Three things: Oct. 29

Shepard steals the show
Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin told USCHO earlier this week that he didn’t know if either Hunter Shepard or Nick Deery had made the Bulldogs’ No. 1 goaltender job their own six games into the season. Eight in, we might have a better idea.

Shepard played a key role this weekend in UMD’s road sweep against Maine, making 26 saves both Friday and Saturday while only giving up one goal in the series. After a 2-1 win Friday over the Black Bears, Shepard blanked Maine on Saturday and firmly shut the door with 11 third-period saves.

A sophomore, Shepard has started each of Duluth’s last three games. Deery, a junior, last saw time in the Bulldogs’ 5-5 home tie on Oct. 20 against Merrimack.

All four of UMD’s wins so far have been credited to Shepard, and while he entered this weekend with a save percentage below .900, it’s since been upped to .911.

Up next for the Bulldogs is a trip next weekend to second-ranked St. Cloud State, fresh off a bye.

Tigers’ solid start continues
Another weekend, another couple of opportunities for Colorado College to turn heads.

Both myself and NCHC writing partner Candace Horgan picked the Tigers to finish last in the NCHC this season, but I’m starting to wonder just how wrong I could end up being on this one. CC is 5-3 and picked up a win and a high-scoring loss this weekend at home against fourth-ranked North Dakota.

Goals from Mason Bergh and Nick Halloran helped the Tigers to their 2-1 win Friday against UND before the Fighting Hawks bounced back to win 6-4 Saturday night. Halloran and Bergh scored 2:02 apart in Saturday’s second period, and while CC found plenty of offensive success that night, they might have had more if not for an 0-for-6  power play showing.

Still, things are very much looking up in Colorado Springs. CC already has three times as many home wins (three) as it did last season, and putting six goals past a top-five team looks encouraging on anybody.

CC visits Miami next weekend before hosting Omaha on Nov. 10-11. After that come back-to-back series against SCSU and top-ranked Denver.

Pioneers do Boston double
Denver isn’t invincible, but has it ever been fun to track so far.

The Pioneers (4-0-2) kept the good times rolling this weekend with two road wins, outlasting Boston University 4-3 on Friday before routing Boston College 6-1 on Saturday.

Two power play goals Friday against BU helped. Both came in a five-goal first period, with Colin Staub scoring twice on the man advantage. Goalie Tanner Jaillet was there when DU needed him, too, making 11 saves in both the second and third periods before Staub found Troy Terry for the game-winning goal with 17 seconds left.

Denver looked a more complete product of itself Saturday against BC. Three power play goals proved more than enough, and two goals directly off of offensive zone faceoffs helped to show just how high of a rate the Pioneers were working at.

Henrik Borgstrom and Blake Hillman both scored twice, and the only blemish at the other end came on a BC power play goal 1:45 into the third period.

DU is on the road again next weekend at Western Michigan before hosting SCSU and UND in back-to-back weeks.

18 COMMENTS

  1. “and no small amount has been borne of the bat**** lunatic North Dakota fringe”.  Just wondering what you mean by that exactly?

    • There is a small but vocal minority of nuts who bombard anyone who will listen (in this case, USCHO writers, editors, probably photographers…) with unsolicited emails whenever the Sioux are in the news for any reason at all.

      Yes, I am aware that there are small but vocal minorities of lunatics everywhere, but UND’s minority seems to be the most prolific. That is all.

      • I get ya, thanks for the clarification!  I can see how Sioux fans can go a little nuts and maybe even a little overboard (like last year come playoffs).  It is only a game but I know that some fans identify themselves (who they are) with the team that they cheer for and I know alot of UND fans personaly that do this.  Its not necessarily the worst thing to do in life but like I said, people do get a little carried away sometimes:) and forget their class and the people, teams, universitys, etc. they represent when they talk without consequence on this site or anywhere else.  This is something all college hockey fans should remember regardless of which team you cheer for, myself included 

  2. I think that some of the ecac teams have to have “special events” at bigger arenas to draw the larger, better schools to come east. Have Colgate play in cuse at the war memorial, brown at the dunk, clarkson or st Lawrence at lake placid, rpi/ union at the Pepsi arena. That will give the schools coming to the ecac an incentive monetarily. Secondly, you have up and down scheduling years. Colgate had a down year last year, games including 2 or 3 against niagara and army and then sacred heart, but look at their schedule this year and it includes Merrimack, Miami, and ferris state. But ultimately ecac teams should do “events” to draw in the western and even hockey east schools

    • That is what I really like about what Clarkson is doing with SLU.  For the 2nd year in a row, the 2 are facing off in lake placid.  Clarkson is also playing Maine in portland at the AHL arena there and playing UND in winnipeg.  As soon as Clarkson returns to prominence and plays like it did in the 70s and the 90s, all will be good in the world.  Lets go tech!

    • Why wouldn’t a UND or a Minnesota or a Michigan want to come to Lynah? It’s a cathedral of college hockey. The only school we’ll do an event game for is to keep the BU rivalry alive and besides taking more than half the gate receipts for an MSG sellout ain’t bad. Still would be great to have BU at Lynah again someday.

  3. “I don’t have figures in front of me”
    Maybe you should find them out. That’d be a good thing for a REPORTER to do, no?

  4. The bottom line is, for ECAC teams to get better scheduling, we have to play better on a national level. And for that to happen, we are talking about more funding/scholarships and removal of Ivy restrictions on recruitment and when the season starts – the same old horse that’s been beaten over and over again. 

    Before you wrote this Brian, are you in the opinion that some coaches don’t schedule the best teams they can? If not, then I don’t think I learned anything from this post other than some ECAC NC opponents were subpar this season.

    • I wrote this mostly to educate the fans who don’t understand why their program isn’t playing against the big boys “often enough”… but also to clarify my own perspective on the matter, for you – USCHO’s regular audience – as well as for myself.

      Re. the first half of your note, might I present Cornell, Yale and Union? The Big Red have been by far the most consistently successful program in the league over the past decade-plus. Yale has been the strongest team in the league in the past few seasons, and Union is certainly asserting itself as a consistent contender on both the ECAC and national stage… and all three are non-scholarship programs. Success breeds success(ful recruiting, which breeds success), and leaving school with a top-notch diploma doesn’t hurt matters, either.

      • Fine. It would’ve been a much better column if you could offer more personal opinions on what else could be done to get a stronger scheduler other than “beat NC opponents.” That’s a given, unless these players and coaches don’t give a c*** about their respective hockey programs. 

        On your second point, Yale and Union were only able to gain national prominence in recent years. If you look at Yale’s schedule this year, it’s quite pathetic for a team who was on top of the polls for a good number of weeks – BC is the only NC opponents that’s worth playing. Union and Cornell have relatively stronger schedules, but if Union starts losing this year and doesn’t end up being a TUC, do you think its 2013-2014 schedule will be as strong? Cornell is the exception with a strong history, strong fan base, and adequate funding – that’s the exception, not the rule. Hypothetically, if Cornell left the Ivies (which would never happen) and joined HEA or the new NCHC, its hockey program will undoubtly improve dramatically with the same coaching and athletics staff. I understand success breeds success, but how likely are you to become successful in the first place when you’re ham stringed by various factors (each ECAC school’s issues differ) the first place?

        • Honestly, that’s my take: the best, most practical, most empowering thing any team or coach can do to improve a program’s schedule and national status is to win, win, win. If you can’t get big-time opponents, you’d better win with the schedule you’ve got. Get to the NCAAs with some consistency, and your scheduling options will invariably improve. Sure, money and school support matter, but the right coach makes a huge difference in the recruiting (and hence, improvement) process.

        • As a Yale fan I am disgusted at their weak non-conference scheduling. This is not football where the big programs schedule many years in advance. I understand that Yale loses potential slots early in the season because of the “Ivy league” rules. But only scheduling The Russian Touring Team during the Xmas break? They have the money to travel westward to play. 

  5. Grammar police: “I believe that ECAC Hockey is not only a unique league, but the most unique in the college hockey universe.”

    Unique means one-of-a-kind. There are not degrees of uniqueness, so something can’t be “very unique” or “most unique.”

    I know, I know….It’s a pet peeve….

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