Performers / Underperformers #12…

Union

Here is this weeks College Hockey team “Performers” and “Underperformers” for the weekend of January 17/18:

Performers:

  1. Union College Dutchmen – The Dutchmen prove week in and week out why they are one of college hockey’s top teams. This past weekend they traveled to New Hampshire to face the Wildcats in what is generally a tough venue to play. In another successful weekend, the Dutchmen swept the Wildcats by identical scores of 3-1. Despite being outshot on Friday 39/32 they forged out to a quick two goal lead on the back of Mike Pontarelli’s goal and assist and a PP goal in the second by Daniel Carr to earn the 3-1 win. On Saturday, the two squads traded goals in the first but Union secured the GWG by Max Novak in the second period for another 3-1 win. Colin Stevens picked up his 11th and 12th wins of the season in goal. Union has lost one game since November 1 – to league leader Quinnipiac. This weekly performance earns Union College this weeks Center Ice View “Performer” of the week. Congrats.    
  2. Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks – The Mavericks needed to respond in a big way after losing three of four games in Alaska last weekend. But, it would be a difficult task considering Ferris had not been swept all season and considering the FSU road record. In an emotional series, the Mavericks earned the unlikely sweep and picked up 4 key points in this important series in Mankato. On Friday the Mavs played a nearly flawless game going 40% on the PP, getting strong goaltending from Cole Huggins and getting two goals apiece from Matt Leitner and Zach Lehrke in the 6-2 win. On Saturday, the two squads traded goals in the first with MSU taking a one goal lead after two periods only to see Ferris tie the game early in the third. However, the Mavericks produced two PP goals by Jean Paul Lafontaine and Johny McInnis in the third for the 4-3 win. In a highly emotional game, 31 penalties were whistled in the third period including 3 game disqualification penalties. The Mavericks now sit two points behind Ferris in the WCHA standings. This was an outstanding home sweep for Mankato.
  3. Colgate University Raiders – The Raiders have won 5 straight after this past weekends road sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard. On Friday, the Raiders outshot the Big Green 39-25 and were 50% on the PP in a 4-1 win. Mike Borkowski got the GWG. On Saturday, the Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead only to yield 2 PPG by Harvard in the second and third and hung on for a 4-2 win and sweep of the weekends games. Colgate has been solid since winning the Mariucci Classic title in Minneapolis during the holidays.
  4. Clarkson University Knights – With only 1 win in their prior 6 games, the Knights needed to get back on the winning track but faced an uphill battle in their home series with defending National Champion Yale and a resurgent Brown University squad. On Friday, the Knights outshot Yale 39-19 and benefitted by two goals from A J Fossen and a GWG by Kevin Tansey in earning a 3-2 win. On Saturday, they outshot Brown 34-31 and needed a third period goal by Will Frederick to secure the 3-2 win. Steve Perry picked up both wins in goal for Clarkson.This was a much-needed successful weekend for a Clarkson squad trying to keep pace with QU and Union in the ECAC.
  5. Boston College Eagles- The #4 ranked Eagles faced crosstown rival Boston University on Friday. BC fell behind early by a goal but responded with 5 of the next 6 goals in the 6-4 Eagle win. Boston College outshot the Terriers by a 44-27 margin and had two goals apiece from Johnny Gaudreau and Adam Gilmour. Brian Billet picked up the win in goal. On Saturday, it was no contest vs Maine as they blew out the Black Bears 7-2. The Eagles were 3/7 on the PP and saw a 5 assist night from Gaudreau and a hat trick and 5 point night from Kevin Hayes. Thatcher Demko picked up the Saturday win. The Eagles have not lost in 9 games since the wake up call in the loss to Holy Cross on November 29..
  6. University of Minnesota Golden Gophers – The Gophers had a two-game set with Ohio State including a Friday outdoor game in front of an announced 45,000 at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Gophers squeezed out a 1-0 win on Friday in single digit temps on a GWG by Taylor Cammarata. On Saturday, in the comfortable confines of Mariucci Arena, the Gophers fell behind 2-0 but responded with 4 straight goals including a pure hat trick by Sam Warning in the 4-2 win. Workhorse goaltender Adam Wilcox earned his 16th win of the season. Minnesota has only lost two games all season – the last being on November 24 to UMD. Impressive.
  7. Holy Cross University Knights – With an 8 game winless streak, it was a crap shoot to predict how they’d perform on the road vs Niagara, another consistent underperformer who has only won 4 times since Nov. 1. Credit Holy Cross goaltender Matt Ginn for the sweep. For the weekend, Ginn stopped 79/83 SOG in leading the Knights to the weekend conference sweep. On Friday, the Knights rode two first period PP goals and the GWG by Sean Gastin in the second for the 4-2 win. On Saturday, it was Ginn again stopping 38/40 SOG in the 3-2 win. Tommy Dwyer scored the GWG at 17:42 of the third. A solid road performance by the Knights.
  8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – The Irish have struggled to win conference games sitting in 8th place in Hockey East with only three wins. In non-conference games it’s a different matter as the Irish have notched 11 wins. Facing former CCHA rival Lake Superior State University, they added to their win column sweeping the Lakers by scores of 6-3 and 4-2. On Friday, LSSU led by a 3-2 score after two periods only to see Notre Dame score 4 straight goals in the 6-3 win. Austin Wuthrich scored twice for the Fighting Irish. On Saturday, Notre Dame outshot LSSU 45-19 and salted away the game with a big three goal second period. Steven Fogerty had two goals for Notre Dame and Steven Summerhays earned his second win of the weekend in goal.
  9. Michigan State University Spartans – Despite being outshot 48-29 by Penn State on Friday, the Spartans persevered blanking the Big 10 winless Nittany Lions 3-0. Dean Chelios got the GWG at 14:38 of the first period and Jake Hildebrand turned away 48 SOG. On Saturday, the Spartans outlasted Penn State in a 3-2 win. Lee Reimers had the GWG at 3:41 of the third period. It’s a sweep at home for the unimpressive Spartans but a sweep nonetheless.
  10. Air Force Academy Falcons– The Falcons are a predictably reliable team generally winning those games they should win. They hosted Sacred Heart at home and predictably won both games. They had to work for the Friday win outshooting the Pioneers 32-27 and riding two goals by Cole Gunner in the 6-4 win. On Saturday, the Falcons dominated outshooting Sacred Heart 37-18 and blanking them 4-0. Cole Gunner picked up his 11th goal of the season and Chris Truehl got the shut out in goal. Air Force now has an impressive 14 wins on the season.
  11. Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers – The Tigers had the benefit of a weekend conference series at home with three-win Army. And, they took advantage winning 6-0 Friday and 4-3 on Saturday. Michael Colavechia was the weekend hero with 2 goals on Friday and the GWG on  Saturday. RIT has been a struggling team this season so this was a big 4 point sweep for the Tigers – especially after 4 consecutive league losses. .
  12. Western Michigan University Broncos – The unranked Broncos have been a hot team lately but had a daunting task facing the #3 ranked Huskies on their home ice. Down 4-1 early in the second on a Cory Thorson PP goal it was beginning to look like a laugher. That was until  a colossal defensive meltdown by the Huskies allowed three WMU goals in the second period to knot the game at 4-4. The Huskies gained the lead again early in the third on a PP goal by Nic Dowd but once again, the Broncos Chase Balisy found the back of the net with the GTG at 16:38 of the third. A frustrating tie for SCSU but an invigorating comeback tie for WMU. In the Saturday rematch, the Broncos and Huskies traded first period goals and the game remained tied until the third period when Shane Berschbach scored on  a breakaway at 4:45 for a 2-1 WMU lead. Lukas Hafner stood tall in goal as the Huskies outshot WMU 33-19. This was a huge 5 point weekend for the Broncos and a big setback for SCSU..
  13. Denver University Pioneers – The Pioneers have been quietly climbing the ladder in the NCHC. They added added 4 more league points in their 3-2 win on Friday and 2-2 OT tie on Saturday at UMD. Friday’s game appeared headed to a shootout until DU’s Quentin Shore scored with 15 ticks remaining in OT for the win. On Saturday, the two squads skated to a 2-2 draw. Quentin Shaw preserved the tie with the GTG at 14:48 of the third period. The Pioneers now sit two points behind SCSU for the NCHC lead.       
  14. University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks – Crazy, prior to this past weekend, the Mavericks had not won a game since November 24. That was a weekend sweep of Miami. This past weekend they traveled to Oxford, OH to face Miami, the leagues most disappointing squad based on pre-season projections. On Friday, the Mavericks fell behind 2-0 but responded with the next two goals including the GTG at 7:02 of the third by Austin Ortega. The Mavs outshot Miami 27-13 in the win. On Saturday, Miami had the early 1-0 lead but that was it as UNO piled on the next 5 goals in the 5-1 route. Josh Archibald had the hat trick and the Mavericks scored three times on the PP in the third. UNO has taken 10 of 12 league points from Miami this season.
  15. Providence College Friars – The Friars, winless in their prior 4 games before traveling to Colorado Springs got back on track with a win and a tie vs 2 win Colorado College. On Friday, they outshot the Tigers 38 to 29 and traded goals in the second and third period in the 2-2 OT tie. Jankow-ski, Shaman-ski and Krushelyn-ski all had goals in this game. On Saturday, Providence buried the Tigers with a 5 goal outburst in the second in the 7-2 win. The Tigers records record falls to 2-16-4.
  16. University of North Dakota – North Dakota picked up a win and tie vs it’s closest DI competitor, Bemidji State in a home and home series. Despite outshooting the Beavers 43-15 they were only able to garner a 1-1 tie Friday. Bemidji’s Andrew Walsh was stellar in goal stopping 42/43 SOG. On Saturday in Grand Forks, Nodak outshot BSU 33-17 and picked up the 4-2 win. Mark MacMillan had two points in the win. North Dakota has not lost a game since November 29.

Underperformers:

  1. University of New Hampshire Wildcats – UNH will tantalize you at times and then break your heart like this past weekend vs Union. Sure, Union is an outstanding squad but if UNH is to do any damage the second half and prepare for the playoffs they need to respond better at home than being swept. This list is all about performing and my expectations are higher than this for the “Cats. Thus here they are leading the list. 
  2. St. Lawrence University Saints – Getting swept at home will certainly place you at the top of this list. The Saints have fallen off the map since their last win on the road vs North Dakota on November 29. Since that time, they’ve lost 7 straight including three straight at home. They were bounced by Yale and Brown this past weekend and now hit the road to face Cornell and Colgate. Good luck. You’ll need it. 
  3. Ferris State Bulldogs – The Bulldogs were beginning to look invincible. We noticed a chink in their armour vs Colgate in the Mariucci Classic and being swept on the road by the MSU-Mavericks proves how much parity there can be in college hockey. No question it was a convincing loss on Friday 6-2 to MSU. On Saturday, a much better response but another “L”. I’m still convinced they’ll win the league title despite Mankato breathing down their back but it was a good wakeup call for the Bulldogs.
  4. Niagara University Purple Eagles – It’s obvious after being swept at home by Holy Cross that the horses are not there for the Purple Eagles this season. They are a mid-level Atlantic team that can’t challenge the upper level squads in the league. Figure 5 more league wins for Niagara at the most before they start looking to next season.
  5. Harvard University Crimson – This program is an enigma. Much like Michigan State there simply isn’t any excuse to underperform like they do. Harvard has as much of an ability to “choose” players as anyone in college hockey and then get them to perform. Yet, they sit in 9th in the ECAC and have an overall record of 5-10-3. It just isn’t acceptable. They were swept – at home – by Cornell and Colgate. A kick in the pants for this Ivy.     
  6. Boston University Terriers – Wow, what dreadful year for Boston University.The are winless in their last 8 games after being swept by Massachusetts rivals, Boston College and UMass-Lowell. They sit in 10th place one point behind UMass another classic “Underperformer”this season.
  7. Lake Superior State University Lakers – The Lakers continue their slide being swept by Notre Dame this past weekend. They’ve won two games since December first and have sunk to the lower levels of the standings in the WCHA. What started as a very promising season has imploded with little prospects for climbing out of this funk.
  8. Ohio State University Buckeyes – The Buckeyes are the “snake oil” salesmen of college hockey. They’ve padded their 11 wins with 8 wins vs Atlantic hockey teams. Most other games of any consequence have been losses- Miami, Michigan, Duluth and now being swept by Minnesota. I’m not convinced this is anything other than a lower level Big 10 team unless they can put together a winning streak in conference. Then again, they have Penn State and Michigan State coming up so we’re back to the “snake oil” comparison. 
  9. Penn State University Nittany Lions – This is becoming repetitious. A 4 win team that has not defeated anyone with a record greater than .500. They were swept on the road by Michigan State, another squad that is truly dreadful this season. PSU does great weekly press conferences, has a state of the art rink, great promos but can’t win on the ice. The honeymoon period continues in “Hockey Valley”.    
  10. Army Black Knights – This team beefs up the conference points for any Atlantic school on their schedule. Another dreadful team poised to lose 25 games this season. This past weekend they were swept by RIT 6-0 and 4-3. I hear their recruiting class for next season is pretty good. That’s a positive.
  11. Sacred Heart Pioneers – Another marginal Atlantic school that makes a habit of losing. They were swept by Air Force in the ‘Springs and are another team destined for 25 losses.  
  12. St. Cloud State University Huskies – The #3 ranked Huskies earned 1 point at home in their weekend series with Western Michigan. A defensive meltdown on Friday saw a 3 goal lead disintegrate in less than a period. On Saturday, a better effort but another loss at home in a key conference game. A win would have really solidified their position in first place. The Huskies need to put this series behind them.The question will be answered – somewhat vs #1 Minnesota on Friday.  
  13. Miami University RedHawks – The preseason favorite in the NCHC has won three games since November 9. How is that possible with high end players like Barber and Czarnik and returning goaltending? Much like St. Cloud they picked up one point vs Omaha this past weekend. After a 2-2 tie on Friday you’d expect better than a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Omaha Saturday. With a 9-10-3 record they are beginning to lose touch with any prospects for post season play.   
  14. Colorado College Tigers – The “Best” 2 win team in College hockey had a nice night at home on Friday in a 2-2 OT tie with highly ranked Providence. It all fell apart on Saturday as they were rocked 7-2 by the Friars. I still feel they have some top end talent on this team. So, what is the problem (leading question)?

It was a tough call between Union and MSU-Mankato for weekly honors. However, in my book a sweep on the road in a tough venue is given more credence than a home sweep. Mankato rebounded nicely from their three-loss trip to Alaska. It was a great weekend for sure vs #2 ranked Ferris. Nevertheless, I still give the edge to Union for their road sweep at UNH. Thus, the Union College Dutchmen are this weeks “Performer” of the week.

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