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College Hockey:
Here comes Cornell

For much of last season, it looked like a foregone conclusion that Cornell would be the team to face Wisconsin for the national title. The Big Red fell a game short of that climax in March, but they wrote the first chapter of a sequel last week, blowing out three opponents, Colgate, Yale and Brown, by a cummulative 24-2 tally. The defending ECAC champs return their top five scorers, each of whom exceeded 40 points last season, and they’ve added reinforcements to that cast. To date, the newcomer to Ithaca making the biggest impact is Jillian Saulnier. Skating with senior Rebecca Johnston and sophomore Brianne Jenner, Saulnier dented the twine four times in her first contest. Defensively, the Big Red allowed a national best 1.11 goals per game last season, and they’ve dropped that to a miniscule 0.67 thus far.

Also perfect
The Ivy League boasts the only other unbeaten team, Harvard. The Crimson debuted with a 7-1 defeat of St. Lawrence and followed it up with a 2-1 win in overtime over Clarkson.

Rematch mismatch
Boston University, the team that dispatched Cornell in an NCAA semifinal and was ultimately dropped in the championship by Wisconsin, got another shot at the Badgers over the weekend and didn’t fare much better. Wisconsin claimed 3-0 and 6-1 victories in Madison to conclude a 7-1 October consisting of series against four top-ten opponents.

Upset specials
The most surprising result of the weekend was Maine’s 5-2 thumping of No. 4 Boston College on the road. Bemidji State took down No. 2 Minnesota, 2-1, but the Beavers were lurking just outside the rankings and playing at home.

Fit to be tied
Eight games on the weekend required overtime, and only the Harvard at Clarkson game reached a decision. Niagara and Vermont enjoyed bonus hockey so much that they played 65 minutes on consecutive days.

The Patty picture
Cornell’s trio of Jenner (3-7-10), Saulnier (7-3-10), and Johnston (2-7-9) tops the points per game statistics as the only players averaging at least three or better per game. Of those who’ve played more than a week, Jocelyne Lamoureux of North Dakota (9-15-24), and Brianna Decker (12-12-24) of Wisconsin, lead the way at 2.4 points per game. Seven of Decker’s points came in two games with Lindenwood, but 17 points in her other eight games is more than respectable, highlighted by a hat trick in the most recent win over BU.

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  • Lenn

    So Wisconsin sweeps an eastern powerhouse (BU), and Cornell beats up three little sisters of the poor.  And UW loses a first-place vote in this week’s poll?  It would be interesting to find out who the fifteen pollsters are.

  • RLK

    Its great that someone outside of Colorado is writing about our college hockey teams but there are three D-1 teams here, not two. Don’t forget about the AHA leading Air Force Falcons. 

    • Brian Halverson

      Late-night oversight corrected.

    • summitco08

      It’s the AHA… no one cares….

  • Peter

    The Gophers win on Saturday at Wisconsin, after a poor performance Friday, proves they have the mettle to win the WCHA.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBX3ZLT5XKNZDOL2YZHPVX27VI STEVEN P

      I hope so,but my #1 concern with the Gophers is their lack of a proven backup for Patterson. If he goes down,all bets are off.

      • Philipvanschepen

        Shibrowski may be untested, but according to people in the know, he is a capable backup. He’s not Patterson, but he will be okay. Remember last year they said without Kangas the Gopher’s had nothing and Patterson did fine.

      • jmsptrk

        you could say that about a lot of teams.

  • Joe

    This is the WCHA blog though RLK, not the AHA blog.

  • Guest

    How awful is the bottom half of the league? Can’t wait to be rid of the terrible small schools that have plagued this conference for years.

    • Phil Van Schepen

      Have you checked the standings? The bottom of the league is Denver, CC, and North Dakota. I don’t think they have been too terrible for a while. 

      • Guest

        I’m talking the true bottom of the league no matter what the standings. The Michigan Techs, BS Who?, Mankato, Anchorage, etc.

        • Abes

          Not so sure about terrible… maybe mediocre is better word. Can’t forget this without them there would have been few 25 and thirty win seasons for the “top teams”

        • UpNorthHockey

          You young fellers seem to fall pray to the mistaken belief that there are inherently strong and weak programs.  Strong programs come and go and will always continue to do so.  Michigan Tech was a perennial contender from 1960 to 1981 while Colorado used to be the WCHA cellar dweller.  Watch what happens when the NCHC develops its own perennial cellar dwellers and the new WCHA develops its own top teams.  The johnny-come-latelys in the NCHC camp will then be wishing they could dump SCSU and pick up Lake State or some other “like-minded” institution.