Thompson Arena, Hanover, N.H., Dec. 29-30
Providence (5-9-2, 2-6-2 Hockey East) vs. Vermont (10-5-3, 5-1-2 ECAC), 4:00 p.m. Wednesday
Bowling Green (8-6-2, 5-5-2 CCHA) at Dartmouth (4-6-1, 3-4-0 ECAC), 7:00 p.m. Wednesday
Consolation/Championship: 4:00 p.m./7:00 p.m. Thursday
Players to watch: Chris Chaput, F (4-10-14); Chase Watson, F (4-7-11), Bill McCreary, F (6-3-9); Colin McDonald, F (5-0-5)
Notable: Providence’s problem in the first half of the season has been scoring. Part of that could be blamed on an injury to one of the team’s offensive workhorses Colin McDonald. McDonald is now healthy and should have a major impact on the scoresheet … This is Providence’s second tournament of the year. The Friars lost to Merrimack in the championship of their own tournament, the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Pot, in November … Who will start in the Providence net is a major question. Neither David Cacciola or Tyler Sims have received number-one status but Pooley has not, to this point, platooned the duo … Providence’s matchup with Vermont in the first round is foreshadowing for next season when the Catamounts will join Hockey East.
Players to watch: Scott Mifsud, F (13-12-25); Torrey Mitchell, F (6-10-16), Joe Fallon, G (9-3-3, 1.95 GAA, .929 sv%)
Notable: Vermont enters the Ledyard Bank Tournament a heavy favorite after posting an absolutely surprising first half with a 10-5-3 record. At this point last season, the Catamounts were 1-11-2… The championship game in this tournament could be a déjà vu to just one weekend ago. Vermont handed Dartmouth a 5-1 loss at Thompson Arena on December 19 to close out the first half for both clubs… Vermont has not won a holiday tournament since 2000, when the Catamounts beat none other than Dartmouth, 4-2, in the championship game of the Ledyard Bank Tournament.
Players to watch: Jonathan Matsumoto, F (7-5-12); James Unger, F (5-7-12), Brett Pilkington, F (1-10-11); Jordan Singalet, G (8-4-2, 2.89 GAA, .916 sv%)
Notable: Though Bowling Green is one of college hockey’s most improved teams this year, it enters the Ledyard Bank tournament on a three-game losing streak, having dropped its last two to Michigan and one against Michigan State before that. It is the longest losing streak of the season for the Falcons … The Falcons will look to stay out of the box, having allowed power-play goals to the opposition more than 20 percent of the time … The Falcons have not won an in-season tournament since 1998 when they captured the Bank One Badger Classic in Wisconsin … BGSU did not play a holiday tournament last season.
Players to watch: Mike Ouellette, F (1-7-8); Tanner Glass, F (3-4-7); Dan Yacey, G (2-5-1, 1.95 GAA, .924 sv%)
Notable: Similar to Bowling Green and Providence, Dartmouth enters the tournament without a 20-point scorer on its team. In fact, the Big Green don’t have a single player in double-digits, which is somewhat defensible by the fact they have only played 11 games. Still, Dartmouth’s offense ranks 54th out of 58 teams, scoring an anemic 2.00 goals per game … Dartmouth is hosting this year’s Ledyard Bank Tournament after a one-year hiatus, which is by design as Dartmouth and Vermont take turns in alternate years hosting a tournament in it’s arenas. Dartmouth captured the title two years ago, routing Massachusetts-Lowell, 10-2.
“It’s an on-campus tournament, so it’s really fun. The teams stay at the Hanover Inn, which is on campus, so it’s really neat for us to have the players in the community, and for people to be able to interact with them, to have the little youth hockey players from the area see all of them. I like the fact that we’re on campus with it. So many of these tournaments have become so big that they’ve had to move to larger buildings. Players can walk to the rink here if they like.” — Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet on hosting the Ledyard Bank Classic on campus in Hanover, N.H.
“Holiday hockey really presents an interesting thing. You never know how teams are going to respond after a long break. I think Dartmouth and Vermont are going to have an edge with one less week off than the other two teams.” — Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch on returning from the holiday break.
“In the first part [of the year], sometimes you just cruise along and it seems like it’s seamless, but this time it’s a challenge. We’ve been challenged by a lack of continuity in terms of players being unavailable. We’ve had to kind of reinvent the wheel. I think that’s going to benefit us in the long run. Other than that, I think we’ve played really solid hockey. As a coach, I have a clear of idea of where we are.” — Gaudet on his club’s up and down start
“The Vermont Catamounts are a train right now.” — Paluch talking about Vermont’s shocking 10-5-3 start to the season.
“Everyone wants us to score more goals. We need to concentrate on very solid defensive hockey and the offensive side will come. [Goal scoring is] not going to be my main focus because I think we’re doing very well. My ultimate goal is to have this team playing really good hockey down the stretch … make a run for the playoffs and be playing our best hockey towards the end.” — Gaudet on his team’s offensive struggles to date.
With three teams in this tournament struggling to score goals, look for some low scoring games. Providence may seem like a big underdog against Vermont but the Friars have McDonald back in the lineup now and might pack a little more offensive punch. If Dartmouth can score some goals it could be poised to return to the title game, at which point home-ice advantage could play a major role.