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College Hockey:
Alpha ‘Dogs; Red beat Blue; and a QUiet roll

Yale riding (a mile) high

No doubt about it, the story of the weekend was Yale’s road sweep of Centennial Staters Denver and Colorado College. The Pioneers entered the weekend at 9-1-1 and ranked second in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll, while CC (7-5-0 as of Turkey Day) was tagged for 14th in the survey.

The Blue didn’t just squeak by in Denver; they actually out-shot the hosts (37-33) and scored both short-handed and power-play goals in a 2-1 thriller at Magness Arena. Senior Jeff Malcolm stopped 32 of 33 for his fourth win of the year, and Pittsburgh Penguins pick Kenny Agostino scored his fifth of the year to elevate the Elis.

The following evening was a completely different story as Malcolm was chased after five goals and 34 minutes. Classmate Nick Maricic stepped in with nine saves in the last 30 minutes (including four saves in three and a half minutes of overtime), and senior Josh Balch scored his first goal of the year in OT to extend the Blue’s winning streak to three.

Yale is now 5-2-1, and has yet to play consecutive games without at least one win.

Cornell claims the Apple

The Big Red entered Madison Square Garden for the fourth time in six years on Saturday, but this time departed Manhattan with a victory.

Cornell’s 5-1 dismantling of No. 19 Michigan in front of 18,200 ended a half-decade of Big Apple angst for the Big Red, who had been 0-2-1 in three MSG meetings against Boston University since Thanksgiving ’07. The Red drew six power plays — scoring on one — while taking only two minors of their own; senior Greg Miller scored twice and added an assist; and junior Andy Iles turned away 26 of 27 Wolverines shots for his fourth win of the year.

The win ends a five-game winless skid for Cornell (0-3-2). That would seem long for such a consistent program, but we don’t have to look too far back to spot a similar slide: The Red dropped two and tied three over a five-game span that began late last January. Even more importantly for Lynah faithful, the five-goal outburst ends a streak of three consecutive one-goal outings for Cornell. Next up: Clarkson and St. Lawrence visit Ithaca.

QU humming along

The Quinnipiac Bobcats used to do things loudly: Big, explosive offenses; big road upsets; big collapses … but lately, QU has been toning it down a bit. It’s almost as though the program itself is maturing.

The Bobcats shut out Providence (2-0) and tied Massachusetts (2-2) last week, both on the road. The results were the third and fourth of a six-game road trip (if you can call it that in college hockey), and the ‘Cats are 3-0-1 on that swing so far. Add prior home wins over Colgate and Cornell, and hey now, you’ve got yourself a pretty snazzy little unbeaten streak (5-0-1). And unlike the show-stopping snipers of teams past, this squad is winning from the back out.

The Bobcats have not surrendered three goals in a game in a month (a 5-1 loss to Colgate on Cape Cod on Oct. 27) and have only allowed more than two goals in a game twice all year (the 4-0 stinger against Robert Morris being the other occasion). Beyond that, the ‘Cats have lost 2-0 and 2-1 games, and have won the rest. Senior Eric Hartzell’s save percentage is .927 (up nearly 10 points since last week’s column which highlighted save percentages), and the team is allowing its foes a full 10 fewer shots than it is itself generating (31.7 to 21.4).

Quinnipiac isn’t breaking up Boston College’s insane hot streak or running roughshod through the cream of the WCHA, but success has a way of breeding success. This is no time to sleep on the Bobcats.

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