Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodnight, USA

The goal of medaling three straight years in the World Junior Championship is over for the United States.

A 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic in Edmonton yesterday left the U.S with one win and two losses in three group games in the 2012 IIHF U20 WJC. Coupled with Finland's 9-1 win over Denmark last night, the Americans have been eliminated from medal contention.

T.J. Tynan (Notre Dame) and Bill Arnold (Boston College) scored power-play goals for the U.S., which saw Czech goaltender Petr Mrazek make 52 saves, including a penalty-shot attempt by Josh Archibald in the third period. The Czechs then scored three unanswered goals to break a 2-2 tie, with Petr Holik getting the game-winner off a rebound with 7:34 remaining in regulation time. Jack Campbell made 24 saves for the U.S. in defeat.

The U.S. faces Canada tonight at Rexall Place in its final preliminary-round contest to close out the 2011 calendar year.

ADDENDUM: Despite 32 saves by Campbell, and third-period goals by Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker (Denver), the U.S. fell to Canada, 3-2.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Michigan vs. Michigan State for 2011 GLI Title

College hockey's most-played rivalry will take center ice at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Friday when No. 14 Michigan State faces No. 20 Michigan in the championship game of the 2011 Great Lakes Invitational.

MSU (11-6-2 overall) advanced to tonight's game with a 3-1 victory over Michigan Tech, on the strength of 45 saves by Drew Palmisano. Michigan (10-8-3) topped No. 3 Boston College by a 4-2 count, as Luke Glendening tallied a goal and an assist, including an empty-netter to ice the contest with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Spartans and Wolverines last met on Dec. 9-10. Michigan won the first contest, 4-3, in Ann Arbor before the two schools skated to a 3-3 tie the following night in East Lansing (with MSU winning the ensuing shootout, 1-0).

ADDENDUM: Michigan won, 3-2 in overtime, on a goal by Kevin Clare to earn its 15th GLI title all-time. Palmisano had 45 saves for MSU and set a GLI record with 90 stops in two games.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gibson, U.S. Falter in Loss to Finland

And to think John Gibson could have been suiting up for the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit this week instead.

The Pittsburgh-born goaltender, who spurned Michigan earlier this year to play major junior hockey with Kitchener (OHL) instead, made his World Junior Championship debut against Finland on Wednesday night in Edmonton. It’s very likely he won’t want to remember this one.

Gibson, 18, surrendered three third-period goals in a 4-1 loss at Rexall Place that left the U.S. with a win and a loss in WJC play, and an absolute must-win situation against the Czech Republic on Friday afternoon. Finland rebounded from an 8-1 loss to host Canada on Monday, the same day that the Americans had pounded Denmark, 11-3, to open the tournament.

The beginning of the end for both Gibson and the U.S. against Finland happened when he took an interference penalty midway through the third period with the score tied, 1-1, and the Americans on a power play at the time. Finland proceeded to tally three unanswered goals, including two that Gibson, who was drafted 39th overall by Anaheim (NHL) this year, had at least a chance of stopping.

Joel Armia fanned on a semi-breakaway with 9:07 remaining in regulation, but the puck slid between a sprawling Gibson’s pads and into the net to give Finland the lead for good. Just 19 seconds later, Mikael Granlund’s shot from the right side deflected off Jon Merrill’s skate and inside the far post to make it a 3-1 affair.

Armia then closed out the scoring with 3:33 left when he evaded Gibson’s poke-check attempt and put the puck home to complete Finland’s first U20 win against the U.S. in six years. The U.S. outshot Finland, 39-27, but couldn’t get anything more than an early third-period shot by Brandon Saad past Finnish goaltender Sami Aittokalli.

Canada later defeated the Czech Republic, 5-0, on Wednesday night for its second WJC win in two games. The U.S. and Canada are scheduled to meet on Saturday night in Edmonton in the final group game for both teams.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Team USA Off to Solid Start at World Juniors

Former Boston University forward Charlie Coyle scored three goals as the U.S. National Junior Team blistered Denmark, 11-3, on Monday evening to open the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton.

Coyle, who left BU earlier this month to sign with Saint John (QMJHL), scored the Americans' first goal of the tournament. He was also a member of last year's squad that earned a bronze medal at the WJC in Buffalo.

Coyle's former BU teammate Adam Clendening posted two assists against Denmark, while USA team captain Jason Zucker of Denver University added a goal and two assists in Monday night's win. University of Minnesota forward Nick Bjugstad also scored a goal for the U.S., as did Gophers teammate Kyle Rau and Boston College's Bill Arnold. Stephen Johns of Notre Dame tallied the final goal for the U.S.

Former Michigan recruit Jack Campbell, who is now with Windsor (OHL), made 21 saves in net for the Americans, who are headed by Dean Blais, head coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Blais guided the U.S. to a gold medal at the 2010 WJC in Saskatchewan, the last time the tournament was held in Canada.

The Canadians, who earned a silver medal at the WJC last year, opened this year's tournament with an 8-1 pasting of Finland, which will face the U.S. on Wednesday. Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz had two assists for Canada in Monday's win in Edmonton.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

With only a pair of Russian Red Stars games at Vermont and Yale, respectively, next week in upcoming NCAA Division I men's action, it's a quiet time in college hockey. At least until the holiday tournaments like the GLI start.

Congrats to Minnesota-Duluth (Men's Division I), Wisconsin (Women's Division I), Norwich (Men's Division III) and RIT (Women's Division III) for currently being top-ranked in their respective polls. We'll see how things shake out as spring approaches, and who will ultimately be left standing in March and April.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

... And Another One Gone ...

Boston University sophomore forward Charlie Coyle, who won a bronze medal with the U.S. in last season's IIHF World Junior Championship held in Buffalo, has left school to play for the defending Memorial Cup champion St. John's Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, according to the Patriot Ledger.

A native of East Weymouth, Mass., Coyle played for the South Shore Kings of the Eastern Junior Hockey League before enrolling at BU in the fall of 2010. He also played for both Thayer Academy and Weymouth High School in the Massachusetts scholastic ranks.

Coyle tallied seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points in 37 games a year ago with BU, and had posted three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 13 outings so far this fall. He played his last game for the Terriers in a 5-1 win at Maine on Dec. 10, notching one assist, and finished with 10-27—37 points in 50 collegiate contests.

A first-round draft choice of the NHL's San Jose Sharks in 2010, Coyle's rights were traded to the Minnesota Wild in June. He was named to the preliminary roster for the 2012 U.S National Junior Team earlier this month, and that team will compete in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. According to the St. John's web site, Coyle is expected to join the Sea Dogs following the tournament.

BU (10-5-1 overall, 8-4-1 Hockey East) is second in its conference, and is also ranked ninth in the nation by The Terriers will return to action on Dec. 31 in a nationally-televised game at Notre Dame.

And Another One Gone ...

Less than a week after senior forward Corey Trivino was dismissed from the Boston University hockey team following his arrest on multiple charges, another senior forward elsewhere has been let go by an NCAA Division I school for again not complying with team rules.

Alex Hudson is no longer with Nebraska-Omaha, according to a report at Hudson, a six-foot, 209-pound California native who was suspended earlier this season for violating team rules, supposedly did so again and has been dismissed altogether by UNO head coach Dean Blais.

"Obviously a guy who was a senior captain at the start of the year … a leader, is now not on the team," said Blais at "We’ll move forward."

Hudson, who was not drafted by an NHL club, played junior hockey with Tri-City (USHL) before joining the Mavericks in 2008. He leaves with 32 goals and 87 points in three-plus seasons, including four goals and ten points this fall.

UNO is currently 9-8-3 overall (7-4-3 WCHA) and in third place in its conference. The Mavericks will host Quinnipiac on Dec. 30-31 in their next action.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trivino Booted from BU After Arrest

Boston University senior forward Corey Trivino has been removed from the Terrier hockey team in connection with an incident that occurred on Sunday night that resulted in his subsequent arrest.

"He is no longer associated with the BU hockey team,” said Terrier head coach Jack Parker on the university web site.

Trivino, who hails from Toronto, was charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery, two counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, and one count of assault with attempt to rape after entering a female student's room without permission and kissing and groping her without her consent. Alcohol is believed to have been involved.

Trivino, who was leading Hockey East with 13 goals through his first 15 games this season, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, although he was forced to surrender his passport.

I've written here before about college hockey players getting in trouble with the law. We'll see what happens with Trivino, who's had problems with alcohol in the past, according to the Daily Free Press, and whether he's exonerated or not. Assuming he's not incarcerated, expect him to sign with the New York Islanders, who drafted him in 2008.

Trivino, who played on BU's 2009 NCAA title team, ends his college career with 31-42—73 scoring totals in 112 contests. He scored two goals in a 5-1 win over Maine in his final appearance on Dec. 10.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reprieve for Alabama-Huntsville?

Don't bury the UAH Chargers just yet.

A story in the Huntsville Times on Tuesday explained that the new president at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Robert Altenkirch, sat down with members of the Save UAH Hockey group—and a plan is now supposedly underway to possibly save the school's long running NCAA Division I hockey program, which was to be dropped as a varsity sport next year.

University chancellor Malcolm Portera had said in October that the Charger hockey team would be disbanded at the close of the current season due to financial constraints and likely reduced to club status. UAH, which will host the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, has also been without a league home since the College Hockey America conference dissolved in 2010.

The Chargers applied to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for membership afterwards, but were rejected. The CCHA itself will cease to exist in the fall of 2013 when the new Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which both absorbed several CCHA teams, begin play. The remaining CCHA schools have been accepted into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Financial details of the plan(s) to save the UAH hockey program are expected to be released over the next few days. UAH goaltender Clarke Saunders has apparently committed to North Dakota for the 2012-13 campaign, since it was believed there would be no varsity UAH team after this year. Generally, transfer students do not have to sit out a year of NCAA competition when a program folds; but whether Saunders returns to UAH if the program does, has yet to be revealed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

BC Bounces Back to Split with BU

Boston University visited Boston College at a sold-out Kelley Rink for a Hockey East Conference matchup on Friday night. And for the second time in three weeks, the visiting Terriers defeated the host Eagles, this time by a 5-3 count. BU had earlier shut out BC, 5-0, on Nov. 19, their first whitewash of the Eagles since 1983.

Kieran Millan made 42 stops for the No. 13 Terriers (8-4-1 overall, 6-3-1 Hockey East), who were outshot by a 45-15 margin before 7,884 fans. Yasin Ciss and Casey Hohmann scored their first-ever collegiate goals in helping BU build a 4-1 lead midway through the third period, before No. 3 BC scored two of the game's final three goals. The Terriers led 2-0 after one period, and 3-1 after two stanzas.

"The only reason why that game wasn't ... a lot closer is that [Millan] played unbelievable," said BU coach Jack Parker at "He was fabulous tonight."

BC, which had lost three of its previous four games, rebounded the following night up the MBTA Green Line at Agannis Arena, and scored four times in the second period en route to a 6-1 win. The Eagles got goals from six different skaters, including the game-winner from senior captain Tommy Cross, and 40 saves from freshman netminder Brian Billett in besting the Terriers for the first time this season. The Maine native, who was making just his second career start, made 22 stops in the second period alone.

"It was unimaginable," said Billett at The Heights about getting the start . "Going into the game I was just as relaxed as usual and I knew I had a great team in front of me. I felt comfortable that we were going to get a win out of it."

The two schools could possibly meet again in the Beanpot Tournament on Feb. 13 at TD North Garden. BC is currently ranked third in the nation by, while BU checks in at No. 11.