Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
-It wasn't as tight as last season, nor did it wrap up with a win for the leaders on the clinching evening, but the NESCAC has a men's regular season champion. In a league that has beat itself up continually throughout the campaign, the No. 5 Trinity Bantams have stayed largely above the fold with a 12-2-1 conference record, and they earned the top seed tonight despite a 3-0 shutout loss to the Colby Mules. Colby's Sean Lawrence had 46 saves, and Nick O'Connor scored twice to lead the Mules. The Bantams are up six points on Connecticut College with three games left to play, with head to head competition already in their favor to create the clinching scenario.
-After No. 11 Hobart forced their first NEHC conference race to go the distance to the final day, No. 12 Norwich finally reeled in the league's regular season crown today. While the Statesmen picked up a 4-2 win over Castleton, thus holding up their end of the deal for contention, the Cadets needed just a single point to put it out of reach, and they finished the job in about as unceremonious a fashion as you could ever believe in a 2-2 tie against underdog Skidmore at Kreitzberg Arena. Coby Downs had a big day anchoring the Cadet power play with a goal and an assist on two man advantage goals for Norwich, which wraps up the regular season at 17-6-2, and 13-3-2 in the NEHC.
-The UW-River Falls women were taken to the limit by UW-Eau Claire, but the Falcons got the point they needed to claim the WIAC women's regular season in a hard fought 2-2 tie at Hunt Arena. Haley Nielsen finished with two assists for the Falcons, who led 2-1 in the third before Holly Turnbull's power play equalizer forced overtime for the Blugolds. As the teams meet again tomorrow, high stakes continue for the Blugolds, who can move ahead of Superior lock up the No. 2 seed in the WIAC playoffs with another standings point.
-Although it was almost entirely a foregone conclusion with their status quo, the No. 3 Elmira women are now officially the regular season champions of the UCHC. The Soaring Eagles responded to a tight game yesterday with a resounding effort in a 6-0 blanking of the Manhattanville Valiants at the Thunderdome. Shannon Strawinski and Sarah Hughson each had a goal and two assists for the Soaring Eagles, while Kelcey Crawford backstopped the shutout. The six UCHC women's playoff teams are set, as William Smith, Manhattanville, Neumann, Stevenson, and Utica will round out the field in a seeding order determined largely by the final weekend's outcomes.
-A similar outcome awaited the No. 1 Plattsburgh women, who unsurprisingly locked up the top seeding in the inaugural NEWHL tournament with a 4-0 win over Potsdam. The Cardinal win puts them at the helm of the league's four team playoff. Kassi Abbott earned her seventh shutout of the campaign in the Cardinals net.
On the Move
- As a certain famous sports entertainer once said, to be the man, you have to beat the man. St. John's did so twice this weekend to gain command of the MIAC standings as they toppled previous MIAC leader and archrival St. Thomas 4-1 in Mendota Heights. The win comes by an identical score from yesterday's win in St. Cloud, and the Johnnies had the road to victory paved tonight by a pair of scores from Robb Stautz, and Andrew Lindgren's goaltending effort as the Johnnie backstop made 25 saves on 26 shots. The Johnnies wrap up a playoff spot as well with the win, and have nailed down their first season series sweep of the Tommies since the 2004-05 campaign. SJU can cement the top seed in the MIAC as early as Friday, and can do so with a win over Gustavus Adolphus, or with losses by St. Thomas and Augsburg, among notable options.
-What's better than a win over your conference rival in a pivotal battle for the lead? Another win to add leverage. Morrisville State knows the feeling, as they grabbed a firmer hold of the steering wheel at the top of the Colonial Hockey Conference by dealing Endicott their second conference defeat by a 2-0 score in a tightly contested game in Beverly Mass. Offensively, the Mustangs got the only goal they needed early in the second period from Kylie Cameron, and Ciara Lark added an empty netter late to preserve the win. Creating a limited necessity for offense was the play of Karoline Arvik, who again stole the show with a 39 save performance while killing off five Endicott power plays. Endicott wrapped up their conference schedule, while the Mustangs will look to further their efforts next weekend against Nichols.
Shocking the System
-UW-Eau Claire's men were unable to win the WIAC regular season but still caused plenty of problems tonight for No. 2 UW-Stevens Point in a 4-4 tie at KB Willett Arena. The Blugolds put on a resilient effort in the road contest, rallying out of a deficit on three different occasions to force the stalemate. Adam Bresser and Jake Parsells had a goal and assist each for UWEC, while Brennen Miller's two goals paced the Pointer attack. The Blugolds outshot Point 37-21, with Max Milosek needing 33 saves to avoid defeat.
-No. 8 Utica may have doused the Neumann Knights handily in December, but tonight the Knights got some payback. Neumann rallied from an 0-2 hole created by Pioneer forward Anthony McVeigh with three unanswered to drop the Pioneers 3-2 at IceWorks in Aston, Pa. Connor Annett and Paul Butler each scored their first of the season while the potent Utica power play was held off the board at 0-for-5. Roman Ammirato added another two assists for Utica. The win locked up a playoff spot for the Knights, who joined two others, Stevenson and Manhattanville, in claiming berths tonight. Nazareth and Elmira will compete for the last playoff spot.
-Potsdam was another big winner tonight, as they moved into a tie for fourth in the SUNYAC with a 3-2 win over No. 13 Buffalo State. Ben Mariano was the late game hero for the Bears, shelfing the game-winner at 18:05 of the third to cap off the come-from-behind win. The Bears outshot the Bengals 32-18.
-While their league races at the top may already be in hand, a pair of conference rivalry games in New England certainly played as tight as ever tonight. No. 9 Endicott held firm on the No. 2 seed in the Commonwealth Coast as they allowed No. 10 UNE to gain no ground in a 4-4 stalemate at Bourque Arena. With two extremely potent units, it was a power play fiesta in the conference affair with five power play goals, and the kills got in on the act with a shorthanded goal by UNE's Liam Neuman. Ross Olsson finished with a hat trick for the Gulls, and became the first player in school history to eclipse 100 career points. Elsewhere in the MASCAC, Plymouth State already reeled in another crown in that league, but a 2-for-3 effort on the power play wasn't enough tonight in a 3-3 tie with Salem State.
-Lebanon Valley's Jillian Moffatt made an impressive 78 saves in a 6-0 Dutchmen defeat at Utica.
-MSOE head coach Mark Ostapina picked up win No. 250 with the Raiders in a 2-1 win over Trine.
-Before Hamilton's tie with Connecticut College this evening, the program's most noted hockey playing graduate received an honorary degree from his alma mater, as former Anaheim Ducks netminder Guy Hebert was in town to receive the honors as part of Clinton, NY's 100 years of hockey celebration, and was joined at the weekend's events by MSG analyst Stan Fischler, and former ECHL commissioner and Clinton Comets player Pat Kelly, who was on the 1967-68 team that managed to lose just five of their 72 games that season in the Eastern League.
The celebration honors the efforts of former Hamilton coach Albert Prettyman, who brought hockey to the campus and the surrounding village and went on to such notable achievements as founding the NCAA's Ice Hockey Rules committee, and coaching the 1936 US Olympic Ice Hockey team to a bronze medal in Germany. At that Olympics, Prettyman notably brought along Hamilton goaltender Fran Baker as a reserve. Before the team's first game, Baker, who knew German, famously told Adolf Hitler that his team would lose to the United States in that matchup. The Americans won 1-0.
-D3hockey.com's Matthew Webb is still thinking about the Cousins Subs Italian Special. This has not changed.