The Playoff Push
Postseason hockey got underway this past weekend and as always there were a couple of upsets; including one top-10 team and perennial powerhouse going down.
After making three straight trips to the frozen four, the Elmira College Soaring Eagles had their playoff dreams abruptly halted at home in the ECAC West Play-In round with a 2-1 loss to Utica on Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers’ freshman stud Megan Myers outdueled Elmira’s rookie sensation Tori Charron as Myers netted both Utica goals to lead the Pioneers to the shocking upset.
Utica advances to the ECAC West semifinals where the Pioneers will try to continue their cinderella run against top-seeded and No. 2-ranked RIT. Neumann survived in double overtime to down Oswego 2-1 and punch its ticket to Rochester and a date with second-seeded Plattsburgh in the semifinals.
In the ECAC East, Manhattanville is breathing a sigh of relief as the “Valiant Killer” Teraysa White and New England College were upset by Southern Maine 1-0 in overtime in the ECAC East Quarterfinals on Saturday. Southern Maine advances to the final four where they will face top-seeded Norwich who easily disposed of Nichols in its quarterfinal matchup. Manhattanville will face UMass-Boston, who beat Salve Regina 3-2 in overtime to punch its ticket to Kreitzberg Arena for the ECAC East final four.
All the top seeds won in the NESCAC and now Trinity, Amherst, and Bowdoin will all travel to Middlebury’s Chip Kenyon ’85 Arena for the NESCAC final four weekend. Bowdoin will face the Panthers and Trinity will take on Amherst in the other semifinal. The two-time defending national champion Lord Jeffs have their backs up against the wall entering this weekend and more than likely will need to end up winning NESCAC Tournament to have a chance to defend their national championship.
In the NCHA, top-seed and unbeaten Wis. River Falls got a scare on Friday night from St. Norbert as the two teams fought to a 2-2 tie. However, the Falcons responded in Game 2 of their first-to-3-points series with a 7-1 win over the Green Knights and advanced to the semifinal round. Fifth-seeded Concordia (Wis.) pulled off a mild upset of Wis. Eau Claire as the Falcons rallied to win Game 2 on Saturday, 5-4 after they lost to the Blugolds 5-3 in Game 1. Sam Meuwissen played the hero scoring in sudden death overtime in the minigame to lift Concordia (Wis.) to its first appearance in the NCHA final four. Adrian and Wis. Superior will meet in the other semifinal.
The MIAC wrapped its regular season over the weekend and once again, Gustavus Adolphus finished as the regular season champions and earned the top seed for the MIAC final five tournament. St. Thomas beat out Bethel and St. Olaf in a three-way tie for second place with 24 points each. The Tommies earned the No. 2 seed, followed by Bethel and St. Olaf.
St. Olaf will have to play the fifth-seed Concordia-Moorhead on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the MIAC play-in game. The winner will move on to St. Peter, Minn. on Thursday and take on Gustavus Adolphus, while St. Thomas hosts Bethel. The winners of the two semifinals will meet on Saturday at the highest-remaining seed to duke it out for the MIAC Championship and the auto bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Nineteen new teams join the nine from last week that have played their final games in the 2010-11 season.
Thank you seniors: Plymouth State, Chatham, Cortland, Buffalo State, Potsdam, Marian, Finlandia, St. Scholastica, Wesleyan, Nichols, Castleton, Salve Regina, New England College, Elmira, Oswego, St. Catherine, St. Mary’s, St. Benedict, Hamline, Augsburg, Wis. Stevens Point, St. Norbert, Lake Forest, Wis. Eau Claire, Conn. College, Hamilton, Colby, Williams.
Player of the Week – Sarah Luberda, Concordia (Wis.)
Sarah, a senior forward from De Pere, Wis. scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in Concordia (Wis.)’s 5-4 comeback win over Wis. Eau Claire in Game 2 of the NCHA Quarterfinals. Luberda also added an assist in Saturday’s game and then scored a goal in Friday’s game as well. Luberda has 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points on the season.
Rookie of the Week – Megan Myers, Utica
Megan, a freshman forward from Las Vegas, Nev. scored both Utica goals in the Pioneers’ 2-1 upset win over Elmira in the ECAC West play-in round. Myers has 21 goals and 13 assists on the season for 34 points, which ranks third in the nation for freshmen.
Co-Goalies of the Week – Emily Michelin, Adrian and Marissa Hotaling, Utica
Emily, a freshman goalie from Highland, Mich. backstopped Adrian to a pair of 3-1 wins over Wis. Stevens Point to advance to the NCHA final four for the second straight season. Michelin made 22 saves on Friday and then responded with 33 saves on Saturday to lead the Bulldogs to the next round. Michelin is 14-5-2 on the year with a 1.76 goals against average and a .931 save percentage along with seven shutouts.
Marissa, a sophomore goalie from Whitesboro, N.Y., stopped 52 shots, including 20 in the third period to backstop Utica to a 2-1 upset win over nationally-ranked Elmira in the ECAC West Play-In round. Hotaling is 7-10-0 on the year with a 2.53 goals against average and a .932 save percentage.