This Week in College Hockey: Oct. 24, 2007
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
WEEK IN REVIEW
• Having already profiled Colorado College's sweep of Minnesota in our Team of the Week segment, instead we'll focus on Miami, which also got consideration for the honor.
• Playing without Hobey hopeful Nathan Davis — who is sidelined indefinitely after separating his shoulder the previous week — Miami swept Ohio State in a Friday-Sunday home-and-home. Ohio State had looked pretty good the previous weekend, so the pair of 5-1 wins were particularly impressive for the RedHawks. Davis' replacement centering for Brian Kaufman and Jarod Palmer — Nino Musitelli — scored for the RedHawks on Sunday, one of five different players to do so.
• Following Friday's fog-shortened game against North Dakota, Boston College headed to Vermont on Sunday, and blew a 3-1 lead, settling for a tie. Of course, one team's blown lead is another team's comeback, and so the Catamounts were thrilled, playing in front of another Gutterson sellout, on national TV. "I'm so pleased on several different fronts. One being the resiliency of our team after being down two goals twice," Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. "I really liked our attitude on the bench. I liked the fact that we were positive and believed that we could come back against a tremendous team. And then to go out and do it. Sure we would have liked to get the two points but there were a lot of things we saw out there tonight that we can continue to build on as we get ready for Dartmouth."
• Clarkson 5, St. Lawrence 4. Clarkson fell behind 3-0 in this game, before rallying in the first ECAC league game of the season. Remarkably, the Knights scored four straight, only to have Charlie Giffin tie it for the Saints with 37 seconds left in regulation. However, SLU took a penalty in OT, and Chris D'Alvise scored for the Knights, capping the dramatic comeback win. It adds another chapter in this storied rivalry, with Clarkson avenging a season-opening loss to SLU in what was a non-league game.
• Saturday's final in the all-Alaska weekend was Alaska-Anchorage 5, Alaska 3. The man with the great name, Winston DayChief, scored two goals for UAA as the Seawolves drew first blood in the season series, taking both games this past weekend at home. The teams will play two games at Fairbanks later in the season.
• North Dakota 3 topped Northeastern 0, and Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has still not allowed a goal in three games (one was the fog-shortened game Friday), and North Dakota rolls on.
• Denver and Notre Dame split a two-game set, Thursday-Friday, giving the Pioneers the opportunity to take in the USC-Notre Dame football game on Saturday. They played it as an opportunity to see a big-time college football event, and assuredly, it still was — as spectacles go. But as games go, it was a joke — with USC pummeling the Irish, embarrassingly so. ... In any event, Friday was Denver coach George Gwozdecky's 300th win at the school, and 450th of his career. ... This time, the Irish were just 1-for-5 on the PP after getting three PPG on Thursday — although the Pioneers are still struggling with their own PP, going 0-for-11 in the two games. Again, it was the freshmen stepping up for Denver (3-1), with Chris Nutini getting to play on defense and generating his first goal. Fellow freshman Anthony Maiani scored his second. No shame in splitting with Denver, but Notre Dame has cause for concern with its sluggish first period. In this game, Denver had an 11-1 shot edge in the first. "That's the fourth straight game this season that we've come out flat to start the game," said ND coach Jeff Jackson. "I'm not sure why, but it hurts us to fall behind early and have to come back. That was our strength last season, getting ahead early. It's something we have to get worked out."
• Freshman sensation Kyle Turris had a huge weekend for Wisconsin, although the combined 15-4 victories were over Robert Morris, no offense to the Colonials. Robert Morris is set up to have a relatively strong team this season, capable of stealing games here and there against the big boys — but it wasn't to be on this weekend.
• Friday's fog affair was the third in three seasons at Boston College, though one was an exhibition. Last year's game, also on national TV, with BU was halted by foggy conditions and poor ice, and was later resumed. This seems pretty embarrassing, but to put it in perspective, the Boston Celtics had their game stopped at halftime, playing at the DCU Centre in Worcester. Problem is, BC's building isn't air conditioned. Now, coach Jerry York quipped that he hoped Al Gore wasn't all right on his Global Warming predictions. Since I think Gore is actually being optimistic, we are likely to face this scenario again. To BC's credit, it anticipated the issue and brought in three de-humidifiers. And they were working. Problem is, it caused the power to go out; perhaps combined with the fact that national TV trucks were there. So the rink crew went down to one de-humidifier to try to keep the power up, but that wasn't working. They were afraid to go back to three. Putting AC in that building would have been the wise thing, but it's too late now. To upgrade at this time is cost prohibitive, so they are hoping to get the kinks worked out with the de-humidifying system. Until then, BC has to live with it, but who could blame CSTV if they don't bother going there for a big game again next season.
• Meanwhile, Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, the former chair of the rules committee, said things were a little ambiguous as to whether the game was to be called "official" and made a tie, or if it was mandated to be resumed from that point. But since it was a tie, and neither team was head, it was figured to be non-controversial to just call it a tie. ... "If somebody is leading after two, the team that's ahead can point to one page of the book that says, 'We're ahead, we win,'" Bertagna said. "The team that's behind could point to another page that says it's an interrupted game, you're supposed to pick it up from there. So my thinking was, there's some thought of 'let's check (the conditions) every five minutes,' but I thought, 'if one team gets a quick goal, then we could have a problem.'"
• Esteemed sportswriter for the Chicago Sun-Times and Sports Illustrated, Rick Tellander, penned an article recently about a former Merrimack hockey player who was paralyzed after crashing into the boards during a practice in the 1988. Chic Kelly, a 37-year old, has lived in a wheelchair since, and gotten by on the $30,000/year the NCAA gives in insurance payments, and three different jobs teaching economics at Philadelphia-area high schools and colleges. Thing is, Kelly is lobbying the NCAA to increase his payments to $250,000/year. That's the amount the NCAA awards now in such cases. Read the whole article for more.
NCAA TOP 10
Until the KRACH rankings take hold, these are listed by order of subjective opinion. ("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 (known as The Pairwise), 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 North Dakota (3-0-0)
Still haven't allowed a goal.
2 Miami (4-0-0)
Expect Miami to stay high all season long.
3 Denver (3-1-0)
Strong start carries over.
4 Michigan (3-1-0)
Chad Kolarik scored a shorthanded game winner Saturday after Matt Rust had been called for a five-minute major late in regulation. Northern Michigan tied it with a 6-on-4, but allowed the SHG in OT.
5 New Hampshire (1-0-0)
Dick Umile picks up his 400th win, all with his alma mater New Hampshire, in beating BU, 4-1. The Wildcats are 3-0-2 all-time at BU's Agganis Arena. The win included a gorgeous unassisted effort by phenom James vanRiemsdyk to seal it.
6 Colorado College (2-0-0)
Sweep the Gophers, now play New Hampshire on the road looking to avenge two losses from last year.
7 Michigan State (2-1-0)
Michigan State raised the 2007 NCAA Championship banner before Friday's game, and then jumped all over Colgate. Dustin Gazley scored twice as the Spartans opened a 5-0 lead before coasting to the win. Colgate was much more sharp and feisty Saturday, but after falling behind 2-1 in the first period, the game stayed that way, and the Spartans earned a sweep.
8 Boston College (1-1-2)
Their future is foggy, even if freshman goalie John Muse has given the team some inspiration.
9 Clarkson (3-1-0)
Great comeback over the rival Saints, sends Clarkson off in the right direction.
10 Minnesota (2-2-0)
Lots of question marks, but lots of talent.
GAMES TO WATCH
North Dakota at Michigan Tech
Michigan Tech is off to a nice start, but this is a whole different ballgame. We think North Dakota will finally allow a goal, but we're not taking that to the bank.
Colorado College at New Hampshire
No. 5-6 in our ranking.
Boston University at Michigan
BU is off to a shaky start. Michigan looks pretty decent. Both teams still have lots of question marks.