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College Hockey Slap Schotts Week 17 — Union's offensive woes

By Ken Schott
Monday, February 11, 2013
| 2 comments

In my 22 years of covering Union hockey, I have seen many years were the Dutchmen have struggled to score goals. Usually, they were expected to have problems because they didn’t have the talent.

But when you have won two straight ECAC Hockey regular-season titles, captured a conference tournament championship, played in two consecutive NCAA tournaments and reaching the Frozen Four last year, struggling is not an option.

But the Dutchmen are, indeed, struggling. After getting swept in the North Country over the weekend for the first time since 2009, the Dutchmen will be licking their wounds and searching for answers behind their struggles.

To me, this team hasn’t been the same since the two-game series against Penn State Nov. 24-25. The Dutchmen were coming out of their exam break, and appeared to have two easy games against the Nittany Lions, who are in their first year in Division I hockey.

Although the Dutchmen won both games, they weren’t very impressive in either game. They played lethargically for most of the weekend. And that carried over.

Union got blown out in its next game by Quinnipiac. The Dutchmen needed a late rally just to tie Princeton the next day. Then the pattern of blown leads started when the Dutchmen got only ties at Brown and Yale, games they should have won. Union blew a chance to hand Quinnipiac its first league loss Jan. 12 when they wasted a 2-0 lead, and the Bobcats scored three third-period goals to win, 3-2. Cornell’s seven-game losing streak would be 11 had it not scored two third-period goals to erase a 2-1 deficit and win, 3-2, Jan. 18.

Since the Penn State weekend, Union is 5-8-4 in its last 17 games. And if you look at those 17 games, the biggest problem the Dutchmen have has been their lack of even-strength goals. They have just 18 of those. You can’t always depend on your second-ranked power play in the country to bail you out every time.

In six of those games, the Dutchmen haven’t scored an even-strength goal. In six other games, they’ve gotten one even-strength goal. Only twice have they managed to score more than two even-strength goals in a game. They got three against Princeton Dec. 1 and versus Merrimack Dec. 30.

The Dutchmen, who had been one of the top-ranked offenses in the country the last couple of years, are 24th in the nation this season with an average of 2.93 goals per game. That is unacceptable.

I broke down some of the key forwards’ stats in the last 17 games. Daniel Carr has scored the most goals in that time with six, but only has two in his last eight games. Wayne Simpson, the Dutchmen’s top goal scorer 12, is next with five. However, he hasn’t scored in four straight, tying his longest drought of the season.

Kyle Bodie has three goals, but none in the last six. Daniel Ciampini has three in his last 16 games (he was scratched against St. Lawrence). Matt Wilkins, who was a healthy scratch in two games during this stretch, has three goals in 15 games. Josh Jooris, who missed a game because of injury, has four goals in 16 games. He ended an 11-game drought with the Dutchmen’s only goal against Clarkson.

Max Novak has just two goals in 17 games. Matt Hatch has one in 16 games. Cole Ikkala hasn’t scored in 13 games (he missed four games because of injury). David Roy just picked up his first college point, an assist, against St. Lawrence.

You knew that it was possible that the Dutchmen were going to have some problems scoring with the loss of Jeremy Welsh and Kelly Zajac. But I don’t think anyone could have imagined the struggles they are going through.

And the Dutchmen’s penalty kill, which had allowed just nine power-play goals in their first 25 games, have allowed six in the last three.

Despite their scoring woes, the Dutchmen still have a shot at an ECACH tournament first-round bye with six games left in the season. They are tied for sixth, and just a point out of third.

However, if they don’t start scoring even-strength goals on a consistent basis, the Dutchmen will not only find themselves not getting a first-round bye, they could lose out on home ice in the first round. And no one could have seen that coming.

This weekend’s games with Yale and Brown at Messa will go a long way in deciding the Dutchmen’s fate. Their playoff lives hangs in the balance. It’s time for the Dutchmen to find ways to win.

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

Union drops out of poll

Union’s run in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey top-20 poll is over.

The Dutchmen dropped out of the poll Monday after their weekend losses at Clarkson and St. Lawrence. They were ranked in the poll for 81 straight weeks. They were No. 18 in last week’s poll.

Union, which had been in the poll starting Dec. 7, 2009, received 40 points, most for other teams receiving votes. RPI got one vote.

ECAC Hockey-leading Quinnipiac took over the top spot in the poll, getting 41 of 50 first-place votes and 983 points. The Bobcats, who unseated Minnesota, become the first ECACH team to be ranked No. 1 since Yale on Jan. 24, 2011.

The Gophers lost to St. Cloud State, 4-3, Saturday after beating the Huskies, 4-2, Friday.

I received plenty of comments about last week’s blog supporting Quinnipiac as the top-ranked team in the country. Many Minnesota and WCHA fans weren’t happy about it, and they believed that ECAC Hockey isn’t as superior as their Gophers and WCHA supposedly is. One particular individual delighted in trying to push my buttons in ripping ECACH. He believed he was like Charlie Sheen — #winning.

Amazingly, this individual hasn’t said a word since his Gophers loss. Guess I am #winning now.

USCHO.com/NCAA poll

Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Quinnipiac (41) 21- 3-4 983 2
2 Minnesota ( 9) 19- 5-4 949 1
3 Miami 18- 7-5 874 3
4 Boston College 16- 7-2 819 5
5 New Hampshire 16- 7-3 779 4
6 Western Michigan 18- 7-5 748 6
7 North Dakota 16- 8-6 720 7
8 St. Cloud State 18-11-1 657 8
9 Minnesota State 18- 9-3 559 11
10 Yale 13- 6-3 557 10
11 Denver 15- 9-5 495 9
12 Notre Dame 18-11-1 478 11
13 Boston University 13-11-1 331 13
14 Massachusetts-Lowell 14- 9-2 317 16
15 Niagara 18- 5-5 299 15
16 Nebraska-Omaha 16-12-2 274 14
17 Dartmouth 11- 8-4 216 17
18 Wisconsin 12- 9-7 158 19
19 Merrimack 13-10-5 151 20
20 Alaska 13-11-4 57 NR
Others receiving votes: Union 40, Providence 16, Ferris State 12, Northern Michigan 5, Colgate 2, St. Lawrence 2, Holy Cross 1, RPI 1.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine 2012-13 Men’s College Hockey Poll

(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking 2012-13 Record Weeks in Top 15
1 Quinnipiac, 503 (28) 2 21-3-4 10
2 Minnesota, 470 (6) 1 19-5-4 19
3 Miami (Ohio), 424 3 18-7-5 19
4 Boston College, 402 4 16-7-2 19
5 New Hampshire, 377 5 16-7-3 16
6 Western Michigan, 338 6 18-7-5 19
7 North Dakota, 316 7 16-8-6 19
8 St. Cloud State, 259 10 18-11-1 7
9 Yale, 238 9 13-6-3 10
10 Minnesota State, 185 13 18-9-3 6
11 Denver, 164 8 15-9-5 19
12 Notre Dame, 136 12 18-11-1 19
13 Boston University, 78 11 13-11-1 19
14 Niagara, 70 14 18-5-5 2
15 UMass-Lowell, 55 NR 14-9-2 10
Others receiving votes: Nebraska-Omaha, 29; Dartmouth, 13; Merrimack, 9; Alaska, 7; Wisconsin, 7.

My vote

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

PairWise Rankings

Amazingly, Union is still on the NCAA tournament bubble. The Dutchmen are in a three-way tie for 19th.

RPI moved up from 29th to 22nd.

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 %

1 Quinnipiac 30 21-3-4 .8214 1 .5877 1 13-2-2 .8235
2 Minnesota 29 19-5-4 .7500 2 .5682 2 9-4-3 .6562
3t Miami 27 18-7-5 .6833 4t .5577 3 13-5-4 .6818
3t Boston College 27 16-7-2 .6800 6 .5539 5 8-3-2 .6923
5 New Hampshire 26 16-7-3 .6731 7 .5564 4 11-6-2 .6316
6 North Dakota 25 16-8-6 .6333 10 .5474 7 11-8-4 .5652
7 Western Michigan 24 18-7-5 .6833 4t .5459 8 9-4-1 .6786
8t Yale 23 13-6-3 .6591 8 .5490 6 5-5-3 .5000
8t St. Cloud State 23 18-11-1 .6167 11t .5453 9 12-9-1 .5682
10t Minnesota State 19 18-9-3 .6500 9 .5412 10 8-9-1 .4722
10t Niagara 19 18-5-5 .7321 3 .5380 11 2-2-0 .5000
12t Denver 18 15-9-5 .6034 13 .5352 12 8-8-4 .5000
12t Boston University 18 13-11-1 .5400 23 .5255 16 9-7-1 .5588
14 Notre Dame 17 18-11-1 .6167 11t .5341 13 6-8-1 .4333
15 Alaska 16 13-11-4 .5357 24t .5237 17 10-8-2 .5500
16 Massachusetts-Lowell 15 14-9-2 .6000 14 .5291 14 3-7-0 .3000
17 Dartmouth 13 11-8-4 .5652 18 .5274 15 4-6-2 .4167
18 Northern Michigan 12 12-13-4 .4828 33 .5117 24 10-11-3 .4792
19t Nebraska-Omaha 11 16-12-2 .5667 17 .5189 18 6-10-1 .3824
19t Merrimack 11 13-10-5 .5536 19t .5180 19 5-7-1 .4231
19t Union 11 13-10-5 .5536 19t .5142 21 5-5-2 .5000
22t Wisconsin 9 12-9-7 .5536 19t .5165 20 4-9-3 .3438
22t Rensselaer 9 12-11-5 .5179 29 .5134 22 6-9-3 .4167
24 Ferris State 8 14-12-4 .5333 28 .5134 23 5-9-2 .3750
25 Colgate 7 13-11-4 .5357 24t .5109 26 4-7-2 .3846
26 Ohio State 6 12-12-6 .5000 30t .5111 25 5-9-5 .3947
27t Providence 4 10-10-6 .5000 30t .5102 27 2-8-4 .2857
27t St. Lawrence 4 13-11-4 .5357 24t .5055 28 4-6-1 .4091
29t Holy Cross 2 14-10-2 .5769 15 .5043 29 2-4-1 .3571
29t Robert Morris 2 15-11-2 .5714 16 .5012 30 4-2-2 .6250
31 Colorado College 0 11-14-5 .4500 37t .5003 31 5-11-3 .3421

Daily Gazette Stick Salutes

Time for my weekly awards.

Player of the Week — Nick Bailen, RPI

The senior defenseman sparked the Engineers’ first North Country road trip sweep since Jan. 21-22, 2005. Bailen had a goal and an assist in Friday’s 4-3 overtime victory over St. Lawrence, and then had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s 6-2 dismantling of Clarkson.

Goalie of the Week — Mike Condon

The senior netminder helped the Tigers to an impressive road sweep of Colgate and Cornell. Condon made 36 saves in Friday’s 4-2 victory over Colgate, and had 39 saves in a 1-0 win over Cornell.

Rookie of the Week — Soren Jonzzon, Quinnipiac

The freshman forward’s first career goal gave Quinnipiac a 2-1 lead in the second period against Colgate, and the Bobcats went on to a 3-2 win Saturday.

Team of the Week — Princeton


Sweeping Colgate and Cornell is impressive enough. But doing it playing short-handed is incredible. The Tigers had only 16 skaters dressed against Colgate, and 17 against Cornell.

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!

 
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comments

February 11, 2013
7:32 p.m.

[ Suggest removal ]
JimHyla says...

You're giving Princeton too much credit. Union is definitely better. The only reason they swept Colgate and Cornell was unbelievable goaltending. Colgate out shot them 38-26 and we, Cornell, were 39-12 against them. They didn't even get a shot on goal in the third period. They won on a shot just inside the post and just under the crossbar. It could have easily clanged off iron, as did 3 of ours. :( Even with Union slipping, I'd not worry much if you play them in the post-season.

February 14, 2013
1 a.m.

[ Suggest removal ]
kschott says...

Thanks for the comment, Jim! It was a tough call this week.

 

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