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Parting Schotts

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College Hockey Slap Schotts Week 12 — Union dominates top 10 stories of 2012

By Ken Schott
Monday, December 31, 2012

The 2012 year in college hockey will be one of the most memorable ones, especially for Union College hockey fans. There was also a welcomed change for the ECAC Hockey tournament. And there was a familiar national champion.

As we get ready to bid farewell to 2012, here is my top 10 stories of the year. And, let’s face it, Union is going to dominate this list.

1) Union reaches Frozen Four

For the first time in its 21-year NCAA Division I history, the Dutchmen made it to the Frozen Four. It was an exciting time for the team, as it was getting many interview requests leading up to its trip to Tampa, Fla. Fans who couldn’t make it to Tampa watched the game at Messa Rink. Unfortunately, Union’s dream of winning a national championship died when Ferris State beat the Dutchmen, 3-1, in the semifinals.

2) Dutchmen capture NCAA East Regional title

In order to get to the Frozen Four, the Dutchmen needed to win the NCAA East Regional. They did just that, beating Michigan State, 3-1, in the semifinals, and UMass-Lowell, 4-2, in the championship game.

3) Union wins first ECAC Hockey tournament championship

After missing out on reaching the championship round in 2011 when they were upset by 12th-seeded Colgate, the Dutchmen got to their second ECACH final four in three years. After losing the title game to Cornell in 2010, the Dutchmen got the job done in March. Led by the championship-round’s most outstanding player Jeremy Welsh, the Dutchmen beat Colgate, 6-2, in the semifinals, and downed Harvard, 3-1, in the final. Welsh had two goals and two assists in the two games, including an end-to-end rush that led to a tying goal against Harvard in the third period.

4) A second straight ECACH Cleary Cup

Union captured its second consecutive ECACH Cleary Cup regular-season title on the final night of the season — with help from Capital Region-rival RPI. Union and Cornell were tied for first going into the final day of the season. Cornell had the tiebreaker over Union for its 1-0-1 record against the Dutchmen. The Dutchmen played at Colgate, and pulled out a 5-3 victory. Meanwhile, RPI shocked Cornell, 2-1, in overtime, giving the Dutchmen its second straight title. Had Union and Cornell finished tied, both teams would have shared the Cleary Cup, but Cornell would have been the top seed for the tournament.

5) Jeremy Welsh signs with Carolina

Welsh had an outstanding three years with the Dutchmen, collecting 53 goals and 47 assists. He set a team single-season record with 27 goals last year. He had a wicked point shot on the power play. With nothing left to prove, Welsh gave up his senior season and signed a contract with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes just hours after the Dutchmen lost to Ferris State in the Frozen Four semifinals.

6) Shayne Gostisbehere

It was an incredible 2012 for Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. He was named to ECACH All-Rookie team, earned an invite to U.S. National Development Camp, which, eventually, led to him playing for Team USA in the World Junior Hockey Championships (he scored an overtime game-winning goal against Sweden in a pre-WJC contest, and had a power-play goal in an 8-0 win over Germany in Team USA’s opening WJC game). And in June, Gostisbehere was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL draft.

7) ECACH championships returning to Lake Placid

In mid-August, there was much rejoicing by ECACH fans when the league announced that the conference championships would be returning to Lake Placid for three years starting in 2014. Lake Placid was the home of the championship round from 1993-2002. Since then, the tournament was played in Albany (2003-2010) and Atlantic City (2011-13).

8) Union beats Harvard at Fenway Park

Jan. 13 was a special night for Union. The Dutchmen got to play Harvard outdoors at historic Fenway Park. On a cold and windy night, the Dutchmen were toasty warm after posting a 2-0 victory. Mat Bodie and Kelly Zajac scored Union’s goals, and goalie Troy Grosenick made 18 saves.

9) Awards, awards, awards

Union took home plenty of hardware. First-year coach Rick Bennett won the Tim Taylor Award as ECACH coach of the year. Grosenick won the Ken Dryden Award as the league’s top goalie, was first team All-ECACH, was named a first-team All-America and was a top-10 Hobey Baker finalist. Zajac won the ECACH’s Best Defensive Forward Award and was a third-team All-ECACH. Welsh was second team All-ECACH and a second-team All-America. Bodie was a first-team All-ECACH and a second-team All-America. Gostisbehere was named to the ECACH All-Rookie team.

10) Boston College wins NCAA title

For the third time in six years, Boston College captured the NCAA championship. The Eagles defeated Ferris State, 4-1, in the final.

Tough break for Alber

Boston College senior defenseman and Clifton Park native Patch Albert suffered a possible lateral meniscus tear while warming up for the Eagles’ game against Alabama-Huntsville n Saturday’s first round of the Mariucci Classic.

Alber suffered the injury during the team’s soccer warmup. BC coach Jerry York, who became college hockey’s all-time winningest coach when the Eagles beat Alabama-Huntsville, 5-2, told reporters after the game that the injury could sideline Alber for the season.

If that’s the case, it would be a shame. Alber went from walk-on to a full-time, scholarship player. He has two NCAA hockey championship rings. Hopefully, Alber can return before the season ends.

ECACH gets TV deal

After not being televised last season, the ECAC Hockey tournament championship round will be back on TV this season.

The league announced Monday morning that FOX College Sports Atlantic will carry the semifinals March 22 and the final March 23 from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

“We are excited to partner with Fox College Sports for our men’s annual championship,” ECACH commissioner Steve Hagwell said in a statement. “This opportunity allows for extraordinary coverage for our league’s showcase event. It truly gives our fans the opportunity to see our student-athletes in action in one of the nation’s marquee postseason events.”

The semifinals will be played at 4 and 7:30 p.m. The championship game is at 7 p.m.

“FOX College Sports is thrilled to bring the ECAC men’s hockey championship to a national audience, making it easier for family, friends and alumni to see their favorite student-athletes in action,” FOX Sports Networks executive vice president Gary Ehrlich said. “We look forward to showcasing the exciting semifinals and championship games this March.”

CBS Sports Network carried the championships in 2011 the first year the tournament was in Atlantic City.

ECACH Power Rankings

My weekly ECACH Power Rankings each week. WARNING: You may agree, or disagree, with my picks.

Team Last week’s ranking


1) Quinnipiac 1
2) Dartmouth 2
3) Union 4
4) Cornell 3
5) Colgate 7
6) RPI 8
7) Yale 6
8) Clarkson 8
9) Harvard 5
10) St. Lawrence 10
11) Brown 12
12) Princeton 11

Pairwise Rankings

Five ECACH teams are in the top 16 of the www.USCHO.com Pairwise Rankings, through Sunday. The Pairwise Ranking is a system which attempts to mimic the method used by the NCAA Selection Committee to determine participants for the NCAA Division I men’s hockey tournament.

Rank Team PWR W-L-T Win % Win % Rank RPI RPI Rank vs. TUC TUC %

1t Dartmouth 24 8-2-2 .7500 5t .5977 2 3-2-2 .5714
1t Boston College 24 12-3-1 .7812 2 .5973 3 8-2-1 .7727
3t New Hampshire 23 11-3-2 .7500 5t .5995 1 8-3-1 .7083
3t Quinnipiac 23 14-3-2 .7895 1 .5869 4 8-2-2 .7500
5 Notre Dame 21 14-4-0 .7778 3 .5790 5 3-3-0 .5000
6t Boston University 19 10-6-0 .6250 15 .5733 6 6-6-0 .5000
6t Minnesota 19 13-3-3 .7632 4 .5709 7 4-2-1 .6429
8 North Dakota 18 10-5-3 .6389 14 .5581 8 5-4-1 .5500
9 Miami 17 12-4-4 .7000 8 .5566 9 5-1-2 .7500
10 Yale 16 7-4-2 .6154 16t .5507 10 3-2-2 .5714
11 Cornell 15 7-4-2 .6154 16t .5439 11 3-1-2 .6667
12 Robert Morris 14 9-4-2 .6667 10t .5431 12 4-2-2 .6250
13 Union 13 9-4-4 .6471 13 .5417 13 0-2-1 .1667
14 Western Michigan 12 11-5-2 .6667 10t .5406 14 1-1-0 .5000
15t Denver 11 10-6-3 .6053 18 .5401 15 7-4-1 .6250
15t St. Cloud State 11 12-8-0 .6000 19 .5392 16 7-5-0 .5833
17 Minnesota State 9 12-6-2 .6500 12 .5346 17 2-6-0 .2500
18 Colgate 8 9-7-2 .5556 22 .5265 18 5-4-1 .5500
19 Holy Cross 7 10-4-2 .6875 9 .5239 19 1-1-1 .5000
20 UMass-Lowell 6 7-7-1 .5000 24t .5215 20 2-6-0 .2500
21 Niagara 5 10-3-4 .7059 7 .5214 21 1-1-0 .5000
22 Nebraska-Omaha 4 11-8-1 .5750 20 .5179 22 3-6-0 .3333
23 Providence 3 7-6-3 .5312 23 .5143 23 0-4-2 .1667
24 Ohio State 2 7-8-5 .4750 27 .5049 24 0-4-3 .2143
25 Massachusetts 1 6-9-2 .4118 42 .5032 25 2-8-1 .2273
26 Colorado College 0 8-10-2 .4500 29t .5027 26 1-10-2 .1538

Union steady in polls

Coming off its 1-1 record in the Catamount Cup, Union remained 13th in the latest the USCHO.com/NCAA top-20 college hockey poll on Monday.

The Dutchmen (3-2-3 ECAC Hockey, 9-4-4 overall), received 375 points. They lost to Vermont, 2-1, Saturday, and beat Merrimack, 4-1, Sunday.

Four other ECAC Hockey teams are in the poll. Quinnipiac is fifth, Dartmouth received one first-place vote and is eighth, Cornell is 11th and Yale is 17th. Colgate and Harvard, who were tied for 20th, dropped out of the poll.

Minnesota took over the top spot after trouncing the previous No. 1 team, Boston College, 8-1, Sunday in the Mariucci Classic.

USCHO.com/NCAA poll

Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (35) 13- 3-3 977 4
2 Boston College (5) 12- 3-1 922 1
3 Notre Dame (9) 14- 4-0 913 3
4 New Hampshire 11- 3-2 843 2
5 Quinnipiac 14- 3-2 769 9
6 Miami 12- 4-4 730 5
7 North Dakota 10- 5-3 720 7
8 Dartmouth (1) 8- 2-2 661 10
9 Boston University 10- 6-0 612 6
10 Western Michigan 11- 5-2 513 8
11 Denver 10- 6-3 478 14
12 Cornell 7- 4-2 425 11
13 Union 9- 4-4 375 13
14 Minnesota State 12- 6-2 336 18
15 St. Cloud State 12- 8-0 291 16
16 Nebraska-Omaha 11- 8-1 276 12
17 Yale 7- 4-2 213 15
18 Niagara 10- 3-4 124 17
19 Robert Morris 9- 4-2 120 NR
20 Holy Cross 10- 4-2 65 NR
Others receiving votes: Colgate 50, Ferris State 47, Providence 12, Harvard 10, Michigan Tech 5, Massachusetts 4, Massachusetts-Lowell 4, Northern Michigan 4, Colorado College 1.

My vote

I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted:
1) Minnesota
2) Boston College
3) Notre Dame
4) North Dakota
5) Quinnipiac
6) New Hampshire
7) Miami
8) Dartmouth
9) Boston U.
10) Denver
11) Western Michigan
12) Union
13) Cornell
14) Minnesota State
15) Nebraska-Omaha
16) St. Cloud State
17) Holy Cross
18) Robert Morris
19) Yale
20) Niagara

Daily Gazette Stick Salutes

Time for my weekly awards.

Player of the Week — Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Quinnipiac

The junior forward had two goals and an assist to lift the ninth-ranked Bobcats past No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha, 5-4, Saturday. Samuels-Thomas’ second goal of the game was the game-winner at 3:47 of the third period and snapped a 4-4 tie,

Goalie of the Week — Cab Morris, Dartmouth

The junior goalie made 31 saves, including 15 in the third period, as the 10th-ranked Big Green beat in-state rival and No. 2-ranked New Hampshire, 4-1, in the Ledyard Bank Classic semifinal Sunday.

Rookie of the Week — Brandon Pfeil, Brown

The freshman defenseman had a goal and three assists and was a plus-3 in the Bears’ 7-2 win over American International in the UConn Hockey Classic third-place game Sunday.

Team of the Week — Quinnipiac


The Bobcats swept a two-game series from Nebraska-Omaha to extend their unbeaten streak to 12 games (11-0-1).

If you have any comments, post them below, or e-mail them to me at schott@dailygazette.com. You can follow me on Twitter (@slapschotts) Also, please become a fan of two Facebook pages — The Daily Gazette On Ice, and my "Slap Schotts" college hockey segment page.

Good Monday! Good Hockey! And Happy New Year!

 
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