Monday, November 17, 2008

School Wrap Sunday

One team remains perfect, while a couple of perennial powerhouses watched opponents get out the brooms, and the Terriers perch on top of the rankings might be over after just one week. Time to wrap up the weekend that was in NCAA hockey.

Hockey East
We'll start with the conference who had the top dog last week. (1) Boston University had been rolling along with atleast 6 goals in their past 3 games, but the (20) Massachusetts Minutemen stopped the Terriers in their tracks. BU's Colin Wilson (Nashville, 1st round, 2008-pictured) had averaged 3 points per game in the the Terriers previous 3 contests, but UMASS held him scoreless on Friday night while getting 2 points from captain Cory Quirk on route to a 5-1 victory. It was the first time the Minutemen had beaten a #1 ranked team since 1995. UMASS would find themselves rocketing up the rankings this week if they hadn't blown it against Mass-Lowell Saturday getting shut out 2-0, more on the River Hawks in a second.

As for BU, they did rebound with a solid Sunday afternoon shut out of (7) Northeastern. BU tender Kieran Millan made 18 saves for the bagel. Northeastern had been coming off a 5-3 win over (15) Vermont Friday night, a victory that gave the Huskies their 7th win in 9 games.

Back to Mass-Lowell, before shutting out UMASS Saturday, the River Hawks pounded (6) New Hampshire 8-3. Junior Kory Falite (pictured) netted a hattrick against a Wildcat team playing without number one goaltender Brian Foster (Florida, 5th round, 2005). The 2 weekend wins by Mass-Lowell should vault them into the top 20, but they and BC might be the only Hockey East team moving up the ladder.

After losing Friday night, New Hampshire gave up another 8 spot, this time to (5) Boston College in an 8-6 slugfest. Eagles freshman Jimmy Hayes (Toronto, 2nd round, 2008) notched the hatty and set up one more, while senior Brock Bradford (Boston, 7th round, 2005) who was coming of his own 3 goal night in a 5-5 tie with Merrimack Friday night chipped in with 4 points of his own. James vanRiemsdyk (Philadelphia, 1st round, 2007) replied with 3 points for the Wildcats who have now just one win in their past 8 games and will not enjoy the bumpy ride down the rankings list this week.

(2)Minnesota could be the new number 1 this week, as the Golden Gophers were the only team in the top 8 that didn't lose, and have yet to wind up on the wrong end this year. However they didn't win both either. Despite leading 2-0 in the 3rd against Michigan Tech Saturday afternoon, they couldn't close the deal and settled for a 2-2 tie. Things weren't quite so Rosy for the Huskies Sunday as Minnesota blanked the dogs 3-0. Gopher senior Ryan Stoa (Colorado, 2nd round, 2005-pictured) and Jay Barriball (San Jose, 7th round, 2006) each had 2 points, Stoa now sits 6th in the nation in scoring, while fabulous freshman Jordan Schroeder (ranked 6th by ISS for the 2009 draft) picked up his 4th goal to go along with 10 assists, the right winger leads all NCAA rookies in scoring. Minnesota goaltender Alex Kangas (Atlanta, 5th round, 2006) certainly earned the shut out, kicking out 38 Huskie shots in the win.

(3)Colorado College slipped up against (17)Minnesota State Friday night losing 2-1, before rebounding with a 4-3 win on Saturday. Chad Rau (Toronto, 7th round, 2005) and Billy Sweat (Chicago, 2nd round, 2007) paced the Tigers with 2 points each in the Saturday win.

For the first time in 8 years, (4) Denver was swept in St. Cloud. The Pioneers now have just 2 wins in their past 7 and scored only 3 goals on the weekend. Garrett Roe (L.A. 7th round, 2008) was big for the Huskies with 3 points in 2 games, as St. Cloud State has now won 4 straight and 5 of 6. What might save Denver from finding themselves outside of the top 10 this week is that so many other top clubs struggled, but they could slip out.

The Badgers appear to be back. Unranked all year, Wisconsin who was winless in it's first 7 games tied Minnesota-Duluth 3-3 Friday night and beat the Bulldogs 4-1 on Saturday. The weekend success means Wisconsin hasn't lost in 5 games with 4 wins over the span, and moves them alone into 3rd place in the WCHA standings. It might also be enough to sling them into the national rankings.

(18)North Dakota is barely hanging onto it's top 20 spot, and might have lost it this weekend. Fighting Sioux goaltender Aaron Walski gave up 3 goals on 9 shots and was chased Friday night by Alaska-Anchorage. UND did mount a 3rd period comeback but it fell short as the Seawolves held on for a 3-2 win at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. Saturday the Sioux were better thanks to outstanding special teams. Matt Frattin (Toronto, 4th round, 2007) and Brett Hextall (Phoenix, 6th round, 2008) scored power play goals, while sophomore Brad Malone (Colorado, 4th round, 2007) added a shorthanded tally.

The team that will likely make the biggest jump in the rankings this week is (10) Miami. The Redhawks swept (17) Michigan State with convincing 5-1 and 3-1 victories. Friday night Miami scored 5 unanswered, while Saturday senior Justin Mercier (Colorado, 6th round, 2005-pictured) scored once and set up another. Miami has just one loss in it's last 5 but will be tested this weekend when they host (8) Michigan.

Speaking of the Wolverines, they were upset Friday night by Western Michigan. Former Spruce Grove Saint (AJHL) Kevin Connauton scored the winner, unassisted with under 5 minutes to play in the third. The Bronco victory was Western Michigan's first in conference play this year and was Michigan's first home loss in 12 outings. They would not suffer a 13th on Saturday though. Sophomore Louie Capporusso (Ottawa, 3rd, 2007) ripped off a 3rd period natural hattrick for the Wolverines, tying him for top spot when it comes to goals. Fellow 2nd year forward Aaron Palushaj (St. Louis, 2nd round, 2007) assisted on all 3 goals, giving him 20 points on the year, good enough to overtake the countries scoring lead.

(9)Notre Dame kept rolling on the weekend. The Irish haven't lost in 6 after beating Lake Superior in a shoot out Friday night, and downing the Lakers 5-2 on Saturday.

(12) Princeton has now won 4 straight since being shut out by Cornell 2 weeks ago. The Tigers scored decisive 4-1 victories over Rensselaer and Union this past weekend. Junior goaltender Zane Kalemba (undrafted, 23 year old) improved to 5-1 with a .83 goals against average and a .965 save percentage.

The only goalie in the country with better stats is Ben Scrivens (undrafted 22 year old Junior) of (14) Cornell. Big Red beat Colgate 4-1 on Friday and tied the Raiders 2-2 on Saturday. Scrivens hasn't lost in 4 games, but has tied twice. He owns an amazing .977 save percentage and a.72 goals against average.

One other NCAA note, (13) Air Force stayed perfect with a road sweep of Holy Cross. The Falcons picked up 1-0 and 5-1 victories, but interestingly enough, for the first time this season Jacques Lamoureux was held scoreless in both games. It dropped him into a tie for 2nd in nation. This Tuesday Lamoureux will be a guest on The Pipeline Show, if you haven't heard his incredible story, you'll want to tune in from 6-8 PM mountain time on the TEAM 1260 in Edmonton, or world wide courtesy our website.

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