This Week in Hockey East: January 24, 1997

Hockey East Preview: Jan. 24-28, 1997 by Dave Hendrickson

Nationally-ranked Boston University and UNH, both considered head and shoulders above the rest of Hockey East, could muster only two out of four points against their unranked league brethren last week. The Cinderella River Hawks from UMass-Lowell proved that their slipper might fit after all, stunning New Hampshire one day after being embarrassed in their own barn. Boston College and BU staged two riveting ties that showed that the Eagles could be rounding into form at just the right time. And Maine and UMass-Amherst both swept their series to make major strides in the standings.

This weekend everyone but Providence faces off against two different league foes, so most team previews that follow are divided between Friday and Saturday games. The Friars take on Brown, their cross-town rival from the ECAC. Only four points separate the third- and seventh-place teams; home ice for the playoffs could remain undecided until the final week of the season.

Last week’s record in picks: 6-6 Season record in picks: 89-50

No. 2 Boston University (13-4-5, 11-0-3 HE) at UMass-Lowell (12-11-0, 8-6-0 HE) Friday, 7 p.m., Tully Forum, Lowell, MA WNDS-TV50

Last week BU tied arch-rival BC, 5-5 and 4-4. In the opener the Terriers fell behind 3-0, rallied back for a 5-3 lead, and then had to settle for a tie when Marty Reasoner scored two late third-period goals, the first with the goalie pulled with over five minutes left. Both teams had numerous chances in the Saturday contest, but netminders Greg Taylor and Michel Larocque held the game to a 4-4 tie.

"My reaction to any of it is overshadowed by how upset I am with the stupid penalties we’re taking, and how it’s costing us game in and game out," said BU coach Jack Parker. "We just don’t seem to be able to get the point across. We played very well at times, but in Hockey East we’re averaging over 30 minutes a game in penalties. We had a 4-4 tie going into the third period against BC and we got a five-minute major, a two-minute minor and five-on-threes. It’s just killing us. "We’ve had six or seven game disqualifications this year on a team that doesn’t have many players. That, plus individual guys getting three or four penalties in one game, is absolutely disconcerting."

The Terriers lost Tommi Degerman for five of the six periods on the weekend because of a Friday night disqualification. Captain Bill Pierce’s third-period spearing DQ hamstrung his team on Saturday and puts him out of the Lowell contest. Averaging 33.64 penalty minutes in league games, BU far outstrips runner-up BC, at 25.21 a game. While BU’s league-leading penalty-kill (81.9 percent overall) tempers some of the impact of the excessive penalties, the problem remains.

Often the emotions of a big series against a top rival leaves a team vulnerable the next week. "The good part, as far as the emotion is concerned," countered Parker, "is that we didn’t win. We’re not all full of ourselves."

BU opens the weekend at Lowell before hosting Maine.

"What has happened this year with Lowell is what has happened for the last ten," said Parker. "And that is that everybody hopes they’re not going to be any good. The fact of the matter is that [Lowell coach] Tim Whitehead should maybe get half of those Coach of the Year Awards from Bruce Crowder because he obviously had a lot to do with their success in the past. And he’s having a lot to do with their success right now. He deserves an awful lot of credit.

"I also think that the Lowell players and program deserve a lot more respect than anyone wants to give them. It’s amazing to me that we’ve played them in the Hockey East finals or semifinals the last couple of years and no one thinks they’re an important team in our league. Once again they’ve duped all the pollsters and proved they’re a pretty good club."

UMass-Lowell recovered from a 9-4 loss at home to UNH to get even with a 7-5 win at UNH.

"Obviously we’re pleased with the way the guys refocused after getting pretty soundly beat the first night," said Whitehead, the runaway leader at this point for Hockey East Coach of the Year. "Our guys have done really well refocusing this year after a loss."

Senior Ryan Sandholm earned league Player of the Week honors for his four goals and five assists on the weekend. Sandholm is yet another Lowell player who did little in his first couple years, but developed into a significant contributor as an upperclassman.

"He’s worked very hard over four years to make himself into a player," said Whitehead. "He’s always had great hockey sense. He has great touch. And he’s worked very hard to get a physical aspect to his game. He had a good season last year, the first year he stayed in the lineup consistently. This year he’s taken it to another level and become an impact player for us. I’m very happy for him. He’s one of the best kids we have in the program. He’s a great student and just a great person."

Lowell ranks among the league’s top teams on the power play (24.4 percent, second overall). Their penalty-kill had ranked number one until last weekend when four Wildcat power-play goals on Friday night and another on Saturday helped drop the River Hawks to a tie for third (80.8 percent).

"For us to be successful, we’ve got to do well with our special teams," Whitehead said. "We don’t have the depth that other teams do, so our special teams have to be sharp. It’s a very tightly called game in college, so as a result you get a ton of power plays and penalty-kills. We have to take advantage of those opportunities."

The River Hawks go from the proverbial frying pan into the fire, taking on second-ranked BU after the split with fifth-ranked UNH.

"Our guys aren’t under any false illusions," says Whitehead. "They know they have to have all 20 guys playing together and going full tilt to beat anybody, no matter what team it is. So obviously against BU we have to be at our sharpest."

PICK: BU 5-3.

No. 5 New Hampshire (17-6-0, 11-3-0 HE) at Merrimack (7-14-1, 3-8-1 HE) Friday, 7 p.m., Volpe Center, North Andover, MA

UNH romped at Lowell, 9-4, before the River Hawks turned the tables 7-5 back in Durham. Since their 14-game win streak, New Hampshire is only 2-4.

"Down at Lowell we played pretty well," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "Then Saturday night we just got ourselves in a hole early, tried to dig ourselves out, but just never got out of it. We came close twice, getting within one goal, but both times they scored on the power play to go up by two.

"We just didn’t get it done. We were in the zone, we were getting the opportunities, but we couldn’t finish it. I’ve got to give credit to Lowell. They came into our rink and found a way to win the game."

Goaltender Sean Matile, who had not played in recent weeks because of his problems adjusting to seizure medication, returned to action early in the loss when Brian Larochelle struggled. "He was much better this past week than he was the week before," said Umile. Even so, Matile has not yet moved back solidly into the even rotation Umile had used prior to his difficulties. "I’ll decide on Thursday who’s going to play on Friday and we’ll just take it from there."

At the same time that the Wildcats welcomed back Matile, they lost blueliner Erik Johnson for two-to-four weeks with a severe sprain of his shoulder. Originally, the team had feared a fractured collarbone. Moving in to replace Johnson will be either freshman Brendon McEniry, who played on Saturday, or sophomore Christian Bragnalo. It also likely means a bigger role for freshman Dan Enders, who was already in the rotation.

"Danny’s done a real good job for us," said Umile. "He’s a tough kid who can skate and handle the puck well. He’s got his feet wet now and he knows what goes on out there. We’re happy with the way he’s played."

The last time that New Hampshire faced the Warriors, the Wildcats spanked Merrimack 9-0. The Warriors stayed close at 2-1 in the rematch until UNH added two late nails to the eventual 4-1 coffin.

"They approached us a little differently when they played us up at our place and tried not to open it up," recalled Umile. "I expect a tight-checking game down there at Merrimack, a close game like the second time we played."

Merrimack split a non-conference series with the CCHA’s Ohio State, winning 3-1 before losing 5-3. The Warriors are now 4-3 since Christmas.

"I thought we played pretty steady both nights," said Merrimack coach Ron Anderson. "We just missed our opportunities the second night. The first night was a pretty even game throughout. We just capitalized. The second night we had chances when the game was on the line but just didn’t take advantage of them. When they got their chances they did.

One player who did capitalize on his chances was Casey Kesselring. Kesselring, who two weeks ago had only one goal to go with his 11 assists, scored three times over the weekend. "We’ve been waiting for some of our upperclassmen to hit their stride offensively," said Anderson. "Casey’s been working hard all year. He’s been around the net and making things happen for other people, he just wasn’t finding the range himself. So it’s good to see him get three on the weekend."

Standout defenseman John Jakopin will miss the UNH game because of a game disqualification against Ohio State. "We’ve been playing nine or 10 defensemen all year long, so we’ll just plug someone else in there. We’ve had seven dressed just about every night, and some nights even had eight, so we’ll slide someone else in. Whoever fills in won’t be at his level — he’s a good player — but as far as bodies goes, it’s not a problem."

With New Hampshire misfiring the last couple weeks, could they be ripe for the picking?

"We’re playing a lot better now than we were earlier in the year," said Anderson. "I think we’re playing our best hockey of the year right now. On the other hand, UNH is still a very powerful team. We have to make sure that we don’t get caught in the wide-open game that we did with them the first time around. We played it much closer to the vest in the second game and it was a game until the third period, so that’s how we have to play."

PICK: New Hampshire gets a scare but holds on 4-3.

Maine (15-9-1, 7-6-1 HE) at Northeastern (5-16-2, 1-13-1 HE) Friday, 7 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston, MA

In front of capacity crowds, Maine swept Providence 6-3 and 4-1, giving themselves their first plus-.500 league record this year. In the opener, coach Shawn Walsh received an extended standing ovation on his first home game since a year-long suspension.

"You get numbed to those kind of things, both pro and con," said Walsh. "It was very nice, it was heart-warming, but I was anxious for the games to begin."

Backed by the boisterous crowd, the Black Bears scored five first-period goals in under seven and a half minutes. Walsh downplayed the role emotions played in the outburst. "The guys were excited to see a full house," he said. "It was the quickest we’ve jumped out, but we’ve played pretty well since Christmas and we’ve been scoring a lot of goals. We’ve become somewhat explosive and we exploded in that game against a very, very good goalie (in Dan Dennis)."

Walsh would like to see improvement in the special teams. Although Maine leads Hockey East in overall power-play percentage (25 percent), some of that can be attributed to the many man-advantage goals scored against Division II foe Alabama-Huntsville. Within just the league, Maine’s power play drops to fifth. Their penalty-kill ranks third.

He would also like to see continued balanced scoring. "We’ve got four real productive lines. In fact, if you want to call them our third and fourth lines, they were our best lines of the weekend."

One such member of the lower lines is Ben Guite, a freshman who tallied three goals against Providence. "I think Guite’s a terrific prospect," said Walsh. "I think he’s got great potential. He’s strong and he’s got great hands. [Cory] Larose has gotten a lot of ink because of the points he’s put on the board, but to me Guite is a real legitimate professional prospect and is going to be a great college player.

"I think we’ve got great freshmen. It’s a real credit to [assistant coach Grant Standbrook’s] recruiting in light of the turmoil he encountered over the last year and a half. When you figure into the mix Robert Ek, Jason Price, Shawn Mansoff and Alfie Michaud, I think we’ve got a real sweet freshman class that’s just getting better."

Michaud has dramatically turned around a season that had earlier been heading into a downward spiral. Although he faced only 19 shots on Saturday, he turned away 18, many of which which were testers.

"We spend a lot of time now in practices, going 30 minutes a day on just a goalie school. It’s almost like a hockey school, where every drill is just for the goalies. It seems to have helped both our goalies. And even though he wants to play all the time, I think that splitting the time [with Javier Gorriti] has taken a lot of the pressure off him. Javier’s play has also helped put some competition into the position."

The Black Bears open against cellar-dwelling Northeastern before taking on first-place BU. The temptation to overlook the pesky Huskies could prove overwhelming.

"We already discussed that after Saturday night’s game," said Walsh. "The only game we’re concerned with is Northeastern. We won’t even talk about BU until 10 o’clock Friday night. Certainly the coaching staff will do its preparation, but we’ve got a game to play against Northeastern. We’re starting to play well but we don’t have any false delusions of grandeur. We’re a team that has to show up every night for us to have success."

Northeastern lost two more one-goal games last weekend, 4-3 and then 5-4 in overtime against UMass-Amherst. The Huskies have lost their last four games, all by a single marker.

"It’s got to break sooner or later," said NU coach Bruce Crowder. "We’re playing too well not to have that happen. I think we’re playing some pretty good hockey. It’s just a matter of eliminating just the one more mistake a game that could make the difference. When we broke down the video of Saturday’s game, from our viewpoint Amherst scored on their last three chances. It wasn’t like they scored three times off their last six chances, it was three of three. It’s just got to break sometime.

"We’re just staying positive with the kids and trying to correct the mistakes as best we can. I thought we got a pretty good effort out of them on Saturday, a lot better than we got on Friday. But same story, different week."

On Friday they entertain Maine, whom they beat and tied in Orono earlier this year. Those games represent Northeastern’s only league points.

"In any game that we play, we’ve got to more or less worry about ourselves and worry about the mistakes we have to eliminate," said Crowder. "They’ve got a good team up there and we had a good weekend a few months back. Our players just have to come to play as hard as they did on Saturday night and just believe that good things are going to happen."

PICK: Maine 5-4.

UMass-Amherst (11-12-0, 6-8-0 HE) at Boston College (9-11-3, 5-6-3 HE) Friday, 7 p.m., Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College tied two with BU last weekend, 5-5 and 4-4. In Friday night’s tie, York pulled goaltender Greg Taylor with 5:43 left and his team down 5-3. Marty Reasoner responded with a goal in the four-on-four situation and then added the equalizer a minute and a half later. The following evening the two teams played a see-saw contest in which both clubs had great opportunities at the close of regulation and in overtime.

"I thought our team really rose to the occasion and played perhaps our best hockey of the season," said BC coach Jerry York. "A lot of individuals stepped forward but more importantly we played better as a team. BU has an outstanding hockey team and I don’t think we gave them an inch over the weekend.

"We’re getting some important contributions from our third and fourth year players. They may not show up on the scoresheet, but the upperclassmen are doing a lot of the little things really well.

"We felt good about our performance last week but you’re only as good as your next game." The Eagles host UMass-Amherst and then fifth-ranked UNH. "We’ll focus all week on UMass and then Saturday morning talk about New Hampshire.

"We certainly feel that we’re in a race with a number of teams for the home ice spot. I think [the UMass contest] is a critical game in that respect. New Hampshire and BU have secured home ice but after that you can look at Lowell, Providence and go right down the standings. We’re one of probably half a dozen teams trying to get home ice, so it’s a very important game for us."

BC’s defense gave up numerous breakaways to the Terriers. Although that could be more a reflection of BU’s exceptional team speed than BC’s occasionally-sleepy play on the blue line, the Eagles will need to tighten up that aspect of their game, and not look to goalie Greg Taylor to bail them out so frequently. York expects Taylor to play both games this weekend.

"He’s played very well," said York. "As long as he’s healthy, he’ll play a lot of games between now and April."

UMass-Amherst swept Northeastern, with 4-3 and 5-4 wins. The wins give the Minutemen a major boost in their quest for home ice.

"Northeastern is a better team than their record shows," said UMass coach Joe Mallen. "They’re a very capable team in our league. They were two very well played games. I thought that Bonneau and Norris rose to the occasion and really came through for us late in the third period in both games.

"It was a big weekend for us in terms of wins for three reasons. Number one, we had never won more than four games in Hockey East and now we’ve won six. Number two, we hadn’t won more than ten games in Division I in the second and third years of our program. The first year [when UMass played a lot of Division I Independents] doesn’t count. So we broke that. Number three, we’d never beaten Northeastern. We’d tied them twice last year and had one-goal games the year before, but we’d never defeated them. So we accomplished all three things in one weekend.

Although the Minutemen seem to be coming on strong, they are also facing a peaking BC squad. "They seem to be hitting full stride right now," noted Mallen. "A lot of things seem to be coming together for them. I’m sure they would have liked to have beaten BU twice, but they came away with two points in a weekend when maybe a lot of people didn’t think they’d get any points. So it should be an excellent game.

"We still feel that in the league right now it’s BU and UNH and then with everyone else it’s a dogfight. Plus Lowell beat UNH this weekend in the second game so that also shows that UNH can be beaten. And BC tying BU twice shows that BU can be attacked. So it’s a typical Hockey East year."

PICK: BC 5-3.

Providence (9-14-1, 6-8-1 HE) at Brown (4-13-2, 2-10-1 ECAC) Saturday, 7 p.m., Meehan Auditorium, Providence, RI

Providence dropped two games at Maine last weekend, 6-3 and 4-1. The two losses gave the Friars nine in their last 10 games before rebounding with a mid-week 5-2 win over Dartmouth. In the opener against Maine, a vocal, sellout crowd welcomed Shawn Walsh back for his first home game since returning from his suspension.

"They came out on fire and we didn’t handle the pressure very well," said PC coach Paul Pooley. "But we fought back 5-3 after the first period. Even though we hadn’t played well we were still in the game. The sixth goal was the heartbreaker. We had some chances, but they scored four-on-four. Saturday night they scored goals in bunches again and killed us with their fourth line."

Pooley continued to try lineup changes. On Friday freshman Rich Miller replaced the injured Ben Stadey on the blueline. Stadey’s ankle was ready to go on Saturday and Miller had pulled a groin, so the two switched places. Stadey mildly reinjured himself in the game. Both are questionable to play against Brown. Freshman Jason Ialongo, who has sat out four straight games, will likely rejoin the lineup if both Miller and Stadey cannot go. Mike Omicioli, who had gone to the bleachers with Ialongo, returned to action on Saturday, played well, according to Pooley, and should remain in the lineup.

"I’m still optimistic. But I think we still need to make some lineup changes, whether that’s moving a defenseman up front or putting different kids in. We’re not scoring very many goals. The kids that are on the ice all the time aren’t producing. It’s time for someone else to get an opportunity and if that means all freshmen, then that means all freshmen. You’re only measured by your results. We’ve got seniors with only six goals who’ve been on the ice all the time. We have to come up with a lineup that can produce some goals.

"We need a win," insisted Pooley, looking ahead to the Saturday contest against cross-town rival Brown. "We’re at a fragile time right now. Maine beat us out there pretty good and we have to come back and respond. When we get back in the league we’ve got six games with UNH and Lowell. Those are huge. There’s our season. So we have to improve this week and get feeling good about ourselves. We have to get some results. We’re working really hard and getting chances, but we’re not finishing and we’re giving up goals we shouldn’t give up."

Brown has struggled all year long, losing 10 out of 11 games during one stretch. In the three games since then, however, they’ve won twice and tied. They broke the streak with a 4-2 win over a good Union squad that went into the game with a six-game win streak. Since then, they’ve beaten Air Force 5-3, and tied them 7-7.

That tie represents the Bears’ season in a microcosm. They’ve had no trouble scoring goals. In ECAC contests, they tie for the league lead in goals scored with 46. But they are dead last, the same place they hold in league standings, in goals against with 60 in 13 games.

PICK: Providence 5-2.

Maine (15-9-1, 7-6-1 HE) at No. 2 Boston University (13-4-5, 11-0-3 HE) Saturday, 7 p.m., Walter Brown Arena, Boston, MA

Jack Parker goes against Shawn Walsh for the first time in over a year. It’s a rematch that catches every fan’s eye.

"I don’t play against Shawn Walsh," said Parker, laughing. "That’s one of the problems that some people have. In college basketball it’s the coach versus the coach. But I’d say it’s a rematch of Shermerhorn against Bates, not the coaches.

"They’re obviously playing extremely well. They’re always a good team. They’re always a well-coached team. And they’re always a disciplined team. We’ll have our hands full. It’s weird because you know you’re not going to see them any time except the regular season but the games do count and the games will obviously count emotionally."

Walsh, who told his team not to look past their Friday matchup against Northeastern to this game, noted, "Down there you really want to stay in the game. They’re explosive enough that they can just run you right out of the rink as New Hampshire found out [two weeks ago]. If they’re able to beat the number three team in the country 9-4, you just hope that you can stay with them. That’s why the team that impressed me the most this weekend was BC, not only for tying them one night but tying them both nights. BU’s got a heck of a team, and they’re always going to be well-coached. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us."

This contest could come down to specialty teams. BU, as noted earlier, leads the league in penalty minutes while Maine has stayed out of the sin bin better than any other team.

PICK: Penalties could tip this one into the Black Bears’ hands, but BU remains tough at home, winning 4-3.

Boston College (9-11-3, 5-6-3 HE) at No. 5 New Hampshire (17-6-0, 11-3-0 HE) Saturday, 7 p.m., Whittemore Center, Durham, NH

UNH coach Dick Umile sees a tough game ahead for his Wildcats, despite their sweep of the Eagles earlier in the season.

"They just came off an emotional high with BU, and got a point from them each game," said Umile. "They’re getting better. They get good goaltending with Taylor. I expect it to be another tight game like the last time we played them down there."

BC coach Jerry York sees lots of reasons why UNH is ranked number five in the nation.

"Their strength is in a number of different areas," York said. "They’ve proven that to us. Both goalies have played well against us. Their defense is keyed by [Tim] Murray. They have a good solid core of defense. And they have a group of forwards that are among the finest in the nation. They have strengths in a lot of different areas and pose a lot of problems, not just for Boston College but any team they play."

PICK: Boston College sends their fans home happy, 5-4, but only after repeated heroics by Greg Taylor.

UMass-Lowell (12-11-0, 8-6-0 HE) at Merrimack (7-14-1, 3-8-1 HE) Saturday, 7 p.m., Volpe Center, North Andover, MA NESN

Lowell coach Tim Whitehead approaches the Merrimack contest the same as his Friday night game against BU.

"No matter who we’re playing we have to approach the game the same way," said Whitehead. "Merrimack is a very strong team. You can see some of the teams they’ve beaten and they’ve certainly played well against us. We split with them but I felt that they outplayed us. They certainly deserved the second game and the first game could have gone either way so I felt fortunate to have gotten out of there with a win. They tied BU and they beat Maine, so they can beat anybody. We’re certainly the last team that’s going to take anyone lightly."

Merrimack coach Ron Anderson sees why UMass-Lowell has been successful this year.

"Timmy’s done an excellent job over there pulling that team together," said Anderson. "They’ve played very well, very consistently from day one. They’re very relaxed, playing very calm, very disciplined hockey. They don’t hurt themselves."

Specialty teams could decide. As noted in earlier, Lowell boasts some of the best power-play and penalty-kill units in the league. Merrimack’s penalty kill ranks seventh with a 77.3 percent overall success rate. Their power play, however, converts only 13.5 percent of their chances, by far the worst in the league. By comparison, Providence’s next-to-last man-advantage unit scores 21 percent of the time. No team can be consistently successful battling that large a special teams disparity.

PICK: UMass-Lowell 5-3.

UMass-Amherst (11-12-0, 6-8-0 HE) at Northeastern (5-16-2, 1-13-1 HE) Saturday, 7 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston, MA

UMass-Amherst, fresh off a weekend sweep of Northeastern, must try to complete the season sweep only a week later.

"Just the way that Hockey East is right now, it’s very difficult to sweep a team on a given weekend and it’s very, very difficult to take all three," suggested Minuteman coach Joe Mallen. "We found that with Providence. We beat them twice and went down a third time and didn’t play very well at all. I’m sure that Northeastern will be ready for this game."

NU coach Bruce Crowder wondered if the tough-to-take-three principle will hold. "I’m not sure. Obviously as a coach that’s what you hope. Our biggest thing is to worry about Friday night because this is one of those weeks when you don’t have the same opponent back-to-back. So I think we have to worry about Saturday night and make adjustments on Saturday night and not until then."

PICK: Three times is a charm for Crowder’s Huskies. This time they win the one-goal game, 5-4.

No. 5 New Hampshire (17-6-0, 11-3-0 HE) at Harvard (7-9-2, 6-6-2 ECAC) Tuesday, 7 p.m., Bright Hockey Center, Cambridge, MA

"Harvard has a lot of skilled players," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "This is now the fourth year we’ve played them home and away so we’re familiar with what they have."

The Crimson have hung around .500 all season, but have won two of their last three and against good competition. Sandwiching a 4-2 loss to Union was a 3-2 win over Dartmouth and a 6-1 trouncing of RPI. They enter this game coming off a 17-day break.

Rob Millar leads their scoring with seven goals and eight assists in 12 league games. J.R. Prestifilippo continues to impress in the Crimson crease. He is one of several goalie candidates around the league for the ECAC’s All-Rookie team.

Harvard’s power play continues to flounder. After setting a near-standard for futility earlier in the season, they still show only a 10.3 percent success rate. Their penalty-kill, however, ranks a more reasonable fifth in the ECAC at 83.3 percent.

PICK: New Hampshire 4-2.

UMass-Lowell (12-11-0, 8-6-0 HE) at Colgate (11-9-1, 6-5-1 ECAC) Tuesday, 7 p.m., Starr Rink, Hamilton, NY

Lowell, previewed above against BU and Merrimack, will play in their fourth game in eight days in this contest.

Colgate’s season has consisted of one streak after another. The Red Raiders followed five straight wins early with five losses in six games. More recently, they have dropped two straight after a four-game win streak.

Mike Harder again leads Colgate in scoring, with 13 goals and 20 assists in 21 games.

Specialty teams are an enigma. The power play, ranked ninth in the ECAC with only a 14.8 percent success rate in league games, climbs to 23 percent in overall play, bested only by Clarkson. The penalty-kill ranks in the middle of the pack in league contests, but falls to 10th in overall games (78.7 percent).

PICK: Fatigue does in the River Hawks. Colgate wins 4-2.

Dave Hendrickson is the Hockey East Correspondent for U.S. College Hockey Online.

Copyright 1997 Dave Hendrickson . All Rights Reserved.

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