Sunday, January 11, 2009

School Wrap Sunday

Here is what the Sports poll sat at heading into the weekend's games.

1 Notre Dame
2 Boston University
3 Minnesota
4 Northeastern
5 Denver
6 Miami
7 Princeton
8 Cornell
9 Boston College
10 Colorado College
10 Michigan
12 Vermont
13 New Hampshire
14 Air Force
15 Dartmouth
16 Ohio State
17 Wisconsin
18 Nebraska-Omaha
19 Alaska
20 Minnesota-Duluth

One key series featured #9 Boston College taking on #12 Vermont where the Catamounts came away with 3 of 4 possible points against their Hockey East rivals. They two teams skated to a 3-3 tie on Friday but Vermont came back from a two goal deficit to win 4-2.

Also in Hockey East, the #2 ranked Terriers of Boston University extended their unbeaten streak to 8 games with a 4-1 win over Maine. The Terriers will take on Providence on Tuesday night. BU has rattled off 5 consecutive wins including a big one on the road a week ago against the Denver Pioneers.

Unfortunatly for BU fans their hot streak won't push them to the #1 ranking because the Fighting Irish continue to play fantastic hockey. #1 ranked Notre Dame welcomed #19 Alaska (Fairbanks) to town and promptly shut them out in back-to-back games by 2-0 and 3-0 scores. Irish netminder Jordan Pearce stopped a combined 38 shots from the Nanooks.

In a series that was available for viewing in Canada, Michigan trounced the Miami Redhawks 5-1 on Saturday. Their Friday night tilt was postponed until Sunday due to "structural damage" at Yost but it didn't get any better for Miami as they were blanked 4-0.

The Wolverines story as of late is how sophomore Bryan Hogan has usurped senior Billy Sauer of the starting job for the Maize and Blue. Hogan is 13-1 this year with a .925 sv%, 1.75 GAA and now 3 shutouts. The undrafted Hogan just turned 20-years-old over the Christmas holidays.

In the biggest "upset" of the weekend, unranked North Dakota spanked the Golden Gophers of Minnesota by 6-3 and 6-1 scores. The fighting Sioux have been underachieving for much of the year but as we've seen from them over the last few years, they play much better in the second half of the schedule and seem to be repeating that again this season. Two reasons why UND is rolling is the improved production of freshmen Jason Gregoire and Brad Eidsness. Gregoire was a USHL standout and is enjoying a 4-game streak where he has 6 points. Eidsness has been victorious in 8 of his last 10 starts allowing more than 3 goals only once in that span. Expect the Sioux to get back into the top 20 when the new rankings come out on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin Badgers completed their season sweep of the Alaska-Anchorange Sea Wolves. Denver's 2-game sweep of Michigan Tech should be enough to bump them ahead of the Gophers in the ranking.

Another team who should be inching up the rankings is Cornell who swept Niagara in a non-conference series. The Big Red are getting stellar goaltending from Ben Scrivens, the 22-year-old who hails from Spruce Grove. He's also undrafted but has to be getting consideration with the way he's compiling impressive win, one after another. Some will argue that he's not seeing tough competition and there is some truth to that but consider this: he's allowed more than 2 goals only once this season yet has faced 25 or more shots nine times including a pair of +40 shot games early on.

Another reason that Cornell should move up is because of Princeton's shocking home losses to Union (3-2) and R.P.I. (5-1). The Tigers have dropped 3 of 4 in 2009 after going 14-2 from the start of the year to the Dec 30th. They are still in top spot in the ECAC standings but Cornell has 4 games in hand on the Tigers.

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