Here’s my top “Performers and Underperfomers” for the past week:
- University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs – Being snake bit when it comes to winning in St. Cloud is an understatement. The Bulldogs hadn’t swept the Huskies in St. Cloud since the 1999-00 season. Furthermore, they hadn’t won a game in St. Cloud since 2007. Talk about reversing history. With a first-year goaltender, the Bulldogs swept the weekend series by scores of 3-2 (OT) and 3-1 (EN Goal) solidifying their conference lead in the NCHA. First-year goal tender stopped 33/35 SOG on Friday and 27/28 on Saturday in the sweep. Cal Decowski scored the OT winner after the Huskies scored two third period goals to knot the game at 2-2. On Saturday, UMD took a 2-0 first period lead and never surrendered the advantage winning 3-1 Dominic Toninato who was the best offensive player on the ice all weekend scored the first goal and Austin Farley the game winner. Bog sweep for UMD and as a result earn “Performer of the Week” status.
- University of Connecticut Huskies – The Huskies entered their conference series with BC and BU with an uninspiring 1-4-2 record and certainly no chance of upsetting the traditional Hockey East powers from Boston. Think again, on the Huskies home ice on Wednesday they outshot and outscored the Eagles in period one and held on for the 1-0 shutout win. They were ultimately outshot 35-22 but it didn’t matter. The Huskies earned a win in their first-ever conference game with Boston College. Rob Nichols gets the shutout for the Huskies. Certainly the Saturday affair between Connecticut and Boston University would be a different story, particularly on the Terriers home ice. Not to be. Once again a strong start for UConn gave them a 2-1 lead at the end of two. A three-goal third period was only enough for the Terriers to garner a tie.
- Omaha Mavericks – The Mavericks are now undefeated in six games after a road sweep of Ohio State University. They picked up a solid 4-1 win on Friday and edged OSU 4-3 Saturday for the sweep. Omaha is getting strong offensive support out of first -year players including Jake Randolph and Avery Peterson. Ryan Massa and Kirk Thompson split the wins in goal. Avery Peterson picked up three goals over the weekend for the Mavs.
- University of North Dakota – North Dakota picked up a road sweep at the Kohl Center over long time rival Wisconsin. They outshot Wisco 43-20 yet only won 4-3 on Friday. Michael Parks scored twice in the win. On Saturday, they blitzed the Badgers 5-1 for the sweep. Wisconsin is now 0-6-0 and has serious needs in the offensive department..
- Miami University Redhawks – Miami hit the road and dispatched the 2-6-2 Colorado Tigers by scores of 3-0 and 5-1. Jay Williams got the Friday shut out and the Redhawks outshot the Tigers. 41-21.The beating was even worse Saturday as Miami outshot CC 41-16 and scored on 33% of their power plays. The Tigers start out 0-4-0 in conference play.
- St. Lawrence University Saints – St. Lawrence had a nice road weekend sweeping Brown and Yale by scores of 5-2 and 4-0. It was simply a methodical win on Friday scoring three times in the third period. On Saturday, they were outshot badly by a margin of 32 to 19 yet scored three times in period one to take a lead Yale could not counter. The Saints received goals from 4 different players on Saturday.
- Quinnipiac University Bobcats – The Bobcats start off the conference season in fine form with a big 5-0 win over Colgate and a rugged 1-0 win over Cornell. They simply took it to Colgate in the Friday win out shooting them 32-19 with the GWG from Sam Anas. On Saturday, this game wasn’t without controversy as the Bobcats prevailed 1-0. QU outshot Cornell 40-18 and Cornell coach Mike Shafer was suspended by the ECAC for post-game comments directed at QU coach Rand Pecknold.
- University of Minnesota Golden Gophers – The Golden Gophers extend their record to 7-1 with a relatively easy sweep of Notre Dame at Mariucci Arena in a Friday/Sunday series. They shutout the Irish 5-0 on Friday and although Notre Dame put up a fight Sunday they still prevailed 4-2. Taylor Cammarata had a 5 point weekend in the sweep and Adam Wilcox picked up two more wins and a shutout Friday.
- Bowling Green University Falcons – I’ll repeat. I like this Bowling Green squad. They just keep quietly racking up the wins and added two more in a weekend road sweep of Alaska by identical 3-2 scores. Matt Polkamp scored the GWG goal in the third on Friday and Mark Cooper on Saturday. Tommy Burke added two wins in goal to improve his record to 3-1-1. Watch out for this team in 2014-15.
- University of Vermont Catamounts – Vermont is another team that just keeps winning. They improve their record to 6-1-1 after sweeping Maine this past weekend. They needed a 4-3 OT win on Friday with the GWG from Mike Stenerson. On Saturday, they dispatched Maine 4-1 for the sweep. Saturday’s match was really no contest out shooting the Black Bears 31-18 and scoring the first three goals of the contest.
- Minnesota State University Mankato Mavericks – The Mavericks swept in-state rival Bemidji by scores of 6-3 and 5-3 and improve their conference record to 5-1. They outshot the Beavers 66-38 and were 4/10 on the power play. The Mavericks travel to Michigan Tech next for an important face-off with undefeated Michigan Tech. Lots of eyes will be on that series November 21/22.
- Michigan Tech University Huskies – Yawn. The Huskies get another weekend sweep. This time the victim is the University Alaska Anchorage Seawolves by scores of 2-0 and 3-1. They dominated puck possession out shooting the Seawolves Friday 46-19. Jamie Phillips gets the shutout in goal. On Saturday, It’s a much closer game with an empty netter to seal the eighth straight win for Michigan Tech.
- University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers – I can’t ignore recognizing the Chargers this week. They traveled to Colorado Springs and upended the Air Force Falcons 4-2 on Friday with the GWG scored by Josh Kestner at 18:07 of the third period. Must have been a great celebration. On Saturday, they skate to a 3-3 OT tie but that is a victory in itself for the Chargers.
- Boston College Eagles – After running up a 5-1 start to the season, suddenly the Eagles are reeling losing four straight games including losses to Connecticut and intra-city rivals Boston University and Harvard. Certainly the Harvard and BU losses hurt but it really had to sting to get shut out 1-0 by Hockey East upstart Connecticut. Certainly a stretch worthy of underperformer status. Their next two games are vs Michigan State and UMass so the prospects are good for regaining some success.
- St. Cloud State University Huskies – The #7 Huskies dropped two one-goal games to UMD on their home ice. This hadn’t been done by UMD since 1999. On Friday, the Huskies had the game in hand and the momentum in their court until an untimely penalty at the 5 minute mark of the third. The Bulldogs immediately capitalized and sent the game to OT. The Bulldogs ultimately win in OT for the Huskies second straight OT loss. On Saturday, the SCSU offensive woes continued with their inability to score 5×5. The Bulldogs 2-0 first period lead was never in jeopardy and the Huskies are swept at home for a 0-2 start to the NCHC season..
- Ohio State University Buckeyes – The Buckeyes are another struggling BIG 10 team getting swept on their home ice by Omaha by scores of 4-1 and 4-2. OSU’s record goes to 2-5-1 and next on the agenda is Bowling Green another tough series for the Buckeyes.
- University of Wisconsin Badgers – The struggling Badgers have no offense and were swept by visiting North Dakota by scores of 4-3 and 5-1. Further indication of their offensive futility is the fact that they’ve only scored 7 goals in 6 games and one goal or less in four of those games. A dismal start for the Badgers and no prospects for much improvement.
- Colorado College Tigers – The BIG 10 does not have a monopoly on offensive futility. The Tigers are 2-6 to start the season after being swept at home by visiting Miami. In conference play the Tigers have been outscored by a margin of 18-4. New coach Mike Haviland has to be wondering what he got himself into. Next up is Denver. Ouch.
- Bemidji State University Beavers – The Beavers seem to battle everyone well. It’s probably an extension of head coach Tom Serratore’s competitive personality. I’m a little surprised the Beavers were unable to garner any points in last weekends series with in-state rival Mankato. They were swept by 6-3 and 5-3 already putting them behind the eight ball in the WCHA. It’s going to be very tough to keep up with MTU, Bowling Green and MSU-Mankato.
- University of Alaska Nanooks– The Nanooks have a whole lot of problems right now not only on the ice but with the recent NCAA sanctions. They were swept at home by Bowling Green dropping their record to 5-5 and 0-4-0 in the WCHA.
- University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves – The other Alaska school, UAA had the misfortune of playing the hottest team in NCAA Division I hockey, the Michigan Tech Huskies. They dropped both road games by scores of 2-0 and 3-1. The Friday game was a yawner but Saturday they gave the Huskies all they wanted in the 3-1 loss. Yet two more losses for the Seawolves.
- University of Maine Black Bears – I really don’t know how to describe the Black Bears. Contender or pretender? After going undefeated in four straight, the Black Bears were swept by Vermont 4-3 in OT and 4-1. Vermont can be a tough environment to play in so we’ll see how Maine responds in a home and home with Boston University.
- Cornell University Big Red– The Big Red are winless to start the 2014-15 season and the frustration showed following the 1-0 loss to Quinnipiac. Losing 2-1 to Princeton the night before didn’t help either. What is very concerning is the lack of offense being generated by Cornell. They’ve scored three times in four games. If that doesn’t get turned around, the winless streak continues….obviously.
- Notre Dame University Fighting Irish – Notre Dame was swept in Minneapolis by the Gophers by scores of 5-0 and 4-2. At one point in the series the Irish were outscored 8-0. Notre Dame was dominated for most of the series and only put up a competitive fight for a few stretches of the Sunday match. Notre Dame is 5-4-1 but with wins over Niagara and Lake Superior State that record is deceptive.
- Brown University Bears – It’s too early to tell what kind of team we have here in the Brown Bears. However, getting swept at home 5-2 by St. Lawrence and 2-1 by Clarkson is not a good sign. Two losses at home will always get you on this list.
- Army Black Knights -Army lost twice on the road to Mercyhurst. Not much more to say. It’ll be another rough year for the Black Knights as they start out 2-6-1.
- Union College Dutchmen – Remember the squad that had a 22 game unbeaten streak snapped by SCSU on October 24? Since that time, they’ve started a new streak…five games without a win. With all due respect the last three losses were all in overtime but still, a serious struggle for the defending national champs.
- Air Force Academy Falcons – The Falcons are struggling big time. Proof is the recent weekend with visiting Huntsville whereupon they lost 4-2 Friday and struggled to earn a 3-3 OT tie on Saturday. The Falcons are 1-6-1 in their last eight games. Dismal start for the Falcons.
Congratulations to the UMD Bulldogs. They are this weeks “Performer” of the week for their successful weekend sweep of then #7 St. Cloud State University.