Friday, May 17, 2024

BC's Kreider Leads Rangers to Oust Canes


The Carolina Hurricanes seemed to have an answer through two periods of play for the New York Rangers. They didn't have one for Chris Kreider (Boston College) in the final stanza.

Kreider, 33, now in his 11th full NHL season, all with the Rangers, scored three consecutive goals in the third period Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C., to lift New York to a 5-3 victory in Game 6 of its Eastern Conference semifinal series, New York wins the best of-seven matchup, four games to two, after losing the previous two games.

The Rangers had trailed, 3-1, after 40 minutes of play before Kreider struck at 6:43, 11:54 (power play) and 15:41 over the final 20 minutes to boost his team into the lead for good. Jack Roslovic (Miami) assisted on two of the goals, while K'Andre Miller (Wisconsin) set up an empty-net insurance goal with 49 seconds remaining in regulation to cap the game and the series for New York.

A 6-foot-3, 223-pound left wing from Boxford, Mass., Kreider tallied 36 goals and 75 points in 82 regular-season games in 2023-24. His 47 career playoff goals, including his natural hat trick Thursday night, are the most in Rangers history. A Hockey East All-Rookie Team and Hockey East Second Team selection in his time at BC, he scored 49 goals over three seasons and helped the Eagles to NCAA titles in both 2010 and 2012.

New York will continue the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs next week in the Eastern Conference final against either Boston or Florida.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

St. Thomas Moving from CCHA to NCHC

The University of St. Thomas is changing conferences.

The Tommies, who are entering their fourth season of NCAA Division I men's hockey, will become full members of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2026-27. UST is currently a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and will play there the next two seasons before moving over to the NCHC, where it will become the league's 10th member.

St. Thomas began play at the NCAA Division I level in 2021-22, and last year finished 15-20-2 overall (12-11-1 CCHA), its best record since moving up from NCAA Division III. The program began back in 1920-21 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and from 1983 to 2021 earned 17 berths to the NCAA Division III tournament, along with 21 MIAC regular-season titles and 13 postseason conference crowns. 

St. Thomas is in the process of building a 4,000-seat on-campus arena in St. Paul, Minn. The facility's opening is expected to coincide with UST's first season in the NCHC.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Avalanche Stay Alive in Game 5 at Dallas

The Colorado Avalanche aren't done yet in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Cale Makar (UMass) scored two goals, including the game-winner, while visiting Colorado scored three times in the final 20 minutes en route to a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal series tonight. Dallas still leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two.

Casey Mittelstadt (Minnesota) scored early in the third period at American Airlines Center to give the Avs a 3-2 lead, their first of the series, off an assist by Zach Parise (North Dakota). Makar notched the game-winner unassisted less than three minutes later, to make it 4-2 at the time. For the Stars, Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin) notched a goal and an assist, while Jake Oettinger (Boston University) made 22 saves.

Game 6 will take place in Denver on Friday night. If necessary, Game 7 will be held in Dallas on Sunday.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

U.S. Falls in 2024 IIHF Worlds Opener

The United States got behind the proverbial eight-ball on its first day of competition at the 2024 IIHF World Championship in Czechia on Friday. The U.S. fell to Sweden by a 5-2 count at Ostrava Arena in the opener of Group B play for both teams.

Zach Werenski (Michigan) and Brock Nelson (North Dakota) scored goals for the Americans, who got 33 saves in net from Alex Lyon (Yale). Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) and Matt Boldy (Boston College) picked up assists for the U.S., which will return to action today against Germany, while Sweden will face Poland on Sunday. 

Canada, which boasts almost a half-dozen former NCAA skaters on its roster, begins play today against Great Britain in Group A round-robin competition. The Canadians won last year's Worlds in Riga/Latvia, with Germany claiming the silver medal and co-host Latvia earning bronze. The U.S. finished fourth in 2023.

ADDENDUM: The U.S. rebounded for a 6-1 win over Germany, getting goals from six different scorers. Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) and Michael Kesselring (Northeastern) tallied a goal and an assist apiece for the Americans, who also got two assists each from Cole Caufield (Wisconsin) and Shane Pinto (North Dakota). Trey Augustine (Michigan State) made 12 saves on 13 shots in relief of Lyon (14 saves).

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

BC's Wood, Kreider Come up Big in Playoffs

Miles Wood (Boston College) connected on a backhander just over 11 minutes into overtime, and the visiting Colorado Avalanche came all the way back from a three-goal first period deficit to top the Dallas Stars, 4-3, in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday nigh. 

Cale Makar (UMass) had a goal and two assists for Colorado, which leads the best-of-seven series, one game to none. Andrew Cogliano (Michigan) assisted on Woods' goal, while Ryan Suter (Wisconsin) scored the first goal of the game for Dallas, which squandered a 3-0 lead.

In Manhattan, Chris Kreider (Boston College) tied the game with a power play goal in the third period, and the New York Rangers went on to 4-3 double OT victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers, who remain undefeated in the 2024 postseason through six games, now lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, one game to none. Jake Guentzel (Omaha) scored twice for Carolina, while K'Andre Miller (Wisconsin) and Adam Fox (Harvard) posted assists for New York. 

The Stanley Cup Playoffs resume tonight with Boston at Florida in the Eastern Conference, with Boston leading that series one game to none, and Vancouver beginning its Western Conference series with Edmonton.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Atlantic Hockey America to Begin Play in 2024-25


Two conferences have become one, as the men's Atlantic Hockey Association and the women's College Hockey America unit have combined to form a single new entity in Atlantic Hockey America. The 14 NCAA Division I schools involved will compete under the new AHA banner beginning with the 2024-25 season.

Joining the new conference from Atlantic Hockey are Air Force, American International, Army West Point, Bentley, Canisius, Holy Cross, Mercyhurst, Niagara, RIT, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart. Transitioning from the CHA are Mercyhurst, Penn State, Lindenwood, RIT, Robert Morris and Syracuse.

Atlantic Hockey began as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 1998-99, before reorganizing as the AHA in 2003. The CHA commenced play in 1999-2000 as a men's only conference which disbanded in 2010, with the women's league starting up in 2002-03 and continuing ever since.

The colors for the new league, which will be headquartered in Boston, are blue and gold, while the logo is a melding of the two previous league symbols. The commissioner is former college hockey player Michelle Morgan (St. Thomas). The new league's website is located at atlantichockeyonline.com.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

BC's Hanifin Pulls Vegas into Series Tie

Boston College beat Boston University on Friday night in Nevada to keep the Vegas Golden Knights' title defense alive.

Noah Hanifin (Boston College) scored midway through the third period on Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (Boston University) at T-Mobile Arena, and host Vegas held on for a 2-0 win in Game Six of their Western Conference series in the NHL's 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The series is now tied, three games apiece.

Hanifin, who was acquired from the Calgary Flames earlier this year, picked off a Dallas clearing attempt near the Stars' blue line, skated low into the right circle, and beat Oettinger to the far side for the only goal the Golden Knights would need. Vegas then scored into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining in regulation, and Oettinger (28 saves) off the ice for an extra Dallas skater.

The deciding Game 7 will be held on Sunday at American Airlines Center in Dallas, with the home team having won the last two games in the series. Vegas is looking to continue on as Stanley Cup champions, after defeating Florida in last year's final.

ADDENDUM: Vegas' reign as Stanley Cup champs came to end with a 2-1 loss at Dallas in Game 7. Dallas will now take on Colorado in the Western Conference semifinals, beginning Tuesday night.