College Hockey Slap Schotts: Final thoughts (hopefully) on Mayor's Cup
I didn’t think I would be writing again about the Mayor’s Cup postgame brawl. And I hope this is the last time I will talk about it (although this is certainly a candidate to be the top college hockey story of 2014).
When ECAC Hockey commissioner Steve Hagwell handed out suspensions to four players last Monday, there wasn’t an additional suspension to Union coach Rick Bennett. The day before, Union suspended Bennett two games, without pay, for his actions trying to go after RPI coach Seth Appert.
When I spoke with Hagwell prior to Union’s press conference, I had the feeling the matter was closed.
“We were apprised to this prior to Union’s announcement, and had discussions,” Hagwell said Monday. “It was in line with what we felt was appropriate.”
But two days later, Hagwell added two more games to Bennett’s suspension, and handed Appert a one-game banishment.
“ECAC Hockey has continued to review the entire situation that occurred Saturday,” Hagwell said. “After additional review and consideration, and discussions with league administrators, additional sanctions have been assessed.
“The league members pride themselves on adhering to the highest level of sportsmanship. Those objectives were not attained Saturday.”
So, what changed between Monday and Wednesday?
I have to wonder if there wasn’t criticism within the league of how the situation was handled. Honestly, I had been expecting Bennett to get some additional time from the league. Reading the comments on Twitter and Facebook, I think there were many people as surprised as I was with the Hagwell’s decision.
But then around 6 p.m. last Wednesday, the league made its announcement. There were many people who thought the league got it right, but doing it two days after the first round of suspensions made the league look wishy-washy.
And, of course, thanks to social media, talk of the suspensions blew up on social media. I received an email from a fan who thought I was happy that Bennett got suspended. No, I didn’t feel any satisfaction from it. It’s my job to cover the situation for the print edition, and then give my opinion here only blog.
I enjoy talking with Bennett. He is very easy to talk with about hockey. He is very honest in his post-game press conferences, which reporters enjoy.
But he knows what he did was wrong. If you watch the video of the brawl, you can see how enraged he looked. It was a heat-of-the-moment situation, and he realizes he can’t do that again. He accepted his punishment, and he will move on and be a better coach for it.
And I must Union some props for having a press conference last Monday to make Bennett and suspended players Mat Bodie and Daniel Ciampini available, along with alternate captain Cole Ikkala.
Did the league get it right? Yes. Could it have handed out the coaches’ suspensions the same day as the players? In my mind, yes. And that, to me, is the bigger issue.
Game will return
As I wrote in my College Hockey Notebook on Friday, the Mayor’s Cup will be back next season. The game will be Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
It’s good that the game is coming back. I know no one will admit it, but the brawl will bring more people to the game.
And lost in the all attention of the brawl was the fact that 7,100 people attended the game. The weather wasn’t great that day, with snow falling and roads slick.
Maybe we will see a crowd of around 10,000 next season.
Union injury update
Ikkala, along with Dutchmen forward Eli Lichtenwald, didn’t play in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Clarkson because of lower-body injuries.
Ikkala was hurt in Friday’s 2-1 loss to St. Lawrence on Friday after blocking a pair of shots during a Saints’ power play in the third period.
Lichtenwald, who was suspended for that game as a result of the game disqualification he received for fighting in the Mayors’ Cup game, may have been hurt when he was taken down by RPI defenseman Luke Curadi.
Ikkala and Lichetnwald are day-to-day.
There are some major events this weekend at RPI and Union.
RPI’s annual Big Red Freakout is Saturday against Brown. The school will also honor the 1963-64 team that finished third in the Frozen Four.
On Friday, forward Jerry Knightley, who led the nation on scoring, will be inducted into the RPI Hockey Ring of Honor.
At Messa Rink, Union will host the third annual Project: Cameron’s Story book drive. Fans are asked fans to bring a new children’s book to the games against Brown and Yale.
Project: Cameron’s story was created five years ago by a Glens Falls family following the passing of their son. He was born premature and spent several months in the Neonatal Intensive care unit (NICU). The organization now donates thousands of books to local hospitals. The goal is to place a brand new book in the hands of every family admitted to the NICU at Albany Med and St. Peter’s. Often times parents can’t hold theses babies, but they can bond by reading to the them. Assistant coach Jason Tapp and his wife Nicol got involved with the organization after their daughter spent several weeks in the NICU following her birth in June 2009.
ECACH-leading Union remains ranked fourth in the latest USCHO.com/NCAA Hockey top-20 poll.
The Dutchmen (11-3 ECACH, 17-6-3 overall), who went 1-1 on their North Country trip, earned 798 points.
Union returns to Messa Rink this weekend to host the teams it defeated in the ECACH tournament championship round last March. The Dutchmen host Brown, the team they beat in the final, at 7 p.m. Friday. Defending NCAA-champion Yale, which lost Union in the semifinal, is at Messa at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The ECACH has five teams in the poll. Besides Union, Quinnipiac is third, Cornell is ninth, Yale is 13th and Clarkson is 14th.
In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll, the Dutchmen fell from fourth to sixth.
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (40) 19- 2-5 989 1
2 Boston College (10) 19- 4-3 959 2
3 Quinnipiac 19- 4-5 897 3
4 Union 17- 6-3 798 4
5 Ferris State 18- 6-3 758 6
6 St. Cloud State 14- 6-4 745 5
7 Massachusetts-Lowell 18- 7-2 738 8
8 Providence 15- 7-5 621 7
9 Cornell 12- 4-5 602 11
10 Michigan 13- 6-3 546 12
11 Northeastern 15- 8-3 528 10
12 Wisconsin 14- 8-2 460 9
13 Yale 11- 6-4 342 13
14 Clarkson 16-10-2 291 15
15 Denver 13- 8-5 278 16
16 North Dakota 13- 8-3 266 17
17 Minnesota-Duluth 12- 9-3 166 NR
18 Notre Dame 15-11-1 147 14
19 Vermont 13- 9-3 130 19
20 New Hampshire 16-13-1 120 NR
Others receiving votes: Maine 50, Colgate 23, Ohio State 18, Mercyhurst 11, Air Force 6, Nebraska-Omaha 4, Western Michigan 4, Minnesota State 3.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Minnesota, 503 (27) 1
2. Boston College, 481 (7) 2
3. Quinnipiac, 444 3
4. Ferris State, 360 6
5. St. Cloud State, 349 5
6. Union, 344 4
7. UMass Lowell, 335 8
8. Cornell, 240 11
9. Providence, 239 7
10. Michigan, 201 12
11. Northeastern, 188 10
12. Wisconsin, 151 9
13. Yale, 72 13
14. Clarkson, 45 15
15. Denver, 44 RV
Others receiving votes: Minnesota Duluth, 36; North Dakota, 25; New Hampshire, 10; Notre Dame, 10; Mercyhurst, 1; Minnesota State, 1; Vermont, 1.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted.
2) Boston College
5) Ferris State
6) St. Cloud State
16) North Dakota
18) Minnesota Duluth
19) Notre Dame
Union is still tied for fourth with Ferris State in the PairWise Rankings.
Two other ECACH teams are rated. Quinnipiac is the highest-ranked team at No. 3. Cornell is tied for sixth with Michigan of the Big Ten. Colgate, which was tied for 14th, Clarkson, which was 16th in last Monday, have dropped out of the top 16.
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.
To see the rankings, click here.
Daily Gazette/ECACH Four Stars
Time for my four stars of the week.
Player of the Week — Mark Naclerio, Brown
The sophomore center has two goals and an assist and was a plus-3 in the Bears’ 5-2 win over 18th-ranked Colgate on Friday. Naclerio had Brown’s only goal and was a plus-1 in its 2-1 loss to 11th-ranked Cornell.
Goalie of the Week — Andy Iles, Cornell
The senior netminder made 38 saves in Friday’s 3-2 overtime win at Yale. The next night, Iles stopped 33 shots in a 2-1 victory over Brown.
Rookie of the Week — Jeff Kubiak, Cornell
The freshman forward had a goal and an assist against Yale. His goal early in the second period tied the score, 2-2. Kubiak an assist in the win over Brown.
Team of the Week — Cornell
The Big Red beat defending NCAA-champion Yale and Brown on the road to improve to 7-0-3 in their last 10 ECACH games.
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Good Monday! Good Hockey!
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