Saturday, December 30, 2017

Princeton and St. Cloud Skate to Second Straight Tie

One night after skating to a 3-3 tie in non-conference NCAA Division I men's hockey action, Princeton and No. 1 St. Cloud State did it again. The host Tigers and visiting Huskies played to a 2-2 affair at Hobey Baker Rink on Saturday, as SCSU scored the tying goal with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation.

Ryan Ferland made 43 saves for Princeton, one night after he posted a 37-stop effort that included 14 saves in a five-minute overtime period. SCSU netminder Jeff Smith made 40 stops on Saturday as the Huskies, who now have three ties in their last four outings to date, outshot the Tigers overall, 45-42. The two teams combined to go 2-for-12 on the power play in the rematch.

Judd Peterson open the scoring for SCSU (12-2-3 overall) just under seven minutes into the second period, on a goal in front of the net. Princeton (6-7-3) responded with less than three minutes left in the period when Jake Paganelli whirled around at the left post and whipped a backhander between Smith’s pads.

The Tigers took their first lead of the night in the first minute of the third period, when Ryan Kuffner scored on the doorstep as the Huskies were trying to kill off the final 20 seconds of a penalty. SCSU came back with a power play goal of its own with 12:18 elapsed in the third when Jacob Benson put the puck home from behind the Princeton cage. The Tigers then had three power plays following Benson’s goal, including one on a too many men on the ice penalty against the Huskies, but couldn’t cash in

Saturday’s deadlock came 20 years to the day that Princeton defeated No. 1 Boston University at Baker Rink by a 3-2 count. The Tigers will visit ECAC opponents Cornell and Colgate next week, while SCSU will play a home-and-home series with in-state rival Minnesota.

Friday, December 29, 2017

U.S. Edges Canada in Snowy WJC Shootout

Former Boston University forward Kiefer Bellows tallied Team USA’s first goal of the day on a power play in regulation, and then added another score in a shootout as the U.S. National Junior Team rebounded from a pair of two-goal deficits to defeat Canada, 4-3, in a round-robin game in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The game was held in snowy conditions before over 44,000 spectators at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. It was the first outdoor match ever contested in the history of the WJC.

After Canada forged 2-0 and 3-1 leads, including the game-opening goal by Cale Makar (Massachusetts), Scott Perunovich (Minnesota-Duluth) got the U.S. within a goal early in the third period off a power-play set-up by Casey Mittelstadt (Minnesota). Mittelstadt then picked up his third assist of the afternoon when he orchestrated the tying goal by Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) later in the stanza.

Following a scoreless five-minute overtime period, Bellows and Tkachuk notched the only goals of the shootout to lift Team USA to the victory. Jake Oettinger (Boston University) finished with 19 saves and added an assist in regulation for the U.S., which lost to Slovakia on Thursday, and also did not allow a shootout goal in four tries by Canada.

The U.S., which outshot Canada, 36-22, now trails its first-place northern neighbor by two points in Group “A” play. The Americans will finish the round-robin portion of the tournament on Sunday against Finland, while the Canadians will take on winless Denmark on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Team USA Wins World Juniors Opener

Casey Mittelstadt (Minnesota) and former Boston University forward Kieffer Bellows each scored two goals as the U.S. National Junior Team opened the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 9-0 victory over Denmark on Tuesday night in Buffalo.

Mittelstadt and Bellows were two of seven players who recorded two points apiece for the U.S. in its opening game, and were also two of the seven American players who tallied a goal on Tuesday. Team USA led 5-0 after one period of play, and then added two goals in each of the final two stanzas.

Joseph Woll (Boston College) stopped all 17 Danish shots, as the U.S. outshot Denmark, 36-17. Team USA will next face Slovakia, a 6-0 victim of Canada earlier today, on Thursday.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Season's Greetings

Hockey Christmas to all! Best wishes also for the rest of the 2017-18 season.

Friday, December 22, 2017

BC's Boyle Stars Again as Devils Defeat Rangers

Brian Boyle is on a roll.

The Boston College product, who has been fighting cancer since the summer, now has seven points in his last three NHL outings following a 4-3 shootout win by his New Jersey Devils over the visiting New York Rangers on Thursday night in Newark.

Boyle, 33, who skated at BC from 2003 to 2007 and helped the Eagles to consecutive NCAA title game appearances his last two years, tied Thursday's game on a turnaround backhand shot with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation, his ninth goal of the campaign in just his 24th game. He then notched the decisive goal in the shootout, while former BC teammate Cory Schneider made 28 saves over three periods for the Devils and also stopped three of four tries in the extra session.

Boyle, from Hingham, Mass., posted back-to-back three-point games prior to the contest against the Rangers, who are one of his former NHL clubs. He notched three assists in a 5-3 win over Anaheim on Dec. 18, three days after he connected for a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over Dallas.

New Jersey, which hosts Chicago on Saturday, currently ranks third in the NHL's Eastern Conference with a 20-9-5 record after 34 games.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Len Ceglarski 1926-2017

Retired Boston College head coach and former All-America player and national champion Len Ceglarski passed away on Dec. 16 at the age of 91.

The East Walpole, Mass. native starred as a left wing at BC from 1948 to 1951. As a sophomore in 1949, he tallied a goal in the national championship game in Colorado as the Eagles edged Dartmouth, 4-3, for BC's first-ever NCAA hockey title. He led the Maroon and Gold with 25 assists in his junior campaign, earning All-America accolades in the process, and in both goals (21) and points (34) his senior season when he served as team captain. He finished his college hockey playing career with 49 goals and 59 assists for 108 points in 52 outings, and also starred in baseball at the Heights.

Ceglarski was a member of the silver medalist U.S. team at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Norway. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and coached and taught at Walpole High School prior to joining the college coaching ranks.

He served as an NCAA Division I head coach from 1958 to 1992, first at Clarkson University, and then at his alma mater from 1972 onwards, the latter where he recorded a 419-242-27 overall ledger. His career record of 673-339-38 placed him No. 1 all-time on the college victory scroll following his retirement in 1992, until he was passed by the late Ron Mason of Michigan State two years later.

A two-time Hockey East Coach of the Year and a three-time recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year, Ceglarski later saw Hockey East's sportsmanship award named after him. He is a member of both the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, and also garnered the NHL's Lester Patrick Award in 1990 for his service to American hockey.

Ceglarski led Clarkson to three NCAA Tournament/Frozen Four berths in his tenure there, and also guided the Golden Knights to both the ECAC regular-season and tournament titles in 1966. At BC, he paced the Eagles to two ECAC crowns, a combined eight Hockey East championships, and nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including four Frozen Fours.

I covered Ceglarski’s Eagle hockey teams from 1987 to 1991 as a BC undergraduate and freelance writer for The Heights, Eagle Eye Illustrated, and College Hockey News. He was always gracious with his time and was always accessible to talk about his players and college hockey in general. May he rest in peace.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Former NCAA Players Among NHL Leaders

Former NCAA skaters dotted the top five of most categories of NHL statistical charts prior to today's games, according to

Arizona's Alex Goligoski (Minnesota) was tied for the league lead with 34 games played so far this season, while Anders Lee (Notre Dame) of the New York Islanders ranked third overall with 19 goals to date. Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler (Minnesota) was knotted for fourth overall with 30 assists, Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) checked in at third with 39 points, and St. Louis' now-injured Jaden Schwartz (Colorado College) was tied for second league-wise with a plus-23 plus-minus rating.

Concerning power-play goals, Washington's T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) was tied for fourth overall with seven tallies, while New Jersey's Brian Gibbons (Boston College) was second with three shorthanded scores and Montreal's Max Pacioretty (Michigan) was fifth on the circuit with 128 shots on goal. Minnesota's Ryan Suter (Wisconsin) led all NHL skaters with an average time on ice of 27:22, with Erik Johnson (Minnesota) clocking in fifth overall at 26:05.

As for goaltending, San Jose's Aaron Dell (North Dakota) led the league in both goals-against average (1.75) and save percentage (.939).

Friday, December 8, 2017

Michigan State Blanks Michigan, 5-0

Patrick Khodorenko scored two goals and Taro Hirose set up three as Michigan State rebounded for a 5-0 victory tonight at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans split a two-game series with the Big Ten rival Wolverines, who had earned a 4-0 triumph Thursday night in Ann Arbor.

Mitch Lewandowski added a goal and two assists for MSU on Friday, while John Lethemon made 29 saves for his third shutout of the season. MSU improves to 8-9-1 overall (2-7-1-1 Big Ten), while Michigan falls to 7-7-2 (3-5-2-1).

The two schools will both return to regular-season action on Jan. 1 in the first round of the 2018 Great Lakes Invitational at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Spartans will face Michigan Tech, while the Wolverines take on Bowling Green.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Preliminary U.S. World Juniors Roster Announced

Minnesota-Duluth led all NCAA Division I schools with five selections among the 28-man preliminary U.S. National Junior Team roster for this season's IIHF World Junior Championship, as announced today.

Boston University, Harvard and Michigan had three players selected apiece, while Minnesota had two players picked and Boston College, Maine, Notre Dame, Penn State, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, Wisconsin and Yale had one each chosen. The full roster is available here.

A total of 24 of the 28 players chosen came from the current NCAA ranks, including three goaltenders, 10 defensemen and 11 forwards. Six college players also return from last year's triumphant American squad that won gold in Quebec by defeating runner-up Canada in a shootout for Team USA's fifth-ever WJC title.

The roster will be pared down to its final total of 23 players following training camps in Columbus, Ohio and Jamestown, N.Y., along with two preliminary games, later this month, according to USA Hockey. The U.S., which will again be helmed by head coach Bob Motzko (St. Cloud State), will seek to defend its WJC title at the 2018 competition in Buffalo, which begins Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 5, 2018.

Friday, December 1, 2017

BU Upends BC, 7-4

Boston College took an early 2-0 lead and Ron Greco finished with two goals on the night for the Eagles, but two three-goal outbursts by the visiting Terriers led Boston University to a 7-4 victory at BC's Conte Forum on Friday night.

Shane Bowers had a goal and three points for BU (7-8-1 overall, 5-4-1 Hockey East), which led 3-2 after one period and 6-4 after two. Patrick Harper also set up four goals for the Terriers in the latest iteration of the Green Line Rivalry, also known as the Battle of Commonwealth Avenue, as BU outshot BC, 35-33.

The Eagles (8-6-2, 8-2-0), who last lost in late October, also saw their eight-game unbeaten streak snapped. The rematch is scheduled for Saturday night at BU's Agganis Arena.

ADDENDUM: BC won the rematch, 4-1, after again taking a 2-0 lead.