GWG by Rocco Grimaldi at 6:55 of the second and again prevailed 3-2.  It was Gothberg, again, with the win and North Dakota improved both their overall and conference records to .500.
  3. Ferris State University Bulldogs – This weekly “performer” looked to face a stiff test from the LSSU Lakers on their home ice.  On Friday, the Bulldogs outshot and outscored the Lakers 14-9 and 4-0 in the first and it looked like it was a laugher. However, the Lakers tightened up and kicked in some offense as well outshooting Ferris 23-13 over the final two periods and scoring three times in the 5-3 loss. On Saturday, the Bulldogs were outshot once again 37-22 yet Ferris held a 2-0 lead after one and held on for a  3-1 win and sweep of this key WCHA series. C.J Motte was solid in goal stopping 75 shots over the weekend in earning his 12th and 13th wins.
  4. Clarkson University Knights – In one of college hockey’s top rivalries between two schools located a mere 14 miles apart, the Clarkson Knights continued their hot streak sweeping St. Lawrence in two very competitive games. In front of the largest crowd ever at Cheel Arena, the Knights had to come from behind on Friday with three goals in the third period and hold on for a 5-4 win. Jeremy Wick logged two PP goals and the Carey brothers combined for 6 points in a losing cause for the Saints. Five different players picked up goals for Clarkson. On Saturday, in front of a packed house in Canton, NY, the rivalry continued in a game that saw 19 penalties handed out and 5 goals scored in the first period including 4 PP goals. Clarkson added a goal to tie the game in period two and Joe Zarbo scored the GWG at 2:33 of the third for the win and sweep for the Knights. Clarkson is now 12-3-1 and opening eyes in college hockey.
  5. Boston College Eagles -The #19 Eagles faced the UNH Wildcats in a Hockey East home and home series. On Friday, despite being outshot 16-4 in period one, the Eagles survived and held on to a 1-0 lead. In a game devoid of PP goals, the Eagles went to work in the second, scoring 4 consecutive goals including the game winner by Austin Cangelosi, his seventh of the year. BC wins game one by a 6-2 score and Brian Billet turned aside 39 of 41 SOG in the victory. On Saturday at UNH, despite 5 Eagles penalties in the first period, BC had a 1-0 lead on Bill Arnold’s 4th of the year. UNH tied the game at 7:11 of the second only to have BC’s Kevin Hayes nail the GWG at 17:51 for a 2-1 win and sweep. Thatcher Demko picked up the BC win Saturday.  The up and down Wildcats have now lost 4 of their last 6.
  6. Minnesota State University Mavericks – The suddenly re-energized Mavericks faced a perceived tough test at home vs the Northern Michigan Wildcats this past weekend. Despite a dominating 41-16 edge in SOG Friday it took a Matt Leitner PP goal at 11:52 of the third period to put away the Wildcats 3-2. Mathias Dahlstrom was outstanding for NMU turning away 38 of 41 SOG.  The Mavericks once again put on a dominating effort on Saturday outshooting the Wildcats 48-17 and getting a 3-0 shutout win. Zach Lehrke who just recently rejoined the squad scored the game winner. This game had a penalty filled second period with 15 penalties handed out. Kudos to NMU’s goaltender Mathius Dahlstrom who faced 48 Maverick SOG and turned away 83 over the weekend.  The Mavericks continue to chase the Ferris Bulldogs  in the WCHA standings.
  7. Union College DutchmenUnion warmed up for their highly anticipated game with QU with a 3-0 home shutout of weekly underperformer Princeton. Kevin Sullivan netted the GWG on the PP at 7:49 of period one and Union cruised to the win. On Saturday, the Dutchman welcomed Quinnipiac to their rink for a battle between the ECAC’s top two teams. Naturally, the last thing you want to do is give QU any “freebies ” but they did just that, scoring on themselves on a delayed penalty in the  second period. That knotted the game at 2-2 and set up a wild third period between the two front-runners. QU forged a 4-3 lead on a Kellen Jones goal at 5:20 but Union countered with a 5X5 goal by Michael Pontarelli less than a minute later and a PP goal by Matt Wilkins at 14:31 for a 5-4 lead. An empty net goal sealed the game at 6-4 for Union College. The Dutchmen travel to Minnesota this weekend for an exciting non-conference series with highly ranked St. Cloud State and a battle between two conference leaders.
  8. Brown University Bears -The Bears make the “performers” list for the second time with a weekend sweep of Ivy rivals Harvard and Dartmouth – two teams with their share of struggles. On Friday, Brown scored twice in the first including the game winning goal by Dennis Robertson  and outshot Harvard 32-18 for a 2-1 win. On Saturday, Dartmouth actually had a 2-0 lead after one period but Brown knotted the game at 2-2 on two goals by Nick Lappin and then the GWG at 1:58 of overtime by Kyle Kramer. More progress for the Bears and more frustration for the Big Green.
  9. University of Minnesota Golden Gophers – In a BIG 10 matchup, the U of MN traveled to East Lansing, MI for a series with the Michigan State Spartans. In a surprise, the Spartans, despite being outshot 46-33 and outplayed by the Gophers  rallied for a game tying goal by Villian Haag at 5:56 of the third to earn at 2-2 tie. MSU wins the gimmicky shootout. On Saturday,  Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead only to see the Spartans rally again for a PP goal in the second by Haag and an extra attacker goal with one second remaining in the game for a 3-2 final. Mike Reilly scored the GWG goal for the Gophers and Adam Wilcox picked up two more wins in goal.
  10. Bentley College FalconsBentley is on a roll undefeated in their past 6 conference games after a weekend sweep Robert Morris. On Friday, they piled up 4 goals before the Colonials got a meaningless goal late in the third period. Alex Grieve had the hat trick for Bentley. On Saturday, the Falcons led 6-1 after two periods and rolled to a 7-2 final. Andrew Gladiuk had 2-3-5 in the win.
  11. University of Wisconsin Badgers – The Badgers welcomed Penn State to Madison, WI for a BIG 10 series.  After getting swept by Minnesota in their previous conference series, the Badgers obviously were a little ornery and lambasted the Nittany Lions 7-1 on Friday.  PSU was able to close the gap to 2-1 midway through the first but it was all UW after that scoring the next 5 goals in the 7-1 route. The Badgers outshot PSU 43-28 and 7 different players scored in the win for UW. Apparantly the Badgers used up most of their arsenal on Friday as it was a much tougher task on Saturday. They still prevailed 4-3 but it took a goal by Nic Kerdiles at 11:52 of the third to earn the win. Joel Rumpel turned aside 27 of 30 in the win.
  12. University of Connecticut Huskies – It was the Huskies turn to take two from Niagara this past weekend. They earned a 3-2 win on Friday via a GWG by Trevor Gerling. On Saturday, another 1 goal win for the Huskies. It took a powerplay goal by Tyler Bouchard in the third period for the 3-2 win. A 4 point weekend for Connecticut and it keeps them in the Atlantic race.
  13. Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers – The Tigers faced American International, a team at 3-8-0 entering the series and in the midst of a 5 game losing streak. Let’s update that to 3-10-0 and a 7 game losing streak after the weekend. On Friday, RIT fashioned a 3-2 win in a close game won on a third period goal by Todd Skirving. Saturday, AIC got on the board first and held a 1-0 lead after one. RIT then posted 5 of the next 6 goals and outshot the ‘Jackets 33-17 in the final two frames to cruise to a 5-2 win. ‘Nuff said…
  14. Merrimack College Warriors – The Warriors have been anything but impressive thus far this season. So, why expect anything more as they faced Boston University on the Terriers home ice on Friday. Surprise, Merrimack outshoots BU 30-19 and wins 3-2 on a third period GWG by Mike Collins. Saturday, the venue changes to the Warriors home ice and we get a yawner. BU gets a goal in the first, Merrimack in the second an that’s it. 7 penalties, zero power play goals and no scoring in the third period or overtime. Like watching paint dry…
  15. Rensselear Technological Institute Engineers – When you have scoring machine Ryan Haggerty on your squad you’ve got a chance against anyone. Haggerty scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season – yes, 16th and 17th and the Engineers held on for a 3-3 tie with a suddenly sagging QU Bobcats on Friday. Mathew Pecca scored the game tying goal at 11:37 of the third  for QU. On Saturday, they had the luxury of facing the Princeton Tigers one of college hockey’s true unexciting teams. The outcome was as expected, a 5-2 home win. The only bright spot for the Tigers was a SH goal in the third. By the way, Haggerty netted the GWG, his 18th of the season. Noew that’s impressive.
  16. Mercyhurst College Lakers – I’m still not that convinced I should be taking Mercyhurst that seriously. However, they are 8-2 since November 1 after sweeping Sacred Heart on their home ice. On Friday they ran the score to 5-0 before the Pioneers got on the board. Final score 7-1 with seven different players scoring for the Lakers.  On Saturday they added to the Pioneers misery with a 4-1 win. Daniel Bahnge scored twice in the win.
  17. University of Alabama – Huntsville Chargers – It was bound to happen. And it did – at the expense of the Bowling Green Falcons who have really fallen on hard times lately. The Falcons outshot the Chargers 44-26 but UAH got the job done when it counted outshooting Bowling Green 7-6 in OT and a winning goal by Frank Misuraca. Certainly, a fine job in goal for Carmine Guerriero who stopped 41 of 44 SOG. By virtue of their first win of the year the Chargers make the performers list. Congrats.

Underperformers:

  1. Western Michigan University Broncos – I believe the Broncos are better than what they’ve shown thus far this season but it didn’t show on their home ice getting swept in two one goal games by North Dakota. Getting swept on your home ice in conference play will always get you on this list particularly if swept by a less than .500 team.
  2. Lake Superior State University Lakers – It was “Go Time” for the Lakers on their home ice and with an opportunity to prove they are a squad to contend with. The Lakers did in fact place 75 shots on goal over the weekend but couldn’t get the job done.  Not earning a single conference point in a key series gets them a prominent position here this week. It doesn’t mean you’re not a quality team but that you simply did not perform when it counted against a strong Ferris team.
  3. University of Minnesota – Duluth Bulldogs – The Bulldogs played a heckuva game on Friday vs St. Cloud and by rights should have won the game. Even SCSU coach Bob Motzko called the Huskies win “highway robbery”. However, UMD fizzled down the stretch Friday losing 4-2 and needed to get their head on straight for the Saturday rematch on their home ice. After all the talk of how the Bulldogs recover on Saturday after a Friday loss they did just the opposite. As a matter of fact,  it became a yawner with SCSU winning 5-1. Losing 2 games at home in conference play will always get you on this list.  See Western Michigan above.
  4. University of New Hampshire Wildcats -The Wildcats will drive you nuts. They are “wildly” inconsistent. After winning 6 games in a row in November they’ve now lost 4 of 6 after being swept by Boston College in a home and home this past weekend. The Wildcats record now falls to .500. Yet, they are probably the best .500 team out there. A classic case of an underperforming weekend.
  5. St. Lawrence University Saints -From what I understand, it was a great weekend of hockey in upstate NY between two heated rivals – Clarkson and St. Lawrence. These are series that generally end up a split especially since both squads are quality teams and it was a home and home. Clarkson appears to be a step ahead at this juncture. The question now is wether the Saints can recover and get back on track. We’ll see.
  6. Niagara University Purple Eagles – This is a struggling squad. After being swept by Connecticut in league play they’ve now lost 5 games in a row and 9 out of the last 11. They’ve also fallen to 8th place in the Atlantic. The outlook is pretty dismal for the Purple Eagles.
  7. Northern Michigan University Wildcats – My expectations were much higher for an NMU squad that lost twice in November and most recent game was a 1-1 tie with Ferris. They hit the road  to Mankato in a key series and on Friday get outshot 41-16 and lose 3-2 thanks to great goaltending. On Saturday, they played undisciplined hockey, took 10 penalties, were outshot 48-17 and were shut out by MSU -Mankato 3-0. They need to right the ship but I’m not sure a trip to North Dakota next week is what the doctor ordered.
  8. Princeton University Tigers – Another ugly weekend for the Tigers. They lose two more to RPI and Union and garner one even strength goal over the two games. Their record now falls to 3-12-0.
  9. Penn State University Nittany LionsPSU has not defeated a team with a winning record all season. They were drilled by Wisconsin 7-1 on Friday and despite a close game on Saturday dropped that one 4-3. No moral victories here–you’re in the BIG remember?
  10. Robert Morris University Colonials -This is a forgettable college hockey team doing it’s best to keep it that way. They were outscored by Bentley 11-3 over the weekend while being swept. They are currently 12th in the Atlantic and have an overall record of 2-10-1. I don’t think much more needs to be said.
  11. Sacred Heart University Pioneers – Another team that’s made a habit of losing is the Sacred Heart Pioneers.  They were swept by Mercyhurst by a combined score of 11-2 and have now lost 9 of their last 10 games. However, they are not in the cellar of the Atlantic. That’s occupied by Robert Morris. I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out how they defeated UMass-Lowell on October 11.
  12. American International College Yellow Jackets – yawn – two losses to RIT. A weekly underperformer.
  13. Yale University Bulldogs – It’s been a troubling 4 game stretch for the defending national champions. They’ve gone 1-2-1 including a 4-1 loss to Dartmouth and a 1-1 OT tie with Harvard. With a combined record of 5-15-1 entering last weekend, these are two squads that define underperforming. The 4-1 loss to Dartmouth is particularly troubling as they fell behind 3-0 before even getting on the board. Dartmouth was 1-8-0 entering the contest.
  14. Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Another team from Connecticut that had a rough weekend was #5 Quinnipiac. Face it – getting a win at Union these days is not an easy task. After falling to the Dutchmen 6-4 Friday they followed it up with a 3-3 tie at RPI. Not a good weekend at all for QU. Never fear, they’ll rebound.
  15. Boston University Terriers – After a decent series vs North Dakota with a win and  a tie and a win over Cornell, the Terriers follow it up with a loss and tie to 3-9-1 Merrimack. Boston University currently sits in 10th place in Hockey East and it’s hard to believe  this program has sunk this far.

On the heels of a solid road weekend sweeping the University of Minnesota-Duluth, maintaining an early  #1 Pairwise ranking, sitting on top of the NCHC and carrying the best record in college hockey, the St. Cloud State University Huskies are this weeks “View from Center Ice” team performer of the week. Congratulations.      

One thought on “Performers / Underperformers #8…

  1. Pingback: At the Halfway Point – A List of Contenders in NCAA | GET REAL HOCKEYGET REAL HOCKEY

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