Here’s the college hockey “Performers” and “Underperformers” for the weekend of February 13-14, 2015:
- Brown University Bears – 11th place Brown University stepped it up with their third win in a week. They defeated ranked Harvard 2-1 on February 7th and then doubled up Rensselaer and Union by scores of 6-3 and 1-0 on the road. After spotting RPI a 1-0 lead on Friday, the Bears scored three straight for a 2 goal margin and added three more in the third for the 6-3 final. Sam Lafferty picked up the game winner and Tim Ernst stopped 23/26 in the win. On Saturday, the Bears were outshot 36-23 yet they persevered in a 1-0 nail biter. Joey de Concilys scored the GWG and Tim Ernst picked up the shutout. A big round of applause for a solid weekend of road warrior hockey by Brown University, my “performer” of the week.
- University of Maine Black Bears – 8th place Maine has been playing some pretty darn good hockey over the past month with a 5-2-2 record. They traveled to Merrimack this past weekend and swept the Warriors by scores of 4-3 and 5-3. On Friday, they surged to a 3-0 lead then held off a late comeback by MC to edge the Warriors by a 4-3 score. Will Merchant scored the GWG at 16:23 of the second period. In the rematch, the Black Bears fell behind 2-0 early then reeled off 4 goals in period two to finish the sweep by a 5-3 score. Credit Nolan Vesey with the GWG.
- Bemidji State University Beavers – Here’s another team that has been very good since December 1 with a record of 8-4-4. They’ve move into a tie for 5th in the WCHA after a road sweep of Northern Michigan and are only two points out of fourth. The edged NMU Friday 1-0 behind a 25 save effort by Michal Bitzer and the GWG by Sam Rendle at 13:42 of the second period. In the rematch, Bitzer was solid stopping 36/37 NMU SOG while his counterpart, Michael Doan struggled allowing 5 goals on 21 SOG. A three-goal outburst by BSU in the second period turned the lights out on the Wildcats.
- University of Minnesota Golden Gophers – The Gophers captured a share of first place in the BIG 10 with a weekend home sweep of Michigan. After an awful month of January, the Gophers have been beating up on conference foes and have won four straight in February. They dominated on Friday outshooting the Wolverines 34-23 and scored five straight goals before Michigan could get on the board. Kyle Rau had the hat trick and Mike Reilly went 1-3-4. On Saturday, the normally proficient offense of Michigan was shut down again in a 2-0 Gopher win. Adam Wilcox earned the shutout and Seth Ambroz scored the GWG 4 minutes into the contest.
- Yale University Bulldogs – Yale continued a nice stretch of success sweeping Union and Rensselaer on the road. They outshot and outplayed the defending national champion Dutchmen on Friday in a 2-0 shutout. Alex Lyon earns the shutout and Mike Doherty the GWG. The next night in Troy, NY, the Bulldogs get another solid win 4-1 over the Engineers. Two power play goals and an even strength goal by Mike Doherty sealed the win and weekend sweep for Yale.
- Quinnipiac University Bobcats – In a huge weekend for QU, the Bobcats fought off second place challenger St. Lawrence in a 2-1 win to solidify their lead in the ECAC. QU fell behind early but key second period goals by Soren Jonzzon and Landon Smith (GWG) were the difference in this big win. The Bobcats finished off the weekend with a dominant effort outshooting the Clarkson Knights 32-22 and scoring four consecutive goals in the 4-1 win. Landon Smith picked up the GWG, his 14th of the season. The weekend pretty much sealed the ECAC title for the Bobcats who are now six points up on St. Lawrence.
- Northeastern University Huskies – Northeastern continued their outstanding late season run with a convincing sweep of Connecticut. They rolled over UConn in game one 9-0 scoring in nearly every conceivable manner including two power play goals in this laugher. Kevin Roy scored four times to give him 16 goals on the season. In the rematch, it was more of the same as Connecticut couldn’t stop the offensive train of Northeastern in a 6-1 loss. Torin Snydeman and Adam Reid each scored twice in the route. Northeastern has lost once since December 6th. Watch out for this squad in the playoffs. At #20 in the PWR, don’t count out Northeastern for an at large bid as of yet.
- Miami University RedHawks – Miami reclaimed a share of the top spot in the NCHC with a road sweep of last place Colorado College. In two relatively close games, the RedHawks edged CC 3-1 on Friday via a short-handed goal by Riley Barber at 16:21 of period two. In the rematch, MIami leveraged two second period PP goals into a 2-1 win. Miami faces UMD at home this weekend in another crucial series.
- Michigan State University Spartans – The Spartans picked up two more conference wins in a home sweep of Penn State by scores of 3-0 and 3-2. In game one, Jake Hildebrand posted the shutout and Mackenzie MacEachern scored the GWG at 10:04 of period two in the win. Hildebrand the was the hero in the rematch stopping 40 of 42 SOG in the 3-2 Spartan win. Mackenzie MacEachern scored three times including two goals on the power play to lead Michigan State to the sweep.
- Michigan Tech University Huskies – Michigan Tech has assembled another lengthy winning streak of eight games after a sweep of last place UAA. MTU scored a convincing 5-1 win on Friday in front of an announced crowd of 1900 on Friday. The Huskies scored five goals including two by Shane Hanna before the Seawolves hit the score sheet in the 5-1 victory. On Saturday, the Seawolves rolled over and played dead as MTU destroyed them 10-0. The GWG was scored 1:42 into the contest and the Huskies scored five times in period one. An embarrassing effort for UAA. 14 MTU players hit the score sheet in this game.
- Princeton University Tigers – Well, you can’t accuse last place Princeton of mailing it in as they defeated Clarkson 2-1 on Friday and tied second place St. Lawrence 1-1 on Saturday in a crucial game for the Saints. Despite being outshot 29-18 on Friday, Tucker Brockett netted the GWG at 7:06 of the third period in the 2-1 win. On Saturday, in a must win game for St. Lawrence, Tiger goaltender Colton Phinney stopped 34/35 SOG and Mike Ambrosia scored the GTG on a power play at 12:49 of period two as Princeton held on for the 1-1 overtime tie.
- University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers – The Chargers traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and skated away with a tie and win over Lake Superior State. In a very close contest on Friday, the teams skated to a 1-1 overtime tie after trading goals in period two. In a nice effort on Saturday, the Chargers scored twice in period three including the GWG on the PP by Max McHugh.
- University of Alaska Nanooks – Despite being at home, the Nanooks upset first place Mankato picking up three of four points over the weekend. On Friday, the Nanooks corralled the Mavericks limiting them to 18 SOG while they placed 30 SOG on MSU’s Stephon Williams. Tyler Morley scored the GTG on the PP at 10:49 of the second period and Alaska outshot MSU 14-5 in the third. Neither squad could score in the OT session in the 1-1 tie. On Saturday, Alaska outshot MSU once again 32-25 and scored three times to erase a 1-0 deficit in the 3-1 win. Tyler Morley scored a SH goal and Garrick Perry the GWG goal in period three.
- Air Force Academy Falcons – In a predictable outcome, 6th place Air Force squashed AIC 9-3/3-1 in a weekend sweep. Max Hartner picked up a hat trick on Friday and Erik Baskin the GWG on SAturday. The Yellow Jackets were limited to 30 SOG the entire weekend.
- Mercyhurst College Lakers – In another predictable outcome, Mercyhurst swept Niagara by scores of 5-2 and 4-1. Matthew Zay was 2-1-3 Friday and Kyle Just added two goals Saturday in the sweep.
- University of Michigan Wolverines – The Wolverines had a rude awakening in Minneapolis as they were outscored 8-2 over the weekend and relinquished the top spot in the BIG 10 to Minnesota. Simply a disappointing performance by a team that was averaging over 4 GPG entering the weekend. Getting swept in a crucial league series makes one question the resolve of this Wolverine team.
- Saint Lawrence University Saints – The Saints needed at least a split of the weekend to stay in touch with first place Quinnipiac in the ECAC. They battled hard but lost Friday’s contest 2-1 to Quinnipiac and then fell flat at last place Princeton in a 1-1 overtime tie. Thoughts of catching QU for the top spot are now pretty much extinguished.
- Northern Michigan University Wildcats – The Wildcats were swept at home by visiting Bemidji allowing them to move up to a fifth place tie with NMU. A close 1-0 game on Friday led to a convincing 5-1 win by the Beavers on Saturday. It’s never good to get swept at home particularly when a home playoff position is on the line.
- Minnesota State University Mankato Mavericks – In a surprise, the injury and illness riddled Mavericks were swept convincingly on the road by the Alaska Nanooks. Granted, it’s always difficult to expect success on this lengthy road trip but getting outshot 30-18 on Friday in the 1-1 overtime tie and 32-25 on Saturday in the 3-1 loss was not impressive. Combined with the MTU sweep at UAA, the Mavericks now hold a slim one point lead over MTU in the WCHA standings setting up a crucial series next weekend between the two.
- University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves – The Seawolves were destroyed by visiting Michigan Tech getting outscored 15-1 over the weekend. They’ve lost six consecutive games and 10 of 12 games since January 1st.
- Colorado College Tigers – Add two more conference losses for the Tigers after getting swept at home by Miami. The two games were relatively close, 3-1/2-1 but moral victories do nothing for the record. The Tigers have also lost 10 of 12 games since January 1.
- Union College Dutchmen – The defending national champions have imploded slipping to 10th in the ECAC standings after being swept by Yale and Brown. Union’s offense has disappeared as they were shutout 2-0 and 1-0 and they’ve been outscored 10-1 in their last three games. My how things have changed in a year.
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers – RPI endured the same fate as Union getting swept by Brown (6-3) and Yale (4-1) on the Engineers home ice. 9th place RPI has crumbled since November 28 with a record of 3-15.
- Clarkson University Knights – After a disappointing 2-1 loss on Friday to last place Princeton, the Knights were mopped up by first-place Quinnipiac by a score of 4-1. Inconsistent play has been the Knight’s downfall all season. Solid wins will be followed up by disappointing losses. It’ll be a quick exit into the off season for this Knights team.
- Merrimack College Warriors – Here’s another team that has imploded in the last month. After being swept at home by Maine (4-3/5-3) this past weekend, the Warriors are 1-7-1 since January 21. I suspect this squad has fallen and can’t get up. They finish the regular season with road trips to Vermont and UNH.
- University of Connecticut Huskies – This unpredictable squad has earned some impressive wins this season over top teams. However, they were absolutely destroyed by Northeastern by a combined score of 15-1 as they were swept in this home and home series. Something has suddenly occurred here as they’ve been outscored 26-3 in their past four games.
- Penn State University Nittany Lions – Penn State had a disappointing weekend at Michigan State losing both games by scores of 3-0 and 3-2. The losses have dropped them to a tie for third in the Big 10. With six of their last eight games with league leaders Michigan and Minnesota it’ll be interesting to see how they respond.
- American International College Yellow Jackets – The Yellow Jackets traveled to Colorado Springs and were destroyed 9-3 Friday and defeated 3-1 Saturday by Air Force. AIC mustered only 30 SOG on the weekend in another disappointing effort.
- Niagara University Purple Eagles – Dead last at #59 in the PWR Niagara didn’t disappoint as they were swept by Mercyhurst by scores of 5-2 and 4-1. The Purple Eagles are winless in 18 games since December 1 and have lost 24 games overall.
Congrats to the Brown University Bears for stringing together three straight wins including a road sweep of Rensselaer and Union this past weekend. They may be in 11th place in the ECAC standings but credit is due for an outstanding weekend of conference play. They are this weeks “Performer” of the week.