Thursday, February 28, 2013

Princeton's Calof Closing in on Century Mark

Princeton junior forward Andrew Calof has 99 points through his first 91 games with the Tigers (9-14-4, 7-10-3 ECAC), following a three-point outing against Yale on Feb. 23, and could earn Point No. 100 on Friday night at Dartmouth.

Calof is currently pacing Princeton with 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points through his first 27 games this season. My feature story on the Nepean, Ont. native for can be found here.

UPDATE: Calof earned his 100th career point in Saturday's 2-1 win at Harvard, as he notched the game-winning goal in overtime. The win, coupled with Friday's 2-2 tie at Dartmouth, lifted Princeton to an eighth-place finish in the ECAC. The Tigers will now host ninth-seeded Cornell in a best-of-three first-round series beginning Friday at Hobey Baker Rink.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Neumann to Face Manhattanville for ECAC West Crown

Manhattanville College will drop in on Neumann University on Saturday night when the two schools meet for the 2013 ECAC West title.

No. 3 seed Neumann (18-6-3 overall) defeated No. 2 Hobart (19-5-2) on Feb. 23 as Braely Torris made 43 saves for the Knights in a 2-0 win over the sixth-ranked Statesmen, 2-0, with senior blueliner Scott Farrell notching the game-winning goal in the second period.

No. 4 seed Manhattanville (15-9-3) ousted top-seeded and seventh-ranked Utica (20-5-1) that same night, as Paul Sirignano scored in sudden-death overtime to give the Valiants a 2-1 victory while Alex Scola made 40 saves. 

Neumann, now ranked 12th nationally, and Manhattanville (14th) went 1-1-1 against one another this season, and previously met for the 2007 ECAC West crown in a game won by the Valiants, 5-4, in OT.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jones, Hunwick Team Up on OT Goal as Avs Beat Blues, 1 -0

A pair of former NCAA players teamed up late Wednesday night to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 1-0 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues.

Former University of Michigan defenseman Matt Hunwick fed Dartmouth College alumnus David Jones for a wrist shot that eluded St. Louis goaltender Jarolsav Halak with 16.4 seconds remaining in sudden death. Colorado improved to 7-7-1, while St. Louis fell to 9-7-1.

Hunwick skated across the blue line on the left side and dropped the puck to Jones, who moved forward and then cut to his right before letting go from the top of the left circle and beating Halak on the glove side, just inside the juncture of the post and crossbar.

“I just went to the middle,” said Jones in a post-game interview with Brian Engblom of NBC Sports Network afterwards.  “I don’t know if it hit something, but it felt real good.”

The puck may have deflected off the stick of St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, a former Boston University blueliner, but it still lifted the Avs to the win and gave Jones his first goal in 10 games.
Jones now has two goals and three assists for five points in 13 games with Colorado this year.

A ninth round draft choice of the Avalanche in 2003, the Ontario native played three years at Dartmouth where he collected 44 goals and 48 assists for 92 points in 100 contests from 2004 to 2007, and helped the Big Green to both ECAC and Ivy League titles. In 252 career NHL games, he now has 69-53—122 points, including a pair of 20-goal campaigns.

Hunwick played four years at Michigan, where he posted 24-73—97 points in 163 games from 2003 to 2007, and helped the Wolverines to four NCAA Tournament berths. He has collected 16-46—62 points in 259 career NHL contests, while his assist on Jones' goal was his first point in 11 games this season.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Playoff Time in the ECAC West

The post-season has finally arrived in NCAA Division III college hockey, and it kicks off tonight in the ECAC West when sixth seed Nazareth visits third seed Neumann, and fifth seed Elmira drops in on fourth seed Manhattanville.

Tonight's winners advance to Saturday's semifinals against either second-seed and defending champion Hobart, or first seed Utica.The semifinal winners will play in the league title game on March 2 at the site of the higher seed.

This week's full ECAC West column and playoff preview at can be found here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quinnipiac Still No. 1 in Nation

Quinnipiac remains the No. 1 men's hockey team in the nation, according to today's poll, and received 34 of the 50 first-place votes cast.

The Bobcats, who ascended to the top spot for the first time last week, saw their 21-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night with a 2-1 setback against St. Lawrence. Coupled with Yale's 4-2 loss to Union, however, Quinnipiac still clinched the Eastern College Athletic Conference regular-season title, and now stands at 22-4-4 overall (15-1-2 ECAC) after edging Clarkson, 2-1, on Saturday.

The Bobcats host Yale and Brown this weekend before closing out the regular season on March 1-2 at Harvard and Dartmouth.

Quinnipiac also remains first in the current Pairwise Rankings (PWR), which mimics the selection process for the NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats made their only Division I national tournament appearance in 2002, when they were in their last season as the Braves and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship before losing lost to current ECAC rival the NCAAs.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Clarkson Edges Princeton, 3-2

Went to Princeton last night for the Tigers’ 3-2 loss to ECAC rival Clarkson in front of 1,852 fans at Hobey Baker Rink on Bobblehead Night, as the visiting Golden Knights scored twice in the final 5:30 of play to pull out the victory.

Following a scoreless opening stanza, Matt Zarbo put Clarkson up when he knocked home the second rebound in front of Princeton netminder Sean Bonar at the left post. Before the period was over, however, the host Tigers (9-11-4 overall, 7-7-3 ECAC) responded with goals just under three minutes apart, by Ken Kleebaum from the left circle and Michael Sdao from the left point.

The third period was largely an offensive onslaught by the Golden Knights (8-14-7 overall, 7-7-3 ECAC) , who launched 11 shots on goal in all and finally got the equalizer from Simon Bisette at 14:30. Just over two minutes later on a power play, T.J. Moor skated in with speed, took a pass, and fired a high shot past Bonar to put Clarkson ahead for good.

Bonar finished with 35 saves for Princeton, while Greg Lewis made 25 stops for the Golden Knights. The two teams combined to go 1-for-6 with the man-advantage.

Clarkson outshot Princeton, 38-27, and moved onto a sixth-place tie with the Tigers and Dartmouth in the ECAC standings. The Golden Knights also swept the season series, as they defeated Princeton by a 7-2 count in Potsdam, N.Y. back in November, and have now won three consecutive games against the Tigers.

Princeton hosts St. Lawrence tonight, while Clarkson visits No. 1 Quinnipiac, which suffered its first loss in 22 games last night when the Bobcats lost to SLU, 2-1.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Torris Backstops Neumann Back into Top 15

My latest ECAC West column talks about Neumann junior goaltender Braely Torris, pictured here with Southern Maine prior to his transfer last year.

Torris recently earned ECAC West Goalie of the Week honors after stopping 59 of 62 shots last weekend. He made 27 stops in a 6-2 win over Elmira, and had 32 saves in a 3-1 victory against then-No.5 and ECAC West frontrunner Hobart.

Neumann (14-6-3 overall, 6-6-1 ECAC West ) is now ranked 14th in NCAA Division III, and just one point behind Manhattanville for third place in the conference as the regular season comes to a close this weekend with two games against newcomer Nazareth.

Story can be found here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BC Wins 4th Straight Beanpot

BC does it again.

Boston College won its fourth consecutive men's Beanpot Tournament title last night with a 6-3 victory over Hockey East rival Northeastern at TD Garden in Boston, in the 61st edition of the annual event.

Sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau scored twice for the Eagles, including an insurance goal late in the third period after the Huskies had pulled within a goal.

Following a scoreless first period on Monday night, BC scored four of the five goals in the middle 20 minutes, including senior forward Stephen Whitney's tally with 0.4 seconds remaining in the period.

Shades of my senior year at BC 22 years ago, at the now-demolished Boston Garden, when the late Mark Bavis scored a last-second second period goal to give Boston University a three-goal lead en route to an 8-4 win over the Eagles in the 1991 title game. No Beanpots for BC in my four years at the Heights, but no less than eight Causeway Street crowns since then, including last night's.

Whitney, who also posted two assists last night, was part of an Eagle senior class that went a perfect 8-0 in Beanpot play, including last week's 4-1 semifinal triumph over Harvard. Also going four-for-four in Beanpot titles were classmates Patch Alber, Brooks Dyrof, Issac MacLeod, Pat Mullane, Parker Milner, and Patrick Wey. Team captain Mullane scored an empty-net goal last night to clinch the victory, assisted by Milner, who made 20 saves and also earned the Eberly Trophy as the Beanpot's top goaltender this year (best save percentage).

Northeastern freshman forward Kevin Roy was named 2013 Beanpot MVP after scoring five of NU's six goals in the tournament, including all three goals in last week's 3-2 semifinal win over Boston University. The Huskies last won a Beanpot in 1988 when they defeated both BC and BU that year. Harvard defeated BU, 7-4, in yesterday's consolation contest.

BC now has 18 Beanpot championships to its credit, and gets back to Hockey East action on Friday when it takes on Merrimack.

Monday, February 11, 2013

D-III Men Weekend Wrap - Feb. 11

Twice a season I have to write a weekend wrap for that encompasses the whole of NCAA Division III men’s hockey. 

This week's piece touches on what happened this past weekend, with some games postponed by snow, and others going down to the wire, and at least two Top 10 teams suffering losses. Norwich (pictured above) should remain the top team in the nation when the rankings are released later today.

Column can be found here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Olson Powering Hobart Towards ECAC West Title

Hobart freshman forward Mac Olson is profiled in this week's ECAC West column for Olson had the game-winning goal last Friday in the Statesmen's 4-3 OT triumph over second-place and eighth-ranked Utica.

Olson, 21, has collected eight goals and 21 points in 22 games so far this season, and is the Statesmen's second-leading scorer. The Grosse Pointe, Mich. native spent three full seasons playing junior “A” hockey with Chicago and Des Moines of the United States Hockey League, Wichita Falls of the North American Hockey League, and Carleton Place of the Central Canada Hockey League.
Fifth-ranked Hobart (17-3-2 overall, 9-2-1 ECAC West) will attempt to keep its hold on first place in the league standings when it visits No. 13 Manhattanville on Friday and Neumann on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

BC and Northeastern to Meet Next Monday for All the Beans

Quinn Smith (pictured) scored twice for the Eagles, who also got goals from Michael Matheson and Stephen Whitney, and 19 saves from Parker Milner, to power fourth-ranked Boston College to a 4-1 win over ECAC foe Harvard (5-15-1) last night in the opening round of the 61st Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden in Boston.

Three-time defending Beanpot champion BC (16-7-2 overall) will now face Northeastern (8-13-3), which beat 15th-ranked Boston University (13-11-1) by a 3-2 count in the other opening game, next Monday night for the title.

Northeastern freshman forward Kevin Roy scored all three goals for the Huskies, one in each period, including the game-winner with 4:38 remaining in regulation. Chris Rawlings made 33 saves for NU, which is seeking its first Beanpot title in 25 years.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Beanpot is Back

The Beanpot is back. 

A day after Super Bowl XLVII, the 61st version of the most prestigious in-season tournament of the college hockey season will begin tonight at TD Garden in Boston.

No. 13 Boston University, a 29-time champion, will take on Hockey East rival Northeastern, which last won in 1988, in the opening game at 5 p.m. Just over three hours later, No. 5 Boston College, which has won the last three Beanpots, will face Harvard, which claimed its last ‘Pot in 1993. The consolation and championship games will be held next Monday.

All four schools played Friday night, with only BC winning. The Eagles upended Vermont, while BU fell at UMass, Northeastern lost to UNH, and Harvard was blanked by RPI.

Expect the Green Line branch of the MBTA trolley system to be backed up going into North Station tonight, and student sections to razz one another with clever and sometimes not-so-clever chants. And there should be some pretty good hockey on the ice.

As John “Snooks” Kelley, the late long-time BC coach once said, you can’t be anywhere else the first two Mondays in February. Not in Beantown.