Week in Review
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
Notre Dame established itself, if it hadnít already, as a legitimate contender this past weekend, sweeping Michigan in a home-and-home. Sure Michigan's defense has been depleted by injury, but the Irish still get the credit here for taking it to the Wolverines, and improving to 7-0 at home this season with Sundayís win. Michigan also has serious problems in goal, with one poor and one not-so-great game from Billy Sauer.
Notre Dame, because of how well-rounded, hard-working and well-coached it is, is the second best team in the country and has as good a chance as anyone except Minnesota of winning a national championship. No other team in that top tier is as sound a unit as the Irish, and that includes New Hampshire, Maine, St. Cloud State, Michigan (for sure), Boston College and Miami (not to take anything away from any of them). Jeff Jackson is to Notre Dame as Pete Carroll was to USC football — the sleeping giant has been awakened. Lots of people thought this would happen, few were willing to say it would happen this soon. It's happened. Write it down.
Miami took three points from Ohio State, and is two points up on Notre Dame for first in the CCHA. Joe Palmer could not carry over last Saturday's solid outing against Michigan State, and was pulled in Fridayís loss to Miami. Jarod Palmer scored twice for the Hawks. Things went Ohio State's way for a change Saturday, as Jason DeSantis scored the tying goal with 48 seconds left in regulation. Palmer bounced back from Saturday's loss with six saves in OT to preserve the tie.
Colorado College salvage a split with a wild conclusion to Saturdayís game, including a fight that led to 11 players (6 from UAA and 5 from CC) getting game disqualifications (which means they will miss the next game). One night after CC went 0-for-10 on the power play — including the ignominy of allowing a shorthanded overtime goal to lose the game — it got TWO power-play chances in overtime this time around, and finally put one in. Scott McCulloch scored the game winner.
Friday, coming off the big sweep of Denver the week before, CC took 48 shots, but went 0-for-10 on the power play, and lost in OT. Adding insult to injury, the OT game winner by Justin Bourne came while shorthanded, with 14 seconds left in the game.
UAA led 4-0 in this game, but later wore down, which contributed to all the penalties it took. But the comeback was all even strength, with three CC goals in the third period to tie it. That UAA had anything left to pull of the win, is quite a feat. And Jon Olthius, making just his second start for the Seawolves, made 44 saves for his first win.
Elsewhere in the league, Wisconsin rebounded after a week layoff to sweep North Dakota on the road. The Badgers get their ship righted, by the Sioux are flailing. Also, Minnesota swept at Michigan Tech.
St. Cloud State swept a non-league weekend from Colgate, and broke a school record for longest unbeaten streak, now at 11.
Boston College split a home-and-home with Massachusetts. It came out with a vengeance Saturday and outshot the Minutemen, 49-24. Brian Boyle has been aching for goals, and he got two in this game, giving him seven on the season. He listened to his coachís advice and planted himself in front of the net. Two years ago, Jerry York told Boyle to relax and start playing like a big man, and he poured it on in the second half of the season and right into his entire junior year. But this year, with everything on his shoulders, itís been a struggle again. So York gave more advice, and it worked again.
The Terriers scored some goals. Stop the presses. Two in the third, including the game winner from recently-benched senior Kenny Roche to beat Providence 4-2. Kevin Schaeffer, recently victimized by a brutal beating, came back to Boston from his Long Island home to be at the game. It was the first game in his four-year BU career that he wasn't on the ice, snapping a 132 consecutive games played streak.
New Hampshire topped St. Lawrence, 2-0, in a non-league game for its second win of the week. Brian Foster made just his second start of the season for the Wildcats, and got his second shutout, stopping 29 shots. UNH takes a 12-game unbeaten streak into a break. It won't play again until after Christmas, at the Florida College Classic tournament.
Princeton swept a weekend for the first time this season, defeating RPI and Union. Quinnipiacís three-point weekend has it two points up on Cornell heading towards the holiday break.
On the other side, Yale lost its fourth in a row, and Union is struggling hard, with the recent dismissal of Augie DiMarzo from the team just one of many symptoms. Coach Nate Leaman will soon be leaving as well — temporarily — to be assistant coach for the U.S. World Junior team.
CHA team Bemidji State swept a home-and-home with reeling Minnesota-Duluth, winning Saturday in overtime on a goal by Blaine Jarvis. It was his second goal of the game; he also kick started a three-goal third-period comeback. The tough times continue for freshman Duluth goalie Alex Stalock, last year's USHL Goaltender of the Year, whose record dropped to 3-10-3.
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT
1. Kyle Okposo, Minnesota — Three more goals this weekend for the Islandersí first-round draft pick, giving him 15, tied for most among major-conference players.
2. Ryan Dingle, Denver — A hat trick over the weekend gives him 15 goals on the season, tied with Okposo.
3. Geoff Paukovich, Denver — Weíve been bugging him all year for no goals, so we put him here after he finally scores his first of the season.
1. Jonathan Matsumoto, Bowling Green — Snapped out of a 13-game scoreless streak with three goals on the weekend.
2. Billy Sauer, Michigan — He struggled his freshman year, had a decent start to this year, but itís been downhill the last few weeks, and Michiganís long line of rock solid goaltending appears to have ended.
3. Brett Motherwell, Boston College — The Eagles defense has only scored three goals this season, and the highly-touted Motherwell has just one, and is a minus-3.
NCAA TOP 10
This week, we will begin to list the Top 10 by order of the KRACH Ranking. "KRACH" is a sophisticated mathematical ranking tool that is endorsed by College Hockey News. College Hockey already uses a system that completely removes the human element from selecting teams to the NCAA tournament, so our opinion is that College Hockey should therefore use the best ranking system. KRACH is best because it eliminates many of the flaws in the current system.
1 Minnesota (15-1-3)
2 New Hampshire (13-2-1)
Two more wins for UNH. People seem to be waiting for the Wildcats to come back to Earth, but theyíre still waiting.
3 Maine (10-3-1)
Josh Soares had a hat trick Saturday as Maine took care of Northeastern, 7-1
4 St. Cloud State (10-3-3)
The Huskies are controlling all facets of the game right now, and take the biggest jump in this ranking.
5 Notre Dame (14-3-1)
The KRACH says the Irish belong here, because their strength of schedule still doesnít match the other teams around them. But as we said above, they might be No. 2.
6 CC (11-6-1)
Weekend almost was a disaster, but the Tigers pulled out Saturdayís game in OT.
7 Miami (14-5-1)
Team that dropped the most when comparing the human factor to the KRACH rankings.
8 Boston College (9-5-1)
Very inconsistent, but still showing flashes of brilliance. Could be a repeat of last season.
9 Vermont (9-5-1)
Welcome to the rankings for the Catamounts.
10 Michigan (12-7-0)
Hanging on to the edge of the rankings despite losing twice to Notre Dame.
GAMES TO WATCH
Michigan Tech at North Dakota
A couple of teams in desperate need of wins in the WCHA
Vermont at St. Lawrence
The most intriguing non-league matchup in a week that has a very light schedule heading into the holidays.