Site: Thompson Arena, Hanover, N.H.
Sunday-Monday, Dec. 28-29, 2008
Participants: Lake Superior State, Harvard, Alabama-Huntsville, Wisconsin
Game 1: Massachusetts vs. Bemidji State, 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday
Massachusetts Minutemen (8-6-1, 4-4-1 Hockey East)
Head coach: Don “Toot” Cahoon
Leading scorers: So. James Marcou (7-12–19), Sr. Cory Quirk (5-12–17), Sr. Alex Berry (6-10–16)
Leading netminder: So. Paul Dainton (6-3-0, 1.63 GAA, .935 SV%)
Bemidji State Beavers (7-7-0, 4-2-0 CHA)
Head coach: Tom Serratore
Leading scorers: So. Matt Read (4-7–11), Fr. Brad Hunt (2-8–10)
Leading netminder: So. Matt Dalton (7-4-0, 2.37 GAA, .910 SV%)
Game 2: Army vs. Dartmouth, 7:00 p.m. ET Sunday
Army Black Knights (4-9-1, 4-7-1 Atlantic Hockey)
Head coach: Brian Riley
Leading scorers: So. Cody Omilusik (6-8–14), Jr. Owen Meyer (8-4–12)
Leading netminder: So. Jay Clark (2-3-1, 3.28 GAA, .898 SV%)
Dartmouth Big Green (6-4-0, 5-2-0 ECAC Hockey)
Head coach: Bob Gaudet
Leading scorers: So. Adam Estoclet (5-10–15), Fr. Doug Jones (2-9–11)
Leading netminder: Fr. Jody O’Neill (6-3-0, 1.99 GAA, .943 SV%)
After a season off, the Ledyard Bank Classic — formerly the Auld Lang Syne — returns to the schedule with host Dartmouth to face Army preceded by Bemidji State against Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon. The championship and consolation games are at Thompson Arena Monday.
Game 1 features the first-ever meeting between the CHA-leading Beavers and Hockey East’s Minutemen. UMass, which won its first-ever midseason tournament title last year when it took the Lightning Classic championship, has won its last two games following a 1-4-0 stretch. The Minutemen have good raw scoring statistics (3.27 goals for per game, 2.00 goals against per game), but over half of their 49 total goals have come in just four games against Rensselaer, Providence (twice) and Connecticut, so consistency may be an issue. Sophomore Paul Dainton has impressed while splitting time in net.
Bemidji State, meanwhile, is atop the four-team CHA but in second place by winning percentage, having played two more league games than Niagara. The Beavers are on a five-game win streak which has raised their overall record to .500 after a brutal 0-4-0 start to the season, and are led on the scoresheet by Matt Read and Brad Hunt, both in double figures in scoring, while Matt Dalton has played the bulk of the minutes in goal for the Beavers.
Like a number of squads this year, the Black Knights are hoping to reverse a tough first half with tournament success. Army had lost five in a row before rallying to a 4-3 win over Canisius in its last outing. Junior Owen Meyer had notched 12 points in eight games before breaking his hand and is still second on the team in scoring. While Army’s offense is respectable, the Black Knights have been permitting goals at an alarming rate, with both of its regular netminders below .900 in save percentage.
Finally, No. 20 Dartmouth returns stateside after a 10-day trip to Denmark and Sweden during which the Big Green compiled a 3-0-1 record on the ice. Sunday’s game will be the Big Green’s first NCAA contest in almost a month, since a Nov. 30 tilt against Boston College. Dartmouth and Army know one another well historically, with the all-time series commencing in 1914, and Dartmouth holds a 44-10-5 advantage overall. The Big Green are led on offense by sophomore Adam Estoclet, while rookie netminder Jody O’Neill has compiled a sub-2.00 goals against average and a sterling .943 save percentage to backstop the squad.