College Hockey:
Four Nations Cup consequences

Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States met in Nyköping, Sweden, last week to compete for the Four Nations Cup. As has always been the case with this event and its three-nation predecessor, Canada and the United States met in the final; the Americans emerged with a 4-3 win in a shootout.

Occurring while the first semester of NCAA competition is in full swing, the tournament annually causes a number of athletes and coaches to leave their college teams for a week or more. Some teams schedule byes to limit the impact of these absences; for example, the entire WCHA was idle this past weekend.

Ali Winkel of Dartmouth (David Silverman Photography)

Ali Winkel of Dartmouth (David Silverman Photography)

Others do not have this luxury, like Ivy League teams that are restricted by conference limitations on season length. Thus, Cornell, missing coach Doug Derraugh and four players representing Team Canada, and Harvard, minus coach Katey Stone and three players rostered on the U.S. squad, were in ECAC action. Other than Holy Cross, which does not play a Division I schedule, the Big Red and the Crimson went into the weekend as the last remaining unbeaten teams; neither can claim perfection any longer.

Cornell fell to visiting Dartmouth, 5-4, in a game that the Big Red never led, succumbing to a hat trick by Big Green sophomore Ali Winkel.

A day later, the women from Ithaca regrouped sufficiently to hand the Crimson their first setback, 5-3, forcing Harvard to play from behind and netting the game-winner a mere eight seconds after being tied at 3-3 at 12:37 of the third period. The winning goal came off the stick of Jillian Saulnier, her second of the game and 12th in six contests.

The trick for the pollsters and others comparing teams is what significance, if any, should be given to these reverses. I’m inclined to forgive Cornell’s loss, because it came versus a Dartmouth team that was intact, while Harvard’s defeat was to an opponent that was similarly handicapped. However, the computer rankings will be blind to any circumstance beyond the ultimate outcomes.

Other results
A week ago, New Hampshire scored four of the game’s final five goals to pull off a dramatic 5-4 overtime win at Dartmouth that broke a six-game winless skid. That momentum failed to carry over, as league rivals new and old, Boston University and Providence, delivered consecutive UNH thumpings, by scores of 5-2 and 6-2 respectively.

Maine took three of four points from visiting Niagara, but left a little meat on the bone, as they allowed the Purple Eagles to forge a 3-3 tie with only 14 seconds remaining in the second meeting. Perhaps it was destined that these two would work overtime at least once, as it was the fourth OT for each already this season.

The Bulldogs of Yale got in the win column for the first time this season, besting Union, 3-2, in overtime thanks to a Jackie Raines marker. The ECAC standings on the whole are more bunched than is often the case at this point. With each team having played from four to six games, everyone has at least one league win, while only Dartmouth at 3-0-1 has yet to taste defeat in the conference.

The Patty picture
Cornell freshman Saulnier continues to pile up points at a three-per-game clip; she sits atop the national points per game race. Joining her in the top ten are five Shattuck-St. Mary’s products: North Dakota’s Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux-Kolls; Wisconsin’s Brianna Decker; and Minnesota’s Amanda Kessel and Jen Schoullis. Saulnier is also best in the rookie category, while Harvard’s Marissa Gedman and Minnesota’s Megan Bozek are first among defensemen with 1.25 PPG.

Glancing at the goaltenders, seniors Hillary Pattenden of Mercyhurst (.957) and Florence Schelling of Northeastern (.953) lead in save percentage.

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  • Fatmikek

    Some guys always think people are bashing their team. To be honest the beaver were very luck that the Sioux couldn’t and didn’t generate any offense. This coming from a UMD fan. UND is a better team just having issues and the grind it out game Simon talked about wouldn’t have helped if UND could have scored. It didn’t work against my Bulldogs.

    • WCHA Fan

      Were the Bulldogs “lucky” that the Beavers couldn’t generate some offense when they won 1-0?  No, it’s called playing solid defense for 60 minutes.  Why then are the Beavers “lucky” the Sue couldn’t generate some offense?  This is what Simon is trying to say.  While few would argue that the Sue have been the better team in the past, have a deeper roster, etc…, that does not mean that they are the better team any given weekend or even this season.  The Beavers split, which implies this weekend that they were equal teams.  The Beavers have played a tough early schedule including all but 4 games on the road, and games against ranked opponents every series with the exception of NoDak.  Still, they hold a three point advantage in the standings against the Sue.  Explain to me how NoDak is a better team right now?  Explain how shutting out a WCHA opponent is a “lucky” win?  I think Simon hit the nail on the head.  No love or respect. 

      • Stoney2323

         Or you can watch the game and see that UND was the better squad both games…. seems pretty logical to me

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6IGPAF6OVQLRDZAXUEK223Y7O4 Carlos

    BU stole the game against Cornell.  A phantom interference to give BU a 5 on 3, TWO disallowed Cornelll goals. The Hockey East refs embarrased themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Fire Tim Whitehead

    • it’s 2011

      fire your avatar

      • Anonymous

        Oh, he’ll be gone in Nov 2012

    • Brian Harvey

      can someone get this doofus banned?  his avatar is pretty racist and all he ever posts is “fire tim whitehead”

      • Anonymous

        Ban Brian Harvey AND fire Tim Whitehead!

  • HEhockey31

    I agree that the bottom is much stronger than ever, but I also think the top is a lot weaker. Merrimack is the only consistent, solid team this year. 2009 was much much stronger. Northeastern was on fire and made the NCAA’s, Vermont made it to the frozen four, UNH lost to BU in the regional final. On top of that Lowell almost beat BU in the hockey east tournament, and BC looked pretty good too but lost to BU in the semi’s. Oh yeah, and BU won the whole thing. It really doesn’t get much stronger than that. The top 5 teams were really something else.

  • CommAve

    Pretty tough to consider to BC, Merrimack and BU weak…Most likely all 3 will be in tourney (the former two with high seeds) and who knows what UNH will do.  Early for sure, but don’t think top of the Hockey East is that watered down.

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