College Hockey Slap Schotts: Union heads into exam break a roll
It’s exam time at Union College. For the hockey team, that means the focus for the next week will be on the books and not the ice.
The Dutchmen head into the break on a roll. After a tough October that saw them open 1-2-2 and three blowing leads on three of those games, the Dutchmen are 5-1 this month and are on a three-game winning streak. Sweeping Route 7 rival RPI will make the exam period that much sweeter.
Here are some of my thoughts on the Dutchmen so far.
— Junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is playing at another level right now. He’s making better decisions with the puck. He plays a steady defense. He is just a beast on offense. He has 51 shots on goal, most in the nation by a defenseman. He is tied for second among defenseman in points with 12. After Saturday’s game, RPI coach Seth Appert called Gostisbehere the best player in the country.
Is Gostisbehere Hobey Baker-worthy? Yes, he definitely should be considered. I know Philadelphia Flyers fans are waiting for Gostisbehere to be in the orange-and-black sweater soon. The Flyers have had some great offensive defenseman in Mark Howe and Eric Desjardins, but they have never had the likes of a Gostisbehere leading the rush up the ice.
— The pairing of Gostisbehere and freshman defenseman Jeff Taylor is working out well. They seem very comfortable together.
— When I saw that Union landed 6-foot-6, 235-pound center Eli Lichtenwald, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was Lichtenwald going to a be a lumbering fourth-line center, or was he going to be for tough for the opposing teams to defend?
So far, it has been the latter. Lichtenwald scored in his collegiate debut Oct. 11 against Bowling Green, and then got hurt. He missed the next seven games. Lichtenwald returned Nov. 9 against Cornell and picked up two assists in Union’s 3-0 win. He scored in each game against RPI. Not a bad start to his college career.
— The one line that has remained intact since the start of the season has been center Mark Bennett, left winger Cole Ikkala and right winger Sam Coatta. They have been tenacious defensively, and will chip in on offense. Bennett has been a revelation. The junior played in 28 career games coming into the season, but in my mind, he is Union’s most improved player. He seems to playing with more confidence and jam.
— There are some issues. Until it scored three times Saturday, the power play has struggled of late. The penalty kill needs to get better. It is only at 82.2 percent (37-for-45). And, of course, the Dutchmen need to do better when it comes to protecting leads.
But, after the slow start, it appears Union is back on track.
Bourbonais off Yale roster
The player who scored the game-winning goal for Yale in last season’s NCAA Frozen Four championship game against Quinnipiac is no longer with the team.
Senior forward Clinton Bourbonais was removed from the team roster before Saturday’s game against Sacred Heart. Bulldogs coach Keith Allain didn’t give a reason, according to the Yale Daily News and the New Haven Register.
Bourbonais scored with just under four seconds left in the second period to snap a scoreless tie against their New Haven-area rival. The Bulldogs went on to a 4-0 victory to capture their first NCAA title, and the first for an ECACH team since Harvard in 1989, Bourbonais was named to the all-tournament team.
He played in Yale’s exhibition game against Ontario IT and had a goal and an assist. He only hadn’t dressed for one regular-season game, ironically, against Quinnipiac Nov. 9. He didn't have a point.
Hockey East admitted on Saturday that it’s officiating crew made the wrong call in Thursday’s game between Boston College and UMass.
The Minutemen appeared to tie the score, 2-2, but BC coach Jerry York asked the on-ice officials to check the video because he thought UMass was offside. The video confirmed that, and the goal was waved off.
However, the game wasn’t being televised, so the officials couldn’t use video replay to overturn the goal because there was an offsides. Steve Piotrowski, the secretary-rules editor for the NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey rules committee, sent out a memo Friday to clarify its position.
“During NCAA competition that is televised and where a video replay official is in use, game officials may use replay to correct an error on calling an offside or too many players on the ice that directly leads to a goal,” Piotrowski said.
“The Rules Committee discussed this rule at length during the June 2013 meetings and has approved the extension of use of this rule to televised games during the regular season.
The next day, Hockey East said the officials — referees Jeff Bunyon and Kevin Keenan and linesmen Chris Aughe and Chris Low — were wrong in three ways.
“First, coaches can only request reviews of those specific situations listed under page 83, section 93.2 of the rule book,” the statement read. “Second, offsides can only be reviewed in games that are televised, an expansion of the existing rule that previously limited review of offside and too many men on the ice to post-season championships only. The rule was extended to cover regular season televised games per a July memo from the NCAA. This game was not televised. And third, the offside situation must be “egregious” in nature, which this situation was not.
“While the Massachusetts goal should not have been called back in the manner that it was, there is no league protocol by which the situation can be overturned.”
The league added that future assignments for those four officials would be reviewed.
Union back in polls
After an four-week absence from the national rankings, Union is back in the polls.
The Dutchmen (5-1 ECAC Hockey, 6-3-2 overall) are 17th in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey top-20 poll released Monday. They are also No. 15 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll, edging RPI, 31-30.
Union swept Route 7 rival and formerly 10th-ranked RPI over the weekend, winning by scores of 4-3 at Messa Rink on Friday and 4-1 at Houston Field House on Saturday.
Union was last in the polls Oct. 14, when it was ranked 16th in the USCHO poll and 15th in the USA Today poll. The Dutchmen dropped out of the polls the next week after getting swept at home by Lake Superior State.
The Dutchmen are off for final exams. They return to action Nov. 30 at Penn State.
The Engineers (2-3-2, 6-4-2) dropped to 14th in the USCHO poll. RPI visits Mercyhurst for a two-game series starting Friday.
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (47) 8- 1-1 996 1
2 St. Cloud State (1) 8- 1-1 914 3
3 Providence 9- 1-1 873 5
4 Quinnipiac (2) 11- 1-1 818 6
5 Michigan 7- 2-1 807 2
6 Notre Dame 8- 3-1 778 4
7 Boston College 7- 2-2 739 7
8 Miami 7- 4-1 644 8
9 Yale 4- 1-2 586 9
10 Ferris State 8- 2-1 476 14
11 Clarkson 10- 3-1 463 11
12 Wisconsin 4- 3-1 451 12
13 Massachusetts-Lowell 8- 4-0 430 16
14 RPI 6- 4-2 280 10
15 North Dakota 4- 5-1 254 13
16 Lake Superior 6- 3-1 248 15
17 Union 6- 3-2 211 NR
18 Cornell 4- 3-1 115 19
19 Minnesota-Duluth 5- 4-1 108 20
20 New Hampshire 6- 5-1 83 NR
Others receiving votes: Ohio State 63, St. Lawrence 53, Nebraska-Omaha 26, Air Force 22, Northeastern 21, Denver 11, Alaska 10, Bowling Green 9, Boston University 4, Colgate 4, Alaska-Anchorage 2, Minnesota State 1.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Minnesota, 508 (32) 1
2. St. Cloud State, 444 4
3. Providence, 424 (1) 6
4. Quinnipiac, 390 (1) 5
5. Michigan, 386 2
6. Notre Dame, 370 3
7. Boston College, 321 7
8. Miami, 265 8
9. Yale, 224 9
10. Clarkson, 153 11
11. UMass Lowell, 150 13
12. Wisconsin, 146 12
13. Ferris State, 136 15
14. North Dakota, 48 14
15. Union, 31 RV
Others receiving votes: RPI, 30; Lake Superior State, 21; New Hampshire, 15; Cornell, 4; Denver, 4; Air Force, 3; Bowling Green, 3; Ohio State, 3; Minnesota Duluth, 1.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted.
3) St. Cloud
4) Notre Dame
7) Boston College
12) Ferris State
14) North Dakota
17) Lake Superior
19) Minn. Duluth
20) Ohio State
Daily Gazette/ECACH Four Stars
Time for my four stars of the week.
Player of the Week — Shayne Gostisbehere, Union
The junior defenseman played a key role in the Dutchmen’s weekend sweep of the Engineers. He had two assists in the Friday win, and scored twice in the Saturday victory. He led Union with 14 shots on goal in the games.
Goalie of the Week — Michael Garteig, Quinnipiac
I have to rename this award after Garteig since he seems to be winning it all the time. The sophomore netminder made 31 saves in the Bobcats’ 3-2 win over Harvard on Friday. He had 19 stops in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Dartmouth.
Rookie of the Week — Jeff Taylor, Union
The freshman defenseman and Clifton Park native had three assists in the two wins over RPI.
Team of the Week — Union
The Dutchmen continue their dominance of Route 7-rival RPI.
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Good Monday! Good Hockey!
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