College hockey Monday musings: Volume 4
Atlantic Hockey has been given little respect by college hockey fans, and some media members. It's been treated like a minor league than a Division I hockey conference. Many have believed that a game against an Atlantic Hockey team is an easy win.
But after what happened this past weekend to ECAC Hockey teams, Atlantic Hockey must be given its proper respect.
Mercyhurst came to RPI and won the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament. Canisius went to Clarkson and went 1-0-1. Army came within two-tenths of a second of taking Union to overtime.
Let's start with Mercyhurst. The Lakers beat two ECACH teams to take the title. They opened the tournament with three first-period goals against RPI. With the Engineers' struggling to score goals, the game was as good as over. The Lakers advanced to the final with a 4-1 win. They would face seventh-ranked Princeton, which defeated Northeastern, 5-3. With a high-powered offense, surely the Tigers would roll over the Lakers.
But it was Mercyhurst that skated all over Princeton in the first period. The Lakers scored four goals, chasing Tigers goalie Zane Kalemba from the game. They held that lead until the third period.
But the Tigers struck four goals to tie it. Surely, momentum was on their side.
However, the Lakers bounced back. Scott Pitt shot a puck off the leg of Thomas Sychterz with 1:21 left in the third to break the tie. The Lakers added an empty-net goal, and won, 6-4, to take the title.
Then there is Canisius. The Golden Griffins had a two-game series at Clarkson. Even though the Golden Knights have been struggling, surely a two-game series against Canisius would yield two wins for them.
But the Griffins stunned the Knights. They scored the first goal in each game. In Friday's game, Jason Weeks scored with 14 seconds left in regulation to tie the score, 3-3. With 1:14 left in overtime, Spencer Churchill won it for Canisius.
Canisius had a 2-1 lead in the third period. Lauri Tuohimaa's power-play goal late in the third helped Clarkson escape with a 2-2 tie.
Army gave Union fits in Friday's game. The Black Knights took a 4-3 lead into the third period. The Dutchmen rallied to tie it on Lane Caffaro's power-play goal, and the miracle goal scored by Kelly Zajac just before the buzzer ending the period.
And I haven't even mentioned the big story of Atlantic Hockey, Air Force. The Falcons won their first 13 games before losing to Denver on Saturday.
So, for anyone out there to insist that Atlantic Hockey isn't a major player, they need to wake up.
ECACH TEAM OF THE WEEK: Union
After losing three of their last four, the Dutchmen got back on track over the weekend with their wins over Army and Providence. The way they won the game victory over the Black Knights will be talked about for a long time.
In case you haven't seen the video of the goal, click here.
The Dutchmen followed that up with a solid 4-2 win against Providence.
TWO DUTCHMEN HONORED
Union dominated the ECACH weekly honors Monday.
Forward Mario Valery-Trabucco was named player of the week after his four-point weekend. He had three assists against Army, including one on Zajac's winner. Valery-Trabucco scored a goal against Providence.
Corey Milan was named goalie of the week. He made eight saves in relief of starter Rich Sillery against Army, and then stopped 27 shots against Providence.
St. Lawrence freshman goalie Robby Morris was named rookie of the week. He made 24 goals in helping the Saints beat Massachusetts, 4-3, Friday.
Time Warner Cable Sports channel 3 will televise two ECACH games involving Colgate this weekend from Starr Rink. It will have the Raiders' game against St. Lawrence at 7 p.m. Friday, and the matchup with Clarkson at 3 p.m. Saturday.
NEW NO. 1
Notre Dame's football team may stink, but its hockey team does not.
The Fighting Irish have taken over the top spot in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports top 20 poll. They received 40 of 50 first-place votes. Eight teams received at least one first-place vote.
Minnesota, which had been No. 1 for two weeks, dropped to No. 3 after losing to Michigan and tying Michigan State at home.
In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, Notre Dame is No. 1, and Minnesota is No. 2.
USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Division I Men's Poll
Team (First Place) Record Pts Last Week
1 Notre Dame (40) 10-3-2 961 2
2 Boston College ( 1) 9-4-1 886 5
3 Minnesota ( 2) 7-2-5 881 1
4 Miami ( 2) 8-3-3 773 6
5 Colorado College 9-4-3 732 3
6 Northeastern 10-3-2 717 4
7 Boston University ( 1) 9-4-0 707 8
8 Denver ( 1) 9-5-1 697 9
9 Princeton ( 2) 9-2-0 650 7
10 Air Force ( 1) 13-1-0 625 11
11 Minnesota State 8-3-3 531 10
12 Vermont 9-3-2 488 13
13 Cornell 5-1-2 414 12
14 Michigan 9-7-0 338 14
15 Alaska-Anchorage 7-5-2 131 19
16 Dartmouth 6-4-0 124 20
17 Mass.-Lowell 8-5-0 123 NR
18 Nebraska-Omaha 9-4-1 115 16
19 New Hampshire 5-6-3 113 15
20 Alaska 8-4-2 85 NR
Others Receiving Votes: St. Cloud State 78,
Wisconsin 72, Massachusetts 65, Ohio State 54,
Maine 40, North Dakota 39, Minnesota-Duluth 36,
Yale 13, Harvard 7, Ferris State 3, Niagara 1,
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine
Men's College Hockey Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
Last Week's Ranking
Weeks in Top 15
1 University of Notre Dame, 508 (33)
2 University of Minnesota, 447 (1)
3 Boston College, 420
4 Miami (Ohio) University, 380
5 Boston University, 342
6 Colorado College, 318
7 University of Denver, 306
8 Northeastern University, 298
9 Princeton University, 253
10 U.S. Air Force Academy, 209
11 Minnesota State University, 188
12 University of Vermont, 181
13 Cornell University, 105
14 University of Michigan, 72
15 University of New Hampshire, 16
Others receiving votes: University of Massachusetts Lowell, 10; University of Alaska Anchorage, 9; Dartmouth College, 6; University of Nebraska Omaha, 6; St. Cloud State University, 4; University of Alaska, 1; University of Wisconsin, 1.