There’s been a lot of inter-conference mingling in the early part of the season, particularly between the Northeast-10, MASCAC, and ECAC Northeast.
In fact, with the exception of Franklin Pierce’s season-opening two-game series with Utica, all the Northeast-10 action has come against the MASCAC and ECAC Northeast, with varying results. The conference has an overall record of 5-11 against squads from the two conferences, but has posted some wins against solid teams. Southern New Hampshire and Stonehill each own a win over Johnson and Wales, while Assumption took down both Suffolk and Becker to win the Becker Ice Breaker.
With that being said, both the MASCAC and the ECAC Northeast lack a true quality out-of-conference win that didn’t come against one another. There will certainly be some chances coming up for teams in both conferences to make some noise in out-of-conference action Curry has already played against Neumann and No. 11 Elmira, to which the Colonels skated to a 4-4 tie last weekend. Before the end of the year, Curry is set to face Tufts, Plattsburgh and Trinity, while Oswego, Manhattanville and Hobart await following New Year’s Day.
The month of December will see Johnson and Wales host Fredonia, who is off to a slow start, but posted a 17-7 record in the SUNYAC last season. There’s a smattering of other games as well, with Suffolk traveling to Bowdoin and Salve Regina taking on Amherst, while Hamilton travels to Western New England.
A total of six teams between the MASCAC and ECAC Northeast enter Wednesday night with an unbeaten record in the early going. Fitchburg State, Mass.-Dartmouth, Salem State, and Plymouth State all check in perfect in the MASCAC, although the Panthers have only played one game.
In the ECAC Northeast, Nichols is 2-0-1 as of Wednesday. They’re accompanied by Western New England College as the only unbeaten team in the conference. The Golden Bears would have to be considered a bit of a surprise after only winning three games last year, but started of this season by taking down Westfield State in overtime and tying host Worcester State in the opening round of the Pepperidge Farm Tournament, although they technically “won” that game in a shootout. WNEC won the tournament with a convincing 7-0 win over Southern New Hampshire. They’ll face a key test Thursday night when they host Curry, who has played a tough out of conference schedule to this point
As for Nichols, much has been made of their healthy (and productive) start, which saw them receive votes in the latest USCHO.com Poll. This week marks the second straight week that Salem State has received votes as well.
While being 2-0 is certainly better than 0-2, ultimately it’s only the third week of the season. So to break out some coach speak: It’s still early, regardless if you’re 2-0 or 0-2.
Players of the Week
Player of the Week: Kory Grahl, Western New England College
The junior forward scored five points in two games, starting with a goal and two assists in a 3-3 overtime tie against host Worcester State. Grahl then added a goal and assist in a victory over Division II Southern New Hampshire.
Goalie of the Week: Robert Dawson, Curry College
The sophomore made 29 saves in a 4-4 overtime tie against No. 6 Elmira College.
Rookie of the Week: Eric Sorenson, Western New England College
Sorenson compiled 49 saves in two games. He stopped 23 shots in a 3-3 overtime tie against host Worcester State, then made four saves in the shootout that WNEC won 1-0. Eric then turned away 26 shots in a 7-0 victory over Southern New Hampshire for his first collegiate shutout.
Steven Mohler,Curry College: The junior scored two goals in a 4-4 tie against No. 6 Elmira College.
Chris Connors, Western New England College: Connors had three points in two games, scoring his first collegiate goal in a 3-3 overtime tie against Worcester State.
Player of the Week: Justin Quinn, Fitchburg State
The sophomore was named Most Valuable Player of the IC Federal Credit Union Shootout. He posted a pair of goals and four assists in the Falcons’ tournament win.
Goalie of the Week: Jack Astedt, Plymouth State
Stopped all 18 shots he faced he faced in the Panthers’ 6-0 win over Southern New Hampshire in the inaugural Hanaway Rink Contest. The sophomore faced ten 10 power-play opportunities.
Eric Ward, Framingham State: Freshman posted a goal and an assist in 3-2 loss to Suffolk.
Mike Owens, Mass.-Dartmouth: Had a four-point week in a 2-0 start for the Corsairs.
Collin Tracy, Mass.-Dartmouth: The senior stopped 58 shots with a .951 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA in a 2-0 opening week.
Derek Crocker, Salem State: His first career hat trick helped propel the Vikings to a 6-5 win over Wentworth.
Lucas Romero, Westfield State: Had a pair of goals and an assist for Westfield State, including a penalty shot in the final minute to tie the season opener against Nichols.
Taylor Fant, Worcester State: The freshman stopped 55-of-58 shots in a 3-3 tie with Johnson and Wales.
Chris Wallin, Worcester State: Earned a spot on the Pepperidge Farm Face Off Class all-tournament team with a goal in a 3-3 tie with Western New England.
It’s the hot stove season for baseball, which I think at some points can be just as interesting as the regular season, if not more so. I think Felix Hernandez should-and will-get the AL Cy Young. Brilliant talent, and if his offense (minus Ichiro) didn’t produce numbers that would be pitiful in the deadball era, King Felix would have shattered the 20-win mark. Great, great week to be a Patriots fan. As always, any comments or questions can be directed to [email protected]