College Hockey Slap Schotts: Possible 2015 Team USA WJC coaching candidates
The United States Under-20 hockey team didn’t defend its gold medal in the World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden. It was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Russia. The U.S. was coached by the University of Minnesota’s Don Lucia.
Lucia most likely won’t coach the team next year. USA Hockey probably won’t begin a search for a head coach for the 2015 team for a couple of months. But there are a few college hockey coaches who could fill the spot when the tournament is played in Montreal and Toronto next season.
I have my dart board out. The darts are in my hand, and I ready to toss them at the board. Here are my possible candidates, in no particular order, to be the next Team USA head coach.
Leaman, the Providence coach and former Union coach, was twice an assistant coach for Team USA in the 2007 and 2009 WJCs. The 2007 squad won the bronze medal. He helped Union reach national prominence in eight years with the Dutchmen. In his third season at Providence, Leaman has done the same thing with the Friars. He would be an excellent choice.
Bennett took over for Leaman in 2011, and he guided the Dutchmen to the NCAA Frozen Four in his first year, and nearly got them there last year. The Dutchmen have won back-to-back ECAC Hockey tournament titles, and were the 2011-12 regular-season champions.
Appert, the RPI coach, has international coaching experience. He was an assistant coach for the 2007 U.S. Under-18 Select Team that competed in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, and was the head coach of in 2008 and 2011.
Quinnipiac’s head coach guided the Bobcats to their first ECAC Hockey regular-season title and Frozen Four appearance last year. His teams like to play an up-tempo style. It would be fun to see if he could do that in the WJC.
The St. Cloud State coach took his team to its first Frozen Four last year. The Huskies were the top-ranked team in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey poll for one week last month. Motzko served as an assistant coach on this year’s WJC team.
The legendary Boston College coach has a resume that would eliminate the interview process for the job.
Colgate wins Mariucci
Colgate went into the Christmas break losing two straight games at home to UMass. The Raiders faced a big task coming out of the break as they would play top-ranked Minnesota in the first round of the Gophers’ Mariucci Classic. The chances of Colgate beating Minnesota and, eventually, winning the tournament, were remote, at best.
But this why you play the games, because you never know what will happen.
Colgate captured the Mariucci in stunning fashion. First, the Raiders tied the Gophers, 2-2, but advanced to the championship game by winning the shootout. In the final, they blanked No. 2-ranked Ferris State, 3-0, to win the title.
Colgate (8-9-3) has had some impressive wins this season. It came from behind to beat Union, 5-3, Nov. 8 at Messa Rink. The following weekend, the Raiders swept the North Country trip to Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
“We’re a young team that’s still trying to figure out who we are exactly,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan told USCHO.com after the Ferris State game. “I think a weekend like this can go a long way in giving our guys confidence and knowing that you can play with the best teams.”
Goalie Charlie Finn made 36 saves in 65 minutes against Minnesota, plus two more in the three-round shootout. He stopped 19 shots against the Bulldogs, who blasted RPI, 6-2, in the other first-round game.
The wildest and strangest contest of the Christmas break took place in the third-place game of the Ledyard Bank Classic last Monday in Hanover, N.H.
Apparently, Dartmouth and Northeastern gave the defense the day off. The teams had an old-fashioned shootout, playing to an 8-8 tie.
Neither team did a good job protecting the lead. Northeastern had leads of 2-1 and 4-2 disappear. Dartmouth wasted leads of 1-0 and 8-4.
The Big Green erased the Huskies’ 4-2 lead by scoring six straight goals, the last coming from Andy Simpson at 6:02 of the third period. Seemingly, the Big Green had the game in hand.
That wasn’t the case.
Cody Ferriero started the comeback with a goal ay 8:28. Just under five minutes later, Adam Reid scored to make it 8-6.
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan pulled goalie Bryan Mountain twice in the final two minutes, and it worked each time. Dalen Hedges made it 8-7 with 1:18 left. Then, 19 seconds later, Mike Szmatula got the tying goal.
Breaking down the stats, Dartmouth had 14 of its 18 skaters record at least one point, while Northeastern had 13 of its 18 skaters do that. Three players had two goals (Szmatula and Dartmouth’s Josh Hartley and Eric Neiley).
It was the second time this the season that the Big Green have allowed eight goals in a game. The other was against St. Lawrence on Nov. 9.
Union moves up in polls
ECAC Hockey-leading Union, which hasn’t played since Dec. 14, jumped one spot in Monday’s USCHO.com/NCAA top-20 poll.
The Dutchmen (8-1 ECACH, 12-3-3 overall) moved from fifth to fourth in the poll, earning 823 points. They are the highest-ranking ECACH team in the poll.
It was the second straight week Union moved up despite not playing. The Dutchmen return to action Friday at No. 7 Quinnipiac.
Union moved up from seventh to fifth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, earning 361 points.
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (42) 13- 2-3 989 1
2 St. Cloud State ( 8) 11- 2-3 922 3
3 Ferris State 15- 3-3 876 2
4 Union 12- 3-3 823 5
5 Boston College 13- 4-2 804 6
6 Providence 13- 3-4 763 4
7 Quinnipiac 15- 3-4 715 8
8 Michigan 10- 4-2 667 7
9 Massachusetts-Lowell 14- 5-1 637 9
10 Yale 7- 3-4 495 10
11 Clarkson 12- 6-2 467 11
12 Cornell 8- 4-3 387 15
13 Miami 9- 7-2 383 12
14 Wisconsin 11- 6-1 361 13
15 Notre Dame 10- 8-1 300 14
16 Northeastern 11- 6-3 254 17
17 Denver 10- 6-4 190 16
18 Vermont 10- 6-3 148 20
19 Lake Superior 11- 8-1 103 18
20 New Hampshire 12-10-1 71 NR
Others receiving votes: Minnesota State 36, Maine 27, Ohio State 24, North Dakota 22, Colgate 13, Nebraska-Omaha 11, Bentley 4, Air Force 3, RPI 3, Bowling Green 1, Western Michigan 1.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Minnesota, 510 (34) 1
2. St. Cloud State, 454 4
3. Ferris State, 418 2
4. Boston College, 387 6
5. Union, 361 7
6. Providence, 349 5
7. Quinnipiac, 314 8
8. UMass Lowell, 287 10
9. Michigan, 273 3
10. Yale, 173 11
11. Clarkson, 136 9
12. Cornell, 116 13
13. Miami, 115 12
14. Wisconsin, 94 15
15. Notre Dame, 52 14
Others receiving votes: Northeastern, 16; Minnesota State, 9; Vermont, 6; Denver, 5; New Hampshire, 3; Colgate, 1; Maine, 1.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted.
3) Ferris State
4) St. Cloud
6) Boston College
15) Notre Dame
18) Minn. State
19) Lake Superior
Daily Gazette/ECACH Four Stars
Time for my four stars of the week.
Player of the Week — Mark Naclerio, Brown
The sophomore forward scored twice in the third period to help the Bears earn a 3-3 tie at No. 16 Denver on Friday, and then had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Colorado College.
Goalie of the Week — Charlie Finn, Colgate
The freshman made 36 saves against top-ranked Minnesota in the first round of the Mariucci Classic, and stopped all 19 shots he faced against No. 2 Ferris State in the title-game win.
Rookie of the Week — Josh Hartley, Dartmouth
The freshman defenseman scored twice against Northeastern, and had an assist in Friday’s 1-1 tie at Vermont.
Team of the Week — Colgate
The Raiders winning the Mariucci Classic earns them the honor.
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Good Monday! Good Hockey!
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