Performers / Underperformers Week #20…

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Union College played like the defending champs last weekend vs Cornell (photo prout)

Here are the “Performers and Underperformers” in College hockey for the weekend of 3/6-7/2015:

Performers

  1. Union College Dutchmen – Honesty, I didn’t see this coming. 10th place Union traveled to 7th place Cornell in the first round of the ECAC playoffs and dispatched the Big Red with relative ease. After a scoreless first period in game one, Union scored three straight goals in period two and scored a 4-2 win. In game two Cornell simply had no response getting drilled 7-0 to end their season. Union was 3/9 on the power play and Spencer Foo scored twice in the win. “It all unraveled tonight,” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer. “From special teams to discipline, to goaltending to you name it, it happened.” This was an impressive weekend for the defending national champs and they are this weeks “Performer” of the week. 
  2. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers – The other Capital District team, RPI, made the trip to the north country to face Clarkson in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. In another surprise, the 9th place Engineers took 2 of 3 to advance to the second round of playoffs. They upended the Knights 3-2 in game one, were shellacked 5-0 in game two and then recovered for a 3-1 win on Sunday. In the finale, they were outshot 34-20 yet rang up three goals in the first period for the upset.
  3. Merrimack College Warriors – It’s been common knowledge all season that the Warriors goaltending has been the backbone of this team. It showed again this past weekend as 10th place Merrimack swept the Northeastern Huskies by scores of 3-2 in single overtime and 2-1 in double overtime. Rasmus Tirronen  turned aside 99/102 Huskies SOG in the upset by Merrimack. Kyle Singleton scored the GWG on Friday and Matthew Tibbet the winner on Saturday. The Loss ended a strong second half of the year for Northeastern and hopefully jump-started the Warriors after a poor month of February.”I am not going to apologize for having a good goaltender,” Coach Dennehy said. “It’s one of the most important positions in the game, and we have a good one. Both of those games could’ve gone either way. We gutted them both out.”
  4. Penn State University Nittany Lions – It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Penn State who found themselves on the upswing last weekend in a sweep of then first place Michigan. Considering PSU lost 5 of the previous 6 games entering the weekend series with Michigan emphasized the importance of this success. Friday saw a lot of offense with 88 combined SOG and 10 goals. Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, 6 were for them in the 6-4 win. PSU was up 4-0 in the contest before the Wolverines were able to get on the board and it was simply too big of a hill to climb for Michigan. On Saturday, in a very tight contest, Penn State prevailed again 4-2 with the winning goal scored by Tommy Olczyk at 17:21 of period two.
  5. Niagara University Purple Eagles – In a complete surprise, last place Niagara persevered winning two of three games in the first round of the AHA playoffs over 6th place Holy Cross. They edged the Crusaders 2-1 on Friday scoring twice in the third period including the GWG by Luke Edwards at 10:10. Game two went to Holy Cross but it was a 2-1 nail-biter  in three overtime sessions. Finally, on Sunday despite being outshot 50-26 the Purple Eagles broke a 3-3 game with the GWG by Chris Lochner at 2:03 of the third period. This was a huge upset for a squad who entered the series with a 5-25-4 record.
  6. University of Alaska Nanooks – The playoff ineligible Nanooks wrapped up their season with a sweep of intra-state rival UAA by scores of 1-0 and 3-2 capturing the Alaska Airlines Governors Cup. Taylor Munson’s lone goal at 13:34 of period one stood up as Sean Cahill of the Nanooks posted a 22 save shutout. In the Saturday rematch, the Nanooks pelted UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha with 43 SOG in the 3-2 win. Josh Erickson scored the GWG at 14:37 of period three. With the sweep, Alaska finishes with an overall record of 19-13-2 and going 7-0-1 since February 1.
  7. Michigan Tech University Huskies – The Huskies made a valiant run at the WCHA crown by sweeping upper peninsula rival Northern Michigan only to fall short by one-point in the standings to Mankato. Nevertheless, it was a solid weekend against their most heated rival. On Friday, on the Huskies home ice, they pretty much destroyed the Wildcats outshooting them 51-21 in the 5-1 win. Blake Pietala and Tyler Heinonen were both 2-0-2 on the night. In Marquette on Saturday, it was pretty much a repeat of the night before with a slew of penalties to fill the game sheet. MTU outshot the Wildcats 40-21 in a 3-1 win. The game included 24 penalties for a total of 81 minutes. The Huskies face Huntsville in the first-round of the playoffs this weekend.
  8. Harvard University Crimson – Harvard made quick work of their first round opponent in the ECAC playoffs defeating Brown University by scores of 6-2 and 4-3.  The Crimson erupted for the first 4 goals of the game and then cruised to the 6-2 win. Jimmy Vesey scored the GWG, his 23rd of the season. In game two, the Crimson had a much tougher battle on their hands edging Brown 4-3 ending the Bears season. Harvard moves on to play rival Yale next weekend in the ECAC playoffs. Yale has won 9 of the last 10 meetings between these two Ivy League schools.
  9. Ferris State University Bulldogs – The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a sweep at Lake Superior State last weekend. FSU fell behind early 1-0 then rattled off four straight goals in the 4-1 win. Zach Szajner netted the GWG, his first goal of the season. In the rematch, the Bulldogs outshot the Lakers 32-24 in a 3-0 shutout. C.J. Motte earned the shutout and his 16th win of the season. Ferris has a huge task ahead in the first round of the WCHA playoffs at Bemidji.
  10. University of Vermont Catamounts – The Catamounts prevailed in three games vs Maine in the first round of the HEA playoffs. The Cats’ rallied for two goals in the third period including the GWG by Brendan Bradley in Friday’s 4-2 win. In game two, UMaine turned the tables on the Catamounts winning 4-2 to send the series to a deciding game three. In a fitting way to decide this series, the teams took game three to overtime with UVM’s Jonathan Turk getting the series deciding goal at 16:05 of the OT session. Vermont moves on to play Boston College this weekend.
  11. University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 5th place Notre Dame had their hands full with last place Massachusetts losing a 5 overtime game on Friday and edging UMass 5-3 on Saturday before burying them in game three. The two squads battled into five overtime sessions, a college hockey record,  before the Minutemen’s Shane Walsh scored at 11:42 with the GWG. This game featured 169 SOG and 88 saves by Irish goaltender Cal Petersen. Saturday’s contest ended in regulation but Notre Dame had to work for the victory with three goals in the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock. Vince Hinostra scored the GWG at 4:00 of period three.  In the deciding game three Notre Dame drilled UMass scoring seven goals on 32 SOG to move on in the HEA playoffs. Thomas DiPauli added two goals in the 7-0 win. Notre Dame advances to take on UMass-Lowell in a tough matchup.
  12. University of New Hampshire Wildcats– UNH took care of Connecticut in two games to move on in the Hockey East playoffs. The Wildcats posted a 5-2 win on Friday behind two goals by Grayson Downing, his 16th and 17th of the season. In game two, the Wildcats dominated outshooting the Huskies 44-19 and getting a shutout from Daniel Tirone. UNH meets Providence this weekend.
  13. Dartmouth College Big Green – Dartmouth ended Princeton’s season quickly sweeping the Tigers in two games in the ECAC first round of the playoffs. A game Princeton squad battled the Big Green to the end in game one as Dartmouth needed a GWG by Eric Neilley at 18:33 of period three for the win. In the series finale, Dartmouth blanked the Tigers 2-0 with a 17 save shutout by James Kruger. Dartmouth advances to face Colgate this weekend.
  14. Michigan State University Spartans – The Spartans took over first place in the BIG 10 with a weekend sweep of last place Wisconsin. The punchless Badgers were shutout by identical 3-0 scores each night as Jake Hildebrand picked up the shutouts. It’s not a pretty sight for Wisconsin hockey these days.

Underperformers

  1. Cornell University Big Red – A disappointing season ends for the Big Red as they were swept in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. They were simply outmatched by the Union Dutchmen. Particularly deflating was the 7-0 dismantling in game two on the Big Red’s home ice. Cornell finishes the season with an 11-14-6 record.
  2. Northeastern University Huskies – In a shocker, Northeastern’s season ended quickly via a two-game sweep at the hands of the Merrimack Warriors. Both games required overtime including game two that extended to two overtime sessions. Merrimack was led by goaltender Rasmus Tirronen who turned aside a combined 99 SOG in the series. After an incredible run during mid-season the Huskies faltered at the end and they finish 16-16-4.
  3. University of Michigan Wolverines – The Wolverines were knocked out of first place in the BIG 10 as a result of being swept by Penn Sate last weekend. PSU has been good on home ice this season and they proved it again in the 6-4 and 4-3 wins. Michigan currently stands a point behind MSU in the standings and finishes the regular season with the Spartans so that should be interesting.
  4. Clarkson University Knights – Clarkson earned home ice for the first round of the ECAC playoffs but couldn’t take advantage as they were defeated in 2 of 3 games by RPI. They were edged in game one 3-2 but rebounded for a solid 5-0 win in the second game. In the deciding game, the Engineers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and it was too much to overcome for the Knights despite outshooting them 34-20. Clarkson ends the 2014-15 season with a disappointing 12-20-5 record.
  5. Holy Cross College Crusaders – Holy Cross is another squad that succumbed to a lower seed in the first round of the playoffs. In a somewhat embarrassing outcome, the Crusaders were defeated at home  in three games by last place Niagara. In three very close games, the higher ranked Crusaders were only able to manage a 2-1 overtime win in game two. Inconsistency plagued Holy Cross this season and they finish the year with a 14-18-5 record.
  6. University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves – UAA finished the season on a sour note getting swept by Alaska in the Governors Cup by scores of 1-0 and 3-2. The Seawolves won only once in their last twelve games and never earned a win all season in the lower 48. They finish in last place in the WCHA with a record 5-21-2 record. Overall, they finished 8-22-4.
  7. Lake Superior State University Lakers – Another struggling WCHA team is the Lakers that dropped two games at home to Ferris State to finish the regular season. They scored once in the series and were outscored 7-1 in the series. The Lakers finish the regular season tied with Huntsville for 8th in the standings. The Lakers travel to MSU-Mankato for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Good luck.
  8. Northern Michigan University Wildcats – Northern Michigan dropped to 7th in the WCHA standings after getting swept in a home and home series by upper peninsula rival Michigan Tech. The Wildcats couldn’t get anything going vs the Huskies dropping Friday’s game at MTU by a 5-1 score and losing the next night at home by a 3-1 score. NMU travels to Bowling Green to face the Falcons in the WCHA playoffs. That could be an interesting series.
  9. Brown University Bears – The Bears finished the month of February quite strong with a 4-2-2 record but didn’t have enough in the tank at the end as they were swept by Harvard 6-2 and 4-3 in the ECAC playoffs. The losses ended the season for Brown who finished in 11th in the ECAC standings.
  10. University of Wisconsin Badgers – The season can’t end soon enough for last place Wisconsin who was swept by Michigan State in identical 3-0 scores last weekend. The Badgers fall to 2-14-2 in the BIG 10 and 4-24-4 overall in a dreadful season. The agony continues as they face Ohio State for two to end the regular season.

Congrats to defending national champion Union College for a strong weekend performance in defeating Cornell on the road in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. They are this weeks “Performer of the Week”.

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