Monday, January 27, 2014

College Hockey Round-Up, Week 11

Thanks to the Albany Times Union
No change once more atop the latest rankings, as Minnesota remained at its perch. The Gophers did manage to lose some first-place votes, however. Only a minor nuisance in the long run.

Don Lucia's program finished the weekend by extending their unbeaten string to 12 games (9-0-3) with a win over St. Cloud State (4-1) and 4-4 tie against Minnesota Duluth in the North Star College Cup.

No. 2 Boston College remained in place and gained six first-place votes, but not after a narrow win and challenge from upstart Penn State on Saturday night. The Eagles now own the second-longest unbeaten streak in the country at 9-0-2. Details to follow in the section on the local programs.

Quinnipiac represents the head of the ECAC, rising to third after having the entire week off. The Bobcats return to action this Friday at Dartmouth. 

Union, which dropped one slot to fourth, split a pair of games over the weekend. The Dutchmen bested Harvard by a 4-3 at a raucous Messa Rink on Friday to ascend to the top of the ECAC Hockey standings, then dropped a contentious 2-1 decision to rival RPI in the Mayor's Cup on Saturday night in Albany. Shayne Gostisbehere ended the weekend with a goal ad assist, but the most compelling events took place after the final buzzer.

Here is a fan-shot video of events, beginning with the final faceoff of the contest and leading into the resultant brawl and then to some touchy moments as the arena is emptied. Think St. Joe's vs. Villanova, except with less civility and more vulgarity on blades. Warning, NSFW due to language:



If that wasn't bad enough, the coaches from both programs engaged in their own verbal duel. From Ken Schott's game story:

"The ugliest fracas was Union coach Rick Bennett trying to go after RPI coach Seth Appert. An angry Bennett had to be restrained by a referee, while Appert was held back by one of his players.
There were 19 penalties handed out totaling 125 minutes at the end. Four players were given game disqualifications. RPI’s Zal­ewski and Luke Curadi, along with Union’s Eli Lichtenwald, were given their DQs for fighting. Union’s Mat Bodie got his DQ for facemasking. All four players will miss their team’s games Friday. Union is at St. Lawrence, and RPI plays at Clarkson.

An ECAC Hockey spokesman said that the video of the fracas will be reviewed today, and it’s possible more suspensions could be handed out.

Afterwards, both coaches admitted they were wrong with how they acted. 

“I’m actually embarrassed about my actions,” Bennett said. “I apol­ogize to our president, our athletic director, our fans, Garnet Blades members, to the RPI fans, their coaching staff, their players. That’s now we want to be represented.”


“I’d like to apologize for that end of the game [incident],” Appert said. “These are two heated rivals that have had some of these incidents, but we have a tremendous amount of respect for Union. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Rick Bennett and his coaching staff. When you play in a heated rivalry game, sometimes things boil over. But that’s not the way we want to be portrayed at all. I know they don’t either.

“I want to apologize to Dr. [Shirley] Jackson, our school pres­ident, our fans and the Union fans
because that’s not what either team’s about.”

St. Cloud State remained entrenched at No. 5 after its participation in the North Star Cup, losing to Minnesota in the opener before recovering with a 6-4 decision over Minnesota-Mankato. Ferris State, Providence, UMass-Lowell and Wisconsin also stood firm in their rankings from last week, while the country's new #10 program is Northeastern.

The Huskies have enjoyed a slow but steady rise in the rankings, going 5-2-0 in their last seven games. Over the weekend, there was a split at Notre Dame -- a 4-0 victory on Friday which saw Clay Witt stop all 30 shots sent his way, then a 3-0 loss on Saturday where Stephen Summerhays came up with 36 stops. Earlier in the season, on Thanksgiving weekend, Boston's "other" hockey program defeated ND for the Shillelagh Cup, so we have the looks of another rivalry brewing in the stacked Hockey East.

On the local scene...

Princeton had yet another weekend off. The Tigers will look to regain some equilibrium this coming weekend when they resume their Ivy League slate with games on the road against Harvard and Dartmouth.

Speaking of Penn State: The Nittany Lions welcomed the high-flying Boston College Eagles to Pegula Ice Arena on Saturday night for their lone contest of the weekend, and came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 score which was as close as the final tally suggested. 

Perkasie, PA's own Eamon McAdam still hasn't won a game yet, but proved that he's got a little something special in the crease thanks to a handful of acrobatic saves against Jerry York's high octane offense.

York, owner of 951 career victories (over 900 more than Guy Gadowsky) praised the PSU program and atmosphere, saying: "Love the building, the facility, the crowds. I thought it was a great college hockey environment to play in. We've played in a lot of buildings but this is right at the top, it's something special. It's good to see an area like Central Pennsylvania have a college hockey team...the success of the Penguins is certainly going to help."

It bears repeating, but sophomore forward David Glen did not play in Saturday's contest and will miss at least this coming weekend's series with Ohio State after he chose to undergo a bone-marrow harvesting procedure. Glen was honored with a sign behind PSU's attack net proclaiming his choice to be "The Ultimate Save," and was honored with a standing ovation at the first intermission along with other Happy Valley families dealing with cancer.

Teammate Tommy Olczyk, who missed a key penalty shot in the third period, praised Glen's two-way play, but in light of his sacrifice, thought that from now on, he should be called a "three-way player."

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