Performers / Underperformers #9

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Here’s this past weekends “Performers and Underperformers” in college hockey:

Performers

  1. Harvard University Crimson – Until someone proves otherwise, the Crimson are my choice for the #1 team in the country. How can you argue a 9-1-2 record, a six game winning streak and their only loss by one goal to rival Yale, a pretty good team. They earned another weekend sweep on the road defeating Princeton 4-3 and then Quinnipiac 5-2. Princeton gave them a battle but in the end Sean Malone’s three-point night led Harvard to the win. On Saturday, QU outshot the Crimson 45-36 but a nice job of goaltending by Steve Michalek and the GWG by Sean Malone provided for a solid three-goal win. The Crimson gain this weeks honors as “Performer” of the week.
  2. Penn State University Nittany Lions – Penn State is overachieving and Wisconsin is underachieving and that led to a road sweep by PSU by scores of 5-2 and 4-2. Penn State works hard and plays with energy and doesn’t seem to be intimidated by anyone. They outshot UW 40-24 on Friday and 33-25 on Saturday. They deserved both wins and now sit on top of the Big Ten standings. David Goodwin had a four-point night on Friday and Tommy Olczyk got the game winner on Saturday.
  3. Union College Dutchmen – Just when you thought they were dead in the water Union has an offensive explosion on the road scoring 10 goals and sweeps Brown (7-1) and Yale (3-1). The Bears provided little resistance on Friday yielding seven consecutive goals and 42 SOG in the route. In a battle with Yale on Saturday, the difference was two consecutive goals  in period two by Daniel Ciampini as the Dutchmen earned a hard fought 3-1 win.
  4. Holy Cross University Crusaders – The Crusaders have only lost once in the last 10 games – pretty impressive. After a road sweep of struggling Niagara they sit in second place in the Atlantic. In a solid win on Friday, the Crusaders were 2/6 on the PP and goaltender Matt Ginn stopped 28/29 SOG. A repeat effort on Saturday had Holy Cross going 3/10 on the power play in the 4-2 win. Their next contest vs Yale shall be interesting.
  5. Mercyhurst College Lakers – Mercyhurst is another squad that has strung together a nice run over the past month and a half. They’ve lost once in the past eight games and that was an OT loss to Bentley. In a very predictable outcome despite being on the road the Lakers swept Army by scores of 3-2 and 6-3. What was a surprise however was that Army outshot the Lakers 36-19 on Friday but they just couldn’t bury the puck. On Saturday, a three goal lead was simply too much to overcome by the Black Knights.
  6. University of MInnesota-Duluth Bulldogs – The Bulldogs improved their NCHC conference record to 7-3 with a weekend sweep of Colorado College. However, it was not easy on Friday as the Bulldogs spotted CC a two goal lead until Duluth shook off the cobwebs and scored three straight goals in the 3-2 overtime win. Kyle Osterberg was the hero with the GWG goal 3:32 into overtime. Apparently CC ran out of steam on Saturday as they were outshot 43-18 and yielded four consecutive goals to the Bulldogs before they were able to get on the board in the third period. Andy Welinski had a three-point night for UMD and Kasimir Kaskisuo picked up his 10th win of the season in the 7-2 victory.
  7. Bentley College Falcons – Bentley picked up a key weekend sweep over visiting Air Force by scores of 2-1 and 4-1. Brett Switzer’s SH goal in the second and Andrew Gladiuk’s GWG in the third was the difference. The Falcons torched Air Force goaltender Chris Truehl for three first period goals as they cruised to a 4-1 win on Saturday.
  8. Robert Morris University Colonials – Atlantic Conference leader Robert Morris improved their overall record to 10-1-3 with a weekend sweep of Sacred Heart. In an exciting game on Friday, the lead changed hands three times before Sacred Heart was able to tie the contest with less than 5 minutes to go in the third period. Alas, in overtime, Zac Lynch got the game winner for the Colonials and a 5-4 win. The colonials took no prisoners on Saturday as they outshot the Pioneers 47-35, scored three times on the power play and routed the visitors 8-4.  David Friedmann had a four point night for Robert Morris.
  9. University of North Dakota – #1 ranked North Dakota welcomed the Lakers first trip to Grand Forks in 40 years with a 7-4 and 3-1 beat down in this non-conference series. The Lakers took a surprising 3-0 lead on Friday until North Dakota revved their engine and scored 7 of the next eight goals in the win. Jordan Schmalz and Michael Parks both had tree points in the Friday contest. On Saturday UND limited LSSU to 17 SOG and earned a workman like 3-1 win for the sweep.
  10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Having lost six of their previous eight games, the Irish were in a “must win” situation at home versus conference opponent UMass. The typically docile Notre Dame offense came to life Friday in a 7-5 win. Peter Schneider netted two goals in the win. On Saturday, the Irish shut out a lifeless UMass squad 4-0 for the sweep. Cal Petersen was credited with the shutout but only faced 14 SOG. Don’t celebrate too much. It was only the last place Minutemen.
  11. Boston University Terriers – Boston University had a big task in facing Merrimack last weekend in a Hockey East conference series. In a very tight road contest, the Terriers overcame a 1-0 Warrior lead with the GTG in the third by Matt Lane and held on for a 1-1 OT tie. On Saturday, at home, BU scored the games first three goals and earned a well-deserved 4-1 win. Brandon Hickey picked up the GWG. A solid weekend for BU over a tough opponent.
  12. Boston College Eagles– Similar to BU, the Eagles battled to a 2-2 tie on Friday on the road only to return home to earn a 4-2 win over a struggling UNH squad. Austin Cangelosi netted the GTG on Friday and Chris Calnan the GWG on Saturday. These were three very important points for the Eagles.
  13. University of Minnesota Golden Gophers – The inconsistent Gophers looked like world beaters in Friday’s 5-0 win at Michigan State and then fell flat offensively in Saturday’s 3-3 overtime tie. The Gophers are 2-4-1 in their last five games. Travis Boyd returned to the lineup and scored the GWG on the power play 3:25 into the Friday game. On Saturday, the Gophers were very flat getting outshot 45-24 but were able to hang in there by going 2/2 on the power play. Probably not the weekend they expected but still a win and tie on the road which is a nice result.
  14. Bowling Green State University Falcons – The Falcons continue to earn league points and improve their WCHA record to 8-1-1 after a win and a tie at home versus Northern Michigan. On Friday NMU got the GTG with less than 4 minutes in regulation before the two squads skated to a 5-5 overtime tie. On Saturday, the Falcons were 2/7 on the PP and Chris Nell earned the shut out in the 5-0 win. Bowling Green is solidly in third in the WCHA and in hot pursuit of Mankato and Michigan Tech.
  15. University of Michigan Wolverines -The Wolverines only had one game on the weekend but they made a statement in drilling Ohio State 8-3. Michigan scored 5 goals in the second period including two power play goals by Alex Kile.

Underperformers

  1. University of Wisconsin Badgers – My top underperformer of the weekend and for the season thus far is the Wisconsin Badgers. They’ve lost 10 of 12 games after being swept on their home ice by Penn State. Their lack of offense is becoming legendary. They were outshot and outplayed on their home rink by the Nittany LIons in both games. This team is destined to remain in the cellar in the Big 10 for the balance of the season.  And, who would dare argue that.
  2. Princeton University Tigers – Princeton is another cellar dweller that’s lost 8 of their last 9 games. You might as well chalk up four more losses after their next four games vs Mankato and Quinnipiac. New coach Ron Fogarty has his hands full with this squad. They lost a close one goal game to Harvard (which is a victory in itself) and then a 4-2 game to Dartmouth. They may have January 27th circled on the calendar. That’s when they play 4-12-2 Army. Should be an interesting battle.
  3. Niagara University Purple Eagles – Ugh, here we are again with Niagara. They added two more losses to their record after being swept on their home ice by Holy Cross 4-1 and 4-2. There is very little positive things to say about this squad that sits in the cellar of the Atlantic Conference. I’m sure they are looking forward to their trip to North Dakota on January 16th and 17th.
  4. Army Black Knights – Army dropped two more at home versus Mercyhurst and solidified their position in the bottom of the pack in the Atlantic. On the positive side of things, they did outshoot the Lakers 36-19 in the 3-2 loss Friday. On Saturday, they scored a short-handed goal in the 6-3 loss. Trying to be positive here..
  5. Rensselaer Polytechnic University Engineers – Things have gone south for RPI after a short stretch of success in early November. They’ve now lost four in a row after conference road losses to Yale and Brown. On Saturday, they outshot Brown 41-26 but they couldn’t solve Brown goaltender Tim Ernst.
  6. UMass Minutemen – You can’t blame UMass for not being consistent. They consistently prove why they’ve been one of the top underperformers in college hockey for the last several seasons. Their road trip to Notre Dame was no different. A 7-5 loss on Friday in a relatively competitive effort. Then, on Saturday, they become the lifeless UMass team we all know and love in placing 14 SOG  in a 4-0 shutout by a typically offensively challenged Notre Dame team.
  7. Colorado College Tigers – The Tigers have to be given an A for effort on Friday in battling the UMD Bulldogs hard in a 3-2 overtime loss. Then. on Saturday, UMD drills them 7-2 in a “no contest” game. Now 0-7-0 in the conference, this most recent sweep at the hands of the Bulldogs most likely destines them to the NCHC cellar for the duration of the season.
  8. Lake Superior State University Lakers – Much like Colorado College this is fast becoming a season to forget for the Lakers. They had us excited with their 4-1 lead over UND on Friday but UND cranked it up and scored the next six goals in the 7-2 loss. They capped off this road trip with a better outcome on Saturday – only a 3-1 loss.
  9. Air Force Academy Falcons – There’s been little consistency with this squad whose results are all over the board from week to week. This week they were swept by Bentley 2-1 and 4-1. I’ll be very curious to see how they fare against UMass on 12/29. I’m placing my bets on Air Force.
  10. Ohio State University Buckeyes– The Buckeyes make the list this week as a result of the sever beat down in a single conference game with Michigan. Michigan goes 4/5 on the power play and scores five times in the second period. A poor conference result for OSU.

 

This weeks Kudos go out to the Harvard Crimson as a result of their conference road sweep of Princeton and Quinnipiac. Thev sit atop the standings in the ECAC with a 5-1-2 record and their overall record is 9-1-2. They are my “Performer” of the week.

 

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