2015 PrimeLink ShootOut Preview
Compiled by D3hockey.com staff
Another Thanksgiving weekend brings yet another PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut, long-considered the best holiday weekend tournament the Division III men's game has to offer. The tournament has historically brought together some of the most storied programs in DIII hockey and this year’s edition is no exception. Hosted by Norwich at Kreitzberg Arena, this year's edition again features the tournaments three staples: No.2 Plattsburgh State, No. 8 Norwich and Middlebury.
Concordia-Moorhead claimed the tournament title a year ago and became the first West Region team to do so. The Cobbers downed Norwich 2-1 in a shootout in the championship game, but will not be returning to defend their title. In fact, for just the second time since 2006 the West Region will not be represented at all. Instead, the field will be rounded out by Connecticut College. It will be the first PrimeLink appearance for the Camels.
When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27 and 28
Where: Kreitzberg Arena; Northfield, Vt.
Who: No. 2 Plattsburgh State (6-0-0); No. 8 Norwich (6-1-0); Middlebury (2-0-0); Connecticut College (0-1-1)
Schedule: Friday: Plattsburgh State v. Middlebury, 4:00 p.m.; Connecticut College @ Norwich, 7:00
Saturday: Third Place Game, 4:00 p.m.; Championship Game, 7:00 p.m.
|Broadcasts: Video | Plattsburgh radio | Norwich radio | Middlebury radio
About the PrimeLink
Without a doubt the PrimeLink has been the premier Thanksgiving weekend tournament in the nation. This year marks the 16th edition and once again features an excellent field. The tournament began in 1998 and currently features Plattsburgh, Norwich and Middlebury as rotating hosts. The fourth team in the tournament has varied since SUNY Potsdam was dropped from the regular rotation in 2007.
Since the inaugural event in 1998, the PrimeLink champion has won the national title four times and qualified for the NCAA tournament all but three. Ten of the 17 PrimeLink champions have made it to the Frozen Four, and on six occassions they have advanced to the national championship game. This year’s field has a cumulative 35 NCAA tournament appearances in the past 15 years and has made 15 trips to the Frozen Four. 2009 marked the first time at least one PrimeLink participant failed to make the Frozen Four, though no participants have managed to advance that far in either of the past two seasons.
Western schools rounded out the field from 2007-10, with Saint John’s participating in 2007 and 2010, St. Thomas making the trip in 2008, and Wisconsin-Stout being the guest in 2009. St. Thomas returned to the field in 2012, while in 2013 UW-Superior scored the first win on behalf of the West Region as the Yellowjackets blanked Norwich in the third-place game.
Last year, Concordia-Moorhead earned the championship with a 4-3 win over Middlebury in its opening game and a shootout win over Norwich in the title tilt.
#2 PLATTSBURGH STATE CARDINALS
The Cardinals enter the weekend a perfect 6-0-0 on the year and stand as the No. 2 ranked team in the D3hockey.com Men's Top 15. They enter the weekend on the heels of a 7-1 shredding of previously unbeaten and 12th-ranked SUNY Potsdam. The Cardinals' offense ranks as the most prolific in the nation as it has averaged 5.33 goals per game this season. Senior defenseman Rich Botting (2-7-9) leads the team in scoring, while senior forwards Kevin Emmerling (7-1-8) and Dillan Fox (3-5-8) are right on his heels. Emmerling's seven goals lead the team and five of them have come on a power play that is firing at 35.3%. Conceding 1.83 goals per game, the Cardinals have the 12th-ranked defense in the nation. Senior goaltender Spencer Finney (4-0-0, 2.24, .905) has garnered a majority of the playing time this season, but junior Brady Rouleau (2-0-0, 1.00, .952) has also picked up a pair of starts.
#8 NORWICH CADETS
Eight-time PrimeLink champs and eighth-ranked Norwich stands at 6-1-0 on the year. The Cadets opened their season with five straight wins before splitting a pair of games against NEHC foes Skidmore and Castleton last weekend. It's been a defense-first approach for the Cadets this year as they have allowed a mere nine goals through their first seven games. Leading the defensive efforts, junior Ty Reichenback (3-0-0, 0.85, .965) and sophomore Braden Ostepchuk (3-1-0, 1.43, .930) have split time in goal. Surprisingly, the typically prolific Norwich offense currently ranks just 62nd in the nation and has averaged 2.14 goals per game. Junior forward Tyler Piacentini (1-7-8) leads the club in overall scoring while sophomore forward Kevin Salvucci (5-2-7) is tops in the goal scoring department.
Middlebury kicked off the Neil Sinclair era in solid fashion a week ago as the Panthers posted a 4-0 win over Colby and tied Bowdoin, 4-4 (ot). Sophomore netminder Kevin Klein (1-0-1, 1.92, .934) picked up both starts last weekend, while senior forward Brendan McGovern and sophomore forward Vincent Gisonti both posted a pair of goals. Senior forward Evan Neugold added three assists on the weekend while junior forward Mike Najjar chipped in with two helpers of his own. The four-time PrimeLink champs haven't skated away with the tournament title since 2008.
CONNECTICUT COLLEGE CAMELS
Connecticut College enters its first PrimeLink on the heels of a 0-1-1 opening weekend in which it played to a 1-1 (ot) tie with Wesleyan and suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of defending national champion Trinity. Senior forward Tom DiPietro scored the Camels' lone goal in Friday's tie, while freshman defenseman Dylan Chase netted the goal in Saturday's loss. Senior goaltender Tom Conlin (0-1-1, 2.40, .934) received the starting nod in both of last weekend's contests. The Camels open with Norwich on Friday and have not faced the Cadets since suffering a 6-0 loss at Norwich on January 4, 2013.
Wire to Wire
Compiled by D3hockey.com staff
Needless to say, Rob Hutchison couldn't have asked for a better first victory as the head coach at Skidmore.
|Jack Mcdonald's 40 saves went a long way towards pulling an upset of Norwich tonight.
Photo: Skidmore Athletics
On paper, Hutchison's Skidmore Thoroughbreds, who finished the 2014-15 campaign tied for last place in the former ECAC East under current Middlebury head coach Neil Sinclair, and entered Friday's matchup winless, were not expected to beat No. 4 Norwich, who began Friday at a perfect 5-0. But as they say, that's why they play the game.
The Thoroughbreds were outshot 40-18 in the contest, but it was opportunism that made the difference from the opening faceoff. Skidmore opened up a 2-0 lead after the first period, doing so on just five shots. Max Hegge scored what would eventually hold up as the game winner with just under nine minutes to go in the frame, and Anthony Bird began a special night with his unassisted shorthanded goal at 14:07 of the period.
To upset a top five team requires plenty of insurance, too. And Skidmore had to look no further than Bird to find it. Bird scored twice more over the final fourty minutes to polish off a natural hat trick, and accomplished the feat scoring in all three periods. Bird's hat trick performance also included goals in all phases of the game, as he scored on the power play, shorthanded, and at even strength. Jack McDonald added fourty saves to earn the shutout as Skidmore rolled to the 4-0 win, which also busted Norwich's 20-game home winning streak.
Speaking of Neil Sinclair, the tenure of Sinclair as Middlebury's permanent head coach effectively begins Saturday as the Panthers will host Colby at 7. It will mark the first time since the 1985-86 season that the Panthers will start a season with a permanent head coach not named Bill Beaney.
Banner night in Hartford was a successful one for the No. 1 Trinity Bantams began their quest for a title defense with a 3-2 win over visiting Tufts, all the while earning some payback for a conference tournament loss that left Trinity at the mercy of the committee last selection Sunday. Ethan Holdaway, who scored the game-winner in the national championship game, picked up right where he left off by opening the scoring. Despite a tough battle that saw the sides tied at two goals apiece in the third period, the Bantams would prevail. Defenseman Samuel Johnson scored an unassisted goal at 5:21 of the third period to lift the Bantams to the win in their opener. Trinity outshot Tufts by a 39-19 margin on the evening.
Other NESCAC action on opening night:
Connecticut College 1, Wesleyan 1
No. 8 Amherst 3, Hamilton 1
On a night that featured a large amount of western non-conference games, it was the NCHA that made a statement at the expense of the WIAC on Friday night. Out of the four games between the two leagues on the schedule, the NCHA won three of the four, with the WIAC not recording a win amongst them.
- After beating St. Norbert and tying Adrian already this season, Marian continues to be a tough customer under first-year head coach Erik Largen. That trend continued on Friday as the Sabres nailed down a 3-3 tie with No. 2 UW-Stevens Point. After the Pointers drew first blood just over six minutes into the contest, Marian responded with a late goal by Scott Milnthorp, then added another pair of goals midway through the second to build a 3-1 lead. Stevens Point began to rally quickly, as the deficit was slashed back to one just 39 seconds after the Sabres had assumed the two-goal lead, and added the equalizer with under five minutes to play as Evan Dixon scored on the assist from Logan Lemirande. There was furious action at both ends in the overtime session, but breaking the tie wasn't in the cards as the stalemate prevailed.
- No. 6 UW-Eau Claire also struggled on this night, as the Blugolds were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in a 2-1 setback to Concordia-Wisconsin. The Falcons never trailed in the contest, assuming the lead just 42 seconds in on a Conor Hogg goal, and added the game winner at 8:23 of the second period. The Falcons stood strong amidst numerous attempts by the Blugolds to rally, which included killing off a frantic 6-on-4 situation after a slash call to Stefen Seel at 19:34 of the third. The Falcons received a 33 save performance from Andy Monroe, including a second period where he stopped 16 of 17 Blugold shots to go a very long way towards earning the win.
- No. 13 UW-River Falls was not immune, either. It took the extra five minutes, but the Falcons were also bit by a loss, one by the score of 3-2 to visiting Lake Forest. Goaltender Billy Cooper held down the fort for the Foresters with a 42 save outing on 44 shots, and Jimmy Cusan landed the knockout blow with under two minutes to play in overtime.
- UW-Superior also lost, but it is safe to say that the waning minutes of their loss to No. 9 St. Norbert were considerably less stressful for spectators at Wessman Arena as the Green Knights rolled over the Jackets by a 4-0 score. St. Norbert scored twice on the power play, had four different players get in the goal column, and a 22 save effort from Tony Kujava handled the rest.
On a related note, St. Norbert and Stevens Point will duke it out in a nonconference tilt Saturday night, in what is also a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Division III championship game in Lewiston.
And finally, we bring you one of those boxscore quirks we see every so often. In St. Scholastica's 4-2 win over Northland, the Lumberjacks put 30 shots on the Saints' net in the second period, with a pair of simultaneous major penalties against the Saints affording the Lumberjacks the power play for five minutes. If you think that's impressive, CSS goalie Tyler Bruggeman stopped all of them en route to the victory. He totaled 49 saves on the night.
In the Men's Top 15:
- No. 5 Babson got a third straight shutout from Jamie Murray in an 8-0 rout of Southern Maine.
- No. 10 UMass-Boston scored eight times in an 8-3 win over UNE
- No. 11 Hobart picked up their fifth win in a row, 5-3 over Elmira at the thunderdomes.
- No. 15 Oswego, who entered Friday in search of their first win since Halloween, got what they were looking for in a 5-1 win over Morrisville State. Andrew Barton led the way with a hat trick, and Adrian Ignagni won his first game in a Laker uniform in goal.
On Friday, something simply had to give for Becker and Johnson and Wales. The teams, both in their first year of competition, had struggled out of the gates to a combined 0-11 record prior to Friday's matchup. With the two going head-to-head, chances were that one would finally earn that elusive first win, and it was the Hawks who came through with their first-ever victory, 2-1 over Johnson and Wales. The win is also the first in the head coaching career of Eliza Kelley, who spent the past year building a roster from the ground up.
Rachel Pitcher led the way for Becker with a goal and an assist, and Madison Rigsby stopped 22 of 23 Wildcat shots for her first win. JWU's Kami Weiner continued a season in which she's had some noteworthy individual efforts with a 37 save performance.
The NESCAC is back, and what better way to welcome a new season than with a top 10 matchup? That was the case as No. 7 Trinity squared off with No. 2 Middlebury. Efforts to start off on a winning note worked out in the Panthers' favor, as they overcame an early 1-0 deficit with five unanswered goals to roll to a 5-1 win in Middlebury, Vermont. Katie Mandigo led the way for the Middlebury offense with two goals, one of which came on a powerplay unit that scored three times in five appearances. Emma Tani scored the lone goal for Trinity College just 3:43 into the contest before the Bantam lead evaporated four and a half minutes later.
|Becker is winless no longer after a 2-1 win over Johnson and Wales.
Photo: Becker College Athletics
Elsewhere the Women's Top 10:
- No. 4 Adrian rebounded from a loss to Lake Forest with a 3-0 win over St. Scholastica. Three different Bulldogs scored, while Brooke Gibson locked up a 22 save shutout.
- No. 5 Norwich scored three times in the second period to post a 3-0 shutout win over Salve Regina. Norwich has now won 38 league contests in a row.
- No. 8 UW-River Falls trumped UW-Eau Claire 4-1.
- No. 9 UW-Stevens Point fell to UW-Superior 2-1.
- No. 10 Amherst edged Connecticut College by a 1-0 final score. Jocelyn Hunyadi canned the game-winner for Amherst with just three seconds left in the opening period.
In the heat of battle
Compiled by D3hockey.com staff
Out East, the Plattsburgh men and Elmira women shine in highly anticipated tilts to knock out two more from the unbeaten ranks. Out west, two mammoth programs with a storied past meet again as non-conference foes. It's all ahead in tonight's wrap.
|MSOE's Gage Christianson added an assist as the Raiders took down UW-River Falls on Saturday night.
Photo: MSOE Athletics
In a battle of unbeatens, the No. 3 Plattsburgh Cardinals did their job to get a leg up in the SUNYAC race with two games in hand and sitting just two points behind first place Potsdam State in the early portion of league play, and they did so by turning on the power.
The Cardinals finished 4-of-5 on the power play as part of a seven goal outburst, received a hat trick from Cole Stallard, and allowed just one goal as they downed unbeaten No. 12 Potsdam by a 7-1 score.
Plattsburgh raced out to a 4-0 lead by the time the first period ended, aided by two goals in the final minute of play from Dillan Fox and Kevin Emmerling. The Cardinals peppered Brendan McMenimen with 18 shots through 20 minutes, and chased the Bears' starter from the crease with two more insurance goals in the balance of the contest as they ultimately doubled up Potsdam on shots, 44-22. McMenimen finished his night with 26 saves on 32 shots, while Nate Skidmore stopped 11 of 12, allowing a single goal in relief.
A night after narrowly salvaging a tie to stay undefeated, the No. 2 UW-Stevens Point Pointers finally have a loss on their record, at the hands of a former NCHA rival. No. 8 St. Norbert was in town for their annual non-conference showdown, and as with the Pointers last year, it was the visitors who got the better of the home side this time around. The Knights built a 4-0 lead through two periods of play, and never let up en route to a 5-2 win at Willett Arena. Noah Nelson paved the way for the Green Knight offense with a goal and an assist to lift SNC to their sixth win in a row in a game where they never trailed.
A night after dropping a 4-0 decision to upstart Skidmore to conclude a lengthy home winning streak, the No. 4 Norwich Cadets survived a close shave to avoid a weekend sweep by a 2-1 score over Castleton. The Cadets, trailing 1-0 in the final five minutes, scored twice in that span to secure the victory as Kevin Salvucci canned the equalizer on the power play, and Anthony Flaherty won it 1:12 later on the heels of the man advantage to improve Norwich to a 6-1 record. Ty Reichenbach denied 25 of 26 Spartan shots in the win.
In the Men's Top 15:
- No. 1 Trinity owned the faceoff circle, winning 40 of 69 draws on the evening, and Sean Orlando scored twice as the Bantams defeated Connecticut College, 4-1. Trinity is 2-0 to start the season.
- No. 5 Babson snapped a 234 minute long shutout streak, but rode a 4-0 lead to a 5-1 win over the University of New England.
- No. 6 UW-Eau Claire rebounded from their first loss of the season in a 5-1 win over Lake Forest. Adam Knochenmus scored twice, including the game winner in the second period, to lead the Blugolds
- No. 10 UMass-Boston broke a 2-2 tie on Matt Lemire's goal three minutes into the third period, and remained unbeaten with a 3-2 win over Southern Maine.
- No. 11 Hobart stumbled at the hands of Elmira, 4-3. The loss brings a five game win streak for the Statesmen to a halt as they split with the Soaring Eagles
- Milwaukee School of Engineering struck again weeks after upsetting Adrian, and this time, No. 13 UW-River Falls was the victim by a 2-1 final. Nick Kohn made 24 saves for the Raiders.
- No. 14 Williams held Bowdoin to three power plays in a 4-1 win in what was the season opener for both sides, and the final season opener in the coaching career of Terry Meagher at Bowdoin. Both teams are back in action Sunday.
And then there were two unbeatens in the ECAC Women's West. Buffalo State took advantage of a Nikki Kirchberger hat trick to run away from Chatham by a 4-1 score, while Plattsburgh was idle on Saturday. The Utica Pioneers weren't so lucky, as Morgan Reed scored for a seventh consecutive game, but No. 3 Elmira outpaced her with four goals and walked away with a 4-1 win at Elmira's Murray Athletic Center. The two teams are in action again Sunday afternoon in what is the only women's game happening in the nation.
After having yesterday's game well in hand, No. 2 Middlebury needed some late fireworks to pull out the regulation win over No. 7 Trinity. The Panthers got the go-ahead goal tied at one with under a minute left to go from Anna Van Kula as they pulled out the 2-1 victory. Julia Neuberger made 20 saves to earn the win for Middlebury.
A day after posting their first loss ever, Endicott battled back for a 0-0 tie against Stevenson. Sarah Modzlewski made 35 saves for Stevenson, and Vendela Jonsson countered with 20 for Endicott.
Elsewhere the Women's Top 10:
- No 4. Adrian bulldozed Finlandia by a 9-1 final.
- No. 5 Norwich got two goals from Adelle Murphy and a 12 save shutout from Laurie King in a 4-0 win over Manhattanville.
- No. 6 Lake Forest continued to roll in a critical NCHA contest, and as the Foresters go, so does Michelle Greeneway, as she posted two goals to lift LFC to a 4-1 win over St. Norbert and an 8-0 start.
- No. 8 UW-River Falls outshot the opposition 33-17 in a 3-1 win over UW-Eau Claire.
- No. 9 UW-Stevens Point skated to a 2-2 tie with UW-Superior.
- No. 10 Amherst rolled to a 4-1 win over Connecticut College.
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