Here’s this weeks edition of “Performers and Underperformers” for the weekend of January 9/10.
- Colgate University Red Raiders – It’s never an easy task to sweep on the road in conference play but the Raiders did just that in edging Clarkson 2-1 and blanking St. Lawrence 2-0. Colgate was outshot 28-15 and were 0-2 on the PP but still found the net twice in period two in the 2-1 win. Tylor Spink netted the GWG and Charlie Finn picked up his 12th win of the season. On Saturday, Charlie Finn turned aside all 22 SOG and Darcy Murphy scored the GWG as Colgate swept their weekend in the north country. A road sweep against two tough opponents in conference play merits “performer” of the week status for the Raiders. Congrats.
- St. Cloud State University Huskies – With their back against their wall in conference play, the Huskies swept conference leader Miami by scores of 3-1 and 3-2. Some line shuffling paid off as Joe Rehkamp who was promoted to the top line scored the GWG at 4:09 of the third period. The Huskies rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the first period to score three unanswered goals in the win. Charlie Lindgren stopped 37 of 38 SOG. On Saturday, the shuffling continued as backup goaltender Rasmus Reijola was put into action and he responded stopping 17/19 SOG in a strong defensive effort by SCSU. Once again, Joe Rehkamp nailed the GWG at 5:19 of period three. Patrick Russell and Jonny Brodzinski also added goals in the win. A solid weekend effort by the Huskies.
- University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks – In another much-anticipated NCHC series, the Omaha Mavericks took two from Denver University on their home ice. On Friday, the Mavericks fell behind 3-0 early in the second period and things weren’t looking good for the home team. However, Omaha responded with three 6×6 goals in a matter of 4 minutes to knot the game at 3-3. The Pioneers took an early third period one-goal lead but Omaha again revved the offensive engine and got goals from David Pope and the GWG from Dominic Zombo for a 5-4 win. On Saturday, a stout defensive effort and 39 shot save performance by backup goaltender Kirk Thompson shut down the Pios in a 1-0 win. Who else but Austin Ortega scored the GWG at 3:29 of the first period. This was his 7th GWG of the season.
- Western Michigan University Broncos – The Broncos continued their winning ways sweeping former CCHA rival Notre Dame in a home and home non-conference series. In a see-saw battle on Friday, the Broncos rallied from an early second period 2-1 deficit to score three straight goals in the 4-2 win. Justin Kovacs scored the GWG at 4:06 of the third period. On the road at Notre Dame for game two, Colton Hargrove broke a 3-3 game with his 6th goal of the season at 18:54 of the third period to lead the Broncos to the weekend sweep. WMU was 2/5 on the PP and Lucas Hafner picked up his 8th win of the season in goal. Western is now 6-1-1 in their last 8 games.
- University of Michigan Wolverines – In a matchup of two teams heading in different directions, the Wolverines swept the Gophers in a weekend series in front of a sellout crowd in Ann Arbor, MI. On Friday a 3-3 game was decided in overtime by Cutler Martin who scored the GWG at 2:16 of the OT session. On Saturday, both starting goaltenders were yanked in a game devoid of much defense and saw a total of 12 goals scored in the contest. Dylan Larkin scored twice and Michael Downing had a three-point game in the 7-5 Wolverine victory. Michigan has won 8 of their last 9 games and sits on top of the Big Ten standings.
- Yale University Bulldogs – The Harvard Crimson are having an exemplary season…except when they face rival Yale. In the “Rivalry on Ice” game televised to a national audience from Madison Square Garden it was same old, same old. Yale defeated Harvard 4-1 for a 7-0-1 record vs the Crimson since 2012. Harvard Coach Ted Donato summed it up nicely with his post game comments: “I thought we got outplayed pretty much in every facet. I give Yale a lot of credit. I am not so sure we were prepared mentally the way we needed to be and the way we have been.” Harvard gets another shot at Yale on February 6th. The Crimson have two losses on the season – both to the Bulldogs.
- Ferris State University Bulldogs – This has been a trying season for the Bulldogs who had lost four straight games prior to their trip to Alaska. In a huge boost to their confidence, the Bulldogs swept UAA by scores of 4-1 and 3-2. Ferris fell behind by a goal early in period two and then rattled off four straight goals in the 4-1 win. Simon Denis netted the GWG for the Bulldogs. In the rematch, Ferris held the Seawolves to 16 SOG, yet yielded two power play goals to UAA and hung on for the 3-2 win. Justin Buzzeo scored twice in period three in the win.
- Quinnipiac University Bobcats – The first-place Bobcats improved their conference record to 10-2-0 after their weekend sweep of RPI and Union College. QU was 2/4 with the man-advantage and held the Engineers to just 14 SOG in the 4-2 win. Mathew Peca had 1-2-3 and Travis St. Denis scored the GWG. Saturday’s game vs the defending national champions looked like a walk in the park as the Bobcats exploded for the first 4 goals of the game – all on even strength. However, give credit to the Dutchmen who rallied for three straight goals in the third period including an extra attacker goal to draw to within one goal. QU held on for a 4-3 win.
- University of Connecticut Huskies – The Huskies again proved to be giant killers as they outshot and blanked the UMass River Hawks by a score of 2-0. Jacob Poe broke the scoreless game with his 2nd goal of the season at 10:40. Spencer Naas added another at 18:10 of the third in the 2-0 win. This win snapped a six game winning streak for the River Hawks and handed them their first conference loss of the season.
- Minnesota State University- Mankato Mavericks – As expected, the first place Mavericks, now 13-2-1 in the WCHA beat up on the LSSU Lakers outshooting them 75-48 over the series and winning by scores of 5-2 and 3-1. On Friday, the Maverick PP was 3/8 and Zach Palmquist scored the GWG at 2:28 of the third period in the win. Palmquist added another first period goal on Saturday and MSU scored the first three goals of the evening on their way to a 3-1 win. The Mavericks are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games.
- Canisius College Golden Griffins – Canisius tightened the gap in the Atlantic standings with a sweep of second place Holy Cross by scores of 2-1 (ot) and 2-1. Matt Ginn stopped 23/24 SOG and Ryan Schmelzer scored the OT GWG on Friday. In another tight match on Saturday, the hero of the game was Ralph Cuddemi who scored twice including a first period power play in the 2-1 win. The wins narrowed the gap to one point between Holy Cross and Canisius for second place in the conference.
- Northern Michigan University Wildcats – The Wildcats faced arch rival Michigan Tech in a home and home series and earned a win and tie in a key series for Michigan Tech. In the opening game at NMU, the two squads skated to a 3-3 tie after the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-1 third period lead. MTU scored twice in the last seven minutes of the game to preserve the tie. In the rematch in Houghton, Tech outshot NMU 38-26 but it didn’t matter as the Wildcats rallied to tie the game at 4-4 in the third period and win in overtime on a goal by Mitch Jones, his second of the game. Mathias Dahlstrom earned the win in goal stopping 34/38 SOG.
- Bowling Green University Falcons – In a key WCHA series, the Falcons shut out Alaska 3-0 on Friday as Chris Nell stopped all 18 Alaska SOG. Brent Tate was 1-12 and also netted the GWG. On Saturday, the Falcons fell behind 4-1 in the second period and had to rally to earn a 4-4 tie. Get this – Falcons forward Ben Murphy scored two extra attacker goals in less than a minute to cap an incredible comeback for Bowling Green. Can a tie game get any more exiting than this?
- Boston University Terriers – The Terriers traveled to Wisconsin for two non-conference games and left with a win and a tie. In a surprising result on Friday, the two squads skated to a 3-3 overtime tie. But the game was not without some late game heroics as the Terriers also scored two extra attacker goals (see Bowling Green above) by Ahti Oksanen in a wild finish. Oksanen’s second goal was scored with just 3 seconds remaining in regulation. On Saturday it was no contest as the Terriers scored six straight goals after falling behind 1-0 in the route of the two-win Badgers. Jack Eichel scored twice as did Danny O’Regan.
- Boston College Eagles – In a tough home and home conference series with Northeastern, the Eagles battled to a 1-1 overtime Friday. It took a goal by Adam Gilmour at 17:45 of the thIrd period to earn the tie. In the change of venue on Saturday, the Eagles were outshot by the Huskies 33/25 yet the Eagles got key goals by Chris Clanan (SH) at 8:43 of the second and Adam Gilmour (PP) at 14:40 of the third to post a 4-2 win. Boston College extends their undefeated streak to seven games.
- Bemidji State University Beavers – Bemidji blanked the visiting UAH Chargers by identical 4-0 scores to earn a weekend sweep. On Friday, BSU got scoring from four different players and the shut out from Michael Bitzer in the win. On Saturday, Ruslan Pedan scored twice and Michael Bitzer posted another shut out in the 4-0 win. The Beavers are now undefeated in their last seven games.
- Mercyhurst College Lakers – Mercyhurst whooped up on Sacred Heart in a weekend sweep of the Pioneers. The Lakers victimized the Sacred Heart goaltenders scoring 7 goals on just 23 shots. Talk about efficient shooting and/or questionable goaltending. Daniel Bahntge had a career game going 2-3-5. Jack Riley also had a four point game. In the rematch, Sacred Heart once again outshot the Lakers 36-18 yet yielded the last four goals of the game in a 4-2 loss. Daniel Bahntage netted the GWG at 8:04 of the second period in the win.
- Air Force Academy Falcons – The Falcons had the luxury of hosting the Niagara Purple eagles on their home ice this past weekend. Having gone through a winless stretch of six games it was just the tonic Air Force needed as they swept the hapless Eagles by identical scores of 4-3.The Falcons outshot Niagara 34/29 and were 2/6 on the PP in Fridays 4-3 win. On Saturday, the Falcons limited Niagara to 15 SOG yet needed an overtime goal from Cole Gunner, his second of the game, to complete the sweep.
- Clarkson University Knights – Getting swept is an automatic qualifier for this list. Getting swept at home is a certainty to be in the running for underperformer of the week. Scoring one goal over the weekend on your home ice pretty much nailed it for Clarkson this week. They dropped Friday’s game 2-1 to a tough Colgate team and followed it up with a 2-0 loss to an offensively challenged Cornell squad on Saturday. On the positive side, Clarkson did outshoot their opponents by a 64-34 margin. The Knights are quickly seeing their season collapse on them losing five of their last seven games.
- University of Minnesota Golden Gophers – Here’s a team pretty much in total collapse right now. It’s a generous gesture by the voters to still have this squad ranked in the top twenty after getting swept by Michigan this past weekend. However, lets also give credit to the Wolverines. They have been on a positive roll winning 8 of their last 9 games. The Gophers lost in overtime on Friday 4-3 and then totally collapsed defensively on Saturday in the 7-5 loss. The Gophers are now 3-7-1 since November 14. But, there’s a bright side to things. They get to beat up on Wisconsin at Mariucci Arena this weekend.
- Miami RedHawks- Miami plunged from first to fourth in the NCHC standings after they were swept by SCSU in St. Cloud this past weekend. Certainly, Miami is a talented squad that’s having a highly successful season thus far. Nevertheless, this has to be a big disappointment for a team that was unable to respond in Saturday’s rematch getting outshot 29-19 in the 3-2 loss. The big question now is how well the RedHawks will respond this week in a home series vs Denver, another squad that was swept on the road this past weekend (see below).
- Denver University Pioneers – This was an odd series for Denver vs Omaha. First, on Friday, they coughed up a 3-0 lead allowing five Omaha goals in a period and a half to ultimately lose 5-4. Then, on Saturday, they place 39 SOG but are unable to solve backup goaltender Kirk Thompson in a 1-0 loss. Suddenly, the Pioneers are looking very susceptible winning only once in their past five games. Now, a big battle looms on the road at Miami this weekend.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Here’s a team that has a record of 4-9-2 since November 1. As such, it wasn’t surprising to see Western Michigan get a home and home sweep of the Irish this past weekend. They were upended 4-2 Friday in Kalamazoo and then coughed up a two-goal lead on Saturday in a 4-3 loss. The Irish seem to be destined to another middle of the pack finish in Hockey East.
- Michigan Tech University – This is another team that has collapsed since their #1 ranking. After starting the season with 10 straight wins they’ve gone 5-6-1 after a tie and loss to rival Northern Michigan. The Huskies earned a 3-3 tie on Friday in Marquette but lost a heartbreaker Saturday at home in overtime 5-4. They have a crucial series with Bowling Green this weekend. They almost need to have a sweep if they are to have any hope of staying within touch of Mankato in the WCHA race.
- UMass Lowell River Hawks – Every team will have a hiccup now and then. It happened this past weekend as the River Hawks were shut out by Hockey East upstart Connecticut 2-0. Not much more to say. It was an upset and the River Hawks will get back on track.
- University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves – The last place (WCHA) Seawolves are struggling getting swept on their home ice by Ferris State 4-1 and 3-2. They’ve won one game since November 1st. They now hit the road for six games. Good luck.
- Lake Superior State University Lakers – Other than winning the Florida College Classic recently this is another squad that is in the midst of a forgettable season. They’ve won twice in the last 13 games and were swept by league leader MSU-Mankato by scores of 5-2 and 3-1 last weekend. When you score an average of 1.62 GPG but give up 3.79 GPG it pretty much tells the story.
- University of Alabama – Huntsville Chargers – Clearly, the Chargers have improved this season. The sweep of UAA two weeks ago was a high point. Getting outscored 8-0 over the weekend by Bemidji shows just how much more work needs to be done. Just staying out of the WCHA cellar is a victory for the Chargers this season.
- Princeton University Tigers – New coach Ron Fogerty is finding out what a difficult transition this has been going from D III power Adrian to D I Princeton. The Tigers have lost 13 of the last 14 games including identical 5-2 losses to Union and RPI last weekend. An interesting matchup for the Tigers occurs next with 5-11-2 Army.
- Holy Cross University Crusaders – The Atlantic’s second place team took two on the chin vs Canisius on the road last weekend by identical 2-1 scores. The lack of offense is concerning. They’ve scored a total of six goals in the last five games.
- Sacred Heart University Pioneers – The Pioneers are making little noise in the Atlantic Conference and vs Mercyhurst last weekend getting blasted 7-2 on Friday and 4-2 Saturday. Team defense and goaltending are the main issues. Allowing over 3.5 GPG will not win you many games.
- Niagara University Purple Hawks – It’s going to be ugly for the three win Purple Eagles as they travel to North Dakota this weekend for a two game series. And, by the way, they were swept by Air Force 4-3/4-3 (OT) last weekend. The Eagles are allowing a robust 4 GPG. Raise the white flag…
Congrats to the Colgate Red Raiders for being named “Performer of the Week”. Their road sweep of Clarkson and St. Lawrence did not go unnoticed.