When is two wins not enough to win a holiday tournament? Just ask the Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks. That leads off the three things I learned this weekend:
1) Two wins but not enough goals denies Catamount Cup for Lowell
UMass Lowell seemingly took care of business this past weekend at the Catamount, beating Canisius, 5-2, and Clarkson, 3-1. But that wasn’t enough to take home the tournament championship. The only tournament this year that used a predetermined field, Lowell did not face Vermont, which beat Clarkson, 3-2, in Saturday’s opener, in what would be a true championship game scenario. Thus, both the River Hawks and Catamounts wound up with two wins apiece. The tournament’s tie breaker if teams were tied was the overall number of goals scored, not goal differential as is often used in international tournaments where there is a round robin to open. So when Vermont’s Jake Fallon scored with just two seconds left in Sunday’s final game, the Catamounts had a 6-2 victory and nine total goals, one more than the runner-up River Hawks. Still, come season’s end, both Lowell and Vermont will be more than happy to come out of this weekend with two victories.
2) Maine doesn’t lose but still can’t take home Florida title
Lowell wasn’t the only team without a loss this weekend that didn’t win their tournament. After a 4-0 win over Princeton in the semifinals of the Florida College Classic, the Black Bears tied Cornell, 1-1, in the final. That led to a shootout that went nine rounds before Cornell finally scored the game-winner. Which leads me to another pet peeve about holiday tournaments: Why, when a trophy is on the line, can’t teams play unlimited overtimes? It’s certainly exciting for the fans who can wait for the dramatic championship-winning goal. I understand coaches might like the idea of knowing a game will be over after 65 minutes, but a shootout will never be my preferred way of determining a champion.
3) Thus far, a good weekend for Hockey East
The holiday tournaments will continue through tonight, but thus far Hockey East teams have impressed. With UMass, Northeastern and Providence still to play tonight, Hockey East is a combined 8-2-2 in non-conference holiday tournament play. Boston College and Vermont both captured holiday tournament titles, while Providence and will take on Air Force tonight for the title at the Ledyard Bank tournament at Dartmouth. The one place Hockey East hasn’t had success is in the aforementioned shootouts. In addition to Maine dropping a shootout against Cornell, UMass lost to Quinnipiac in a shootout and thus will face Connecticut in the consolation game of the UConn Holiday Classic.