College Hockey Slap Schotts: A missed opportunity
On Saturday, Penn State played a home game against Vermont at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It was the second straight season the two teams met in the home of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Saturday’s announced attendance was 17,632, although several people have told me that the number was inflated by around 5,000. Last season’s game, which was played in late January, attracted a sellout-crowd of 19,529.
There are two reasons the Nittany Lions and Catamounts have played each other in Philadelphia the last two seasons. One, and this obvious, is because Penn State is THE college in the Keystone State (students and alums of the Universities of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh might argue their cases). The second is that Vermont defenseman Nick Luukko’s father is Peter Luukko, who is only president and chief operating officer of Comcast-Spectacor, which runs the Wells Fargo Center and the Flyers.
But I believe there was missed opportunity. I don’t know if you can blame Penn State or Comcast-Spectacor, but someone should have looked into the possibility of bringing one of the two games Penn State plays against Union this season to Philadelphia.
It would have been a chance for Flyers fans to see future defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. Of course, the NCAA would probably frown upon Gostisbehere being promoted for such a game. But Flyers fans who have been following Gostisbehere’s Union career would have flocked to the Wells Fargo Center to see what the future brings. Right now, there isn’t much for Flyers fans to cheer for right now after starting the season 1-7 and coach Peter Laviolette lost his job after losing the first three games of the season.
Union visits Penn State Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. What could have been done is play the Nov. 30 game in State College, Pa., and then travel to Philadelphia for Dec. 1 contest. And there is precedent for this. Last year, the Nittany Lions opened the season Oct. 12-13 with two games against American International. The first game was played in State College, and the second one was in Wilkes-Barre.
It would have been fun to see it happen. Alas, it won’t. The Flyers fans will just have to wait a couple of years, or maybe in April if the Dutchmen play in the Frozen Four at the Wells Fargo Center.
An apology, with explanation
This week’s “College Hockey Slap Schotts” blog is being posted later than normal, but there is a good reason why.
On Sunday, I was at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse to watch my son Steven and the Mohonasen High School Field Band participate in the New York State Field Band Conference Championship. Steven, who is in eighth grade at Draper Middle School, played the timpani. The band competed in the Small School 1 Division, and there were seven schools in the division.
The Mighty Warriors scored a season-best 83.00 points. They finished sixth (my biased opinion, they should have finished higher because they were that good). And the future is bright. Around 40 percent of the band members are in their first year. The future is bright.
I am proud of my son, and proud of the band. Honestly, I don’t know where Steven gets the musical talent (I can’t sing, but I can’t dance when I want to, and my wife sings the wrong words to songs). By the time we got home and got to bed, it was 2 a.m.
And at Steven can always say he played in the Carrier Dome. I can never say that.
RPI up in polls
RPI moved up from 12th to 10th in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey top-20 poll and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll Monday.
The Engineers (4-1) beat New Hampshire, 4-2, Saturday. They open ECAC Hockey play Tuesday when they host Harvard at 7 p.m. at Houston Field House.
Union didn’t get a vote in the USCHO poll, but managed two points in the USA Today poll. How this happened after the Dutchmen had an unimpressive 2-2 tie at UConn on Friday is beyond me.
Minnesota is the unanimous No. 1 team in both polls.
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (50) 5- 0-1 1000 1
2 Notre Dame 5- 1-0 890 2
3 Providence 4- 0-1 844 8
4 Michigan 4- 1-1 810 4
5 North Dakota 2- 1-1 777 6
6 Miami 3- 2-1 743 3
7 Quinnipiac 6- 1-0 671 9
8 Boston College 2- 2-1 670 5
9 St. Cloud State 3- 0-1 643 10
10 RPI 4- 1-0 529 12
11 Yale 1- 1-0 457 7
12 Lake Superior 4- 0-0 383 15
13 Wisconsin 2- 2-0 380 11
14 Cornell 2- 0-0 285 19
15 Massachusetts-Lowell 3- 3-0 262 18
16 Minnesota State 2- 2-0 195 16
17 Clarkson 6- 1-1 184 NR
18 Boston University 3- 3-0 168 13
19 Northeastern 5- 1-0 154 20
20 Minnesota-Duluth 3- 2-1 108 NR
Others receiving votes: New Hampshire 106, Brown 54, Denver 47, Alaska-Anchorage 36, St. Lawrence 32, Air Force 16, Ferris State 15, Harvard 13, Alaska 12, Maine 4, Bowling Green 2.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Minnesota, 510 (34) 1
2. Notre Dame, 438 2
3. Providence, 391 8
4. Michigan, 388 4
5. Miami, 355 3
6. North Dakota, 335 7
7. Boston College, 312 5
8. St. Cloud State, 283 10
9. Quinnipiac, 275 9
10. RPI, 166 12
11. Yale, 160 6
12. Wisconsin, 137 11
13. Lake Superior State, 81 15
14. UMass-Lowell, 65 RV
15. Cornell, 54 RV
Others receiving votes: Northeastern, 24; Boston University 23; Clarkson, 19; New Hampshire, 18; Minnesota State, 12; Brown, 8; Denver, 7; Alaska, 4; Minnesota Duluth, 4; Union, 2.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted. I apologize to Clarkson. I blame it on the late night Sunday,
2) Notre Dame
6) North Dakota
9) Boston College
10) St. Cloud
13) Lake Superior
14) Minnesota State
18) New Hampshire
Daily Gazette/ECACH Four Stars
Time for my four stars of the week.
Player of the Week — Mark Naclerio, Brown
The sophomore forward was named MVP of the inaugural Liberty Invitational in Newark, N.J., after leading the Bears to two wins with three goals and four assists. He scored the game-winning goals against defending NCAA-champion Yale in Friday’s 4-3 victory and Saturday’s 5-3 triumph over Dartmouth.
Goalie of the Week — Raphael Girard, Harvard
The senior netminder stopped all 43 shots he faced in the Crimson’s season-opening 3-0 win over Bentley on Saturday.
Rookie of the Week — Sam Anas, Quinnipiac
The freshman forward scored five goals in three Bobcats’ wins. He had back-to-back game-winning goals in a two-game series weekend sweep of Holy Cross.
Team of the Week — Brown
The Bears open the season by winning the Liberty Invitational, which included beating NCAA champ Yale.
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Good Monday/Tuesday! Good Hockey!