Performers / Underperformers #7

thAKKOS1EH

 

Here’s my “Performers and Underperformers” in college hockey for the past week:

Performers 

  1. Minnesota State University Mankato Mavericks – The 9-3 -0 Mavericks have won 7 of their last 8 games and could conceivably be 19-5-0 by the end of January. They traveled to Houghton, MI to take on the #1 ranked Michigan Tech Huskies and left town with two one-goal wins. This is not a surprise (see last weeks “Performers and Underperformers” blog) as this is an exceptionally good squad led by 13 upperclassmen. On Friday, they rallied for two goals in the third by Brett Stern and Dylan Margonari for a 2-1 win and duplicated the effort on Saturday outscoring MTU 2-1 in the third period to win another very tight game. Personally, I never considered MTU to be the top team in the country despite their 10-0 record. Yet, it doesn’t diminish what MSU accomplished in their  sweep of a quality Michigan Tech team. As a result, the Mavericks are my “Performer ” of the week.
  2. Clarkson University Golden Knights – The Knight’s season thus far has had mixed results and nothing to shout about.  However, their tie with Colgate on 11/15 and subsequent 2-1 win over Quinnipiac certainly makes one take notice.  In a defensive battle on Friday, the Knight’s squeezed out a win in a game that only saw a total of 36 SOG between the two teams. Jordan Boucher nailed the GWG at 18:10 of the second as they held on for the win.  They were given a breather on Saturday outshooting Princeton 31-23 and outscoring the Tigers 3-0 in the second period as they cruised to a 4-0 shut out.
  3. Miami Red Hawks – Miami is currently perched on top of the NCHC standings with a 6-2-0 record after their weekend sweep of Western Michigan in Oxford, OH. On Friday, in a defensive battle, Blake Coleman’s PP goal at 3:20 of the first period was the difference in the 1-0 win. On Saturday the Red Hawks dominated the second period outshooting the Broncos 14-7 and scored four times to put the game out of reach in the 5-2 win. This was an important home sweep for Miami and drops WMU to 1-6-1 in the conference.
  4. Cornell University Big Red – After starting the season 1-4-1 the Big Red needed some positivity and some “W’s”. They did just that with a 3-2 win over a tough Yale squad and a 4-0 shutout of Brown University. Despite being outshot 34-21, the Big Red got the GWG from Christian Hilbrich at 12:58 of the third for the victory. On Saturday, Cornell outshot Brown 31-26 and buried them with a three-goal first period. Joe Lowry’s goal at 4:29 of period one turned out to be the game winner. Suddenly things are looking much better for the Big Red.
  5. Boston University Terriers – BU picked up two more wins with a weekend sweep of Maine 3-2 in OT and a road win 5-2 at Connecticut. First-year star Jack Eichel scored rhe GWG on the PP in OT for the win vs Maine.  On Saturday, Ahti Oksamen scored twice in the win vs the Huskies. Following the weekend sweep the Terriers were anointed #1 in the rankings and summarily lost to intra-city rival Harvard 3-2 on Tuesday. Nevertheless, BU is currently 6-1-1 in Hockey East and solidly in second place.
  6. Boston College Eagles– The other Boston school BC improved their conference record to 3-3 with wins over UMass 5-3 and a struggling Maine squad 4-1. On Friday, the Eagles had the game well in hand until UMass woke up in the third and scored twice to make a game of it. On Saturday, Thatcher Demko yielded a short-handed goal but nothing more in the 4-1 win.
  7. Bowling Green State University Falcons – The Falcons continue to keep pace with Mankato and Michigan Tech in the WCHA with a home sweep of Bemidji State 3-1 and 3-2 improving their conference record to 7-1. But, it wasn’t easy as it took a Mike Sullivan goal 17 seconds into period three to break a 1-1 deadlock and an empty netter to salt Friday’s contest away.  On Saturday, Bemidji rebounded outshooting the Falcons 37-26 but couldn’t solve Tommy Burke in the 3-2 loss. The Falcons continue to impress.
  8. Denver University Pioneers – The Pioneers improved their record to 8-3-0 after a weekend sweep of non-conference opponents Air Force and Wisconsin. The Pioneers routed the Falcons 7-0 on Friday in an onslaught that included 4 PP goals and one short-handed tally. Quentin Shore had three goals and a four-point night. Saturday was just the opposite as Denver edged the Badgers 3-2 in a very tight contest. Denver now has five non-conference wins on the season.
  9. Niagara University Purple Eagles – After nine straight losses to start the season, Niagara has now won three straight after a OT win over Bentley and the recent sweep of Army by scores of 3-1 and 6-1. Army kept Friday’s contest close with a late PP goal in the first period but ultimately fell 3-1. On Saturday, a rare dominating effort found the Purple Eagles scoring the first 5 goals in the 6-1 win. Dan Kolenda and Robert Angiolella scored twice in the win. This is a rare appearance for NU on this list.
  10. UMass-Lowell River Hawks – The Riverhawks traveled to South Bend for a conference series with Notre Dame and left with three points after a 3-1 win and a 2-2 OT tie. Friday was a solid effort outshooting the Irish 35-27 with Michael Louria getting the GWG. In the rematch, Lowell fell behind 2-0 but rallied on goals from John Edwardh and Joe Gambardella to earn the tie. The River Hawks are undefeated in 7 conference games.
  11. University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers – How about them Chargers. They’ve certainly turned the corner after persevering for a 3-2 win at Ferris State last Friday. For UAH, this is a big step after a dismal 2013-14 season and starting this season with 6 straight losses. Since then they’ve gone 3-3-1. There is certainly better days ahead for the Chargers.

Underperformers

  1. Michigan Tech University Huskies – It’s been a great run for the Huskies winning 10 straight games and being ranked #1 in the country. Immediately afterwards it all came crashing down getting swept by Minnesota State University Mankato on their home ice by scores of 2-1 and 3-2. A loss to Mankato was predictable but c’mon boys a sweep on your home ice?
  2. University of Wisconsin Badgers – The Badgers have lost 8 straight games to start the season. They were humbled by a mediocre Colorado College squad 5-2 on Friday and lost a close defensive game to Denver 3-2 on Saturday. There is no way this Badger program should be this down in the dumps.
  3. Western Michigan University Broncos – The Broncos are an enigma. They are a tough, hard working, physical team run by a good coaching staff. Yet, they’ve struggled to get in the winning column. After being swept at Miami their conference record falls to 1-6-1 and overall record to 3-8-1. A few more losses and they will be out of touch in the NCHC.
  4. Bemidji State University Beavers – Same old story for the Beavers. Two tough conference games and two more losses. They’ve lost six straight conference games to league contenders after being swept at Bowling Green.
  5. University of Maine Black Bears –  The Black Bears are in the same boat as Bemidji State. They’ve lost 5 straight conference games to league contenders falling to 2-5-0 in the conference and 3-9-1 overall after getting swept by Boston University and Boston College. It doesn’t get any easier with a series with UVM next.
  6. UMass Minutemen – Here’s another program that’s been a mess for several years. They’ve continued their underperforming ways in 2014-15 losing six of their last seven games. After getting edged by Boston College  5-3 on Friday they were destroyed by Vermont 11-1. In a total collapse, UVM was 4/5 on the power play and scored on every third shot on goal in the blowout. The ‘Cats scored five times in the third period. Really? And, oh by the way – the drubbing was in front of the home crowd. To add insult to injury the Minutemen had to travel to Burlington where they were handed another 3-1 loss on Tuesday.
  7. Princeton University Tigers – Princeton has a new coach this year so I guess patience is the key. The Tigers are 1-6-1 after getting swept by St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Princeton was shutout in both games by scores of 3-0/4-0. That gives the Tigers a total of 6 goals in 8 games. Ron Fogarty has his work cut out for him. Patience.
  8. Brown University Bears– Brendan Whittet has his work cut out for him as well at Brown. The Bears are now winless in six straight after a tough overtime loss 4-3 to Colgate and a 4-0 shutout by Cornell. The shame of it is Brown had a 3-1 lead late in the second period vs Colgate then gave up a shortie and a power play goal eventually losing in OT.
  9. Army Black Knights – It’s going to be a long season for the Black Knights. They were swept by a marginal team in Niagara and then shutout by Providence 3-0 on Tuesday. Other than a few conference wins here and there this season there’s not many positive things  to look for in this squad.
  10. Notre Dame University Fighting Irish – Notre Dame has pretty much been a flop in Hockey East thus far. They finished 7th with a .500 record in 2013-14 and are on their way to duplicating that this season. They are 1-4-2 over their last seven games and lost 3 of 4 points at home vs UMass-Lowell last weekend. How about for the time being you place the gold domes in storage until you start winning? Just a suggestion.

Kudos to the Minnesota State University Mavericks for their huge road sweep of then #1 ranked Michigan Tech University. You are the performer of the week.

 

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