Ok, so if I have learned anything through the first two weeks, it is that this season is already full of surprising game outcomes and unpredictable inter-league matchups. Case in point, this past post-Thanksgiving tournament fest that saw a number of interesting tournament champions crowned and my predictions staying below the .500 level for the season, with some teams that were on a roll getting knocked off their lofty unbeaten records in convincing fashion.
First, the tournament outcomes:
The PAL Cup saw Massachusetts-Boston defeat Salve Regina 8-3 in the first round and host SNHU by an 8-1 score to take the title. Freshman Rob Florentino scored three goals to go with two assists and five points in the two games while being named the first star in both contests. The Beacons outshot SNHU by a 71-12 margin and 16 different players scored a point in the championship game.
At the Rutland-Herald Invitational, host Castleton enjoyed the tournament victory at home by shutting down Becker 7-1 in the opener and taking the title with a 5-1 win over Brockport on Sunday. Senior Stuart Stefan and sophomore Josh Harris had six points each to lead the offense that has Castleton off to an impressive 4-0 start.
In the Primelink Tournament, the hosts from Plattsburgh upset Norwich 3-2 to win the tournament. After Tim Houston gave the Cadets a 2-1 lead nearly midway through the third period, the Cardinals answered with two goals in 50 seconds and held on for the tournament title.
At the Colby/Bowdoin Tournament, Colby was named the winner on the basis of their two wins over Suffolk and the USA Under-18 Team. Bowdoin finished 1-1-0 with a win over Suffolk and a 4-1 exhibition loss to the Under-18 squad.
The Skidmore Invitational was not so kind to the hosts, who lost the opener but defeated Elmira in the consolation game by a 4-2 score. In the final, Buffalo State defeated Southern Maine, who advanced in a shootout against Elmira, by a score of 3-0.
In nonleague action, Williams went 1-0-1 with a 6-1 road win at Babson and a 3-3 tie at home against Manhattanville. In the win at Babson, a scoresheet oddity found the visiting Ephs having zero penalties called against them. In the two games, Williams’ John Wickman finished with a goal and five assists for six points.
Amherst saw their fast start derailed with back-to-back losses to Manhattanville by a 5-0 score and to Utica by a 3-1 score that included an empty-net goal for the hosts. The Lord Jeffs are now 2-2-0 on the young season.
Trinity hosted Curry on Saturday and fell to the Colonels 6-1 before rebounding against Stonehill on Sunday with a 5-1 score. Freshman Benjamin Coulthard earned his first collegiate victory in goal for the Bantams.
The Babson Beavers definitely could take advantage of the home-cooking this weekend, as they followed up the Saturday loss to Williams with a 5-2 defeat to Nichols from the ECAC Northeast. Forward P.T. Donato scored both goals for Babson, which are in the midst of a nine-game homestand that began with a win against Massachusetts-Dartmouth last Tuesday and finishes on January 8, 2011 against Conn College. This weekend sees Wesleyan and Trinity visiting the Beavers, who will want to get things going before the break and improve on their 2-3-0 start.
We are back to league play this weekend and I will take another shot later in the week in predicting the outcomes. It already has been difficult to pick teams based on past matchups, roster depth or any other intangible such as home or road team. May have to go back to the trusty coin toss; just kidding.