The weekend of January 16-18 was full of interesting and surprising results in college hockey. Here’s this past weekends “Performers and Underperformers” in college hockey:
- St. Lawrence University Saints – The Saints had a highly successful weekend with wins over Dartmouth and highly ranked Harvard – both on the road. The successful weekend was courtesy outstanding goaltending by first-year goaltender Kyle Hayton. On Friday, SLU was outshot 38-22 by the Big Green but Hayton turned aside 36 SOG in the 3-2 win. Gunnar Hughes scored a SH goal in the first period and the Saints held off a late rally by Dartmouth for the win. On Saturday, in an upset, SLU knocked off Harvard 5-1 despite being outshot 47-22 in the contest. Again, Kyle Hayton was the star stopping 46/47 SOG. In the meantime, SLU burned the usually stout Crimson goaltenders for 5 goals including the GWG by Gavin Bayreuther. A successful road weekend like this needs to be recognized. The St. Lawrence Saints are not only the “performer” of the week but goaltender Kyle Hayton would be my choice for player of the week in college hockey.
- Minnesota State University- Mankato Mavericks – The Mavs continue to rack up the wins. This past weekend they added two more conference wins in a 2-1 and 3-1 road sweep of the Ferris State Bulldogs. MSU’s record improved to 18-4-1 and they’ve only lost once in the last 15 games. In a tight battle on Friday Mankato edged Ferris 2-1 via a GWG by Dylan Margonari. On Saturday, it took three third period goals including the GWG by Carter Foguth to wrap up the sweep. In a very interesting battle this Friday, the Mavericks face the Minnesota Gophers in the North Star Cup. This will be a good measuring stick for the #1 ranked Mavericks.
- University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves – The last place Seawolves salvaged some respect out of their otherwise dismal season with a road sweep of in-state arch rival Alaska in the Alaska Airlines Governors Cup. As expected, the Friday contest was marred with 20 penalties for 97 minutes in the 2-1 Seawolves win. All three goals of the game were on the man-advantage with the GWG scored by UAA’s Brett Cameron at 15:17 of period two. Saturday’s game was loaded with penalties as well, primarily by the Seawolves, who incurred 9 penalties for 40 minutes. Despite being outshot 48-16 by the Nanooks, the Seawolves found themselves in overtime and Blake Tatchell scored the game winner for the 2-1 win and weekend sweep.
- Western Michigan University Broncos – In a huge road weekend for the Broncos, they gave 5th ranked UMD all they could handle in a 2-2 tie on Friday and 4-2 win on Saturday for a 5 point conference weekend. WMU scored twice on seven SOG in the first period Friday and held on for the 2-2 tie. Nolan LaPorte scored the shootout winner for the extra conference point. Saturday was another very close contest with SOG dead even at 27-27. The Broncos leveraged 2 PP goals and a third period goal at 10:38 by Colton Hargrove and another by Hargrove into an EN for the 4-2 win. The Broncos are playing great hockey right now.
- Merrimack College Warriors – Underrated Merrimack swept a home and home series with #12 ranked Quinnipiac by scores of 4-3 and 3-1 improving their overall record to 13-6-2. Friday’s win included two goals by Brian Christie and the GWG by Brett Seney at 17:10 of the second period. Saturday’s road win included a strong night of goaltending from Rasmus Tirronen who stopped 24/25 SOG. A strong third period by the Warriors broke a 1-1 tie and again found Brett Seney netting the GWG.
- Denver University Pioneers – The Pioneers rebounded from a weekend of being swept in Omaha to brooming the SCSU Huskies by scores of 3-1 and 4-1 in Denver. Denver outshot SCSU 35-27 Friday and took advantage of the Huskies lack of 5×5 scoring in the 3-1 win. Joey LaLeggia netted the GWG on the PP Friday. On Saturday, an otherwise close game through two periods was busted open by the Pioneers with three third period goals including the GWG by Danton Heinen and another PP goal by Joey LaLeggia. SCSU was 0-5 on the PP in the game.
- Northeastern University Huskies – Keep an eye out for Northeastern. After going winless in their first 9 games of the season, the Huskies have gone 8-3-3 after earning a win and tie on the road vs #12 ranked Vermont. Northeastern dominated on Friday winning 4-1 scoring three consecutive goals in the final two periods. Torin Snydeman netted the GWG. Saturday found a much better prepared Vermont squad and the two teams tangled to a 2-2 deadlock. Derick Roy stopped 30/32 SOG in game two.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers – After losing 9 consecutive games, suddenly the Engineers have won three straight after a home sweep of #15 Colgate and Cornell. In a season benchmark win on Friday, RPI outshot the Raiders 25-18 in the well-deserved 4-1 win. The Engineers tallied three goals in the third period including two by Matt Neal. On Saturday, the Engineers shut out the offensively challenged Cornell squad 3-0. Jason Kasdorf got the shutout and his 9th win of the season.
- University of Alabama – Huntsville Chargers – With seven wins under their belt this season we can no longer consider the UAH Chargers the laughing stock of college hockey. We’ll leave that to Niagara. The Chargers continue to make progress under second year coach Mike Corbett. Proof is their weekend sweep of the Northern Michigan Wildcats by scores of 2-1 and 3-2. On Friday they were outshot 33-15 but goaltender Carmine Guerriero was up to the task stopping 32/33 SOG in the win. On Saturday, in a tight contest, UAH got the GWG by Richard Buri at 5:35 of the third period for the win and sweep. Guerriero picked up his 7th win as well. You have to feel good about this squad and their success this season. They’ve won 4 of their last 6 games and this includes two sweeps.
- Yale University Bulldogs – Here’s another squad to look out for. The Bulldogs have a 9-2 record since late November and picked up two more wins this past weekend in a home and home series with the Brown Bears. They edged Brown 1-0 on Friday behind the GWG by Rob O’Gara and a shutout by goaltender Alex Lyon. On Saturday they put the screws to Brown outshooting the Bears 38-18 and scoring 4 times in the second period. O’Gara netted his second goal of the weekend in the win.
- Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers – The Tigers picked up a road sweep of Sacred Heart by scores of 4-1 and 3-1. Despite being outshot 40-28 on Friday, they scored the first four goals of the game including a SH goal by Alexander Kuqali in the 4-1 victory. On Saturday, in a dominant effort, they outshot the Pioneers 42-25, were 2/6 on the man-advantage in the 3-1 win.
- Mercyhurst College Lakers – In the tight Atlantic conference standings, Mercyhurst picked up two key wins over Holy Cross to move into third place. On Friday, they edged the Crusaders 2-1 with a key third period game winning power play goal by Kyle Cook. In a back and forth game Saturday, the Lakers scored last to pick up the 5-4 win. The game saw four consecutive power play goals in this goal fest. Tyler Shiplo scored twice for the Lakers.
- Lake Superior State University Lakers – It’s been a trying year for the WCHA’s 9th place team. But, it was all happiness in the SOO last weekend after a home sweep of the Bemidji State Beavers. In a defensive battle with the ice leaning in BSU’s favor, the Lakers survived a 44 shot onslaught to win 1-0 on a PP goal by Alex Globke at 19:59 of regulation. That’s 19:59 of regulation. The Lakers Gordon Defiel turned aside 44 shots in the contest. On Saturday, the Lakers were outshot by a wide margin once again but victimized BSU goaltender MIchael Bitzer for the first 4 goals of the game in the 4-2 win. Defiel had another solid outing stopping 32/34 SOG.
- Air Force Academy Falcons – The Falcons faced military rival, Army on their home rink and earned the sweep by scores of 4-3 and 3-1. The Falcons dominated outshooting the Black Knights 41-18 yet edged Army via a goal by Chad Demers third goal of the game at 13:18 of the third. Credit Army’s Parker Gahagen for the 40 save performance in the loss. On Saturday, Demers netted his fourth goal of the weekend and it turned out to be the GWG in the 3-1 win.
- Robert Morris University Colonials – The Colonials solidified their first-place standing in the Atlantic with a dominating sweep of American International. The Colonials won 5-3 Friday in a game not as close as the score as AIC scored twice on the PP in the last five minutes of the contest. In game two, the Colonials drilled AIC 9-4 after scoring six times in the third period. Prolific scorer Cody Wydo notched 3 goals and two assists in the win.
- Notre Dame University Fighting Irish – In an odd Friday/Sunday series, the teams played in South Bend on Friday and Hartford on Sunday. On Friday, the two squads battled to a 3-3 overtime tie with the Irish outshooting the Huskies 44-20. In the rematch, defenseman, Robbie Russo picked up a rare hat trick in the Notre Dame 6-1 route of the Huskies. All things considered, a pretty successful weekend for UND.
- Penn State University Nittany Lions – PSU continues to hold onto first-place in the Big Ten standings after a tie and win at home vs Michigan State. The Nittany Lions fired 50 SOG on Friday but needed a goal at 12:11 of the third by David Goodwin to earn the 2-2 ot tie. In a dominant effort on Saturday, they outshot MSU once again 40-30 and netted the last four goals of the contest in the 5-2 win. Casey Bailey had 2-1-3 in the win.
- Canisius College Golden Griffins – The Griffs are unbeaten in the last five games and suddenly find themselves in second place in the Atlantic. They skated with Bentley to a 2-2 ot tie on Friday and returned for a 2-0 win on Saturday. Nolan Sheeran scored the GTG on Friday at 13:01 of period three. On Saturday, Canisius outshot the Falcons 33-18 and Mitch McCrank scored 9:17 into the game for the GWG.
- University of North Dakota – As expected, UND destroyed Niagara at the “Ralph” by scores of 7-1 and 5-0…yawn. North Dakota outshot the Purple Eagles 85-43 in a series with the results in the cards before Niagara left New York.
- Union College Dutchmen – It’s been a rocky road for the defending national champions this season and more evidence of that this past weekend as they were swept by conference foes Cornell and Colgate on their home ice. On Friday, the usually offensively challenged Cornell squad laid 5 goals on the Dutchmen before Union could get on the board in the 5-1 loss. On Saturday, they were outshot 35/25 and gave up two PP goals in a 5-4 loss. Union sinks to 9th in the ECAC standings. What a difference a year makes.
- University of Alaska Nanooks – The Nanooks were swept at home by ninth place Anchorage in the Alaska Governors Cup. Getting swept by your closest rival on your home ice and being held to three goals all weekend is worthy of recognition here.
- Ferris State University Bulldogs – It’s not that Ferris played a weekend of bad hockey. However, losing twice at home to Mankato pretty much eliminated any possibility of a top three finish and has the Bulldogs fighting for a desirable playoff position. But, again, being swept on your home ice is never good in conference play.
- Dartmouth College Big Green – After recent ties with Denver and New Hampshire, the Big Green teased that they might be able to turn things around. I guess not. They have now lost three straight after being swept last weekend on their home ice by St. Lawrence 3-2 and Clarkson 5-2. As a result, Dartmouth drops to 10th in the ECAC standings.
- Quinnipiac University Bobcats – The Bobcats faced a tough Merrimack squad and lost both games in this home and home non-conference series. QU couldn’t solve goaltender Rasmus Tirronen who only allowed two 5×5 goals in the series. The Bobcats remain in first in the ECAC with a 10-2 record but have not stepped up to the plate that well in non-conference games.
- St. Cloud State University Huskies – The Huskies continue to be challenged by a lack of 5×5 offense. Combine that with a weekend going 0/6 on a normally efficient PP and the result is obvious – two losses on the road to Denver. This was a key weekend for SCSU to try to continue some momentum but it was not to be. The reigning NCHC champs have dropped to 7th in the NCHC standings.
- Brown University Bears – The Bears battled hard on Friday in a 1-0 loss to a tough Yale squad. On Saturday, they ran out of gas getting drilled 5-1 as the Bulldogs completed the sweep in this home and home series. Their overall record falls to 4-13-0.
- Bemidji State University Beavers – Bemidji took two on the chin on the road vs last place Lake Superior State. In an agonizing loss on Friday, the Beavers placed 44 SOG but can’t solve goaltender Gordon Defiel. But, what hurt even more was the game winning Laker goal at 19:59 of regulation. Ouch. On Saturday, the Lakers scored four consecutive goals before BSU got on the board and Defiel again stood tall and stopped 32/34 SOG in the 4-2 Laker win.
- Northern Michigan University Wildcats – The Wildcats are struggling. They’ve won one game since December 1 and were swept on the road by UAH last weekend 2-1 and 3-2. However, they remain in fourth place in the WCHA standings. Doesn’t seem possible…
- Holy Cross College Crusaders – In a key Atlantic conference series, Holy Cross was swept on the road by Mercyhurst 2-1 and 5-4 in OT. The Crusaders have been swept in their last two series by conference contenders. Not a good trend.
- University of MInnesota – Duluth Bulldogs – The #5 Bulldogs really lost some momentum earning one conference point vs Western Michigan at home. On Friday, the squads skated to a 2-2 tie and WMU took the shootout. On Saturday, the Bulldogs lost 4-2 to a resurgent WMU team.
- University of Vermont Catamounts – After winning seven straight games, UVM has gone 1-3-1 in the last five after a 4-1 loss and 2-2 tie with Northeastern on the Cats home rink. After Friday’s loss Coach Kevin Sneddon summed it up nicely “This was a collective bad effort. We will not be a very good team in the end if we play like that.” Next up is Boston University.
- Sacred Heart University Pioneers – In an odd statistical series with RIT, the Pioneers outshoot the Tigers 40-28 Friday yet lose 4-1. In the rematch, RIT outshoots the Pioneers 42-25 and yes, the Pioneers lose again 3-1. It’s difficult to win scoring one goal per game. Sacred Heart has lost 9 out of their last 11 games.
- Army Black Knights – The Black Knights faced Air Force on the road and were swept by scores of 4-3 and 3-1. Army was outshot 79-44 in the series and were 0/7 on the power play. With stats like that it’s easy to understand why it was not a successful weekend.
- American International College Yellow Jackets -The Yellow Jackets have won twice since November 1. It didn’t happen again this past weekend as they were swept by league leader Robert Morris. The Colonials threw 88 SOG and buried the puck 16 times in the series sweep. Another dismal season for AIC.
- Michigan State University Spartans – How about a little help for the goalie? The Spartans yield 90 SOG over the series in a 2-2 tie and 5-2 loss. On Friday Jake Hildebrand turns aside 48/50 SOG in the overtime tie. Another tough year for MSU.
- Niagara University Purple Eagles – Niagara was outscored 12-1 in this series in Grand Forks. On Friday, UND scored seven straight goals and on Saturday five straight. Niagara simply is not in the same league as UND nor 95% of the teams in Division I hockey. Ugly.
Congrats to the St. Lawrence University Saints for a solid weekend in sweeping Dartmouth and Harvard on the road in conference play. They are the “Performer of the Week”.