Week in Review
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
The games of the weekend were between rivals Michigan and Michigan State, and fittingly, they split, each winning at home.
Saturday, the Wolverines snapped MSU's nine-game unbeaten streak against them. Jack Johnson, the third overall pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005, was sorely missed Friday, as he sat out for a game disqualification received the previous weekend when he stuck up for his goaltender. His rough-and-tumble nature made many question whether he would return for his sophomore year, and the Hurricanes pushed hard to get him out, but surprisingly, he returned, and Michigan needs him. He scored a goal Saturday, and more importantly, limited himself to a measley roughing and hitting after the whistle penalty.
It hasn't been as smooth a sophomore campaign for MSU's Jeff Lerg, who was pulled after two periods. Even in Friday's win, Lerg allowed four goals, but the Spartans were flying offensively, scoring four times in the second period and winning 7-4 in front of an emotional home crowd. MSU coach Rick Comley: "Their speed really got us at the beginning of the game. Our defensemen got caught in some traps up ice. In the second period, we adjusted well and probably played our best period of the year. We got a little sloppy in the third, but overall it was a good win."
Alaska took three points from UNO. Friday, Kyle Greentree had a hat trick, but UNO rallied to tie after pulling its goalie, sophomore Jerad Kaufmann. Kaufmann continues to struggle mightily following up his magical freshman season. He allowed four goals on just 14 shots — which continues a troubling trend — and was replaced by 17-year old freshman Jeremie Dupont. Saturday, Dupont got the start, but struggled just the same, allowing 4 goals on 19 shots. That included two shorties allowed in a 52-second span of the second period.
Speaking of goaltending woes, Ohio State is loaded with them, as freshmen Joe Palmer and Nick Filion continue to struggle. As a result, Notre Dame took three points at OSU. It's to the point now where, even though Notre Dame was at Ohio State, the Irish are the favorite. That's how this should be viewed. And so on that score, Notre Dame simply took care of business Friday. Filion was pulled after allowing two goals in the first period, including one dreadful play where he was caught behind the net, and Joe Palmer being inserted. Palmer then allowed a bad goal to make it 3-0. Palmer was better Saturday, making 32 saves as the Buckeyes tied, 1-1, despite being outshoot 6-2 in OT.
Minnesota won a pair of 3-2 games at Minnesota-Duluth, remaining red hot, though the Bulldogs put up good fights. Friday was the first win for the Gophers in Duluth since January 2003.
The game featured a questionable five-minute major/game misconduct in the first period against Minnesota-Duluth's Mason Raymond for checking phenom Erik Johnson from behind. That created a lengthy 5-on-3. Turns out, the Bulldogs scored shorthanded when Drew Akins came out of the box on the first penalty, to the bench, and Bryan McGregor jumped off the bench to score the goal. But did he? In the biggest turning point moment of the game — and one of the most controversial officiating sequences you will see — referee Don Adam twice overruled himself after each coach got heated. First Adam disallowed the goal, saying that Akins hadn't reached the bench, creating a too many men on the ice call. After Duluth's Scott Sandelin screamed at him, he reversed himself, went to explain it to Minnesota's Don Lucia, who then lit into Adam, and Adam changed it back to a penalty and no goal. All in a day's work. In the end, it appears it was actually the right call.
There was also a penalty shot that appeared to be called after a dive by Evan Kaufmann, though he missed it anyway. And the Gophers killed off a major penalty in the closing 4:56, though allowed one goal in the process. Saturday, Tyler Hirsch scored in overtime to give the Gophers the win.
North Dakota got three points from St. Cloud State as Jonathan Toews returned to the lineup. Plus, Friday, fellow first-rounder T.J. Oshie snapped out of a scoring slump. In Saturday's tie, an action-packed third period failed to produce a goal, when Toews' score for the Sioux was overturned by video replay because it was kicked in. It was a return to form for SCSU's Bobby Goepfert, who has been inconsistent this season after a brilliant 2005-06.
And Alaska-Anchorage had quite the weekend against the defending national champs. After losing Friday in a 3-2 heartbreaker — getting the tying goal with 32 seconds left in regulation (Paul Crowder), but losing at 3:30 of OT on a goal by Matthew Ford — the Seawolves came right back and defeated the Badgers on Saturday.
Maine remains undefeated, though the league's game of the week, Maine against Boston University, resulted in a 2-2 tie. BU has been tying or getting close losses against teams it figured to be better than. But this tie is against the nation's top-ranked team, and feels a little better. Two PPG in the second period give BU the comeback tie, after Maine looked like it might dominate following the first period. That followed up BU's tie with Lowell on Friday, getting outshot 35-21.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts swept Providence. Is UMass' Jon Quick the best goalie in the East not named Cory Schneider?
Vermont's opening weekend euphoria has evaporated quickly with its fourth consecutive one-goal loss, this time 1-0 to BC. Cory Schneider, who was 5-0 against the Cats last year, did it again, making 33 saves, including 19 in the third period.
Clarkson is our team of the week after sweeping the league weekend at two good teams, Dartmouth and Harvard, each by three-goal margins. Steve Zalewski, a fourth rounder by the San Jose Sharks in 2005, is red hot, scoring twice against the Big Green. He now has eight on the season. It was the first ECAC road sweep for the Golden Knights in over four years and Clarkson's 6-1-1 start is its best since 1991-92. The Knights used to be notorious under Mark Morris — even in the great seasons — of starting slow. We'll see what this quick starts means for the long haul under George Roll.
Oooh the pain for the Princeton Tigers, losing two straight road games in overtime. The Tigers are 0-3-1, having lost the previous weekend to Bentley. Friday, RPI was outshot by Princeton, 39-12, at home, including 5-1 in the overtime, but got the game winner from Seth Klerer with 0:13 remaining. Princeton's Kevin Westgarth had tied the game with 40 seconds left in regulation.
Perhaps they have yet to face a major test, but so far the Big Red have not felt any ill effects from losing three major underclassmen to the pros — including two defensemen and a former Hobey Baker Award finalist goalie (Sasha Pokulok, Ryan O'Byrne and David McKee). The Big Red are 4-0, and Troy Davenport has been solid in goal. "Cornell is a good team. They are big, strong and fast. They do it right," said Yale coach Keith Allain, who also lamented his team's propensity for taking penalties in Saturday's defeat, Yale's first of the season.
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT
1. Nathan Davis, Miami — Keeps on scoring, now up to nine on the season after three this weekend.
2. Steve Zalewski, Clarkson — Also red hot. This San Jose draftee had two more and has eight on the year.
3. Brandon Wong, Quinnipiac — The freshman had a hat trick Friday as Quinnipiac's offense has been making a lot of noise in the ECAC.
1. Nick Filion, Ohio State — The freshman goaltender was pulled from Friday's game, and the OSU goaltending situation is a struggle in general.
2. Merrimack — Another rough season for these guys, at 1-6-1, getting outscored 30-11, and just 9 percent on the PP and 75 percent shorthanded.
3. Don Adam, WCHA official — He is under fire for his handling of Friday night's fiasco in Minnesota-Duluth, which resulted in a 20-minute delay and a questionable review of video tape.
NCAA TOP 10
1. Maine (7-0-1)
First non-win of the season was Saturday's road tie at BU. Hardly cause for alarm.
2. Minnesota (8-1-0)
Grinding out two tough wins at UMD, perhaps more impressive than its previous offensive outbursts.
3. Miami (7-3-0)
Jumps over BC despite also going 1-1 for the week. Its loss was despite outshooting Northern Michigan by a 2-to-1 margin. NMU goalie Brian Stewart made his first career start and stood on his head.
4. Boston College (5-2-0)
BC could avoid the trap game last Tuesday against Providence, but then defeated Vermont
5. North Dakota (6-3-1)
If Oshie and Toews are good to go, sky's the limit. Others are performing admirably too, and the goaltending is holding up despite the absence of Philippe Lamoureaux.
6. Boston University (2-1-3)
Strange team these Terriers. You must believe they will get on a big roll soon.
7. Michigan State (4-2-0)
Showed something in the weekend split with Michigan.
8. Michigan (5-3-0)
Especially tied with MSU in this slot.
9. Wisconsin (4-4-2)
The struggles for the Badgers are genuine at this point.
10. Notre Dame (6-1-1)
With any guts, we'd put this team higher.
GAMES TO WATCH
Harvard at Cornell
It will be the usual excitement at Lynah Rink when these two long-standing Ivy foes hook up.
BU at New Hampshire
Pivotal early-season game for both squads, still trying to define themselves for the year.
Denver at Wisconsin
After a one-week layoff, the Pioneers are back; and both teams are desperate for wins.