This Week in the ECAC Northeast-MASCAC: Feb. 4, 2010

Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry.

While I had touched on Curry’s unbeaten conference record last week, the plan this week was to point how little love Curry was getting in the latest polls, despite holding a one point lead over Wentworth for top spot in the ECAC Northeast.

But after voting was completed (and after a one week hiatus), the Leopards jumped back into the latest Division III poll at No. 15, checking in with a higher national ranking then Curry even got votes (two).

With a win over Western New England on Thursday, Curry will jump into first again, after falling out Wednesday when the Leopards rallied in the third period to beat Johnson & Wales, 5-3.

“We’re pleased with our record,” Curry head coach Rob Davies said. “I don’t know if we’re playing as good as we can play. We’re in a position to be first in our league, which isn’t a bad thing, but we put more emphasis on how we are playing.”

Davies said he his looking for more consistency out of his team.

“Any teams wants to be consistent in its play,” he said. “When you play inconsistent, you never know what you’re going to get from one period to the next, or for that matter from one shift to the next.

Still, the Colonels took care of business this past week with a pair of conference wins over Johnson & Wales and Becker, pushing their conference mark to 7-0-1. Steven Jakiel earned both of the wins in net and was named ECAC Northeast Goalie of the Week.

Jakiel is in the midst of his senior year, and third at Curry, after transferring from Division I Michigan following his freshman season.

“We were recruiting him when he was playing for Lincoln in the USHL,” Davies said. “He didn’t get much ice time and it didn’t look like he was going to be in their plans so he opted out and came to Curry,” he said, adding that Jakiel was familiar with Curry after running youth hockey camps on campus.

“He’s been playing well this year. In the past, we’ve rotated but Zach Cardella had a groin injury in the first semester.”

Davies said Cardella will draw the start tonight against Western New England. And if the Golden Bears’ last game is any indication, the senior will have his hands full.

Slugfest on Ice

Someone might want to add a humidor to the rinks at Worcester State and Western New England College.

Both facilities were host to games this past week that resembled a high scoring, bullpen draining slugfest at Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies. (Or in western New England’s case, a dreary, mud soaked sleeper between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.)

Saturday evening saw visiting Westfield State jump out to an 8-0 lead, finally downing the Lancers 10-5. The teams combined to use five goalies and score five power-play goals. By this writer’s count, 26 players notched a point between the two teams. Heck, winning goalie Ian Wilson even posted two assists on the night.

Prior to hosting non-conference opponent Assumption Tuesday, Western New England dropped a 3-1 decision to Wentworth Sunday, keeping it close until an empty netter sealed the win for the Leopards. Nothing wrong with that, as the Golden Bears have just one conference win, while Wentworth is one point out of first and No. 15 in the country.

“They were right in the game going into the third period,” Davies said of Western New England.

But Western New England probably wished some of its goals counted retroactively, as they got more then enough insurance to turn a 6-3 lead against the Greyhounds into a 12-6 final. Eight players scored for the Golden Bears, led by freshman Anthony Willett, who turned in three goals and three assists. It was just Western New England’s second win of the season and snapped an eight game losing streak during which they had scored only nine goals.

“I looked over the [box score] to see if I was reading it right,” Davies said. “Western New England has played extremely hard, We beat them 5-0 earlier this season, but it was 2-0 midway through the third until we scored three goals on a five minute major. We dominated the shots on goal, but you don’t win because of that. You’ve got to get pucks in the net.”

Almost Breaking Through

While not quite the at the level at Westfield State and Western New England’s high scoring contests, Nichols 7-6 win Saturday over Salve Regina wasn’t exactly a defensive matchup either. The teams combined for seven power-play goals, including two by the Seahawks to take a 6-5 lead in the third.

But Zack Kohn’s tally with the man advantage tied the score at 17:39 and Matt Sayer’s strike seconds later gave the Bisons a 7-6 lead at 18:01, denying Salve Regina’s first ECAC Northeast win of the season. The Seahawks made a small step Wednesday evening, tying Suffolk 4-4 to earn their first conference point of the season.

“We had to work real hard to beat Salve,” Davies said. “It was 2-1 going into the third. I think there’s going to be some surprise teams down the stretch that you think aren’t going to win but do. I just hope it doesn’t happen to us.”

Around the Rest of the ECAC Northeast

Wentworth defeated non-conference foe Stonehill 5-2, Thursday, while Johnson & Wales beat Suffolk 4-2 Saturday Nichols defeated Becker 3-2 on Wednesday. Sayer’s game-winning goal against Salve Regina earned him Player of the Week honors, while teammate Danny Greiner was honored as Rookie of the Week. The forward notched two power-play goals and three assists on the week, including a goal and an assist against Salve Regina’s penalty killing unit.

MASCAC Un-jumbled … for Now

The past week finally broke the stalemate atop the MASCAC, which saw three teams (Westfield State, Fitchburg State, and Salem State) tied for the top spot and one team (Plymouth State) only two points behind.

Fitchburg State now stands alone in first, thanks to wins over Worcester State and Plymouth State.

The Falcons trailed Worcester State 2-1 entering the third but a goal from Andrew Jones tied the game at the 13:25 mark. Fitchburg’s Kevin McCready denied the Lancers’ upset bid with his seventh goal of the season 49 seconds into overtime. The Falcons outshot the Lancers 53-27, but went 0-for-4 on the power play, something which head coach Dean Fuller said had been clicking at a nearly 30 percent rate over the past month.

Fitchburg appeared to on the brink of pushing its winning streak to eight games Saturday, but the Panthers scored four goals in the final 22 minutes of play, including two shorthanded goals in a 36 second span in the third, both by Sean Buckley. But the Falcons withstood the rally to claim sole possession of first. The loss snapped Plymouth State’s five game winning streak.

Elsewhere in the conference, Plymouth State beat Framingham State, 6-2, Thursday, while Salem State easily handled Westfield State, 7-1. The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth put an end to a five game skid. The Corsairs downed Southern New Hampshire, 6-3, Thursday before returning to MASCAC play with a 5-2 win over Framingham State Saturday. Sophomore Giancarlo Capodanno tallied three goals and two assists in UMass-Dartmouth’s two wins, earning Player of the Week honors.

Fitchburg State’s Robert Vorse picked up both the victory’s as the Falcons moved into first, getting Goalie of the Week honors in the process. Framingham State capped off the week with a 4-3 loss to non-conference opponent Stonehill Wednesday.

Loose Pucks

So another Beanpot, another Boston University-Boston College final. It’s gotten to the point that legendary BU coach Jack Parker suggested that the tournament is losing its luster.

Not to say that Northeastern didn’t put up a good fight, but in the end, a few bounces went the Terriers’ way and a few mistakes by the Huskies allowed BU to advance with a 2-1 win.

“I went in and met up with some friends and former teammates and watched the tail end of the BC-Harvard game,” said Davies, who played at BU from 1978-1982 and won two Beanpots with the Terriers. “I stuck around and watched the entire NU-BU game. I met a guy that I had roomed with Kalamazoo in the IHL. I hadn’t seen him since 1983 and his son [Wade Megan] is a freshman at BU.”

While BC dominated Harvard 6-0 and BU ground out a win over the Huskies, Davies says he expects the pace to pick up in the championship.

“This Monday should be a track meet. It’s going to be a pretty fast paced game.”


Any comments, questions or concerns, feel free to email me at [email protected]


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