Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Frozen Four Field a Familiar One

The participants for the 2014 NCAA Division Men's Ice Hockey Frozen Four in Philadelphia have been revealed.

The first semifinal on April 10 at the Wells Fargo Center will pit the top-ranked Union College Dutchmen against the Boston College Eagles at 5 p.m. Union won the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn. over the weekend, while 2008-2010-2012 NCAA champion B.C. claimed the Northeast Regional crown in Worcester, Mass. for the fourth time in its last four trips to the DCU Center. The Dutchmen defeated the Eagles, 5-1, last spring in an NCAA East Regional semifinal in Providence, in the first-ever meeting between the two schools, before Union was eliminated by eventual national runner-up Quinnipiac.

The second national semifinal next week will see a pair of former WCHA foes face-off for the right to play in the NCAA championship game, in the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. UND won the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati by defeating Ferris State in overtime, 2-1, while Minnesota rolled to the West Regional title in St. Paul with convincing victories over Robert Morris and St. Cloud State. UND and the Gophers last played one another in January 2013 in Minneapolis, with Minnesota posting a win and a tie.

UND last won an NCAA title in 2000, while Minnesota won back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003. UND has seven national crowns to its credit overall, while Minnesota and B.C. have five each, and Union is seeking its first in its just its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance.

UND's win over Ferris in Cincinnati prevented a duplication of the Frozen Four field that played at Tampa in 2012, when B.C. defeated Ferris, 4-1, to win the national title. Ferris defeated Union in the semifinals that year, 3-1, while B.C. beat Minnesota, 6-1.

The winners of the April 10 semifinal games in Philadelphia will advance to the NCAA national title contest on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. The semifinals will be televised live on ESPN2, while the title game will be shown live on ESPN.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BC's Gaudreau Wins Walter Brown Award

Boston College junior forward Johnny Gaudreau was recently named the 62nd recipient of the Walter Brown Award as the top American-born player in New England college hockey, according to the BC athletics web site. The honor is presented by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.

A 5-foot-7, 150-pound native of Carneys Point, N.J., Gaudreau leads all NCAA Division I players in scoring this season with 32 goals and 37 assists for 69 points in 37 games, including 10 power-play goals and six game-winners.

A fourth-round draft choice of the NHL's Calgary Flames in 2011, Gaudreau also fashioned a 31-game scoring streak to tie a Hockey East Association record, and helped the Eagles to the 2013-14 Hockey East regular-season conference championship. He is also a preliminary finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award for the second straight year, and has posted 74-91165 points in 116 career collegiate games.

Gaudreau, 20, is the 24th Eagle to earn the Walter Brown Award, and the third BC player in the last four seasons to do so, along with Steve Whitney last year and goaltender John Muse in 2011. Three of Gaudreau's coaches have also won the award, in Jerry York (1967), Greg Brown (1990) and Mike Ayers (New Hampshire - 2003).

BC opens the 2014 NCAA Tournament on Saturday as the No. 1 seed in the Northeast Regional at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. The Eagles (26-7-4) will face the inaugural NCHC tournament champion Denver Pioneers (20-15-6) at 4 p.m., with the winner to advance to Sunday's regional final against the winner of Massachusetts Lowell and Minnesota State.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Clarkson Claims NCAA Division I Women's Crown

For the first time since the NCAA began sanctioning the Division I women’s hockey championship in 2001, an Eastern school has claimed the national title.

Clarkson University edged two-time defending national champion Minnesota on Sunday at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. by a 5-4 count to cap a 2013-14 campaign that also saw the Golden Knights capture the ECAC regular-season crown, and finish a goal short of the ECAC tournament championship. The full recap of the national title contest can be found at

Senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray, the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Award winner as the nation’s top player, contributed a goal and an assist to the Clarkson effort, which enabled her to claim the national scoring crown this season with 29 goals and 37 assists for 66 points, one point ahead of Minnesota sophomore Hannah Brandt. Rattray finished her four-year career with 70 goals and 100 assists for 170 points.

Vannesa Plante and Shannon MacAulay scored just over four minutes apart in the third period to break a 3-3 tie for the Golden Knights, and senior goaltender Erica Howe finished with 34 saves to backstop Clarkson’s first-ever national championship in any sport.

Eastern schools had finished as a national runner-up in nine of the previous 13 NCAA seasons, with the national title being won each year by a WCHA team. The last Eastern school to win a national women’s Division I hockey championship was Harvard in 1999, although that tournament was sponsored by the American Women’s Hockey Coaches Association (AWHCA) and not the NCAA.

Clarkson finished the season at 31-5-5 overall, while Minnesota wrapped up the winter at 38-2-1. The 2015 NCAA Women’s Division I Frozen Four will be held at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis on March 20-22.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Brackets Announced

The field is in for the 2014 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Division I Championship (schools listed by seeding within regionals, not overall):

March 28-29

West Regional – Xcel Energy Center (St. Paul, MN)

#4 Robert Morris vs. #1 Minnesota
#3 St. Cloud State vs. #2 Notre Dame

East Regional – Webster Bank Arena (Bridgeport, CT)

#4 Vermont vs. #1 Union
#3 Providence vs. #2 Quinnipiac

March 29-30
Midwest Regional – U.S. Bank Arena (Cincinnati, OH)

#4 North Dakota vs. #1 Wisconsin
#3 Colgate vs. #2 Ferris State 
Northeast Regional - DCU Center (Worcester, MA)

#4 Denver vs. #1 Boston College
#3 Minnesota State vs. #2 Massachusetts Lowell

The four regional winners will advance to the NCAA Frozen Four at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on April 10-12.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Clarkson's Rattray Cops Kazmaier Award

Clarkson University senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray is this year's winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in NCAA Division I women's college hockey.

The second-leading scorer in the nation this year with 28 goals and 36 assists for 64 points in 40 games, Rattray was previously named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, and was also a First-Team All-ECAC selection.

She has also helped the Golden Knights to their first-ever Frozen Four, where Clarkson will face two-time defending NCAA champion Minnesota on Sunday in Hamden, Conn, for the title. The Ontario native has had five assists in two NCAA Tournament games as Clarkson ousted first Boston College, and then Mercyhurst.

The Kazmaier Award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier, a four-year varsity letterwinner and All-Ivy League blueliner at Princeton University from 1981-86. The award is based on skill, sportsmanship, clutch play, character, scholarship and community involvement, according to the ECAC web site.

I spoke to Rattray last year for New York Hockey Journal, before she helped Clarkson to an NCAA Tournament berth. In four seasons, she has posted 69-99168 points, to go along with 143 penalty minutes. She has also tallied 22 power-play goals and 18 game-winners in 137 outings, with one more gamethe biggestto go in her Clarkson career.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 Hobey Baker Award Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2014 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey have been announced. Included are six forwards, three goaltenders, and a defenseman (listed below in alphabetical order):

Josh Archibald – U.Nebraska-Omaha, Jr., Forward
Greg Carey – St. Lawrence University, Sr., Forward
Nic Dowd – St. Cloud State University, Sr., Forward
Ryan Dzingel – Ohio State University, Jr., Forward
Johnny Gaudreau – Boston College, Jr., Forward
Shayne Gostisbehere – Union College, Jr., Defense
Kevin Hayes – Boston College, Sr., Forward
CJ Motte – Ferris State University, Jr., Goalie
Joel Rumpel – University of Wisconsin, Jr., Goalie
Adam Wilcox – University of Minnesota, So., Goalie

Carey and Gaudreau were Top 10 Hobey finalists a year ago, while Gaudreau was part of the 2013 Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists for the award that eventually went to St. Cloud State's Drew Leblanc.

The award's 27-member Selection Committee and an additional round of fan balloting (at from March 20-30) will now determine this year’s winner. The 10 finalists were chosen by all 59 Division I college hockey head coaches and by an inaugural online round of fan balloting.

The 2014 winner will be announced on April 11 in Philadelphia as part of the NCAA Division I Frozen Four men's ice hockey championship. Yale won last year's national title, its first ever, by beating ECAC rival Quinnipiac in Pittsburgh in the championship game.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Second Round Conference Upsets Abound

The mighty fell over the college hockey weekend—and hard.

Upsets abounded in the best-of-three quarterfinal series for four of the five major NCAA Division I men’s leagues, most notably in Hockey East where top-seeded Boston College fell in three games to eighth-seeded Notre Dame. The Irish posted three wins in four games at BC this month, and are perhaps the hottest team in the nation with an 8-1-1 mark in their last 10 outings.

Notre Dame won the opener, 7-2, on Friday, before the Eagles and Irish exchanged 4-2 wins on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. ND will now face UMass-Lowell, a three-game winner over Vermont, at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, with the winner to face the victor of Providence and New Hampshire on Saturday. BC, meanwhile, will lick its wounds and wait to see where it will be seeded when the NCAA Tournament bids are announced on Sunday.

In the “new” Western Collegiate Hockey Association, it was longtime league member and sixth-seeded Alaska Anchorage defeating long-time rival and new member Alaska (Fairbanks), the third seed, by a goal at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks on Saturday night, 5-4. The host Nanooks took the opener on Thursday, 3-2, in overtime before the visiting Seawolves rallied for a 2-1 triumph on Friday, setting the stage for Saturday’s winner-take-all contest that propelled UAA to the WCHA Final Five in Grand Rapids, Mich. next week against first-time WCHA regular-season champion Ferris State. It was also the first time UAA and the former UAF had met in postseason play since both were still Division I independents in 1992.

Atlantic Hockey saw second-seeded Bentley ousted by 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Canisius in three games. Third-seeded Air Force fell to sixth-seeded Niagara, which also played in last year’s nationals, in a deciding third game on Sunday, while fifth-seeded Robert Morris swept Connecticut, which played in its league swansong as the Huskies will join Hockey East next season. The league championship will be contested in Rochester, N.Y. this weekend, with the winner of Canisius and top-seeded Mercyhurst (which swept Holy Cross) to face the winner of Robert Morris and Niagara on Saturday for the conference crown.

In the nascent National Collegiate Hockey Conference, eighth-seeded Miami, which has qualified for the last eight NCAA Tournaments, swept top-seeded St. Cloud State by 5-4 (OT) and 4-3 scores to advance to the league semifinals in Minneapolis. The Red Hawks will take on the sixth-seeded Denver Pioneers, who rebounded from a 4-3 loss at third-seeded Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday with 5-1 and 2-0 wins over the weekend. 

Fifth-seeded Western Michigan edged fourth-seeded Minnesota-Duluth by 3-2 and 4-3 scores to advance to the others NCHC semifinal against North Dakota, which outlasted seventh-seeded Colorado College in three contests, including a 4-3 win on Sunday in Grand Forks.

The Eastern College Athletic Conference was the only league to see all four of its top seeds move on, in Union, Colgate, Quinnipiac and Cornell. Those four teams will face off in Lake Placid to see who will win the league’s auto-bid to the NCAAs.

The Big Ten will host its inaugural playoff tournament this weekend in St. Paul, Minn., beginning Thursday with Michigan against Penn State and Michigan State versus Ohio State. Waiting in the wings are top seeds Minnesota and Wisconsin on Friday, with the league title tilt set for Saturday.

There’s just 36 games remaining in the 2013-14 college hockey campaign, according to The ultimate winner will be crowned on April 12 at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

RPI's Haggerty Signs with New York Rangers

Rensselaer has seen the last of junior forward Ryan Haggerty—and that's in a good way.

According to, the undrafted Haggerty has signed a free-agent contract with the NHL's New York Rangers. RPI's 2013-14 season—and ultimately Haggerty's college career—both came to an end on Sunday when the Engineers were ousted by Dartmouth, 5-4, in the deciding game of a best-of-three first-round ECAC series at RPI's Houston Field House.

Haggerty ranks third in NCAA Division I with 28 goals this season, and led the Engineers (15-16-6 overall) with 43 points in 35 contests. He scored 10 of his goals on the power play, while six were game-winners. In three seasons in Troy, he rang up 47 goals and 37 assist for 84 points in 106 outings, including 19 power-play tallies, eight game-winners, and 102 penalty minutes, according to his statistical page at

I interviewed Haggerty for New York Hockey Journal back in December. His father played at Providence.

A six-foot, 200-lb. native of Stamford, Conn. who prepped with the U.S. National Development Team prior to enrolling at RPI, Haggerty is expected to join the Rangers after they complete a road trip with games at Minnesota tonight and at Winnipeg tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BC's Gaudreau for Baker

The Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be handed out next month at the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Barring a miraculous surge by someone else, my opinion (and that of many others) is that it's Johnny Gaudreau's to lose.

The junior forward from Boston College and Carney's Point, N.J., who was a Hobey Hat Trick finalist a year ago when the award went to St. Cloud State's Drew LeBlanc, has been on a tear since Halloween, and has been a major reason why the Eagles claimed the Hockey East regular-season crown and have been ranked at or near the top of the NCAA Division I roll all season long.

For starters, Gaudreau leads the nation with 30 goals and 34 assists for 64 points in 34 games. He's also the nation's top goal-scorer, is second in assists, and tied for sixth nationally with nine power-play goals. He's also notched six game-winning goals, including the deciding marker against Notre Dame in the Frozen Fenway contest in January, and has just 14 penalty minutes.

Perhaps most impressive of all is that Gaudreau has been held scoreless only once this entire campaign—and that was back in October at Minnesota. Since then he's been on a 29-game tear, collecting 27-29—56 points as BC has gone 25-5-4 overall to date. He's currently on a seven-game goal-scoring streak, and has recorded 18 multiple-point outings on the year, including a five-assist night against Maine on Jan. 18.

Two years after dazzling spectators with a highlight-reel end-to-end rush against Ferris State to seal BC's fourth NCAA title, Gaudreau, a 2011 fourth-round draft choice of the NHL's Calgary Flames, has the Eagles poised for another shot at winning college hockey's biggest prize. A second NCAA ring would add to his collection that also includes a 2011 Clark Cup championship with Dubuque (USHL), a gold medal with the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team, and three Beanpots with the Eagles.

And to think he was supposed to wind up at Northeastern, instead.

Just call him Gaudreau-bey Baker already.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Boston College's Boyle, Kreider Power Rangers Past Red Wings

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist may have gotten the spotlight with his 300th career NHL win and 49th shutout following his 30-save performance in Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. All three Ranger goals, however, were scored by former Boston College players Brian Boyle and Chris Kreider.
Boyle opened the scoring 5:14 into the matinee contest at Madison Square Garden with a turn-around wrist shot from the slot past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (Maine). The assists went to John Moore and Dominic Moore (Harvard).
Kreider made it 2-0 just 14 seconds into the third period when he tipped home a shot from the left point by Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin). Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) set up the play with a back pass to McDonagh.
The Badger duo combined again with Kreider with 7:49 remaining in regulation. Kreider, who won NCAA titles in both 2010 and 2012 at B.C.,  took a cross-ice feed from Stepan and wristed the puck past Howard from the left side.
The Rangers, who won the season series with Detroit, three games to none,  are now 6-3-1 in their last 10 games overall. New York is also in second place in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the third and last playoff spot in the group.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

St. Louis, Vanek Get New NHL Addresses

The biggest two transactions involving former NCAA players in yesterday's NHL trade deadline concerned a pair of New York metropolitan clubs.

The New York Rangers acquired Tampa Bay Lightning all-time leading scorer Martin St. Louis (Vermont) for Ryan Callahan and two high-level draft choices, while the New York Islanders shipped Thomas Vanek (Minnesota) to the Montreal Canadiens for Swedish prospect Sebastian Colberg and an exchange of draft picks.

St. Louis, who led Vermont to its first-ever NCAA Frozen Four in 1996, won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, when he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, and made his New York City debut last night in a 3-2 loss to Toronto. Vanek, who was dealt to Long Island in October after spending the inaugural part of his pro career with the Buffalo Sabres, led the Golden Gophers to the 2003 NCAA title.

There were other former college skaters and netminders who received new NHL zip codes as well on Wednesday.

The Florida Panthers sent Tim Thomas (Vermont) to the Dallas Stars in exchange for fellow goaltender Dan Ellis (Nebraska-Omaha). Forward Matt Moulson (Cornell), who was dealt to Buffalo from the Islanders in the Vanek trade last fall, will now take up residence with the Minnesota Wild, who sent Torrey Mitchell (Vermont) to Buffalo in turn.

Lee Stempniak (Dartmouth) joined the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Calgary Flames, while fellow forward Matt Frattin (North Dakota) is now a Columbus Blue Jacket after having been switched out for Marian Gaborik. Defenseman Matt Taormina (Providence) went from Columbus to Tampa Bay in a multi-player swap.

Concerning current college players, Hudson Fasching (Minnesota) is now Buffalo property after his rights were traded from Los Angeles.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nieto, Pavelski, Stalock Lead Sharks over Devils

Former Boston University forward Matt Nieto scored the game-winner in the third period as the San Jose Sharks tallied three unanswered goals to top the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon in an NHL contest at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Nieto scored 6:20 into the final frame, one-timing home a pass from fellow former NCAA skater Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin), who assisted on both the tying and winning goals, to break a 2-2 tie. Alex Stalock (Minnesota-Duluth) had 21 saves for the Sharks (39-17-6) to personally improve to 10-4 on the season.

Jon Merrill (Michigan) assisted on New Jersey's second goal while Cory Schneider (Boston College) had 18 stops for the host Devils (26-23-13), who went 0-for-4 on the power play. The loss also snapped New Jersey's two-game post-Olympics winning streak.

After Logan Couture gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead off a rebound to Schneider's left at 3:26 of the second period, Adam Henrique brought the Devils back even 77 seconds later when he redirected home a crossing feed from the right wing by Steve Bernier. New Jersey took a 2-1 lead when Patrik Elias tipped home Merrill's shot from the left point at 14:22, but Raffi Torres tied it up again for San Jose at 15:54 when he converted a 2-on-1 break with Pavelski.

Following Nieto's heroics, Patrick Marleau picked off a pass and wristed a shot past Schneider with 2:25 remaining in regulation to close out the scoring. It was Marleau's 25th goal of the 2013-14 campaign, the ninth time he has hit that mark in his NHL career, all with the Sharks.

New Jersey outshot San Jose, 23-22, on the afternoon, and the Devils will now host Detroit on Tuesday night in the first meeting of a home-and-home series. The Sharks, who completed a three-game road trip with two wins following Sunday's contest, will entertain Carolina that same evening.