Hamline gains edge in battle of second-place teams

No. 12 Hamline’s 4-1 victory over No. 9 Milwaukee School of Engineering was the marquee matchup over the New Year’s weekend, pitting two teams who are at similar stations in their respective leagues.
The Minnesota Intercollegiate Hockey Association Pipers are (3-0-1) are in second place with 7 points, which one point behind No. 15 St. Thomas (4-2). The Raiders (6-0) also sit in second in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association behind No. 7 Adrian (7-1).
Brian Arrigoni scored twice, bagging one of two Piper empty-netters, while Beau Christian stopped 32 of 33 shots for Hamline (7-3-1). Jordan Van Gilder and Austun Tavis also had goals for the home side, which led 2-1 going into the third period.
Carl Lindblad scored MSOE’s lone goal, which came on a delayed penalty with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker at 13:32 in the first period.
For MSOE (9-0), the nonconference loss was the second in its last three games after a torrid 8-0 start.
The setback also marked the second time this season Raiders’ talisman Jordan Keizer (14 goals and 5 assists for 19 points) was held scoreless. The sophomore sniper also went pointless in the team’s 2-1 loss to No. 15 St. Thomas Dec. 10.
“They’re not going to go in every night,” said MSOE Coach Mark Ostapina, who commended Keizer’s “outstanding” play. “I didn’t think he would score 50 goals. Opportunities were there and saves were being made. That’s the game of hockey.”
Keizer’s 1.27 goals-per-game average continues to lead the nation while his 1.73 points per game ranks 12th.
The Pipers kept Keizer and junior Todd Krupa (9-6-15) in their sights, Hamline Coach Scott Bell said.
“With 14 goals in (11 games), you better know where he’s at on the ice,” Bell added.
In goal, Christian withstood a Raiders onslaught by turning away 15 of 16 shots in the opening 20 minutes. The junior netminder, who underwent offseason hip surgery, raised his record to 5-1-1.
Goaltending is one plus as the Pipers enter the second half.
“I think we’re in a nice spot right now,” Bell said.
Despite the setback, MSOE Coach Mark Ostapina remained bullish on his youthful squad. The Raiders delve into the meat of the MCHA schedule with a home-and-home series with Lake Forest (2-9, 2-4) Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a bunch of young men who love playing the game and there is passion there for going out and competing very hard,” Ostapina said. “There are guys who want to be out there, who want to play hard and bleed Raider red.”
Cobbers roll
Concordia (MN) extended its six-game unbeaten with a resounding sweep over visiting Northland, 6-3 and 7-4, Dec. 30-31. The pair of victories gave the Cobblers a strong head wind heading into the new year, which includes a rare Monday home contest with Finlandia.
Concordia (4-5-3, 1-2-3) faces Wisconsin-Stevens Point Friday and No. 3 St. Norbert on the road before returning to MIAC play at St. Thomas Jan. 14-15. Though 3-3 in nonconference affairs, the Cobbers have to spiff up their MIAC mark to have a shot at the playoffs.
Special-teams play has been at the forefront of the recent surge.
In the 6-3 win over Northland, Jaren Collen scored twice – including on one of two Cobber short-handed efforts – while Aaron Wheeler, Brian Kang, Pat Dietz and Ben Payne also banged in goals. Wheeler’s first-period tally also came while Concordia was a man down.
The Cobbers’ power play accounted for four goals, including two by Caleb Suderman, in the 7-4 victory the following day. Payne scored two even-strength goals with Kang adding another. Nick Thielen and Marc Harrie netted the other power-play tallies while Erick Gault finished with three assists.
Freshmen goalie Kelly Andrew picked up both victories to raise his record to 4-1-3.
Net future
Adrian’s 6-2 loss to Manhattanville featured the inauspicious debut of freshman Mike Morissette, who played the last 8:20 in the Northfield Field Bank Tournament first-round contest Dec. 31. The LaSalle, Ontario native gave up a goal but made three saves after taking over for starter Brad Fogal, who surrendered three goals.
Morissette is expected to be the heir apparent to Fogal, who is one of 17 seniors on the Bulldogs’ roster.
Morissette helped backstop the Ontario Junior Hockey League Oakville Blades to a Central Canadian title last season, going 25-7 in the regular campaign with six shutouts and a 2.48 goals-against average. He also appeared in 8 playoff games.

72 COMMENTS

  1. I think the only spot with attendance issues could be Cinci once again. Lowell and BC will draw plenty on their own in the east QU and Union will help bridgeport, and Minnesota and Wisc in the west. Of course the next two weeks will probably change everything, but I would have swapped providence and Notre Dame, boosting attendance in Cinci and bring both teams closer to home.

    • Agreed, Rich. It’s interesting that switching Notre Dame and Providence wasn’t done. Both teams are in the “3” band, it’s a no-brainer for attendance purposes, and it doesn’t jeopardize bracket integrity any more than some of the other proposed moves (i.e. SCSU in St. Paul).

  2. “I do have some concerns now because of the way teams are spread out.” Why? Why does it mater? Have you looked at how far the Alaska teams have to travel? Alabama? The schools in New England are short drives. It does not mater where you put them. Some schools have big alumni bases and would love to be able to see their team in action. Have you any idea how huge the turnout was when Harvard played Yale in New York City? Cornell and BU? All four of these schools have huge fan bases in NYC. I have a new rule. No two teams from the same conference are allowed to play each other until the final 4, unless there are more than 4 entrants from that conference and no way can be found to avoid the interconference play. Now that would be a great rule.

  3. How does the NCAA determine host schools? It looks like both Holy Cross & Minnesota will again be host schools in 2 years. Can not St. Cloud Mankato, UMD or even UND be a host school at the Xcel Center?

    • The school puts in the bid for the site, the NCAA doesn’t go searching for the site and then find a host. Yes, it would be nice if some other MN team would get it together and get the bid together. However, with UofM there, the Excel is almost guaranteed sellouts. St. Cloud has a chance, but the others have no chance, so the site also has a choice of the host making the bid.

    • There are also rules about WHO can host in a particular spot, and they try to avoid campus sites for these, and they have attendance/capacity considerations. Its why BC or BU are never ‘host’ at TD Garden because it probably won’t fill up and there are a number of other areas nearby capable of hosting (Worcester, Manchester, Providence). You also can’t have teams hosting in areas that are part of some defined area of another school, so much like BC/BU can’t host at Worcester (its Holy Cross), UND, UMD, and St Cloud can’t host in Minneapolis. They would need their own host cities that would meet their criteria.

    • The NCAA won’t allow the “Ralph” host a regional series, even though the facility is the nicest in the nation and holds 12,000+ seats. Instead, Fargo could host a regional site, but their hockey arena only occupies 5,000 seats.
      Would that arena be filled to capacity? Yes…. but the NCAA would also lose 7,000 ticket sales in the process, per night. How much revenue is lost with that boneheaded decision????
      The NCAA can’t wrap its arms around a good solution, and would rather keep their heads stuck up their backside than figure out a better option or priority. A few years ago they tried St. Louis as a site. I remember seeing less than 1,000 people sitting in the seats; it was embarrassing! Boneheads make all the important decisions.

  4. “Let’s get all of our teams in the two band closest to home as well.”
    Since when has that ever been part of the criteria? Even last year when BC was moved into the East Regional that seemed to be based on attendance concerns, not on trying to get 2 seed BC closer to home.
    Last year was also the first time the committee placed the overall 6 seed with the overall 1. I can’t see them completely throwing out bracket integrity by putting 1 and 5 together.

    • Yeah, that made zero sense to me. Last week, it was all about maximizing attendance in St. Paul with Nodak and Wisco. Now he says, “nuts to that, let’s get the two seeds closer to home”. He is just pulling stuff out of his butt now.

  5. If top seeds all win with this proposed bracket, Minnesota as #1 has the toughest draw of the top 4 with a game vs. #5 St. Cloud. Nuts and bolts we get screwed!

      • 1. Union beat St. Cloud once and tied them once.
        2. Colgate beat Union once and tied them once, does that mean Union isn’t tough?
        3. St. Cloud swept Colgate on the road.
        Use the overall body of work, not one weekend worth of hockey instead of 17.

        • union won in the shootout – that’s two wins to me – and ecac teams historically play each other tougher than outside opponents –

          • Shootout wins are not wins but ties according to the Pairwise, the only thing that matters in this discussion.

      • I think you missed the point, Bob. She was saying that of the top 4 seeds, Minnesota would face the highest ranked team in the regional finals if all the first round games were won by the higher seeds. Minnesota couldn’t meet Union until the national championship game, so they weren’t even part of the original conversation. That being said, both SCSU and Union are tough teams and will be tough outs come tourney time for whomever they play.

    • I ask, what would be so unfair about that. Minn vs St. Cloud, BC vs Union… West vs East match-up in FF Final. Best vs the Best all year… Any team could win. Everyone should be good with that.

      • Because actual tournament integrity went out the window years ago. if they want the best tournament field year in and year out then the regional sites shouldn’t change. Did you see the Grand Rapids coverage last year? I’ve seen Purpur Rink in Forks fill more seats for a high school game during a blizzard on a Wednesday night. If it attendance is a main driving force, don’t put these regionals in Timbuktu.

      • Look at the proposed brackets… Minn vs. St. Cloud would be a region final to determine who would go to the FF, and not the FF as you state in your message.

        • Right, you got me… That said, it will all change again the next two weeks. If all 4 win their tourneys, they’ll be the #1 seeds.

        • Shari, l said it would all change… We have our first serious “disturbance” and threat to the Pairwise. St Cloud is out of the NCHC Tournament… Unless North Dakota now wins the tournament, the auto-bid will go to a team currently outside the Pairwise. So the bubble could break at #14… and create a major shake-up to these brackets. Your Gophers are still sitting pretty.

  6. NoDak and Michigan travel reasonably well, which makes Worcester probably the winner in the attendance sweepstakes.

    • They set it up so that #1 always plays #16 unless the two happen to be in the same conference. They call it “protecting” the overall #1 seed.

        • It’s not a strict, written NCAA rule which is why it’s not there, but it falls under the concept of “bracket integrity” which is, of course, not really defined.
          off the top of my head, I can’t think of an instance where the 1-16 first round matchup was switched except to avoid a first-round intra-conference matchup somewhere. (2009 comes to mind when BU ended up playing #15 Ohio State because two of the other 1-seeds were in Ohio State’s conference.)

  7. Both 1 and 2 from Hockey East in Worcester? Seems like UML is being penalized so that they can stay close to home. Why not UML in Bridegport? It’s not that far…

    • I don’t think you can call it penalized when UML was moved into a bracket with a lower overall seed. If UML wasn’t moved they would have been playing in St. Paul against North Dakota with Minnesota on the other side of the bracket. You really think that’s a more preferable draw for getting back to the Frozen Four than staying close to home and making UND travel to Mass?
      I get that BC would be the team waiting in the wings in the regional final, but you’d likely be playing a team close to home regardless, so why not do so closer to your home where UML fans can more easily attend? Seems like a BETTER placement, if anything, to me.

      • I’m not comparing St Paul vs Worcester as Worcester would be the obvious choice no matter who we’re playing. I’m comparing Worcester to Bridgeport. Only 1 1/2 hours further. UML fans will be there! In short, we can beat BC, but I’d rather try to get by Union!

        • That makes more sense. I would agree that Bridgeport would be the most preferable of the three regionals for UML. Not easy to advance by any stretch with a very good Union team, but not as daunting as St. Paul or Worcester against basically hometown schools.

  8. Time for 8 best of 3’s, two regionals (midwest/west & east), and the Frozen Four. Only attendance woes would be to the NCAA (minus $ from two less regionals).

  9. Last week the Gophs bracket this week the Eagles bracket. If you want to be the best ya gotta beat the best, but if UND can play & win & run into Minnesota or BC later rather than sooner … I’ll be OK with that.

  10. “If five or more teams from one conference are selected to the championship, then the integrity of the bracket will be protected (i.e., maintaining the pairing process according to seed will take priority over avoidance of first-round conference matchups).”
    If the guidelines are truly followed, the Hockey East teams should not be moved to avoid first round conference games because there are 6 HE teams in this version of the bracket. I don’t check this every week, but I have yet to see him follow this guideline when it has applied.

    • To me, the whole engineering of the brackets is ridiculous. I would rather the NCAA just let the chips fall where they may. What Jayson has done, is to accurately predict that ridiculousness each year he’s tried. Gotta give credit for that.

  11. It’s funny how people would complain when 4 teams from the old WCHA would make the tourney for fear of an all WCHA Frozen Four (Columbus 2005). But 6 teams from the Hockey East??!! Really??

  12. Ridiculous that Colgate is not in. They beat Minn. in a shootout that is ruled a tie. They’ve beaten and tied Union. They’ve beaten both Qpac and Cornell decisively. And they’ve knocked off Ferris State and Vermont. They should get an at large right now for making the quarters in the ECAC tourney and placing second in the standings.

  13. Well if Lowell doesn’t make it to Worcester, look no further for a four pack of tickets. I don’t mind taking a (small) loss on them.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here