INSIDE HOCKEY » Frozen Four http://insidehockey.com Get Inside! Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:37:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UMass Lowell falls short of Frozen Four http://insidehockey.com/umass-lowell-falls-short-of-frozen-four http://insidehockey.com/umass-lowell-falls-short-of-frozen-four#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 01:48:24 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57938

WORCESTER, Mass. – It just wasn’t in the cards for the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Sunday evening as the Boston College Eagles topped the River Hawks in a tight, hard fought Northeast Regional Final.

The River Hawks fall just short of making a return trip to the Frozen Four and end the season a bit earlier than they wanted to. The bright side; the program is shaping up to be one of the top programs in the country. The Eagles will make their 24th appearance in the Frozen Four.

UMass Lowell came up on the bad side of what was a back-and-forth game. The Eagles got out to the first lead of the game on a Kevin Hayes goal at 7:03 in the first period. Of course, a goal that was assisted on by Johnny Gaudreau and defenseman Michael MathesonMichael Kapla and the River Hawks responded with under two minutes remaining in the first, evening the score heading into the second period.

The River Hawks and Eagles traded goals in the second and third period, but the Eagles got the last laugh as Ian McCoshen received a great pass from Teddy Doherty and placed the puck in the back of the net stick-side. The just under nine minutes remaining in the game wasn’t enough for the River Hawks to return the favor.

UMass Lowell played ‘Lowell style hockey,’ but was matched up against a tough Boston College opponent. This weekend, against Minnesota State and Boston College, was two of the toughest, most evenly matched games the River Hawks had played all season long.

“Systematically I wouldn’t change to many things, I thought we played well,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin. “I thought that was one of the better hockey games we played in the last three or four. However, we came out on the short end. It was the third period that did us in.”

The season boiled down to just a single period, the third period. Whoever won the third period would continue their season and fight for a national title. Entering Sunday night, the two schools had identical records when tied heading into the third period, 4-2-1 and in the end the Eagles got the better result.

Four goals in a single game is an odd sight for River Hawk fans. Connor Hellebuyck gave up four goals for only the second time this season, the last coming against Providence College on Jan. 24. The Winnipeg Jets’ prospect finished an outstanding season with a 18-9-2 with nation’s best 1.79 goal-against average and .941 save percentage. Hellebuyck will likely finish the season with the top spots in both GAA and save percentage.

Falling short of their season goal of winning a national title by only three games is felt hard by Joe HoukDaniel FurlongShayne ThompsonJosh HolmstromJoseph PendenzaDerek Arnold and Doug Carr. All of which are seniors and have played their final game in a UMass Lowell uniform. Most of those seniors are the final remaining players from the 2010-11 five-win team that was part of the program turn around and won back-to-back Hockey East titles to complete their collegiate careers.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of the group that it was,” said River Hawks’ captain and senior forward Holmstrom. “Coming back after my freshmen year was obviously tough, but the class was the right class to go about it. There is a lot of strong guys in [the locker room]. It’s great group of guys to be a part of.”

Holmstrom will look to follow his brother Ben Holmstrom and sign professionally to continue his playing career. Ben currently plays for the Adirondack Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

Four of the seven seniors are from Massachusetts and may have played their final game, for the near future, in the state. The only four local kids on the River Hawks squad.

“I’m very, very proud of the senior class who battle back from a real adverse situation in their first season to come back with three excellent years,” said Bazin. “Right now it’s hard to swallow, but in time they’ll realize that they were part of some pretty good teams.”

UMass Lowell completes their 2013-14 season with a 26-11-4 record, 11- 6-3 in Hockey East play. Best of luck to all the seniors.

This post is cross-posted with VIEW FROM 123

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Clarkson Shocks the World – Wins Frozen Four Title http://insidehockey.com/clarkson-shocks-the-world-wins-frozen-four-title http://insidehockey.com/clarkson-shocks-the-world-wins-frozen-four-title#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 02:28:37 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57729

HAMDEN, Conn. - For the first time in the history of the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four a non-WCHA team is skating away as NCAA Champions as the Clarkson Golden Knights shocked the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a thrilling 5-4 victory in front of 3573 fans at the High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center on the campus of Quinnipiac University.

Clarkson co-head coach Matt Desrosiers was happily stunned: “What do I say?” Just thrilled beyond belief. The girls believed in themselves all year, even coming in to tonight. They weren’t going to back down and I think they proved it tonight. I am just speechless right now.”

-“I’ll point out the white elephant in this room,” Minnesota senior Bethan Brausen said. “Me and Kelly [Terry] are pretty upset here. But that is just a testament to out team. It’s hard to say goodbye to our teammates more than anything.”

Clarkson (31-5-5) clamped down early and forced the Gophers to play keep away, rather than attack. Much of the night featured dump-and-chase versus their run and gun offense that usually shows. The forecheck worked brilliantly. Still, Minnesota (38-2-1) showed their ability and peppered senior netminder Erica Howe with 12 shots in the opening frame. They were rewarded at the 9:40 mark when Sarah Davis took a puck that was coughed up by Rachael Bona in the left circle off a draw. Davis took a few strides towards the slot and let go a wicked backhander that found the back of the net top shelf to make the score 1-0 Gophers. The goal gives Davis an even 20 goals on the year to round out her career.

The Gophers, with sophomore goalie Amanda Leveille coming off a rough outing against Wisconsin Friday, appeared to struggle defensively. it took 18:37, but the Knights finally broke through. Christine Lambert got a rebound in the goal mouth and put it home through Leveille to make it 1-0. The goal was her ninth of the season. Shannon MacAulay assisted with the initial shot to get the puck on net.

Only 1:03 later, Clarkson took their first lead of the night, as they continued to pressure Livelle. With a delayed penalty and extra attacker, Jennifer Shields came in on the left side and let go a hard slap shot that was tipped in the left circle by Shelby Nisbet to make it 2-1 Knights at the 19:40 mark. It was Nisbet’s ninth of the year with Cayley Mercer assisting on the play.

As if that wasn’t enough, on the ensuing powerplay, Clarkson got into the act again, just 38 ticks into the second stanza. MacAulay had a shot tipped in front and stopped by Levielle, but the ensuing rebound went right to Patty Kazmaier Award winner and senior Jamie Lee Rattray, who scored her 29th of the year to increase the lead to 3-1. Brittany Styner also had a helper on a goal that gave Clarkson a 2 goal lead.

The Gophers are not the number 1 team in the country for no reason, though. They made sure to shut the doubters up before the midway point of the game. at the 6:09 mark, Martanne Menefee scored her 18th goal of the 2013-14 campaign as she redirected a pass by Dani Cameranesi past Howe and into the back of the net.

Almost 2 minutes after the Golden Gophers cut the lead in half, Rachel Bona struck again, scoring her 23rd of the year. It wasn’t as pretty as the goal she had Friday (although she did have a great move on Howe early in the first, that the Clarkson goalie stopped), but much like the previous goals, it was a tap in on a rebound from Megan Wolfe’s shot that put the game back to square one at 7:57. It was Bona’s 23rd goal of the year.

The game stayed tied for the next 23:35, as Clarkson began to play a little sloppy, taking penalties and getting outshot 14-5 in the second. Then, at the 11:32 mark of the third period, the Knights were back. Vanessa Gagnon fed Vanessa Plante in the left circle and Plante let it rip, scoring her third goal of the year and untying the game on what could be considered the most important goal in program history.

Coming into the third told the girls; ‘if you had twenty minutes to win a national championship could you do it,” Desrosiers said. “And they all say ‘yeah, absolutely!”

Then, at the 15:44 mark, Clarkson scored what ended up being the game winner, as MacAulay picked off the puck and skated up the ice on a breakaway, she made a move on Leveille and scored her 13th goal of the year to make it 5-3. She went backhand and top shelf on the Minnesota sophomore standout. with 4:16 left, Clarkson appeared to be in the drivers seat.

“I don’t really know what was going through my mind,” MacAulay said. “I guess I tipped it off the girls stick and I had a lot of time to think about the shot. Without my teams energy on the bench I don’t know if I would have made the shot”

Not for long.

Kelly Terry fed Baylee Gillanders at the left point and she let go a hard slap shot that was redirected by the stick of Clarkson’s Jennifer Shields to cut the lead to 5-4.

That was all the Gophers could get, and in the Championship, it was not enough, as Clarkson gets their first NCAA title in any sport, and the first title in Women’s Hockey for an ECAC program.

For Minnesota, they return 17 players and get two American Olympians back from their Sochi leave.

“This was an incredible team and incredible group of four seniors,” coach Brad Frost said.

“I like to hope that we made our mark on the program,” Terry said. “I think all four of us bring something unique to the table. I have no doubt that this program will be successful for all of eternity.”

At least the program will be successful in the near term.

Clarkson, meanwhile played with 15 skaters, and somehow made it look easy during the tournament.

It doesn’t matter how many skaters we have,” Desrosiers said. “We have had a lot of players step up for us.”

They graduate 7 players including Howe, Gagnon and Rattray.

-“I hope recruits just line up at the door,” Desrosiers exclaimed. “I think it will do a lot for our community and everyone close to us.”

For those seniors, it was a test not only for the championship, but to beat the team they lost to in their first collegiate game.

-“Needless to say we’ve come a long way,” senior captain Carley Mercer said. “We started against Minnesota my freshman year, it didn’t go so well”

Additionally, this win not only puts the Knights back on the map, but, combined with the increased attention put on the Olympic women’s hockey tournament, could shake up the sport completely.

-“It shows that women’s hockey in general is coming a long way,” Desroisers said. “You have those powerhouse teams in the west over the years that won those national championships. Its just nice to be the team to bring one back to the east and the ECAC.

“I think it’s good for hockey to have another team win.”

NOTES:

  • This was the first time that Minnesota had allowed more than three goals since Feb. 11, 2012 when they beat Ohio State 7-4.
  • This was their second loss of the season. Previously they had lost and tied North Dakota this season. They snap a 26 game unbeaten streak.
  • Minnesota fails in their quest to become the second team to win 3 consecutive titles. Minnesota-Duluth won the first three in 2001-03.
  • This was the sixth time an ECAC team played in the National Championship Game. St. Lawrence, Brown, and Harvard (three seasons consecutive), lost the combined first five tournaments. Cornell lost to Minnesota-Duluth in 3 OT in 2010.
  • The already decorated Jamie Lee Rattray added two more accolades to her trophy case. With a goal and assist, she finished the season with 66 points, one more than Hannah Brandt. She was also named to the All Tournament Team (listed below)

ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM:

Forward Jamie Lee Rattray from Clarkson

Forward Rachel Bona from Minnesota

Forward Maryanne Menefee from Minnesota

Defense Renata Fast from Clarkson

Defense Baylee Gillanders from Minnesota

Goalie Erica Howe from Clarkson

Most Valuable Player Jamie Lee Rattray from Clarkson

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Teams Prepare for Ultimate Prize http://insidehockey.com/teams-prepare-for-ultimate-prize http://insidehockey.com/teams-prepare-for-ultimate-prize#comments Sun, 23 Mar 2014 00:26:57 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57648

HAMDEN, Conn. - Four teams entered and two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum remain. It might be easy to say the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (38-1-1), looking for their third consecutive National Title and sixth overall has the upper hand. Tournament newcomer, the Clarkson Golden Knights (30-5-5), wants to rewrite the history books and become the first non-WCHA team to win a title and the first team from the Potsdam, NY school to win an NCAA Championship.

“I don’t know if it’s fully sunk in yet,” Knights’ co-head coach Matt Desrosiers said. “obviously yesterday we had a big win for the program.”

With inexperienced teams, you tend to not know what you will get. Does a team come out too confident and fall flat after being outplayed? Does a team come out knowing they are facing the best in the country and get beat into submission? While they are still taking it in, Clarkson’s coaches and players believe they are even keel enough to win tomorrow’s heavyweight title bout.

“I kind of view it as a good thing, that it hasn’t sunk in,” Desrosiers added. “We’re going about our business and not overthinking things and just going into tomorrow’s game with an open mind and going out there and just working as hard as we can.

“We’ve never been too high and never been too low. That’s what you want out of your team, especially going into weekends like this. The players are going to enjoy the moment…they remain very focused at the task at hand. They have great aspirations and one of those was to win a National Championship, and they’ve put themselves in a position to do so.”

“We’re ready to be just all in tomorrow,” Clarkson senior forward Brittany Styner said.

“They’re going to get a ‘helluva” good game,” Knights’ senior forward Vanessa Gagnon said Friday night.

“The only film we really have is from last night,” Gophers’ head coach Brad Frost said. “We want to prepare them the best we can…but in the end it comes down to us, and executing for 60 minutes.

“When you’re in the National Championship [you can't play] anything but your best.”

Meanwhile, for the seniors on both clubs, this final game will bring things full circle. These two teams last met – at Cheel Arena in Potsdam, NY – in the opening series of their freshman season, October 1st and 2nd, 2010. Minnesota won by a combined 8-0 (5-0, 3-0). In fact, in five total meetings, including a 3-2 OT victory for Minnesota in the 2010 NCAA tournament, the Gophers have a commanding 5-0 series lead.

“Starting with Minnesota and ending with Minnesota, that’s kind of a cool thing that not everyone gets to do and we get to measure how far we’ve come,” Clarkson senior goalie Erica Howe said.

Meanwhile, it was all smiles on the Gophers’ end. After a wild game to open the Women’s Frozen Four where they snuck out as 5-3 victors over the Wisconsin Badgers, the mood was jovial and relaxed in the post-practice press conference.

In the press conference, Frost was talking about how the seniors all get a practice drill named after them and joked that Sarah Davis would have had a drill named after her, if she scored on a 2-on-1.

“Still working on it,” the 19 goal scorer quipped.

Right on cue, Frost added: “She’s drillless.”

He paused and smiled. “We’ll still try to remember  her.”

If they haven’t done so already, the Gophers have a chance to prove that they are the undisputed dynasty at the Division 1 level.  They are doing it without Olympians Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein. Meanwhile, Clarkson had just 15 skaters dressed for last night’s game, and may have one more added Sunday.

While most in the hockey community are predicting Minnesota to win, and many believe it will not be close, look for the “rookies” to make a statement. Even if they can’t hold out and win, Clarkson has been a beast in the East for years, and their tenacity and determination has carried them this far. Look for them to play a hard game and surprise the Gophers. That being said, Inside Hockey predicts: Gophers 5 Knights 3.

 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award

Clarkson senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray was awareded the  Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Saturday morning. The equivalent of the Hobey Baker Award for the men, Rattray becomes the first Knight to win the award for the best player in the NCAA. The Kanata, ONT native is one of seven seniors on the Knights. Coming into the tournament, she had 177 points, a school record.

RAW Clarkson: http://youtu.be/LVxfFncOCqk

RAW Minnesota: http://youtu.be/KiNsKjhNk9o

 

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Clarkson’s Magical Season Continues With Convincing Win http://insidehockey.com/clarksons-magical-season-continues-with-convincing-win http://insidehockey.com/clarksons-magical-season-continues-with-convincing-win#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 05:18:41 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57618

HAMDEN, Conn.- It doesn’t matter what seed they were. Mercyhurst is a tough team to beat. The Lakers are in their 10th NCAA tournament in the last 10 years and know pressure situations. Tonight, however, it was a tournament newcomer that spoiled Cinderella’s ball as the #3 seeded Clarkson Golden Knights defeated the Lakers 5-1 to advance to their first ever National Championship Game at the High Point Solutions Arena on the campus of Quinnipiac University.

“We had an amazing run to get here,” Mercyhurst head coach Michael Sisti said. “I’m so proud of our players.

“They were the better team,” Sisti said of Clarkson.

“[This is] the biggest win in program history,” Clarkson co-head coach Matt Desrosiers said. “I think the girls did a great job of sticking with it tonight.”

It was actually the Lakers who scored first, as Jaclyn Arbour put home her own rebound to make it 1-0 8:02 into the opening frame. Her fifth goal came on an assist from Shelby Bram.

That’s about all the positive that came on the Lakers side, as Clarkson turned up the heat in the second, with some unlikely scorers getting into the act.

With only 15 skaters, the Knights would be the team to get tired quicker, but with each passing minute, they looked sharper and sharper with their efforts paying off 5:00 flat into the second stanza. Renata Fast ripped a shot from the right point to score her second goal of the year past Amanda Makela to tie the score at 1. Vanessa Gagnon assisted on the play.

Gagnon got her scoring on at 9:16 as she did her best Gordie Howe impression. Jamie Lee Rattray, last week’s hero, tried to stuff the puck home from the left side, but it went past the goalie into no-man’s land in the right crease where Gagnon dove to push the puck into the back of the net and score the eventual game winner at 2-1.

“I saw it at the last second so I dove for it,” Gagnon said.

Fast appeared to get another goal at 16:24, as she got a great feed from Shelby Nisbet down low to the same spot on the right point. This time the puck was tipped by Christine Lambert who was credited with her eighth tally of the year to make it 3-1.

“My main goal is to get puck on net, Fast said. ” Whether it gets tipped or just goes in, I had big screens [up front], so it’s a big help.”

6:39 into the third, Brittany Styner scored to make it a three goal lead. She got an amazing feed from Rattray in the left circle and let go a shot from the right circle past Makela to make it 4-1 on her 14th of the campaign.

Clarkson was able to get an empty net goal, as Makela was pulled with 2:24 left in a desperation attempt. Shannon MacAulay was credited with her 12th as she had an easy goal to end the game with 14 seconds left at 5-1.

Defensively, Erica Howe was solid, stopping all but 1 of the 19 shots she faced over the game.

The Golden Knights will face a much more difficult opponent in two time defending champion Minnesota on Sunday at 3pm as they look to be the first non WCHA team to win a women’s hockey title, and look for the first National Championship in school history in any sport.

“They’re going to get a ‘helluva’ good game,” Gagnon quipped.

NOTES:

  • Both teams have had experience on Hamden’s ice. Clarkson is now 6-0-1 at the High Point Solutions Arena as they are ECAC rivals with the Bobcats. Mercyhurst now falls to 2-1-1 in games played at the Hamden rink.
  • Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley was the first coach for the Golden Knights. He attended Friday’s game. Clarkson coach Matt Destosiers said that like any other ECAC coach, Seeley wished him luck but had no special message for the team he helped build 11 years ago.
  • Friday marked Clarkson’s first 30 win season in program history.
  • Mercyhurst had snuck into the postseason, beating out host Quinnipiac by tenths of a percentage point in the PairWise. They beat Cornell for the second straight year but again fell in the Frozen Four round. This marked the 10th consecutive year the program had received an at large bid, as the CHA does not get an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

RAW Clarkson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WItyiRgeNGU

RAW Mercyhurst: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhlK6kJlIVI

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Gophers Survive Scare; Advance to Championship http://insidehockey.com/gophers-survive-scare-advance-to-championship http://insidehockey.com/gophers-survive-scare-advance-to-championship#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 04:46:29 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57613

HAMDEN, Conn. – The term March Madness is often reserved for basketball, but madness was the name of the game, as the #3 Wisconsin Badgers fell to the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers 5 to 3 in the opening game of the Women’s Frozen Four at the High Point Solutions Arena on the campus of Quinnipiac University.

It was the fifth time the two WCHA (and Big 10) rivals clashed. It was the fifth time Minnesota won. But it wasn’t without a bit of a scare.

“That was unbelievable,” Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said. “I hope everybody enjoyed the game. If you didn’t I don’t know what needs to happen.”

The Gophers looked flat from the start, and elected to play a more physical game from the opening faceoff. Meanwhile, the Badgers peppered the nation’s number one team with 16 shots, and were rewarded with the games opening goal 18:38 into the first period, as Brittany Ammerman scored her team leading 23rd goal of the year. Ammerman came in on the right side and shot it right through the five-hole of goalie Amanda Leveille.

Minnesota went into the break down 1-0.

“I think we should’ve been up 3-0,” Badgers coach Mark Johnson said.

Their reaction was, in typical Gopher fashion, immediate. The Golden Gophers came out flying in the second and made an early statement as just 33 ticks into the stanza, as Kelly Tarry tapped home a rebound off an initial shot by Dani Cameranesi that hit the post. It was the senior’s 16th goal of the year. Bethany Brausen also assisted on the goal that tied the game at 1 goal apiece.

On that play, Courtney Burke was called for body checking, leading Minnesota to a powerplay. This lead to a game shifting goal, as Maryanne Menefee scored gher 17th of the year on the powerplay to give the Gophers their first lead of the night at 2-1, 2:12 into the period. Tarry attempted a pass that was tipped on goal, and the ensuing save went to the left, where Menefee was ready to put it home.

The tied had turned, but as the Gophers couldn’t find the back of the net (they had 10 chances and converted on two in the period), the Badgers regained their confidence. Wisconsin had turned sloppy, but managed to get the equalizer at the 16:20 mark. Katy Josephs got a great feed from Katrina Zgraja in the defensive end and took it up the right side from blue line to blue line and into the right circle, where she slid it past Leveille to make it 2-2.

And the Badgers were not done. Off an Minnesota icing with 31 seconds left, Karley Sylvester ripped home a one timer from the center point, putting Wisconsin ahead 3-2 going into the break.

“Usually when we play Wisconsin, it’s a race to three,” Frost said. “[We thought] we might have let one slip away.”

That was all the Badger scoring. Tonight, it proved to not be enough.

The Gophers settled in and were confident, scoring the game’s final three goals. Give credit to Alex Rigsby, who did not give up and proved why she was the nation’s best goaltender in 2013-14. She made 34 saves on 37 shots, and kept the Badgers in it all the way through, but 5:37 into the third, Hannah Brandt tied the game with her 23rd goal of the year. Milica McMillen set her up with a great pass from right to left, and Brandt sent the puck through the five-hole of Rigsby to tie the game on the powerplay.

Then, at 8:06, Rachael Bona scored the eventual game-winner on a couple of great moves. First she came in on the left side and made an amazing toe drag to the right of her defender, cutting in front of Rigsby. Instead of going backhand, she faked and went back forehand right in front of the center of the goal mouth and got it over Rigsby’s stick to make it 4-3.

“Normally when I do that I go backhand,” Bona said. “I pulled it to my forehand and it went in. I think she was sliding with me right so I went left.”

The Gophers had to wait about 10 minutes, but were rewarded with an insurance goal in the waning minutes. Baylee Gillanders received a drop pass from Brandt and let go a slap shot so hard she fell to the ice to put the game on ice with her 5th goal of the year at 17:32.

“I just kind of left it there for her and she had an amazing shot,” Brandt said.

The Badgers pulled their goalie but couldn’t put it away and end up heading back to Madison empty handed, going 0-5 against the Gophers this year.

“I’m very proud of how our team played,” Johnson said. “In this setting, it wasn’t good enough.”

Minnesota, meanwhile, will take on the Clarkson Golden Knights on Sunday at 3:00 in the National final as they look for their third consecutive championship.

“I didn’t know I was get one,” Bona said. “On Sunday I’ll be playing for my third in three years…it’s unbelievable.”

“Most teams don’t get a chance to play in one National Championship Game,” Brandt said.

NOTES:

  • Minnesota was 0-1-1 when trailing going into the third period. Their lone loss came to North Dakota and the tie was against Ohio State (Minnesota lost in a shootout)
  • Wisconsin’s Rigsby finishes her NCAA career with an even 100 wins.
  • It was the third time Minnesota had beaten Wisconsin by 2 goals or less this season

RAW Minnesota: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hr2DHsUW2U

RAW Wisconsin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUm2SqkuKMc

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Women’s Frozen Four Set http://insidehockey.com/womens-frozen-four-set http://insidehockey.com/womens-frozen-four-set#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 05:07:51 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57419

On the night the Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s hockey team closed out their home season at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn, the women took center stage as eight teams played for an opportunity to take their talents to “The Bank” next weekend. Here are the results and the schedule for next weekend:

CLARKSON 3 BOSTON COLLEGE 1:

For the first time in the program’s 11-year history, the Clarkson Golden Knights have advanced to the Women’s Frozen Four. Vanessa Gagnon bookended the game with goals at 16:02 in the 1st and 23 seconds of the third, her 16th and 17th respectively. Brittany Styner had her 13th at 11:44 of the second, which was ultimately the game winning goal in Potsdam, NY as the Eagles’  Dana Trivigno scored in the waning minutes of the final frame. Erica Howe made 23 saves en route to the biggest win of her career so far.

MINNESOTA 5 BOSTON UNIVERSITY 1:

In a rematch of last year’s National Championship Game, Kelly Tarry had a hat trick (19, 20, 21) to lead the Golden Gophers to a familiar spot in the Women’s Frozen Four. Terry and Terriers’ Sarah Lefort (32) actually exchanged goals 21 seconds apart midway through the first period, but Amanda Leveille was flawless the rest of the way, stopping the final 23 shots she faced. Rachael Ramsey (12) and Maryanne Menefee (16) also scored for the Gophers in the win in Minneapolis.

MERCYHURST 3 CORNELL 2

After sneaking into the field of 8, the Lakers shocked the world again, knocking off the Cornell Big Red for the second year in a row in Ithaca, NY. Christine Bestland proved she is the “best” in the “land” scoring Mercyhurst’s final two goals (20, 21),  including the ultimate game-winning power-play goal 8:08 into the third. She also assisted on the opening goal for the Lakers by Molly Bryne (4) in the second. Emily Fulton tried to get her team to the big dance, scoring two goals (20, 21), but her goal at 15:21 of the third was not enough as the Lakers move on to the site of the team they snuck into the field behind (Quinnipiac).

WISCONSIN 2 HARVARD 1

The nightcap played to the hype as the Badgers scored the first two goals of the game, and that’s all they needed. Blayre Turnbull (16) opened the scoring 16;56 into the first and Katy Josephs (11) followed up at the 16:24 mark of the second. Alex Rigsby was almost flawless in net, allowing her lone goal on the second to last of the 24 shots she faced. Dylanne Crugnale scored her eighth at 16:37 to make it 2-1 but that’s as close as Harvard got.

FROZEN FOUR SET:

While the times are still up in the air, the matchups are set. Game 1 on Friday is at 5pm ET and game 2 will follow around 8pm. The National Championship Game on Sunday will be at 3pm ET.

GAME A: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

GAME B: Clarkson vs. Mercyhurst

Inside Hockey has the Women’s Frozen Four covered. Follow us here and AHL beat writer Justin Cohen as he deviates from the pros and takes on the challenge at @IHAHL on Twitter. Justin will have recaps and stories on all of the four remaining teams all the way until a champion is crowned!

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Hartzell Impresses in AHL Debut http://insidehockey.com/hartzell-impresses-in-ahl-debut http://insidehockey.com/hartzell-impresses-in-ahl-debut#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 18:49:00 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=53901

Wilkes-Barre, Pa. - On any other night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins five-goal third period would have been the headline. After a lackluster first 45 minutes, the Penguins exploded for two goals in just 49 seconds. A secondary explosion occurred in a 17 second span just 11 minutes later. Bobby Farnham, a man more known for his ability to get in his opponents head than for his offensive abilities, helped lead the charge and earned the second star of the night. The Penguins (12-4-0-2, 26 points 1st in East Division, 2nd in Eastern Conference) defeated the St. John’s Ice Caps (8-8-1-2, 19 points, 3rd in Atlantic Division, 9th in Eastern Conference) 5-2 in front of 5102 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza Saturday night, splitting the weekend series with their neighbors to the north.

“It was fun,” the Penguins’ victorious goaltender exclaimed after the game.

This was not any other night.

One year ago, Eric Hartzell was in the midst of a breakout year. The 2013 Hobey Baker candidate flew under the radar for most of his time as a Quinnipiac University Bobcat, but he was in the midst of a program record 21 game unbeaten streak.After leading his team through the ECAC tournament semi-finals, into the NCAA tournament, and onto the Frozen Four and National Championship Game against rival Yale, the White Bear Lake, MN native was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did not play, but was a member of the Penguins through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.

“My first two weeks there were with the top 5 top 10 best players in the world, ” he reflected. “Just to be able to go from Quinnipiac to that helped me adjust for training camp.”

Things didn’t go quite as planned for Hartzell. Sure, he was re-signed by the Penguins, and with an injury to Tomas Vokoun, poised to be the number one goalie in Wilkes-Barre. He suffered his own injury, though, and was unable to play until November 1st when he made his debut with the Wheeling Nailers.

He allowed five goals in his pro debut. Hartzell proceeded to lose his following two starts, albeit with one in a shootout. He took his 0-2-0-1 record into a game against Elmira on November 14th. He stopped all 35 shots he faced en route to the rookie’s first professional win. After a final tune-up two days later, Hartzell was back in Wilkes-Barre, the place he assumed his professional career would begin.

“I think the coaches made a great decision sending me down to Wheeling to get some game time, especially coming off my injury,” Hartzell said. “That’s pro hockey too. You see a lot of action and the hockey’s good.

“It kind of got the rust off my wheels a little bit and made my transition easier.”

On the day that his Alma Mater saw their slightly less impressive 13-game unbeaten streak end, the Penguins saw a new era begin, as Hartzell was tested early and often en route to his first AHL win in his first AHL start.

“It was exciting,” Hartzell said. “It was a great team win and it was fun to win the way we did in the third period. Couldn’t have gotten more exciting for me.”

In the opening period alone, he was tested early and often, as the Penguins lack of discipline led to three powerplays for the Ice Caps. With that and solid offensive play from the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate, Hartzell was busy in the first frame, stopping all 12 shots he faced.

“Whenever your penalty killing goes well, your goalie always has to be good,” coach John Hynes said. “[Hartzell] looked calm, he looked relaxed, he competed real well in net and made some big saves early in the game.

“…On the second penalty kill, [St. John's] had some really good looks, a cross crease pass, a cross pass high in the zone. He came across and made some game changing saves on those penalty kills early in the first.”

Ice Caps’ goalie Eddie Pasquale only had three shots against him in the first period and nine in the first two combined.

Meanwhile, Hartzell had to face another onslaught in the second, but he proved up to the task, stopping 13 of 14 shots. His lone blemish in the period came 10:08 in. Just as a 4-on-4 was ending and St. John’s went on an abbreviated powerplay, Ice Caps’ defenseman Kael Mouillierat sent a pass across the point for Brenden Kichton. Kichton one-timed a slapshot that Hartzell made the pad save on, but the rebound came to the open right side of the net, where Eric O’Dell came sweeping around to put home an easy tapper into the open net and open the scoring at 1-0 St. John’s. Hartzell continued to whether storm and picked up where he had left off, concluding an otherwise flawless second period, and making it look easy with the glove, pads, and his body.

The third period started off similar to the opening two for the Penguins, as they appeared sluggish and lackluster. Then, they finally broke the proverbial seal 5:20 into the period. 18 seconds into the Penguins powerplay, there was a scrum in front of Pasquale. Dominik Uher had a few pokes at the puck in front, but captain Tom Kostopulous wristed home the rebound to tie the game at 1 on his seventh goal of the year. Then, 49 seconds later, Nick D’Augustina shot the puck wide, but the rebound off the end boards went right to Bobby Farnham, whose initial shot was saved by Pasquale. He got his own rebound and softly shot it through to the back of the net to give the Penguins their first lead of the night. It was his first of the year, and he celebrated by going to the right wing glass and leaping into it to celebrate with the fans.

Seven minutes later, Hartzell suffered another blemish. Throughout the game St. John’s had a lot of traffic in front and was trying to screen the rookie netminder. Even with that traffic in front, Hartzell was still able make the initial save on Kichton’s shot, but the puck pinballed off O’Dell for his second goal of the night and team leading ninth of the year at 13:57.

It was Andrew Ebbitt’s powerplay goal at 16:37 that proved to be the difference. He took a feed from the point and let go a soft wrister from above the right wing circle that Pasquale should have stopped, but it went right through the wickets to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 3-2 lead and they never looked back.  19 seconds later Zack Sill scored on a shot that went right off a rattled Pasquale’s glove and into the net, and a late emty net goal made the final score 5-2.

Hartzell’s play Saturday makes for a tough decision for coach Hynes. Jeff Deslauriers has done a great job in net for the Penguins, but Hartzell has proven he can compete with the big boys. Add to that Deslauriers is on a PTO which will expire at 25 games and Hartzell is on an NHL two-way deal. Compounded by the reward Jeff Zatkoff has earned as a result of Vokoun’s injury, the Penguins organization has one of the best possible problems on their hands, too many goalies. Scouts from at least seven organizations were in the press box watching Saturday’ game, but it’s too early to jump to conclusions. One thing is for sure. Hartzell will get more opportunities to prove himself and if his positive play continues, could return to Pittsburgh sooner than later.

If he gets to that level this year, Eric Hartzell could go down in history as the first Quinnipiac Bobcat to play in the NHL.

“I definitely want to be the first in the NHL,” Hartzell said. “It’s definitely an honor and I’ve gotta tip to hat to my team last year. A couple of guys on that team are playing in the A[HL] now and that was a great squad. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today”

The Penguins are off until Wednesday when they travel to the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls, while St. John’s continues their long road trip in Bridgeport Sunday afternoon.

NOTES:

  • Hartzell is the second QU goalie to play at the AHL level. Jamie Holden suited up in 14 games for the Cleveland Barons in 2005-06.  He wen 5-7 with a 3.50 GAA. Bud Fisher was signed by the Binghamton Senators, but did not appear in a professional game in 2009. Dan Clarke was signed by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2012, but did not appear in a game. Clarke is currently with the SPHL’s Mississippi Surge.
  • Hartzell is the fourth active player with Quinnipiac bloodlines. Fellow 2013 alumni Mike Dalhuisen (Bridgeport) and Jeremy Langlois (Springfield – no longer active) join 2009 alumnus David Marshall (Utica) in the top tier minor hockey league. A plethora of alumni joined Hartzell in the ECHL this year.
  • As mentioned above, Hartzell missed roughly the first month of the season due to injury, allowing him to attend the Frozen Four banner raising at Quinnipiac on October 19th.

“It was a little emotional just because I wasn’t seeing that National Championship banner go up, and that’s obviously what we strive for last year,” the goalie reminisced. “It was fun get to see something like that. You don’t get to see it often and I’m just glad I got to participate.”

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Who Will Host the 2015 Frozen Four? http://insidehockey.com/who-will-host-the-2015-frozen-four http://insidehockey.com/who-will-host-the-2015-frozen-four#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2013 20:27:27 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=51887

By Ryan Stieg, AllPuck.com

2014 Frozen FourThe college hockey season begins in a month and something puzzles me. This season’s Frozen Four will be played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, yet the overlords at the NCAA have yet to choose any destinations after that. It’s unusual that the NCAA would delay this announcement so long — they’ve planned well in advance in the past — so maybe they have a cool idea to try out.

Hopefully it’s not another attempt at playing in an indoor football stadium.

The folks in Indianapolis will supposedly make their selections in November, but to help them decide, I’ve compiled a list of destinations that would be great hosts for college hockey’s premier event. Midwestern and Western areas since the FF has been on the East Coast the past three years.

1. Chicago

Believe it or not, one of the most hockey-mad cities in the country has yet to host the Frozen Four. It’s time to make it happen. The Blackhawks ended their Stanley Cup drought three years ago, started last season with a huge undefeated streak that captured that nation’s attention, then hoisted the Cup in June. Due to hockey’s immense popularity in the Windy City, the NCAA can be assured that the event will sell out quickly. Chicago is also a frequent destination for travelers and has plenty of entertaining between-games diversions in April. Just look across the border, NCAA. The perfect location is right next to you.

2. St. Louis

The Scottrade Center may not be the first destination that springs to mind, but St. Louis loves its hockey. It’s hosted the FF twice before and the 2007 tournament was successful. The Blues are also becoming relevant again, winning the Central Division in 2012 and heavily pounding the Kings in 2013, making them easy pickings for Chicago in the Conference Finals. With local enthusiasm renewed, the FF should do very well once again. Looking for tourist destinations? St. Louis has enough to fill out a weekend, but not so much that you feel like you missed something. The Gateway to the West has worked for you in the past, NCAA. It’s time to come back.

3. Denver

Colorado is one of the most hockey-hungry states behind Minnesota, Massachusetts and Michigan. The Avalanche have struggled the past few seasons but remain popular in the city. Denver also has a successful college program in the city with DU, while Colorado College and Air Force are right down the road in Colorado Springs. The Mile High City’s most recent FF was in 2008, when a powerhouse Boston College team wiped the ice with its opponents. Attendance was great anyway. For stuff to do, there’s the mountain scenery, museums, performing arts centers, local breweries and Coors Field is a cool ballpark to visit.

4. Minneapolis/St. Paul

The reason I placed my home state, the State of Hockey, so low is that it hosted the FF just three years ago. It will be back soon, though. The Twin Cities love the Wild despite the team’s inconsistency, follows the Golden Gophers heavily, and brings lots of fans to the WCHA Final Five every season. There’s also a lot to do in the area with the Mall of America, museums, Twins games at Target Field, theaters for the cultured hockey fan, and more. The NCAA brings the FF back to the Cities once every decade. By 2020 it will be back, though it could happen a lot sooner.

5. Detroit/California

I’m combining these together because they can be booms and busts when it comes to the Frozen Four. The last time Detroit hosted the FF was the 2010 tournament at Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Lions. This was flawed for many reasons. The obvious ones: the venue was indoors (hockey in football stadiums are successful when they are held outside in harsh conditions) and had a hard time getting football fans to show up. It also looked weird watching it on TV and some stopped watching because of this.1 If the NCAA thinks logically and places the games at Joe Louis Arena this time around, Detroit could be a great location, full of rabid Red Wings fans. Michigan and Michigan State are close enough. Despite the hardships the city is going through, there’s still a lot to do.

California is a bigger risk. The last time the Golden State hosted the FF, it was placed in Anaheim and it had obvious attendance issues. If the FF were to return to California, now would be the time. With the success of the Kings, Sharks and Ducks, hockey has never been more popular in the state. There’s also more than enough stuff to do to fill up the weekend and like Tampa, would be a nice place to relax between games. They would have to think carefully and market the tournament heavily, but I think it could work this time around.

After the NCAA chooses some Western venues, I also offer up these Eastern destinations.

1. Boston

Beantown will probably be the first city considered after a western location for 2015. Boston loves its college hockey, evidenced by the nonpareil Beanpot Tournament every February. It also is a prime location for New England teams who will flock to the TD Garden in droves if one of the Hockey East teams makes it to the Frozen Four. The Bruins are also once again one of the top teams in the NHL, winning the Cup in 2011 and coming close to winning it again last season. As some of the other big cities, there’s also a lot to do and if the Red Sox are playing at home, there’s a great place to spend your Friday evening. Boston, like the Twin Cities, will also host the FF once a decade and its time will come again very soon.

2. Buffalo

After Boston, Buffalo is the best Frozen Four location in the Northeast. Hockey is very popular in upstate New York and it’s been a decade since Buffalo hosted. With college hockey displaying more parity nowadays, there’s a good chance teams from the ECAC and Atlantic Hockey could make it to the FF, which would make attendance even better. Buffalo may lack the tourist hot spots of Boston, but there’s a good nightlife, museums, a zoo and botanical gardens. A solid choice.

3. Columbus

The home of the Blue Jackets and Ohio State has hosted the FF only once, in 2005, but the reviews were positive. Even though the Blue Jackets have yet to capture the city’s attention, Nationwide Arena is one of few popular destinations in Columbus. With a major college hockey team in town, the FF wouldn’t suffer from attendance issues. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a popular tourist spot along with the Center for Science and Industry (COSI), which my wife heavily endorses, and the Museum of Art.

4. New York/New Jersey

The Big Apple may be on a lot of people’s short lists for FF destinations, but I’m wary of it. Sure, there’s a lot to do and seeing a game in a legendary arena like Madison Square Garden or a sparkling arena like the Prudential Center would be fun. At the same time, the NCAA would have to think about this: Would the natives care? New York/New Jersey may love hockey, but there are zero college hockey teams in the vicinity and the closest ones aren’t national powerhouses. The area is packed with professional franchises, so college hockey wouldn’t be a priority. It would be further down the list, but I could see the NCAA giving the area a shot just to see if they could pull it off.

5. Raleigh/Nashville

The NCAA has always wanted to expand the popularity of hockey to different regions of the country, so here are two possibilities. The first is Raleigh, home of the NHL’s Hurricanes. North Carolina on the whole isn’t a hockey mecca, but the Hurricanes are surprisingly popular in the city. Raleigh also offers museums and parks to tourists as well as a warmer climate for hockey fans who are tired of snow by the time April rolls around.

The other possibility is Nashville. The Music City obviously has more to offer tourists than Raleigh does. There would be lots to do, but would the city rally around hockey? Forbes reports that the Predators are operating at a loss in a metropolitan area of 1.6 million residents, and college hockey was a bust when Alabama-Huntsville attempted to play a series here two years ago. Attendance was almost nonexistent.

If the NCAA truly wants to expand the game to new areas, these would be the two places to go. I just don’t see them choosing either, but they’ll probably consider it. If the Frozen Four can be successful here, it can be successful almost anywhere.


1. I stopped watching because BC was destroying every team it faced.

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Yale Beats the Odds to Bring Home First National Championship http://insidehockey.com/yale-beats-the-odds-to-bring-home-first-national-championship http://insidehockey.com/yale-beats-the-odds-to-bring-home-first-national-championship#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 16:13:56 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=49444

PITTSBURGH – The Yale Bulldogs entered the NCAA Division 1 men’s ice hockey tournament as the No. 15 seed. They were the last at-large team to make the tournament at all, securing their spot only when Michigan lost its conference title game.

And, as a No. 15 seed, they would have a tough road to climb – first facing No. 2 Minnesota, then No. 8 North Dakota and, finally, No. 3 UMass Lowell – on the road to the National Championship Game against, naturally, No. 1 Quinnipiac, the best team in college hockey all year.

“I think one of the special things about our team, and one of the qualities of all champions, is a great ability to focus,” said Yale coach Keith Allain. “If we look down the road and say we’re going to have to beat three No. 1’s and a No. 2 seed, the task might have seemed daunting. But when you chip away at it, one at a time – it took a great deal of effort, but it’s not impossible.”

Saturday night, the Bulldogs completed their unlikely rise from underdogs to top dogs, beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats, 4-0, to win a national championship for the first time in the 117-year history of the nation’s oldest college hockey program.

“We have some great players on our team, and a lot of the guys that don’t get noticed, they’re our heroes,” said Yale captain Andrew Miller. “We don’t focus on one player or one group of players. We compete every single night, and I think that’s a testament to our team. We work hard in practice, we work hard off the ice, and I think that’s why we won the national championship.”

Fittingly, it was a few of those unlikely heroes who helped lead Yale to the title. Saturday’s contest against the Bobcats marked the fourth time the crosstown rivals had met this season, with Quinnipiac winning all three times so far. And, for nearly two periods, the teams were deadlocked with no score in the kind of battle you might expect from opponents that know each other’s tendencies so well.

“We had a ton of grade-A [chances] in the first two periods, and we just couldn’t finish,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “Sometimes, the puck just won’t go in the net for you.”

Then, with 3.5 seconds remaining in the second period, the Bulldogs got a lucky bounce when junior forward Clinton Bourbonais, owner of just three goals on the season so far, took a shot from the half-wall that deflected in through the legs of Quinnipiac netminder Eric Hartzell.

“It was just a fluky goal,” Hartzell said. “That’s what happens when you get pucks to the net; weird bounces happen. I didn’t really see the shot. It was deflected and it was bouncing and they redirected it right through my five-hole.”

“The first goal in any game is huge and to get it that way, late in a period, can be even bigger,” said Yale junior forward Jesse Root, a Pittsburgh native. “To put a goal in and then not give them a chance to respond, it can really weigh on a team in a locker room.”

The Bobcats tried to avoid feeling deflated after the late goal – “You’re down by one, and that’s nothing in hockey,” said Quinnipiac captain Zack Currie. “We came on in the third pretty excited; we had every intention of coming back in that game.” But then another unlikely hero, forward Charles Orzetti, found the net for Yale just 3:35 into the third for just his second goal of the season.

Miller added a third midway through the period. Down 3-0, with more than seven minutes remaining and the teams playing four-on-four, the Bobcats tried pulling their goalie to use their power-play configuration. But the desperation move only resulted in Root getting an empty-net goal in front of his hometown crowd. And, back in New Haven, Connecticut, the party was all but on.

“This is what you dream about as a young player,” Root said. “To get a goal in the biggest game of my life in this arena and in this town, it just leaves me speechless.”

And Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm shut down everything Quinnipiac threw at the net – 36 shots in all – to earn a shutout on his 24th birthday, besting Hobey Baker Award finalist Hartzell.

“Malcolm was great tonight; you’ve got to give the kid credit,” Pecknold said. “It’s the biggest game of his career and he pitches a shutout. We definitely had a lot of chances in the first two periods; the game got away from us there. We could’ve easily been up 1-0 or 2-0 going into the third, and it’s a different hockey game.”

“Jeff played great all night,” said Yale senior defenseman Colin Dueck. “You could tell right from the start he was feeling it. He was getting shots and he was seeing them and moving well. In the second period, he made a pretty good short-breakaway stop and I knew, at that point, he’s just closing the door. Playing in front of him, that’s huge for us because we’re confident. We’re just trying to get in the shot lanes; we’re playing the guy and not worrying about if shots do get by, because he’s going to be there.”

“He’s been our rock all season,” said Yale junior forward Kenny Agostino, a former Pittsburgh Penguins and now Calgary Flames prospect. “Our team has had its ebbs and flows all year but, no question, he has been consistent.”

Coach Allain has also brought consistency, said his players, who credited the 1980 Yale graduate and former Bulldogs goaltender with giving his team the confidence to believe it could rise to the top.

“This program has a lot of great history, but I think you can clearly see that Coach Allain has really changed the whole atmosphere and the whole view of this program,” Agostino said. “He’s one of the best hockey coaches there is. He took this group from the beginning, he had a goal, and we all bought into it. We grew as a team and got even closer at the year went on. We peaked tonight.”

“I came back to prove that you could go to the best university in the world and compete in hockey at the highest level,” Allain said. “And this group has proven that this year.”

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Photo Gallery: Quinnipiac Advances to Final http://insidehockey.com/photo-gallery-quinnipiac-advances-to-final http://insidehockey.com/photo-gallery-quinnipiac-advances-to-final#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 13:42:49 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=49428

Quinnipiac jumped to a 3-0 first period lead and beat St. Cloud 4-1 to advance to the Frozen Four national championship game against Yale.

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