Week In Review
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
Itís the tournament that brings the Boston area together the first two Mondays of February every year, and it's the best in-season tournament in college hockey.
Boston University has now made the Beanpot final in 30 of the 34 years that Jack Parker has been head coach. The school prides itself on owning that trophy, and puts emphasis on it, if not directly, then at least as a signpost of a team ramping up for the stretch run. John Curry shut out Northeastern to improve to 4-0 all-time in the Beanpot. BU responded off Parker's tongue-lashing following last weekend's 0-0 tie with Massachusetts-Lowell. Northeastern was 6-2-2 in the last 10 coming into the Beanpot.
In the latter game, lo and behold, Boston College won, too, setting up another BU-BC final. Seemingly the only time that doesn't happen is every third year when the two teams are forced to play in the semifinal. Harvard took the early lead on a Dylan Reese slapper, on which BC defender Anthony Aiello got himself turned around, lost his footing, fell down and wound up screening the goaltender. BC then got a questionable goal to tie it, and in the second period, Nathan Gerbe scored shorthanded on a backhand that never should've gone in. And Harvard loses again. ... By the way, what happened to Harvard not playing on the Saturday before the Beanpot? A luxury that the other teams are afforded, and the ECAC tried to accommodate for years.
The offense busted out for Minnesota on Friday, winning 8-2, but it was followed by a 2-1 win Saturday. Guys who have been quiet for a while got it done, though, in the first game, with Jay Barriball scoring twice, and Kyle Okposo and Blake Wheeler getting one each. The Gophers were 2-4 in the last six coming into the weekend, so the wins were welcome either way.
Minnesota-Duluth had three power-play goals and two shorties to top No. 5 Denver on Saturday and get a split. The Pioneers received two goals and an assist from freshman Rhett Rakhshani. "This was a night where we weren't very good and Duluth was better," said Denver coach George Gwozdecky. "Special teams were the difference in the game. Duluth's power play was outstanding, just as it's been all year long." On Friday, Denver had five goals on just 20 shots in winning against UMD freshman goalie Alex Stalock, who continues to struggle.
Colorado College swept Wisconsin. Saturday, Matt Zaba had 30 saves and the Tigers had four different goal scorers. The wins moved CC just one point behind Denver and St. Cloud State for second place in the WCHA. Friday, Mike Testwuide, coming back after missing four games because of the flu, scored at 2:09 of overtime to give CC the win, 2-1. It was a power-play goal, thanks to a controversial penalty on the Badgers' Ben Grotting early in the OT. After going 0-for-5 on the PP in regulation, CC finally got a PPG.
Michigan had 7-4 and 3-1 wins over WMU. The Wolverines had 45 shots in the latter, despite just three goals, but it was plenty for Michigan to get the sweep. Jack Johnson has seven goals in his last four games, getting his 14th in this one to start the ball rolling. David Rohlfs scored the game winner shorthanded early in the third. Michigan scored its 100th goal in league play, far and away more than everyone else. Its 132 overall goals is most in the nation.
Embattled Ohio State goalie Joe Palmer was pulled after allowing four goals in his first nine shots faced. Ferris State earned the sweep, winning 6-2 on Saturday, and OSU dropped to seventh.
MSU struggled to maintain the energy from a 5-1 win Friday, and got a tie Saturday, never having had a lead in the game. But the Spartans tied it up twice after two Scott Parse goals (21), and again late in the third by Tyler Howells. The weekend widened the gap between the two teams for the fourth and final first-round bye spot in the CCHA playoffs.
The guy's been scoring most of the team's goals lately, so why not the only goal of a 1-0 game? Mike Santorelli scored his 26th goal of the season, best in the nation, in the middle of the second period, as Northern Michigan defeated Lake Superior State on Friday. The goal came on a 5-on-3, and counted only after video review — thatís how hard it was to score in that game. LSSU won 2-1 on Saturday, as Santorelli was held scoreless. Bill Zaniboni and Jeff Jakaitis battled in net all weekend.
New Hampshire and Maine split in a hotly-contested weekend. UNH won 2-1 on Saturday, getting the winner from top-line forward Mike Radja, who just returned to the lineup. Kevin Regan was stellar, making 46 saves for UNH as the Wildcats got the weekend split and remained a comfortable four points ahead of BU for first place with two games in hand. Maine goalie Ben Bishop had to leave the game in the second period.
Putting aside The Beanpot, earlier in the week, BU coach Jack Parker was not happy with his team. Curry saved the tie with another great game in net for the Terriers, making 28 stops. Lowell goalie Nevin Hamilton picked up his first career shutout, though he still doesn't have his first career win. Parker, in what is becoming like a broken record with all of the Terriers' fits and starts, then tore into his team: "We got absolutely embarrassed. When they (Lowell) watch that game film, they won't believe that they didn't win this game 6-0. From lack of senior leadership to lack of intensity to lack of willingness to compete, it was as bad a show as I've seen." ... Let's blame the inconsistency in the past couple years on those new BU jerseys. Anyone else bothered by those things? Forget the horizontal striping and go back to the solid white or solid red. Cornell, which has a similar uniform look, tried that piping in the '70s, and it looked typically '70s. It was scrapped in the mid-'80s, never to return. Back to basics BU — in more ways than one.
Mass.-Lowell then finally snapped a 20-game winless streak, at the expense of UMass, which lost at home Saturday for just the second time this season. UMass also blew a golden opportunity to leapfrog Boston College into fourth place, the final home-ice slot in Hockey East. UMass defeated BC on Friday, and were probably still basking in that win on Saturday. A perfect trap for Lowell to take advantage of.
Clarkson turned to the defensive end to get the weekend split, coming off Friday's 5-1 loss at Lynah Rink, and getting a 2-1 win at Colgate.
The entire foursome group split the weekend, because St. Lawrence, which lost to Colgate on Friday, got a win at Cornell. Alex Petizian stopping Blake Gallagher on a penalty shot proved to be the difference, as St. Lawrence went back into first place. Max Taylor had the game winner in the third.
Friday, though, the Big Red, which had been playing shaky lately, creamed Clarkson. Clarkson had been hot, and was putting its eyes on a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAAs if things break right. But they broke badly Friday, and perhaps Clarkson needs to ratchet up another level of intensity to deal with the kind of hostile environment it faced here. Colin Greening scored twice for the Big Red. Clarkson was without top scorer Nick Dodge, however.
Robert Morris caps off a prolific week, sweeping Niagara to add to a mid-week win over Princeton. The losses prevented Niagara from surpassing Bemidji State for first place in the CHA.
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT
1. John Curry, Boston University — Shutouts of Mass.-Lowell (a 0-0 tie) and Northeastern.
2. Mike Testwuide, CC — Scored the OT game winner Friday. Not heretofore a big scorer, he now has five in his last nine games, giving him six for the season.
3. Kyle Greentree, Alaska-Fairbanks — He was in the ďnotĒ category before for a lengthy scoring slump, but he finally broke out with three goals in a 3-point weekend against Miami, and now has 20 on the season.
1. Nathan Davis, Miami — He still leads the team in points, still is a Hobey candidate, but is going through a mini-slump scoring wise with no goals in his last six games.
2. Michel Leveille, Maine — His goal-scoring output slump continues with just one in his last 13 games, but he did get three assists this past weekend against UNH.
3. Andrew Joudrey, Wisconsin — Emblematic of the teamís difficulties in scoring, the Badgers needed more out of him this season, but heís been without a goal in the last eight games.
NCAA TOP 10
The Top 10 is by order of the KRACH Ranking.
1 Minnesota (23-5-3)
A relatively easy weekend, regrouping with two wins after a 2-4-0 stretch.
2 St. Cloud State (17-5-4)
3 New Hampshire (20-5-1)
Split with Maine — standing still.
4 Notre Dame (23-5-2)
Staying put. Two wins, but against last-place Bowling Green twice.
5 Denver (20-10-2)
Another top team splits the weekend.
6 CC (16-10-2)
A sweep of Wisconsin moves the Tigers up two spots, over idle North Dakota.
7 North Dakota (15-11-2)
8 Michigan (21-9-0)
A sweep of Western Michigan betters MSUís three-point weekend.
9 Michigan State (17-8-2)
A win and tie against Nebraska-Omaha.
10 Maine (17-8-2)
Clarkson, which also split, gets bounced out in favor of Maine.
GAMES TO WATCH
Vermont at Maine
An important weekend for both teams, with Vermont trying to solidify a home-ice playoff spot, and Maine trying to get back to one.
Colorado College at St. Cloud State
The battle is for second, third and fourth with these two teams and Denver. The team that avoids fourth, avoids having to win three games at the WCHA Final Five instead of two.
BU-BC for all the marbles ... again.