Saturday, February 25, 2017

Princeton Clinches Home-Ice Berth in ECAC Tournament

For the first time in four years, the Princeton University men’s hockey team will host a first-round ECAC hockey playoff series at Hobey Baker Rink. Coupled with losses by Colgate and Dartmouth, the Tigers (13-13-3 overall, 8-11-3 ECAC) finished seventh in the conference by virtue of a 4-1 win over visiting Yale on Saturday night.

Joey Fallon scored for the second straight game while Colton Phinney made 36 stops for the Tigers, who also got goals from Eric Robinson, Max Veronneau, and David Hallisey. Veronneau’s goal was his 10th of the season, and gave Princeton four 10-goal scorers in the same year for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. The victory was also Princeton’s second over the Bulldogs this season, and first at Baker Rink since 2009.

Princeton, which defeated Brown, 7-2, on Friday evening, will now host 10th-seeded Colgate (8-20-6, 6-13-3) for a best-of three first-round ECAC series beginning on March 3 at Baker Rink. The Tigers lost to the Raiders, 4-3, in Hamilton, N.Y. in November, before the two schools skated to a 2-2 tie in Princeton in January.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Boston College Hockey Season Could Be on Precipice

Boston College could win the Hockey East Association men's regular-season title this weekend. Despite that potential accolade, the Eagles could also be on the outside looking in when the 16 berths to the 2017 NCAA Tournament are announced late next month.
BC, following a pair of ties with Vermont last weekend and a loss to UMass Lowell tonight, is currently tied for 17th in the Pairwise Rankings, which mimic the selection process for the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles (18-12-4 overall, 13-4-3 HEA) would realistically have to move up to at least 14th place in the Pairwise to get into the nationals for the seventh straight season, as the winners of the six NCAA Division I conference tournaments will again earn six of the 16 NCAA bids. For example, WCHA front-runner Bemidji State is the highest-ranked team in that conference, standing at 24th in the Pairwise.
Upset wins by lower-ranked schools in the various tournaments could also snatch up the remaining auto-bids and keep BC out of the national picture, along with defending NCAA champion North Dakota (14th). BC’s 5-8-1 mark in non-conference games this season includes losses to Air Force (15 th -tie), Notre Dame (15th-tie) Wisconsin (20th), Quinnipiac (21st-tie), and Merrimack (29th). BC went 12-3-1 overall from mid-October into early December, but is just 5-5-2 over its last dozen outings.
The Eagles play a home-and-home series with Hockey East rival and eighth-rated UMass Lowell on this weekend, with the River Hawks having won the first game, 4-1, tonight in Chestnut Hill, Mass. A win on Friday in Lowell could play a sizable part in determining not only the Hockey East regular-season champion, but just how deep BC’s campaign may extend into March, a journey which may require a win in the Hockey East championship game.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Quinnipiac's Nervick a Hockey Humanitarian Award Finalist

Mika Nervick is one of the finalists for this year's Hockey Humanitarian Award, which will be awarded in April at the NCAA Frozen Four to college hockey's finest citizen.

Quinnipiac is in the midst of another successful women’s hockey season.

Bobcats senior forward Mika Nervick is also having a outstanding campaign, even if she has only been able to skate in a handful of games.

The rest of my story on her can be found here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Northern Michigan Shutout Streak Ends

Atte Tolvanen and Northern Michigan University's shutout streak came to an end on Friday, with a 5-3 loss to Minnesota State. It only took five gamesand nearly a month.

The string began with 15:49 remaining in the second period of a 6-1 win over Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 20. It continued with a 4-0 blanking of UAA the following day, followed by 3-0 and 2-0 wins at Bowling Green on Feb. 3-4. A second two-step sweep of Alaska (Fairbanks) came on Feb. 10-11, by identical scores to the BGSU series, before the streak ended 3:26 into Friday's game against MSU.

Tolvanen, a sophomore from Finland, was in net for all six of those contests, and stopped more than 30 shots in each of the five shutouts. In all he had 196 saves over those five outings, and posted a total shutout string of 339:15. The NCAA Division I consecutive shutout minutes record is 375:01, set by Lake Superior State's Blaine Lacher in 1994.

NMU, which itself has been blanked five times this season, is now 11-18-4 overall, and in seventh place in the WCHA with a 9-13-3 mark.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Harvard Wins First Beanpot Since 1993

Georgia native Nathan Krusko scored twice and Sean Malone, Clay Anderson and Tyler Moy set up two goals apiece as third-ranked Harvard University its won first Beanpot Tournament since 1993 with a 6-3 triumph over No. 4 Boston University on Monday night at TD Garden.

Merrick Madsen made 14 saves for the Crimson, which outshot the Terriers, 46-17, while scoring twice on the power play. Harvard has now won the Beanpot 11 times, while BU was denied its record 31st title. No. 11 Boston College is in second place overall, with 20 Beanpot titles to its credit.

BC finished in fourth place in Boston's premiere hockey tournament for the first time in 24 years this time out. Four-time winner Northeastern University, which last won the Beanpot in 1988, scored two goals in the final minute of regulation on Monday for a 4-2 victory in the consolation game.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Princeton Tops St. Lawrence, 3-1

Princeton spotted St. Lawrence a goal on Friday night at Hobey Baker Rink, then scored three straight times to knock off yet another ranked opponent this season.

The host Tigers (10-11-3 overall, 5-9-3 ECAC) increased their unbeaten streak to five games with a 3-1 victory over No. 18 St. Lawrence (15-9-6, 11-4-3), which has now lost two consecutive contests. Princeton remains one point behind Dartmouth in the ECAC standings for the fourth and final home first-round playoff spot in the ECAC Tournament, as the Big Green held on to beat Rensselaer, 2-1.

Jacob Pritchard gave SLU a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game, before Alex Riche tied it for the Tigers under 11 minutes later. Josh Teves scored the game-winning goal on a power-play rush with just under three minutes remaining in the second stanza, and Max Becker drove to the net to stuff the puck home for an insurance goal 5:31 into the final frame.

Kyle Hayton finished with 33 saves for the Saints, while Colton Phinney made 30 stops for the Tigers. Princeton is now 7-5-0 against ranked opponents this winter, with two wins apiece over Bemidji State and Quinnipiac, plus single victories over Minnesota State, Penn State and now SLU.

The Saints will skate at Quinnipiac on Saturday night, while Princeton will entertain Clarkson.

ADDENDUM: Princeton rebounded from a  two-goal, third-period deficit to win, 3-2, in overtime against Clarkson on a goal by Derek Topatigh, the first of his college career.

Monday, February 6, 2017

2017 Beanpot Begins Tonight

The 65th Annual Beanpot Tournament is underway at TD Garden in Boston.

Northeastern and Harvard, who last won in 1988 and 1993, respectively, are meeting in the matinee opener today, while the last two victors, Boston University (2015) and Boston College (2016), will face off around 8 p.m. ET.

BU leads the four schools with 30 tournament wins since the Beanpot began in 1952. BC is second with 20 victories, followed by Harvard (10) and Northeastern (4).

Tonight's winners meet will next Monday night, following the consolation contest.

ADDENDUM: Harvard edged Northeastern, 4-3, in the opener before BU topped BC, 3-1, in the nightcap.

Jeff Sauer 1943-2017

The college hockey world lost a giant last week when former Colorado College and Wisconsin head coach Jeff Sauer passed away at age 73.

Sauer, a Minnesota native who played at CC and led Wisconsin to the 1983 and 1990 NCAA titles, went 655-532-57 from 1971 to 2002 behind the bench with the Tigers and Badgers, according to He was later a championship mentor with the USA Hockey National Men's Sled Hockey team, with six straight international championships in just under six years, according to

I had the honor of meeting Coach Sauer on several occasions when I worked at Michigan State in the mid-1990s. May he rest in peace.