College Hockey:
Head of the Class: New Hampshire Wins Ice Breaker, 7-3

Wildcats Gain Momentum with Goal off Colgate Netminder's Helmet

— Maybe you shouldn’t use your head if you’re Colgate.

The Red Raiders learned that lesson well, as the key goal by New Hampshire’s Lanny Gare bounced off Colgate goaltender Jason Lefevre’s helmet and into the net. The unusual tally helped build No. 9 New Hampshire’s momentum en route to a 7-3 victory in the championship game of the Ice Breaker Cup on Saturday.

“I tried jamming the puck at the stick and it just hit his head,” said Gare, a sophomore. “To win this tournament, it’s a great confidence builder.”

After winning a shootout against North Dakota on Friday night, the Wildcats (1-0-1) took the fourth-annual tournament despite trailing 2-0 to runner-up Colgate.

“We’ll take it,” New Hampshire coach Richard Umile said. “I liked the way our guys came back especially from 2-0 down. We showed that we could compete at this level.”

North Dakota and Michigan tied 5-5 in the early game to settle for third place each.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said of the tournament. “It’s great to be in this type of company. Our conference (the ECAC) sometimes takes a slashing in the media. Here we came to prove we could play.”

The tournament brought in a highly-regarded team from four conferences – North Dakota (WCHA), Colgate, (ECAC), New Hampshire (Hockey East) and Michigan (CCHA).

Colgate provided tough company for New Hampshire in the first two periods. The Red Raiders scored their first goal shorthanded in the first when sophomore Scooter Smith lobbed a puck into the left side of the net past goaltender Ty Conklin (15 saves).

Paul Kelly scored Colgate’s second goal at the 7:42 mark of the second period. But from then on, it was all New Hampshire.

The Wildcats’ speed and the Red Raiders’ fatigue culminated in a 39-17 shot advantage for the second and third stanzas. New Hampshire was able to draw six penalties in the period, including four Colgate minors in a 12-minute period.

Junior Darren Haydar, New Hampshire’s leading scorer last season, tallied two consecutive goals to knot the game at 2. Then, Gare’s lucky goal bounced off Lefevre’s head, giving New Hampshire a 3-2 lead it would never relinquish.

The Wildcats notched four more goals, two by David Busch, to finish off the Red Raiders for the championship.

“It sends a message,” Haydar said of the tournament win. “We’re ranked fourth right now in (Hockey East). Some teams might have overlooked us.”

Umile had told his team to be ready for the season, which began two weeks earlier than 1999. The players responded, working out since school started and it showed in the final two periods of the championship.

“With the amount of penalties we took, you get tired,” said Colgate’s Lefevre, who stopped 28-of-33 shots before being pulled in favor of Dave Cann. “It’s tough when you have to keep killing off constantly.”

Colgate tied Michigan 2-2 in the semifinal, but won the tiebreaking shootout 2-0. It was much of the same in New Hampshire’s first game against No. 1 North Dakota, as the Wildcats crept by thanks to defenseman Garrett Stafford, who was the only player out of 14 to score in the shootout on Friday.

Gare said that the tournament championship may have a little less importance, since New Hampshire only advanced with a shootout.

The North Dakota game “was definitely not a win,” Gare said. “When it comes to the shootout anything can happen.”

Mark Francescutti is a sports editor for the Michigan Daily.

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  • JJfP

    Actually, LSSU had it in New York.  A look at their lines will show how badly they had it.  They were recovering when ND went to the Soo, but likely still passed some germs on.  

    • Paula Weston

      I had heard that they picked it up in NY and brought it back with them.  Nobody from FSU said anything to me about it — FSU was the Lakers’ opponent before Canisius — and I had heard that there was illness that ND weekend. Just passing along what I’d heard.  It certainly could have originated in the U.P.  Influenza hit Michigan in Traverse City first this year in September according to news reports, then worked its way down (and pretty quickly, I might add).  Maybe it worked its way up, too.  

  • CS

    Someone voted Notre Dame #1 in this week’s poll.  That’s just embarrassing after they were swept at home including a 9-2 loss.  I know the polls don’t mean anything right  now but they lose any credibility with homer votes like that.

    • Paula Weston

      Wasn’t me.

  • Alex

    So that’s why Notre Dame lost? Because they were sick? Riiight. Whatever you say Paula.

    Looked to me like their biggest weakness was exposed… and that is those two mediocre goalies they have. Same with Miami. If you can get to them… they aren’t very good.

    • Paula Weston

      I’m not saying they wouldn’t have lost anyway.  I’m just saying that there was something going around.  We’ve seen this increasingly in recent years, where a virus just runs through a team one week, then the team that team plays the next.  Not saying that LSSU wouldn’t have lost to ND the week before; I’m not saying that ND wouldn’t have been swept by Northeastern.  I’m just suggesting that it may have been a contributing factor.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HVM5QWREKL5ZTSPY6HF2V2UPO4 Neil

    Working in a rink I know how this is. Some kid gets sick and those germ stick around..eventually every player on that team, asst coach, coach, parents and rink staff all get it. I hope this year won’t be too bad..

  • Richard

    Lets see. Miami lost twice to NMU this past weekend, but USCHO moves Miami up in their latest poll. Any bias there, USCHO?

    • DU Fan

      Miami went from ranked (18) to others receiving votes … not sure how you see that as moving up.

    • Paula Weston

      Richard, do you have an old poll bookmarked?  As DU fan pointed out, Miami is no longer ranked this week.  

      Additionally, your comment leads me to believe that maybe you don’t know the process of the USCHO poll.  It’s a ballot process with 50 voters counted weekly.  These voters aren’t simply USCHO staff; voters are seasoned writers from around the country as well as head coaches.  USCHO itself doesn’t pick who lands where in any week’s poll. 

  • Richard

    To Paula & DU Fan
     When I checked their latest poll (Dec. 5th) yesterday afternoon (around 5 pm central time), they had Miami ranked 18 after being unranked the week before. That had me scratching my head because NMU had just beaten them twice. Now USCHO shows Miami unranked again. They caught their mistake. Either that or I was seeing things yesterday. lol 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WEX6U4YC32QLNJBJUTGGJXG2PE K

    During the course of ECAC hockey and a few games outside of that division, I’ve seen [tv, person] and heard of egregious conduct involving continually bad officiating throughout games.  Not necessary a missed call, but blatant disregard to fair play throughout the whole game.  Case in point Union v Colgate: net came off moorings and no whistle. player deliberately ran into net, no delay of game, 2x Union shot over glass in defensive zone and no delay of game, ‘gate player charged while trying to score when union holding and pushing into net and knocking own goalie down, gate player tackled – yes tackled and no call.  It looked as though officials did everything for a Union win except grab the puck, toss into net and call it a goal.  These officials are well paid for their services, and like any other ‘business’, if misconduct occurs… reprimand or termination is in order.
    I am not a die-hard team fan… but when officials are dictating a game, its time to suspend or in these two officials, terminate employment.
    Yes, there is video of game – contact Colgate Athletic department

    • Ajfallis

      sounds like a cranky colgate fan

    • Guest1

      Trust me i know exactly what you mean about the Official’s in this league…Case in Point…Cornell-SLU….Cornell goalie protested a goal and it was reviewed….Goal was waved off…Same situation at the other end of the rink…SLU goalie ask for a review and the official said we are not going to review it…Player at the end of the Game for SLU on a partial breakaway with a chance to win it and was given a 2 handed wack at the skates…No call…Cornell scores in OT to win…The official’s in this league need to be suspended or fired for a poorly called game…I have seen alot of games and when i see who the Official’s are, i feel like asking for my money back…And it’s no surprise that Paul Stewart is an “ass” because i have wrote to him before and was told that if i ever wrote to him again complaing about his officials that he would have me arrested for public harassment…So yeah they are all a joke…It’s never going to change…They want who they want for the Finals and will do anything to cover their spread…

  • css228

    I think your opinion of ECAC officials is mired in delusions of competence

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