Kalle Kossila and Charlie Lindgren celebrate a win last weekend vs Omaha (photo prout)
Here’s the “Performers and Underperformers” for the weekend of February 20-21:
- St. Cloud State University Huskies – The Huskies continue to claw their way back to relevance in the NCHC standings and the Pairwise after posting a crucial weekend home sweep of Omaha. However, it wasn’t an easy weekend as SCSU yielded a two-goal second period lead and suddenly found themselves down 3-2 after a late second period goal by UNO’s Ian Brady and two third period goals by the Mavericks Tyler Vesel and Austin Ortega – who else. But, the resilient Huskies got the game tying goal by Blake Winiecki at 16:56 and another 16 seconds later by David Morley and hung on for a 4-3 Friday win. On Saturday, the Huskies outshot Omaha 32-21 including 16-5 in the second period and rode a 21 save shutout by Charlie Lindgren for a 2-0 win. The game winning goal was scored by defenseman Nathan Widman, his second of the season. For their resiliency and effort in knocking off league leader and #5 ranked UNO, the Huskies are this weeks “Performer” of the week.
- University of North Dakota – Heading into the weekend series with Western Michigan, North Dakota was in a three-way tie for first place and breathing down Mankato’s back for the #1 position in the Pairwise. In a very close game Friday, the difference was a second period power play goal by Drake Caggiula and nearly 60 minutes of shutout goaltending by Zane McIntyre until Western Michigan scored with an extra attacker at 19:27 of regulation. On Saturday, they withstood a late rally by WMU and persevered in overtime for a 3-2 win on another Drake Caggiula goal. UND and SCSU face off this weekend in what looks to be a dandy of a series.
- Northern Michigan University Wildcats – How ’bout those NMU Wildcats? After being outshot 39-24 on Bowling Green’s home ice on Friday, the Wildcats stole one on a Ryan Kesti goal at 3:36 of overtime. On Saturday, they put another dent in the Falcons post season aspirations with a 4-3 win after falling behind 3-0 early in perid two. Northern rallied for the next four goals including the GWG by Justin Rose at 15:38 of the third period. This was a huge weekend sweep for the Wildcats who are still fighting for home ice in the WCHA playoffs.
- University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish – I’ve been tough on Notre Dame who really sputtered in January with a 2-5-1 record. Suddenly in February, the Irish have come to life with one loss in six games and a 2-0-2 record on the road at Maine and last weekend at league leader Boston University. On Friday, they were outshot 36-19 but hung on to muster a 2-2 tie. On Saturday, they were outshot by an even greater margin – 46-22 but received an outstanding effort in goal by Cal Peterson in a 3-2 win. Vince Hinostroza netted the GWG early in the third period. The three-point weekend moved the Irish to a tie for third in Hockey East.
- St. Lawrence University Saints – Rebounding from a disappointing road weekend two weeks ago losing to QU and tying Princeton, the Saints picked up two key wins in a weekend sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth. It was all SLU vs Harvard on Friday as the Saints scored four times in the last two periods to break a 1-1 tie and post a 5-1 win. Gunner Hughes not only picked up the GWG but also had a 2-1-3 night. The Saints finished the weekend sweep with a 6-3 outing vs Dartmouth outscoring the Big Green 4-2 in a wildly offensive third period. However, the Saints remain at #20 in the Pairwise and still on the outside looking in.
- Colgate University Red Raiders – With junior Mike Borkowski’s miraculous return to the lineup from injury, the Raiders have re-kindled some of that early season consistency that allowed them to win 7 of 8 games in October. They’ve won 4 of 6 in February but most importantly three in a row after sweeping Union and RPI at home last weekend. They shut out Union 2-0 via a 35 save performance by Charlie Finn and the GWG by Tyson Spink just 53 seconds into the game. That was followed with a 4-2 victory over a struggling Engineer squad on Saturday behind the GWG by Darcy Murphy at 7:18 of period two. The Raiders finish the regular season with a tough road trip to Yale and a much improved Brown University squad. At #21 in the PWR most likely the Raiders will need a successful run in the ECAC playoffs.
- Canisius College Golden Griffins – You’ve got to give Canisius some credit. They’ve been a very consistent performer since December 1st with a 10-4-3 record and are attempting to lock up second place in the Atlantic this weekend vs Air Force. They’ll be one of the favorites in the Atlantic playoffs. Last weekend they won a pair from Mercyhurst in a home and home series by scores of 4-2 and 3-1. In a battle on Friday, Keegan Asmundson turned aside 35/37 SOG in the 4-2 win and 26/27 in the Saturday victory. Mitch McCrank netted the GWG both nights for the Griffins.
- University of New Hampshire Wildcats – It’s been a trying year for 9th place New Hampshire but after a 4-3 win over league leader Boston University on February 14, they followed that up with a weekend sweep of Connecticut. In a convincing weekend sweep in a home and home series, the Wildcats outscored the Huskies 9-2 and have some momentum heading into their season finale with Merrimack.
- Bemidji State University Beavers – Tied for fourth in the WCHA, the Beavers are battling Northern Michigan and Ferris State for a home playoff position. Certainly you can’t take any team for granted but let’s face the facts, UAA has not won in the lower 48 all season. Despite taking the lead in both games, BSU ultimately won both by scores of 3-2 and 2-1 for the weekend sweep. Bemidji now faces Ferris State on the road in another crucial series.
- Yale University Bulldogs – Third place Yale is hanging tight at #15 in the PWR with a weekend of Colgate and Cornell ahead of them. They’ll look to continue their February success having lost once and compiling a 4-1-1 record. In a key rivalry game with Quinnipiac last weekend, they ended up tying the Bobcats in overtime in a very tight, closely contested game. On Saturday, They took Ivy member Princeton to task outshooting the Tigers 38-19 and winning 6-2. Frankie DiChiara scored twice for the Bulldogs in the win.
- Brown University Bears – After a miserable 1-8-1 January, the Bears have recovered nicely to post a 4-1-1 record in February. They defeated last place Princeton 4-1 Friday and then battled league leader Quinnipiac to a 2-2 overtime tie on the Bobcats home ice on Saturday. Nick Lappin picked up his 10th goal of the season and Tim Ernst stopped 36/38 SOG in a solid effort.
- Denver University Pioneers – Denver defeated intrastate rival Colorado College twice to win the Gold Pan but most importantly earned six league points as a result of the sweep to move into a tie for third in the NCHC. The Pioneers broke a 3-3 second period tie with three consecutive goals in Friday’s 6-4 win. In the rematch, they outshot CC 46-26, went 2/3 on the man-advantage and received two goals from Zac Lazzara to wrap up the sweep.
- Ferris State University Bulldogs – The Bulldogs maintained their home playoff possibilities with a weekend sweep at Alabama-Huntsville. They edged the Chargers 2-1 Friday despite outshooting them 34-19. Chad McDonald netted the GWG. On Saturday, in a much closer game, Sean O’Rourke scored at 3:10 of the third period for the GWG in the 3-2 win. Ferris battles Bemidji in a key home series this weekend.
- Niagara University Purple Eagles – How about we give the Purple Eagles some love. After a winless streak of 18 games going back to December 1st, Niagara posted a win and tie over Air Force last weekend. On Friday, they pounded the Falcons 6-1 scoring four straight goals before AFA got on the board in period three. T J Sarcoma had a three-point night including two goals in this show of offense. In the rematch, Air Force showed little fight placing only 18 SOG yet scored four times in the 4-4 overtime tie. It’s crazy but an .80 SV % by the Niagara goaltender could have earned them a sweep.
- Bowling Green University Falcons – Bowling Green continued their disappointing slide getting swept by Northern Michigan at home. They’ve lost three in a row, including two in overtime and have slid to #13 in the PWR. On Friday, the Falcons coughed up a late 2-1 lead to see NMU win in overtime. In the rematch, the Falcons once again folded as a 3-0 second period lead vanished as the Wildcats scored four consecutive goals including three in the third period in the 4-3 win. On the bright side, the Falcons finish the regular season at last place UAA and at home vs UAH. That should allow the to hold onto third place in the WCHA.
- University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks – First place UNO rode into St. Cloud having swept the Huskies in Omaha in December. In a major disappointment, the Mavs saw a late third period 3-2 lead dissolve within a matter of 16 seconds as the Huskies scored twice in a 4-3 loss. On Saturday, UNO was shut out for the first time all season in a 2-0 loss. The two losses dropped Omaha into a tie for third in the standings with UMD one point back and the resurgent Huskies 4 points back.
- Western Michigan University Broncos – The Broncos have faltered down the stretch run losing 4 of 5 games in February after being swept at home last weekend by North Dakota. WMU fell behind 3-0 on Friday and never recovered losing 3-1. On Saturday, The Broncos again fell behind 2-0 but rallied scoring two extra attacker goals late in the third period to send the game to overtime. UND’s Drake Cagguila ended the party with an OT goal at 3:31 to give UND the weekend sweep.
- Mercyhurst College Lakers – The Lakers were swept in a home and home series by second place Canisius by scores of 4-2 and 3-1. A key series this weekend with RIT will determine their final position for the Atlantic playoffs as the two squads are separated by just one point.
- University of Connecticut Huskies – It appears that the grind of the Hockey East season has taken it’s toll on the Huskies having won just twice since January 16th with a record of 2-7-3. They were swept by ninth place New Hampshire by a combined score of 9-2 last weekend. They finish the season with Massachusetts on Friday and most likely will see an early departure from the 2014-15 season when the Hockey East playoffs begin.
- Colorado College Tigers – CC coach Mike Haviland has learned the transition from coaching in the professional ranks to the collegiate ranks is a big departure. It was probably made much clearer after being swept by intrastate rival Denver by scores of 6-4 and 6-3. The Tigers have been swept in 8 conference series in the 2014-15 season and to date have earned one conference win. Regardless of their success in the last four games, CC will face the conference leader in the NCHC playoffs.
- Princeton University Tigers – The other last place Tigers – Princeton were also swept last weekend by Brown 4-1 and Yale 6-2. First year coach, Ron Fogerty is also finding the success he had in the Division III ranks is not easily transferable to Division I. Princeton will also finish in the cellar of the ECAC as they head into the playoffs.
- Clarkson University Knights – Clarkson has been sputtering since the start of the new year with a record of 4-9. They added two more to the loss column having been swept by Dartmouth 3-2 in overtime and Harvard 3-2. Certainly a disappointing season for the Knights who have been unable to sustain any consistency the entire season.
- Boston University Terriers – Hockey East leader Boston U had a disappointing weekend at home earning a single league point to visiting Notre Dame. A 2-2 overtime tie on Friday was followed by a 3-2 loss to the Irish on Saturday. Big guns Evan Rodrigues and Jack Eichel were held to a single goal all weekend.
- Union College Dutchmen – The frustration continued for the defending national champs who were swept on the road by Colgate 2-0 and Cornell 2-1. The Dutchmen have lost five consecutive games and have a 4-9-1 record since January 1st. The losses dropped them to 10th place in the ECAC standings.
- Rensselaer Institute of Technology Engineers – Much like Union it’s been a very dysfunctional season for the Engineers. They salvaged a 2-2 overtime tie with Cornell on Friday and then lost on Saturday 4-2 to Colgate. RPI is 3-14-1 since December 1st.
- University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers – The Chargers were swept at home by Ferris State for their 6th loss in their last 8 games. Both were one goal games if you’re into moral victories.
- Air Force Academy Falcons – The Falcons crumbled last weekend at Niagara getting hammered 6-1 on Friday and catching some poor goaltending in a 4-4 tie where they scored 4 times on 18 SOG. Prior to this series Niagara had not won a game since November 22. Certainly an unimpressive weekend by the Falcons against the last place Purple Eagles also the 59th and lowest ranked team in the Pairwise.
- University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves – The last place Seawolves dropped two more games in the lower 48 to Bemidji by scores of 3-2 and 3-1. They’ve hit the win column only three times since November 1st. They finish the season at home and that is a good thing. It’s been a season to forget at UAA.
St. Cloud State University is this weeks “Performer of the Week” as a result of last weekends sweep of #5 and then first place Omaha. Congrats