Saturday, November 29, 2014

Michigan State Gains Split at Princeton

Tanner Sorensen’s first goal of the season stood up as the game-winner as Michigan State earned a split at Princeton with a 4-2 win on Saturday night at Hobey Baker Rink. MSU now leads the all-time series between the two schools, 6-1, following a 3-1 defeat on Friday.

Michael  Ferrantino opened the scoring for the second straight night, putting the Spartans (5-8-0) up by a 1-0 count five minutes into the contest. Matt DeBlouw made it 2-0 at 3:22 of the second stanza, followed 10 minutes later by Sorensen.

Princeton (2-7-1) got goals just over nine minutes apart in the third period from Kyle Rankin and Ryan Siiro to pull the Tigers within a goal, before Matt Berry sealed the win for the Spartans with an empty-net goal with two seconds remaining in regulation. Berry, who also had an assist, now leads MSU with 13 points, and is tied for the team’s goal-scoring lead with Ferrantino with seven tallies.

Jake Hildebrand stopped 20 shots for the Spartans, while Colton Phinney had 29 saves for the Tigers. Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play. MSU returns home next weekend to host Minnesota in Big Ten play, while Princeton will entertain Harvard and Dartmouth in ECAC competition.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Princeton Tops Michigan State, 3-1

For the first time in six meetings all-time, Princeton got the better of Michigan State.

The Tigers, who were swept at MSU last season, edged the Spartans by a 3-1 count on Friday night at Hobey Baker Rink, as David Hallisey's second-period goal stood up as the game-winner. Colton Phinney finished with 44 saves for Princeton (2-6-1), which was blanked in two ECAC games last weekend at Clarkson and St. Lawrence, and had scored just eight goals total in its first eight outings this season.

"When we score two or more goals we're undefeated this year, so it's nice to see the puck go into the net a couple times," said Tigers head coach Ron Fogarty at "The guys are buying in and they just stayed with it."

Jonathan Liau tied the game for the Tigers off a rebound midway through the second stanza, after Michael Ferrantino had given MSU a 1-0 lead on a power-play one-timer following a scoreless first period.

After Hallisey put Princeton up by a 2-1 count with 5:25 remaining before the second intermission, Ben Foster beat Spartan netminder Jake Hildebrand (23 saves) on the stick side just over three minutes into the third period on a power play. That shot closed out the scoring, despite 20 shots on goal in the final 20 minutes by the Spartans.

"We've had a difficult time trying to score and had some quality chances again tonight and we didn't take advantage of them," said Spartans head coach Tom Anastos at "We just have to keep generating the chances and getting traffic in front of the net and hopefully those pucks will start to go in."

MSU (4-8-0), which split a pair of games at Big Ten rival Ohio State last weekend, outshot Princeton, 45-26, and was 1-for-4 with the man advantage while Princeton finished 1-for-3.The two teams will wrap up the series on Saturday night at Baker Rink.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BC Women's Hockey Still No.1 in Nation

Boston College continues to be the No. 1 team in NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey. The Eagles are No. 1 in the poll for the fourth consecutive week, and received all 15 first-place votes for the third straight week.

The Eagles, 13-0-1 overall (9-0 Hockey East) to date, play tonight at Yale. BC is coming off a two-step sweep of conference foe Connecticut, in which it outscored the visiting Huskies by a 12-1 count.

Junior forward Alex Carpenter leads both BC and the nation in scoring with 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points in 12 games. Right behind her on the national scoring scroll is classmate Haley Skarupa, who has notched 11-1425 points.

Junior defender Lexi Bender leads all Division I blueliners with 5-1217 points in 14 outings, and is also among the top 20 overall scorers in the nation. Freshman goaltender Katie Burt is 13-0-1 with a 1.05 goals-against average, a .944 save percentage and five shutouts.

BC ranks first nationally in scoring with an output of 5.64 goals per game, and second in allowing just one goal per contest. The Eagle power play is tied for 10th nationally at 21.4 percent, while the penalty kill is fifth at 90.9 percent, according to's stats page.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arizona State Moving to NCAA Division I Hockey

Arizona State University is apparently moving up to the big time on ice.

According to a report at Fox Sports Arizona, the Sun Devils will be the latest school to join the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey ranks, thanks to a $32 million donation from private supporters led by Milwaukee businessman and ASU alumnus Don Mullett.

ASU will become the 60th NCAA Division I men's hockey program, and the first in the state since Northern Arizona dropped its Division I team in 1986. ASU will also have to add a women's athletics program to satisfy Title IX issues.

ASU won last year's American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I national championship, its first in school history, finishing the season 38-2-0. The ACHA is comparable in terms of talent to NCAA Division III.

As with Penn State, which began its NCAA Division I program in 2012-13 after years as a national club power, ASU plans to wade slowly into the NCAA waters, playing a mix of ACHA and NCAA schools beginning in the 2015-16 academic year. The plan is to then become an NCAA Division I independent the following season, and then finally join an existing league, most likely the National Collegiate Hockey Conference or the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Current ASU head coach Greg Powers, who has recruited several players from the USHL to Tempe, is expected to remain on as coach. It is not exactly known where the Sun Devils will play their home games once they transfer to NCAA Division I, although it could be the the 40-year-old Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, current home of Sun Devil basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Eagles, Spartans Meet at Munn for First Time in 24 Years

For the first time in 24 years or since I was a college senior at the HeightsBoston College will visit Michigan State tonight at Munn Arena in East Lansing.

The last time my alma mater and the school where I would eventually work met at Munn was on Nov. 16-17, 1990, almost four full years before I first set foot in Michigan. The two schools split their two-game series that year, with MSU winning the first night, 4-2, and the HEM line helping BC to a 5-4 victory the following evening

The last meeting to date came in 2011 when BC won, 5-2, at the Icebreaker in Grand Forks, N.D., the start of BC's run to a third national title in five years. And Spartan fans surely remember 2007 when MSU edged the Eagles on a late Justin Abdelkader goal in St. Louis to win the NCAA championship.

That's all ancient history nowand the current clubs could both use a win tonight. No. 8 BC is 4-5, having dropped four straight games, while MSU is 3-5 after a split at New Hampshire last weekend.

Drop the puck.

UPDATE: Quinn Smith's second-period score holds up as the game-winner. BC, 3-2.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NCAA Drops the Hammer on Alaska Fairbanks

The situation with the University of Alaska's self-reported violations and the NCAA's ban on postseason play for the Nanooks, among other penalties, has already been well-documented on other sites including,, and The (Fairbanks) Daily News-Miner, so I won't go into extended detail here.

Put simply, Alaska will forfeit its men's hockey victories between 2007 and 2012, including a pair of Governor's Cup titles against in-state rival Alaska Anchorage, and will also lose several scholarships. Four more of Alaska's intercollegiate athletic teams will be taken to task in one way, shape or form, including the dual loss of victories and scholarships.

There have been been academic problems at the former UAF before the 1991-92 Nanook hockey squad had to sacrifice a total of 12 victories because of academic "violations", including the ludicrous NCAA stipulation that a student-athlete's five-year eligibility clock begins ticking once he or she enrolls at an intercollegiate institution or even a community college. That's even if that institution doesn't field (or ice) their particular sport. The same thing happened with Scotland native Colin Shields, who lost an entire season (2000-01) at Maine that way, although the Black Bears didn't have to forfeit any games because he sat out every contest his freshman year.

The current Alaska players are the ones who will be punished for the transgressions of adults who should have kept a better eye on things. The NCAA also seems to be wrongly looking to make an example out of a smaller Division II school where there are transgressions all over the place, some bordering on the outright criminal, at some of its various Division I members.

You can bet this would have never happened with the Florida State football program.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

UConn Blanks BC, 1-0

The University of Connecticut earned its first-ever Hockey East Association victory in its inaugural conference home game on Wednesday night. The Huskies blanked No. 3 Boston College, 1-0, before more than 8,000 fans at the XL Energy Center in Hartford, former home of the NHL's Whalers, in UConn's biggest victory to date over a ranked opponent.

Former BC forward Evan Richardson scored the game's only goal on a power-play midway through the first period, while goaltender Rob Nichols finished with 35 saves for UConn (2-4-2 overall, 1-2-0 HEA), which is in its first campaign in Hockey East. UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh also picked up hist first career victory against the school he helped to four NCAA titles in a personal 18-year stint in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Thatcher Demko made 21 stops for BC (4-3-0, 1-2-0), which has lost two consecutive games and was shut out for the first time in over 100 contests dating back to Jan. 2012.

BC will now host Boston University on Friday night, while UConn will visit BU on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yale Wins Liberty Invitational in Newark

Yale University won the second annual Liberty Invitational at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Sunday, defeating UConn by a 2-1 count in the title game in a battle between the ECAC and Hockey East. Alex Lyon made 32 saves for the Bulldogs and was tabbed as the tournament's MVP, while Cody Learned tallied the game-winning goal late in the first period.

Yale and UConn had advanced to the title tilt after posting 2-2 ties with Princeton and Merrimack, respectively, on Halloween. The Bulldogs and Huskies then advanced by winning shootouts.

In the consolation game Sunday (shown above), Merrimack (dark blue) got goals from six different scorers en route to a 6-1 rout of host Princeton. Brett Seney, Brian Christie, Jace Hennig, Dan Kolomatis, Ben Bahe and Mathieu Tibbet had two points apiece for the Warriors, who improved to 5-1-1 on the year.