Monday, November 25, 2013

College Hockey Round-up, Week 7

There's intrigue at the highest level of Division I hockey, thanks to the new poll released on Monday afternoon. 

Although Minnesota and St. Cloud State remained fixed in their positions from last week, for the first time this season, a second-place program received more votes than the No. 1 school.

The Gophers are working with a deficit of 25 votes after splitting two at home against Minnesota-Duluth, winning 6-1 and losing 6-2, while the Huskies increased their notice in the poll by the same number thanks to extending their unbeaten streak to five (4-0-1) with a 2-2 tie and 6-2 win over Colorado College at the Brooks Hockey Center.

Michigan moved up two spots to No. 3 with only one game on the docket, beating up on Niagara by a 6-0 count, while Providence dropped one slot to #4 after a weekend split at Schneider Arena with 20th-ranked UNH, seeing its five-game win streak ended with a 3-2 OT loss but recovering for a 4-2 victory.

Quinnipiac only slid one level down to #5, after failing to sweep a home-and-home set with Princeton. The defending national runners-up, led by stellar goaltender Michael Garteig, pitched a 19-shot, 3-0 shutout on Friday at Baker Rink.

The script was totally flipped on Saturday in Hamden, however. The visitors rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to post a thrilling 4-3 victory which is the signature win for a program which had lost eight of nine games up to that point. Senior and Hobey hopeful Andrew Ammon netted the winner with 2:24 left in regulation, capping a three-goal third-period burst fueled by scores from Jack Berger and Mike Ambrosia. Colton Phinney stopped 32 shots, and shut the door after Kellen Jones scored 42 seconds into the final period.

Alma mater of Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz, Ferris State was a big gainer this week, rising from 10 to No. 6 courtesy of extending the nation's longest unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1). The Bulldogs pulled off wins of 4-3 and 5-3 against the University of Alaska to up their mark to 7-0-1 in the WCHA.

Boston College is a fixture at #7 after a 5-1 win at Harvard and 5-1 loss at Maine, No. 8 goes to the soaring UMass-Lowell RiverHawks, swooping up five spots into the top 10 thanks to 1-0 and 3-1 decisions against Notre Dame at Tsongas Arena. Yale was off this week and stayed in place, with 10th spot going to Clarkson for simply not playing. The Fighting Irish plunged from No. 6 to 11th place.

On the local scene...

Penn State enjoyed this last weekend off, and the 3-5-1 Nits continue their residency at the 'Peg on Saturday and Sunday against the resurgent Union program which features Flyers defensive prospect Shayne Gostisbehere.

The Dutchmen, clocking in at #15 this week, were off and climbed two spots as a result. Gostisbehere ranks third on the team in scoring with 12 points in 11 games, but leads all players with 51 shots on goal.

North Dakota is slogging through an uncharacteristic slow start to the season, one which currently does not feature a slot in the nation's top 20 schools. After a loss and tie at Boston University this weekend, the Fighting Sioux are 5-6-2. However, Flyers forward prospect Michael Parks is holding his own, second on the team with nine points (3G, 6A). The junior winger and fifth-round pick in 2010 has done well recovering from an injury-plagued 2012-13 campaign.

Princeton, fresh off its road triumph against Quinnipiac, can't sit back on its laurels. The program faces its toughest tests of the season in dual games on the road at Michigan State this coming Friday and Sunday.

Something completely different

The Frozen Four is coming here in April. It's the third straight location that has little or no connection to major college hockey. This has to change. If it can't be spurred on by the presentation of a Division I championship, this city may never have a shot to field a legitimate D-I team again.

Though there is a significant alumni presence in the region, having the premier collegiate tourney in Philadelphia sponsored by a school (Penn State) more than three hours away and whose student body is comprised by almost half of those from the opposite end of the state doesn't sit well.

The University of Pennsylvania's program had the life choked out of it due to budgetary concerns and an inactive alumni and booster presence back in 1978. The Delaware Valley features more than two dozen club teams that participate in lower-level leagues, including the rest of the City 6 -- Temple, Drexel, St. Joseph's, La Salle and Villanova.

You can't tell me there's not one intrepid soul or a group of hockey-crazed alumni with the coffers, influence and fandom to back one of these institutions so Philly can get a taste of what Boston offers.

No comments: