Western drama, NESCAC upsets and more
Compiled by D3hockey.com staff
Just two weeks ago UW-Eau Claire was ranked second in the nation in the D3hockey.com Men's Top 15. Now, however, UW-Stevens Point sits in the second spot while the Blugolds have fallen to seventh.
These two teams faced off tonight in a highly anticipated matchup, and it was Stevens Point who skated away with a 4-1 victory.
|Garret Ladd scored twice
while UW-Stevens Point downed UW-Eau Claire 4-1.
Photo: Ryan Coleman for d3photography.com
This looked to be the biggest test the Pointers faced this year, as most of their eight wins coming into the game were not against the stiffest competition. Eau Claire, on the other hand, is the defending national champion and has been highly regarded since the season began. This game was the first WIAC conference game for either team.
The Pointers took a 2-0 lead in the first period behind goals from Kyle Politz and Scott Henegar. The Blugolds cut their deficit in half in the second period following a goal from Joe Krause, but that was the closest they would come as Garret Ladd's two third-period goals sealed the 4-1 victory for the Pointers. Brandon Jaeger stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced for the Pointers while Tyler Green had 36 saves on 40 shots for Eau Claire. The 40 shots are the most Eau Claire has allowed all season.
Stevens Point improves to 9-0-0 on the season while the Blugolds have lost three of their last four games and now sit at 5-3-0.
Both No. 10 Middlebury and No. 11 Amherst have a well deserved reptuation for not taking many penalty minutes, with both teams finishing in the bottom ten in average penalty minutes last season.
However this time they combined for almost as many penalty minutes (36) as they did shots (44), as Amherst defeated Middlebury 4-1 in an uncharacteristically slow-paced and penalty filled affair.
After Amherst took a 1-0 lead just over four minutes into the first period, the score sat at 1-0 until five minutes into the third period when Brendan Burke scored his first goal of the season to double the Lord Jeffs' lead to 2-0. He scored his second goal with exactly four minutes remaining to seal the game for Amherst. A late Middlebury power play goal followed by Amherst scoring on an empty net rounded out the scoring.
Amherst is now 6-1-0 against Middlebury dating back to the NESCAC splitting away from the ECAC-East following the 2010-11 season.
Bowdoin started the year off ranked No. 7 and had high hopes to repeat as NESCAC champions this year. So far things have not gotten off to a good start for the Polar Bears as they came in to tonight's matchup with Connecticut College with a 4-2-1 record overall and a 1-2-1 record in the NESCAC. Things did not get any better as Conn. College took their first win of the year with a 3-2 overtime victory over Bowdoin.
After Bowdoin took a 2-0 lead 6:12 into the second period the Camels answered back just 24 seconds later to make it 2-1. Joe Giordano scored a power play goal with just 2:14 remaining in the third period to tie the game and Keith Veronesi scored 54 seconds into overtime to win it for the Camels.
Staying in the NESCAC, No. 6 Williams faltered for the second time this season as they tied Hamilton 1-1 despite outshooting the Continentals 39-26. Joe Quattrochi was the star of the game, stopping 38 shots for Hamilton.
Elsewhere in the Men's Top 15:
- No. 1 Plattsburgh State scored three times in the third period as the Cardinals pulled away for a 4-0 win over Cortland State. Mark Constantine posted a goal and assist to lead Plattsburgh, while Mathieu Cadieux made 31 stops in goal to get the shutout win.
- No. 3 St. Norbert got off to another slow start but woke up with two second-period goals en route to a 4-0 win over Lawrence. David Jacobson stopped 15 shots for his first shutout of the season and eleventh of his career. He is now fifth all time among DIII goaltenders in NCAA history.
- No. 4 Adrian suffered their first blemish of the season as the Bulldogs tied Marian 2-2. Marian's Derek Perl scored with 43 seconds remaining and with his goaltender pulled to force overtime. The tie moves Adrian's record to 9-0-1 and Marian's to 4-7-1
- No. 5 Babson used two first-period goals, two second-period goals and an empty netter to beat Southern Maine 5-2.
- No. 8 Norwich received a scare from Skidmore, but a Shane Gorman goal just 13 seconds into overtime lifted the Cadets to the 3-2 league win. Nick Pichette and Paul Russell also scored for Norwich, who moved to 5-0-1 in the ECAC East to stay atop the league standings.
- No. 12 Geneseo State held Buffalo State to just 14 shots on the night as the Knights blanked the Bengals 3-0. David Ripple, Zachary Vit and A.J. Sgaraglio all scored for Geneseo, while Bryan Haude picked up the shutout win in goal.
- No. 13 St. Thomas skated to a 2-2 tie with Concordia-Moorhead. The Tommies took the third conference point by winning the shootout 1-0.
- No. 14 Augsburg didn't need overtime to defeat St. John's 3-1. Augsburg received two goals from Carl Krieger and one from Ben McClellen to skate out to a 3-0 lead before St. John's broke the shutout midway through the third period.
- No. 15 St. Scholastica beat Lake Forest 4-1, despite being outshot 28-23 by the Foresters.
No. 10 Adrian made the trip to No. 6 St. Scholastica in a matchup between two of the top teams in the women's NCHA. The Saints put on a special teams clinic in routing Adrian 7-3.
|Grace Murphy's second goal
with 12 seconds remaining pushed Nichols over Manhattanville
Photo: Nichols Athletics
St. Scholastica held Adrian to one power play goal on five chances while they themselves finished 5-9 with the extra skater, and even that does not quite do their effort justice.
One of their four failed power plays came with under two minutes remaining in the game with the Saints more than happy to run out the clock than drive up the score. Another 'failed' chance came on a major penalty by Adrian (a major power play will always result in a failed chance no matter how many times a team scores since the power play does not end until time runs out.)
Nina and Isabel Waidacher each scored two goals while Briget Cojocar added two power play goals.
St. Scholastica stretched their lead to 4-0 before Adrian scored two second-period goals to make a game of things, but Danielle Smith's major penalty for checking from behind right before the end of the second period sealed things as St. Scholastica tallied twice in the third period on the resulting power play to restore their four-goal lead.
UMass Boston got their first conference win of the season, and it was a big one as the Beacons knocked off third-place Southern Maine 3-0. The Beacons controlled the first period handily, scoring all three of their goals in a stretch of four minutes and 53 seconds in the middle of the period.
The Beacons outshot the Huskies 25-16 and shut out all four of their power play opportunities. Casey Schaejbe stopped all 16 shots for her first shutout of the season.
Before today, Nichols had a program record of 0-10-0 against Manhattanville. That all changed as the Bison knocked off the Valiants 4-3 tonight.
Nichols rode hot goaltending, superb special teams and timely scoring to the victory.
Manhattanville jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period but after two quick goals in the second period put Nichols on top, the Bison would never trail again.
It wasn't easy though, as Nichols took 13 penalties and gave Manhattanville twelve power play chances. The Bison did not surrender a single goal on those chances, but they were also 0-6 on their own chances with the extra skater until a Manhattanville penalty with under two minutes remaining.
On their seventh power play of the game, Grace Murphy was able to break through with just twelve seconds remaining to give Nichols the 4-3 victory. Francesca Palazzo stopped an incredible 50 shots in the win.
Elsewhere around the Women's Top 10:
- No. 5 Gustavus Adolphus defeated St. Olaf 5-2 to improve to
5-0-0 in the MIAC and 6-1-1 overall on the season.
- No. 8 UW-Superior fell 5-2 to UW-River Falls. The Falcons never trailed in the game despite being outshot 27-24.
- No. 9 UW-Stevens Point needed overtime to defeat UW-Eau Claire 4-3. The Pointers put up 46 shots on goal to only 18 by the Blugolds but it took a shorthanded goal by Shaunna Bollinger 42 seconds into the extra stanza to put her team on top.
WIAC race opens, MASCAC race opens up
Compiled by D3hockey.com staff
Just one West Region game graced the Thursday schedule but it was a bit of a milestone game as UW-River Falls' 5-4 overtime win over UW-Stout handed the Falcons the first men's league win of the WIAC era.
Freshman paced the Falcons' offense as Taylor Burden, Christian George and Mitch Kontny all scored, while senior netminder Scott Lewan made 32 saves to lead the defensive efforts.
|UW-River Falls' 5-4(ot)
Thursday win over UW-Stout handed the Falcons the first
league win of the men's WIAC era.
Kevin O' Donnell gave Stout a 1-0 lead just 1:25 into the game, but Burden and George both scored later in the period to put the Falcons up 2-1 after the opening period.
The lead grew to 3-1 in the second and George notched his second of the night, but Stout reduced to 3-2 early in the third as O'Donnell netted his second of the game, but a Kontny goal with 6:24 remaining made it 4-2 Falcons.
Stout, as it is apt to do, finished with a flurry and forced overtime as Jordan Treddinick and Casey Kirley both scored in the final 1:31 of regulation, but the comeback was short-lived as Burden's second of the night just 1:29 into overtime gave the Falcons the win.
River Falls improved to 5-1-1 on the year and will continue WIAC play on Friday as it hosts UW-Superior, while Stout fell to 2-7-0 and will next travel to UW-Stevens Point for a Saturday night league affair.
While the WIAC men opened its conference schedule on Thursday, the night's MASCAC results opened up some gaps in the standings for a league that has been mired in league action for nearly a month.
League-leading Framingham State continued its strong league start as the Rams remained atop the conference at 4-1-1 with a 4-2 win over Plymouth State despite being outshot 49-22. Rams' netminder Nicholas Cafrelli was the story of the night as he made 47 saves, including 23 in the second period alone. In that second period, Framingham opened up a 2-0 lead on goals by Eric Ward and Daniel Miressi, though before the period ended Plymouth's Mike Economos was finally able to get one past Cafrelli to make it a 2-1 game.
In the third, a Robert Driscoll power play goal at the 2:43 mark put the Rams back up two at 3-1, but the Panthers' Ian McGilvrey reduced cut the deficit in half with at the 15:08 mark. In the final five minutes the Panthers threatened numerous times, and rolled up 18 more shots in the period, but were unable to solve Cafrelli. With 1:06 to play, Ward added an empty-netter to make it 4-2 and seal the deal for the Rams.
While the win kept Framingham in the top spot in the league standings with nine points, it perhaps more importantly opened the gap between first and fourth, which is where Plymouth resides in a three-way tie with Fitchburg State and UMass Darmouth, all of whom have 2-3-0 league marks.
Though Westfield State dropped its first four games of the year, the Owls have now defeated four MASCAC opponents in a row after a 6-2 win over Worcester State on Thursday night. The win moved the Owls to 4-1-0 in the MASCAC, just a single point behind Framingham and they also have a game in hand on the Rams.
Taylor Murphy, Mike Busconi and Dalton Jay all scored in the opening 15 minutes to stake Westfield a 3-0 lead, and Jay added two more in the second period to complete the hat trick and extend the lead to 5-1. Worcester never drew closer than 5-2, despite rolling up 43 shots on the night. Kyllian Kirkwood and Billy Miller both added a pair of assists for the Owls.
In the night's final MASCAC league match-up, the cardiac kids at Salem State - who already have four overtime wins this season - managed to win without the aid of overtime as the Vikings scored a 5-3 win at Fitchburg State. The win moved Salem to 3-2-0 in league play, and its six points are two points clear of the three-way tie for fourth.
The game entered the third period tied 2-2, but goals by Kristofer Faric at the 1:46 mark and Eric Defelice at 15:44 put the Vikings up 4-2. An extra-attacker goal by Fitchburg's Kevin Holmes with 1:12 to play made it 4-3, but Salem's Tanner Fahlstedt put an empty-netter away in the final minute to wrap things up. Ryan Sutliffe made 23 saves to get the win for the Vikings.
In Thursday's non-conference action, Trinity fell 2-0 to Division II Stonehill, UMass Dartmouth and Curry skated to a 2-2 tie, and in the lone women's game of the night the University of New England scored its fourth win of the year with a 5-1 win over Plymouth State.
How(e) to turn a program around
By Michael Anderson
Upon arriving at Concordia-Moorhead in 2008, head coach Chris Howe knew he had a huge challenge in front of him. The men's hockey team had just one win the year before he arrived and losing had become the expectation. What Howe had to do was no small task as he was forced to try to change mentality of an entire program
"The biggest thing was getting the players and the people involved in the program to believe that it doesn't have to be how it was before," said Howe.
opened the season with a perfect 2-0 mark in this year's MIAC
Photo: Ryan Coleman for d3photography.com
More photos from this game
Before Howe was hired by Concordia, he was an assistant coach at Saint John's University where he served under John Harrington, a prominent player and coach in hockey circles -- especiallly in Minnesota. The five years Howe spent with Harrington on the Johnnies' bench proved to be instrumental.
"He is still a huge influence in my life. The opportunity to coach with him was a huge honor, I was very fortunate to work with him," said Howe. "He taught me about honoring my word, hard work, being accountable, and what it takes to win."
And the fact that Harrington was a member of the historic 1980 gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic Team helped instill a belief in Howe that, as he explained, there is no such thing as something that's impossible and there is nothing you can't obtain if you're willing to do the work and honor your word.
The lessons learned under Harrington were put to the test as Howe went from an established winning program to Concordia, a program that had not even had a winning season since 2002-2003. The challenge ahead of him was enormous, but Howe relished this fact rather than feared it.
"They had a history here of being pretty good, so we decided we were going to bring Concordia hockey back," Howe said. "It then became about integrity, are you going to get up every day and work to do what you said you were going to do? It's tough, but it's fun. That's how you stretch and grow, taking on a challenge."
The first thing Howe had to do to properly take on this challenge was assemble a coaching staff that shared the same vision. Howe brought in Ross Richards and Scott Bjorklund, and has since added Erick Galt to the staff. Galt, a 2012 graduate of Concordia, was an All-American defenseman during his time with the Cobbers.
Next, and perhaps most important of all, Howe had to get the players to buy in.
"I had to remind the players [in the first few years] that there wouldn't be instant gratification, that they were laying the foundation. I made it clear that they may not see the fruits of their labor until five years past their time," said Howe.
But buy in they did, and that is something Howe has not lost sight of. After preaching early on that in order to build a successful program one has to practice what they preach, the fact the players accepted the responsibility required of them resonates with the program to this day.
"We tip our hat and we honor those players before who gave everything they had to something new," Howe said. [They are the ones who laid the] foundation of hard work, accountability, and winning and we need to honor those things every day. On each practice plan 'hard work, accountability and winning' are on top of the page; that keeps us present and reminds us of what we are trying to accomplish."
Howe then had to begin recruiting the kind of players he needed to turn things around and he wanted players who were interested in being part of something that is much bigger than themselves. To find this kind of player, Howe talks to junior and high school coaches to identify players that are selfless and willing to sacrifice for something unknown. As Howe explained it, these kind of players are not always the leading scorers but finding them is essential because if they are asked to work as hard as Howe and his staff expects them to, they need those traits.
While those traits are all highly desirable, Howe is well aware of the fact that the players must also come with a certain skill set, and as the culture in Moorhead slowly started to change, Howe was able to land more and more of those types of players.
It didn't take long for Howe's influence on the program to be felt in the win department. In his first year, 2008-2009, the Cobbers went 3-20-2 (1-13-2) and the next season they didn't fare much better as they finished 5-15-5 (4-7-5), though they did win three more conference games than the previous season. Then came the third season and that's when the Cobbers saw drastic improvement.
The Cobbers finished 12-11-4 and earned the third seed in the MIAC playoffs. They made it all the way to MIAC Championship game, losing to the top-seeded Hamline, 5-2. The successful season was just the beginning for the Cobbers as it proved what Coach Howe preached was a formula for success. The next season they finished 10-11-4 (6-7-3), finishing tied for fifth in the conference but missed out on the playoffs by virtue of losing a tiebreak. Last year, they proved that 2010-2011 was not an aberration, but a sign of the new Concordia Cobbers when they went 13-12-1 (10-6) and finished third in the conference for the second time in three years, before losing to eventual playoff champion St. John's in the semifinals.
The Cobbers entered this season with high expectations and thus far have lived up to them as they currently stand 6-2-0 overall and 3-1-0 in the MIAC, just two points behind league-leading St. Thomas. Additionally, the Cobbers have already scored wins over defending league champion St. John's, perennial league contender Gustavus Adolphus, and UW-Superior.
"This is a team that has the pieces and elements," said Howe. "I hate to compare teams as they are all special to me, but this team has great goaltending, good defense, and depth at forward."
"[It also] has an element of selflessness that hasn't been there since [he's arrived]. That is just an accumulation of everyone who has been here since 2008. It is really inspiring to me to see a group care so much for each other."
With this group off to a strong start and perhaps primed to have a big season, Howe is making sure that they stay in each moment as much as they possibly can. One of the many mantras of the program is, "this play, next play, right now," and Howe attempts to make sure the team stays focused on that as part of the larger process.
As Howe works to keep his team focused on the day-to-day, he has bigger plans for the future of the program
"Winning a national championship is the ultimate goal," said Howe. "And we are also trying produce young men that go out and really care about influencing others. We want our kids to learn what it takes to become a champion, and then with that influence others to make where we live as people a better place."
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