Five Ivies and a (premature) funeral

Rocky Iles

Yes, sure, of course, we’re only 60 minutes into Cornell’s season, but this may be the only opportunity for me to use this catchy sub-head.

While veteran head coach Mike Schafer lambasted his team’s effort, preparedness and decision-making in a stunning 5-4 season-opening loss to Mercyhurst at Lynah on Saturday, it should be noted – for whatever little it may be worth – that goalie Andy Iles wasn’t above criticism either. The sophomore goalie pitched, statistically, the second-worst game of his young career in allowing five goals on 19 shots. As for the lowest of his lows? That happened to be the last NCAA game he played prior: March 19 in Atlantic City, in which Iles surrendered five goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 28:37. Yale won that game – the league championship game, as a matter of fact – 6-0.

Iles is a very sharp, talented student-athlete and I am in no way trying to vilify him for either of the aforementioned losses. If anything, I am pointing out a notable (if unfortunate – for Cornell, at least) exception to what has so far been Iles’ generally stellar play. Schafer didn’t crucify him after the game, nor did the local papers, as he was put in a few very challenging situations against the uppity Lakers (and for that matter, Yale).

All I’m sayin’ is, a .737 save percentage and a 5.09 goals against average is no way to start your year.

Shootout Redux

This year’s Ivy Shootout went to… I’m not really sure. Yale, I suppose? The Bulldogs went 1-0-1 in Hanover this weekend, followed by Dartmouth and Brown (1-1-0) and Princeton (0-1-1). Notes follow:

Brown: Youth is being served – or is youth doing the serving? – for Bruno early on, as three of Brown’s four goal-scorers this weekend were underclassmen: frosh Ryan Jacobson and Massimo Lamacchia and sophomore Garnet Hathaway each tallied in Saturday’s win over Princeton, drawing Bruno back to .500 after a hard-fought 2-1 loss to heavily favored (ya know, if anyone actually set odds on these things) Dartmouth. Brown actually out-shot the Big Green in Friday’s tilt, but couldn’t find the twine on six power-play opportunities. On the other side of the coin, the Bears snuffed all six Green PP opps, as well.

Dartmouth: The hosts went 0-10 on the weekend, scuttling a very real shot at an impressive tourney sweep of Brown and Yale. The Big Green whiffed on each of six Friday power plays, as mentioned above, and tacked on four more failed advantages against Yale in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat. On a positive note, senior goalie James Mello is off to a great start, stopping 47 of 50 shots on the weekend, including 24 of 25 against Bruno. Rookie forwards Tyler Sikura and Eric Neiley each potted their first collegiate goals, with Sikura’s late strike ending up as the game-winner on Friday.

Princeton: The Tigers were the only team to return home from the Granite State without a W, but a draw against Yale is no easy feat, and for that they should feel a bit of consolation. It was also nice to see that some of former coach Guy Gadowsky’s “shoot now, ask questions later” tactics survived the summer, as Princeton wired 67 shots on net over the weekend, including 39 versus Brown on Saturday. The Tigers took the losing end of the special-teams battles, going one for six on the PP but allowing two goals in eight shorthanded opportunities. Junior defenseman Michael Sdao (a personal favorite, as an Ottawa prospect) scored a goal each day, but he was also involved in a final-buzzer fracas with Brown’s Dennis Robertson that earned them each a five and a 10. No word yet on whether the league will suspend either of them for the throw-down. Sophomore goalie Sean Bonar stopped 28 of 30 shots in Friday’s tie; junior Mike Condon took the loss in allowing three goals on 26 shots Saturday.

Yale: The champs were handed something to think about on Friday as upstart Princeton stole a point (ok, there are no points given in non-conference games, I know). Not only did the Bulldogs – who have recently been the 2007 New England Patriots on Ice – only muster two goals in each of their tilts, but not a single player finished the weekend with multiple points. The special teams played pretty well, though, going two for eight on the advantage and blanking Princeton and Dartmouth in six combined power-play chances. (Plus, the Blue enjoyed more power plays than their opponents, which is a habit that last year’s team never fully developed.) Freshman forward Nicholas Weberg scored Yale’s first (D-I) goal of the season and ergo the first of his career against the Tigers, and for the moment it looks as though coach Keith Allain is leaning toward junior Jeff Malcolm to tend the cage: the heir-potential to Ryan Rondeau’s role saved 55 of 58 on the weekend.

One and done?

Rensselaer is in a bit of a funk.

An NCAA at-large bid last year, RPI has really put itself behind the eight ball if it hopes for a similar fate come March. An opening-weekend split with visiting Minnesota State in which the Engineers outscored the Mavericks 4-2 is all but forgotten now, washed out by the wake of a five-game goal-starved struggle.

The ‘Tute offense is gasping like a landed trout, sputtering out merely four goals in its last five games – all losses. The lack off scoring support is wearing on the defense and goaltending as well (or maybe it’s the other way around?) to the tune of 19 goals against over that stretch. Losing games by a goal over and over again is depressing, but 4-0, 2-0, 5-2, 4-1, 4-1? Scoring a goal or fewer in five of seven games to start the season is a hell of a honeymoon. It might be a good time for the team to have a trial separation.

To be fair, coach Seth Appert – no babe in the woods – likes the way his guys are playing, and all accounts have them flying around the ice playing a punishing, bruising breed of hockey that is sure to yield positive results in time. RPI doesn’t schedule cupcakes, and there’s little shame in dropping those five games to three teams each ranked in the top half-dozen in the nation (at Ferris State and Notre Dame, home against Colorado College). The team has suffered some major injuries already this year to the likes of forwards Greg Burgdoerfer, Marty O’Grady and Brock Higgs, which ain’t exactly helping matters in the goal department. Appert is positive and enthusiastic to a fault, and he’s the man I’d want behind my bench in a slump, to be sure.

The defense and the goaltending tandem of junior Bryce Merriam and rookie Scott Diebold look worse by the results than they actually are, as RPI has surrendered six empty-net goals already. (RPI’s team GAA is actually only 2.14, when you subtract the ENGs.) The offense is really the biggest concern, and it seems to me a bit unfair to dismiss the Engineers before they’re tested against the rest of the ECAC.

I only did it to make a point.


  1. Hopefully Iles and the defense can step it up before the games that really matter. One bad loss won’t hurt that much if the Red live up to their potential. LET’S GO RED!

      • I’ve watched every Yale-Cornell game in the last 2 to 3 years and none of them were pretty. Guess who has the worst save percentages and tied for the most goals allowed in a single game against Yale among Cornell goalies during that time span?

        • I’m not going to base my entire impression of a player on a single game or even 2 games. It would be just as wrong to evaluate Iles on his incredible at Harvard, at Dartmouth weekend last year. He’s got talent, but maybe not the size. Let’s not rush to judgement when this weekends game were partially the fault of the defense.

  2. Brian, big Yale fan here, but I find your take on Yale really curious.  Yale got something to think about?  Even the most intense Yale fan is looking at this team being a shadow of last year’s squad.  How do you lose so many important seniors and go into a season with an unproven goaltending tandem and not go into this year expecting to be no better than fourth?  Yes, O’Neill, Agostino and Miller are excellent, but last year they had all of them and Little, Kearney, etc.  Shouldn’t you adjust your expectations?

  3. If the Gophers are going to exercise their demons, the Huskies will win Friday! However, if they’re going to exorcise their demons, the Gophers have a shot. Recent records and stats point to a Husky win Friday and a Gopher win Saturday. Should be a split, but I’m looking for a Husky sweep!

      • Grow a vocabulary… Exorcise – to expel an evil spirit. Exercise – the act of bringing into play or realizing an action. I’m pretty sure the Gophers don’t want to bring their demons into play. They want get rid of them. Therefor, if the Goohers bring their demons into play tonight, the Huskies will win! If the Gophers get rid of their demons, they’ll win. Grow a vocabulary…

    • Im hoping them Husks win Friday @the huchi but I just cant see it happening….   If they lose bad friday they will not win saturday unless 29, saves 40+ for the shutout!

  4. The Gophers will sweep this weekend.  Their defense will be the difference and I think they are a little deeper with all the Husky injuries. 

  5. Its nice to have that 5 point lead in the conference but next weekend I would expect that Sandelin is going have his team ready to head to Alaska and get 4 points!  This is going to keep the pressure on MN to keep up the hard work!  

    A five point lead in the WCHA is like a 2 goal lead in a game, you can’t get to comfortable!  The Gophers are in the driver seat, just gotta keep in heading in the right direction!  

    Great weekend for the Golden Gophers!

    • Yes, the Gophers have to keep playing hard.  Trips to Denver and Nebraska-Omaha will not be easy.  The home series are not pushovers either.  Bemidji State is down, but playing everyone tough and Wisconsin is always a heated series.  The Gophers need to keep playing strong everynight to stay where they are!

  6. Lowell needs to sweep their final four and hope for some good luck if they want a shot at the regular season title.  I don’t think BC (vs Prov/UVM) or BU (vs UVM/NEU) will drop a single game. Here’s to praying though.

  7. Friday’s Lowell game was one of many very close misses for UML.  Dozens of shots just an inch off the target – they put tons of pressure on BU and were not really ever out of the game regardless of the score. They have a lot of fight in them and as BlueLine said I expect good things in the HEA tourney from them.

    Maine, on the other hand, what we learned, David, is that this coaching staff (read Tim Whitehead) still does not know how to prepare this team for each and every game.  They are far too imbalanced – long losing streaks followed by long winning streaks – and again this weekend, as with the Alabama-Huntsville games a few weekends back – they took their opponents for granted and this time it really cost them.

  8. Did I read that correctly? Maine is 3 points out of first place and they are not considered a title contender by this guy? When they have 5 winable games to round out the season? Really? If you seriously think Maine is out of this, or even Merrimack, you need to take your BU/BC blinders off. What a ridiculous comment.

    The way everyone has been up and down all season, BU’s and BC’s games against Vermont are not gimme’s and like I mentioned above, Maine’s last 5 games could all be wins if they play like the did against BU/BC in their weekend sweeps. Does anyone who follows Hockey East really take this guy seriously? 

    • If Maine actually had 5 winnable games left, then you’d have a point, but they only have 3 winnable games because they only have 3 games left period while UML, BC, and BU all have 4 (especially BC/BU…UML at least has to contend with Merrimack). 

    • This is all REGULAR season title talk. If you are expecting BC and BU to tank then next four games, then it is possible, with UML/Merrimack splitting. As a BU fan, I can see BU playing poorly with yet another off-ice crisis. I do not see BC getting any less than 7 points out of the 8 possible. They are on fire.

      It might be a different story come Hockey East playoffs. The top 5 teams all have a great shot at winning the autobid.

  9. Jim thinks Maine is having a “year of destiny”, but is afraid they cannot win the backside of the weekend versus Northeastern?  Good grief do you read this column before it’s published?!

  10. Come on! Just because the Black Bears lost once to the Minutemen doesn’t mean they are not up to par with BC, BU, UML, and Merrimack. Maine is sitting solidly at an 8th place tie in the PairWise rankings, while Northeastern is tied for 30TH in the PairWise. I pick Maine to get home ice, not because I am a Maine resident and Maine hockey season ticket holder, but because Maine is really coming around. They have an amazing first line with Spencer Abbott, Brian Flynn, and Joey Diamond (who by the way, has learned not to take so many penalties.) Maine has also started to generate scoring outside the first line from a promising freshman class with Cerretani, Higgins, and Parker. Maine can also score on the power play now. They have solid defense; Will O’Neil and Ryan Hegarty. Not to mention sophomore goaltender Dan Sullivan can really play. I wouldn’t count Maine out yet Dave.

    • As a BU alum, I agree that there are FIVE closely-matched teams, BU, BC, Lowell, Merrimack and Maine in no particular order.

      If forced to rationally choose (which is hard for a BU fan to do with respect to BC), I would say that right now, BC is the favorite. After that, the rest of the top five can win out all the way to the Hockey East title to flaming out in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. All five teams are flawed, but it appears that BC has possibly figured its major flaw, goaltending.

    • you don’t think maybe Diamond is taking fewer penalties because it is near the end of the season and the refs have kinda swallowed their whistles?

    • Yes, the team is playing well, the recent UMass debacle notwithstanding.  And they could conceivably finish anywhere from 2nd through 5th in HEA.

      However, I have to strongly disagree with you re: Sullivan.  He is not a DI-quality goalie and certainly not up to Maine’s standards.  Wait till next year when you get a look at Matt Morris and you’ll see what I mean –

      • WOW!!!!!! Seams like the first positive things we have heard from BBear all season. And there is even an indirect kudos to Tim Whitehead in there in your excitement about his goalie recruit Matt Morris!! And they have some great offensive potential coming up next season too. Maybe the present and future for this team is not so dismal after all. As far as the all important present, BlacBear Fan sums it up pretty well. LETS GO BLUE!! Take care of business on the road tonight!!! Finish strong. 

        • Matt Morris was recruited to Dubuque by Jim Montgomery, where he was in very poor shape – much like Dan Sullivan.  However, aftyer a major committment from Coach Montgomery and Grant Standbrook (yes, that Grant Standbrook) he’s developing nicely.  Nothing to do with Timmay everything to do with Jimmy (and Grant)…

      • Are you stupid? Dan Sullivan not a d1 quality goalie. Ok are we talking about the same dan sullivan that as a freshman broke maine’s record of consecutive shutout time? passing the great jimmy howard? the same dan sullivan that is 17-7-3 rightnow? you are a fool. I agree he has his struggling points, but to say that he is not a d1 goali you are just dumb. he has beat bc, bu, umass lowell. has he been a little shaky sure, but what goalie isn’t?? he beat 2 of the best goalies in the nation ( carr from umass-lowell, and kieran millan from bu) bc’s goalies have struggled this year so I can’t say he beat a better goalie in those games. But before you make such an absurd statement look at the facts fool

        • Wow, easy little fella.  If you can’t handle a differing opinion without acting like a 3rd-grader, then don’t post here –

          Being the nice guy that I am, and very knowledgeable on all things college hockey (haha), I will say this. Sullivan COULD BECOME a DI goalie, if he had someone actually coaching him. David Alexander a goalie coach? Surely you jest…

      • was lookin at the stats sullivan is not in top-27 for gaa or top-23 for save %.  uscho doesn’t show anymore.  sullivan also tied for 33rd in shut outs so he not in top 50% of goalies in country based on stats. 

        remember king delguidice snow dunham allison michaud howard bishop boy those guys were solid in net we need that type goalie again. hope morris pans out.

  11. BBear 94: Yes, Sullivan may not be D1 quality, but he has played some very good games.

    TylerDurdenMaine: Yes I have to agree with you on that. Did you see Diamond getting the extra minutes for cross-checking the referee? Maybe I stand corrected.

    One of the reasons why Maine lost the Saturday night game is because of the poor Hockey East Officiating. Fyrer and Keenan were not calling obvious penalties, and they were making bad calls against Maine. Of course, Hockey East Officials always know how to ruin a great game. The four Hockey East schools outside of Massachusetts always suffer against teams from Massachusetts because of the refs. Here is a list:

     Kevin Shea (overuses the EMBELLISHMENT call)
     Dave Hansen
     Scott Hansen
     Tom Fyrer
     Kevin Keenan
     Chris Aughe
     Bob Bernard
     Mark Sullivan

    Fair Referees (All the referees on this list, the Boston schools think are unfair just because the Boston schools are always used to being favored.)
    3. John Gravallese: I might have ranked him a bit higher if he reffed a few more Maine games, always keeps the calls fair and minimal.

    2. Jeff Bunyon: Keeps the calls fair. Also met him in person; a really nice guy.

    1. Tim Benedetto: Really nice guy, keeps the calls fair and minimal for ALL teams.


  12. Are you serious?!?!?!?!? Of course, the Black Bears get Kevin Shea and Scott Hansen as referees (read my other post.) Of course, the officials know how to ruin the game, call a penalty on Maine in the final minute, and Northeastern scored on the power play. The officiating is a disgrace to the Hockey East association. I am the last person to criticize officials, but you officials should be ashamed of what you have turned Hockey East into. Other conferences shake their head in disgust at Hockey East officiating. Have you ever wondered why you never see Hockey East officials in the NCAA tournament. They have turned Hockey East into a favoritism game. I’m sorry for anyone who read through my anger, but I am disgusted by the performance by Shea and S. Hansen tonight. Disgraceful.

    •  Ummmmm, HE officials did 2 out of 3 FF games last year, obviously they can’t officiate a game where a HE team is playing.
      I do agree though, the officiating is very suspect at times… read my post a couple of weeks ago after the BC/UNH series.  I am also not one to criticize officiating, but that weekend, I had to post, just as you did tonight.  Very frustrating sometimes.  You are trying to secure home ice and UNH is just trying to get in, every point counts and I look back at that BC series and know they deserved better than a 4-3 loss (2 goals in the final 3+ minutes, last on on a PP with :51 left) and a 3-2 OT loss after a penalty in OT.
      Good luck tomorrow!

  13. “Wait until next year”  This seems to be the war cry for Maine and UNH every season. 
    A BC win this afternoon combined with a BU loss would make for smooth sailing to the HE title next friday
    Go Eagles! 

  14. “I don’t know why, but Minnesota doesn’t feel like a team that has won eight of its past 12 games.”
    Well, let’s see here. 6 of those 8 wins were vs Ohio State, Sparty, and…wait for it…Wisconsin.

  15. Love it….weekly updates says “rodents digging in to preserve lead.”
    Or attempting to not miss the natl tourney….ha ha ha. What a crap conference.

  16. I posted this in another thread, but I see his handywork his as well.

    At some point this is just juvenile — if UofMGoldenChokers can’t follow the rules and simply acts as a troll, he shouldn’t be allowed post. Therefore, I plan on flagging all of his comments as offensive and would encourage everyone else to do the same.

    The moderator may or may not take action, but ultimately, he’s the one
    can revoke his account because he’s violated the terms of service.


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