Monday, November 18, 2013

College Hockey Round-up, Week 6

Thanks to USCHO
The Minnesota Golden Gophers won two over the weekend, improving to 8-1-1 on the season and remained atop the new poll released on Monday.

Don Lucia's squad continued their early-season run with victories of 4-1 and 3-0 over former conference rival Minnesota State. They picked up eight more first-place votes over last week.

St. Cloud State, now a WCHA bellwether, moved up to #2 after taking down the Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville with 10-0 and 4-3 decisions.

Hockey East is represented for the first time at No. 3, with Providence rising two spots after beating Vermont in back-to-back games at Gutterson Field House in Burlington. Jon Gillies set a new program record in career shutouts for the 9-1-1 Friars, making 23 saves in a 3-0 win on Saturday, bringing his total to eight, surpassing Tyler Sims.

National runners-up Quinnipiac appear at #4, also having risen two slots, extending its national-best unbeaten string to 12 games (11-0-1) by taking down ECAC foes and Ivy League programs Harvard and Dartmouth on consecutive nights. The Bobcats earned two first-place votes for their hot streak, one more than the No. 2 school in the country.

The biggest fall in the top 10 belongs to the Michigan Wolverines, who plummeted from #2 to #5 after splitting with Nebraska-Omaha, losing 3-2 and winning 4-3. The Fighting Irish, only a few weeks ago looking up at Minnesota, tumbled to No. 6 by beating (4-0) and tying (2-2) Merrimack in South Bend.

Boston College remained firm in the seventh spot, after struggling to a 2-1 win and 2-2 tie at Conte Forum with the Massachusetts Minutemen. Miami-Ohio was also entrenched at No. 8 after splitting a pair with #12 Wisconsin on home ice. Defending champions Yale were once again affixed at #9 with one game on its docket, a 5-1 victory against Sacred Heart, while No. 10 Ferris State -- runner up to BC in 2012 and current leader in the reconstituted WCHA -- rose four spots thanks to three points (4-2 win, 3-3 tie) against Bowling Green to stretch its unbeaten mark to 6-0-1.

Before we get to the local programs, I want to extend congratulations to the Minnesota women's hockey team.

The Gophers reeled off a national-record 62 straight victories before finally being taken down by North Dakota on Sunday afternoon. That run included a 41-0-0 mark last season, conference crown and national championship over Boston University.

What an impressive accomplishment, and massively underscores the need for performers such as these to play in an organized professional league in North America after graduation.

Meanwhile...Penn State continued its homestand with perhaps its toughest matchup to date, and did not fare well. The defending Hockey East regular-season/playoff champion, Frozen Four program and new No. 13 UMass-Lowell River Hawks swooped into the 'Peg and came away with a two-day sweep by scores of 4-0 and 3-2.

On Thursday, PSU gained a 37-28 shot advantage, but Connor Hellebuyck was equal to all of them. Derek Arnold punctured Matt Skoff twice in the third period, while Adam Chapie and Scott Wilson tallied in each of the first two. Friday night, backup Eamon McAdam stopped 41 shots but couldn't turn aside a three-goal first-period barrage from the visitors. David Goodwin scored with 7:43 left in regulation to pull the Nits within one, but it wasn't enough.

Now 3-5-1 on the year, Penn State awaits a visit from ECAC's Union this coming Saturday and Sunday.

The No. 17 Flying Dutchmen are coming off a weekend sweep of conference rival and #14-ranked RPI by scores of 4-3 and 4-1. It was a tour de force for Flyers defensive prospect Shayne Gostisbehere,  who posted eight shots and one assist in Friday's one-goal win at home and then recorded the school's final two goals in Saturday's triumph at Troy.

Princeton's early-season struggles continued, facing Ivy League competition at Baker Rink.

On Friday, the Tigers put an end to a six-game losing skid with a 5-4 overtime win over Dartmouth. Senior forward and Hobey hopeful Andrew Ammon netted the winner -- his second of the contest -- with 11 seconds left in the extra session, bringing the hosts all the way back from a 3-0 first-period deficit.  Ryan Siiro, Tyler Maugeri, Mike Ambrosia tallied to forge a 3-3 deadlock after two, then Ammon put the hosts ahead 66 seconds into the third.

One night later, the luck ran out against Harvard. Seven combined goals were netted in the third period of the Crimson's 5-3 victory, with Aaron Ave, Aaron Kesselman and Tom Kroshus supplying the Tigers' offense. Jimmy Vesey scored the visitors' final two goals of the contest, including a late empty netter.

New Jersey's D-I Orange and Black (2-7-0) have a home-and-home series this weekend with national runner-up Quinnipiac on tap.

Don't forget, the 2014 Frozen Four comes to Philadelphia on April 10-12. Tickets aren't available to the general public, but the NCAA allows you to fill out a form for a ticket lottery.

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