The Monday 10: More regular-season titles clinched, looking at two controversial plays from the weekend

 (THOMAS KENDALL/THOM KENDALL FOR UMASS ATHLETICS photo: UMass Athletics)
Cale Makar helped UMass capture the Hockey East regular-season title this past weekend (photo: Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics).

Each week, USCHO.com will pick the top 10 moments from the past weekend in our Monday 10 feature.

1. Western Massachusetts teams capture AHA, HEA regular-season titles

It was quite the weekend for Division I hockey for the western part of the sixth state in the Union as American International College captured the Atlantic Hockey title Saturday night with a 4-1 win over Sacred Heart to claim the first regular-season title in program history

The Pioneers jumped out to 1-0 lead before the Yellow Jackets scored four unanswered goals, highlighted by Tobias Fladeby’s goal and an assist.

Massachusetts, located in Amherst, 28 miles north of Springfield, where AIC is located, started the weekend early as the Minutemen captured their first regular-season Hockey East title in program history with a 4-2 victory over Merrimack.

Just like the Yellow Jackets, a come-from-behind victory was needed. Bobby Trivigno, Jake Gaudet and Cale Makar scored in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit. Makar had the Minutemen’s first goal and added an assist.

UMass continued the party Saturday night with a 6-0 win over Maine on senior night.

2. Quinnipiac, Cornell share Cleary Cup; Bobcats get No. 1 seed in ECAC playoffs

It’s only fitting the race for the ECAC title came down to the final day of the regular season. It’s also fitting there was a tie at the top at the end of the night for the Cleary Cup as Quinnipiac and Cornell each finished with 30 points

The Bobcats defeated rival Yale 4-1 on Saturday while Cornell skated to a 2-2 tie with Clarkson.

Quinnipiac is the No. 1 seed as the Bobcats owned the tiebreaker over the Big Red, who will be the No. 2 seed.

Both teams will have a bye next week along with Clarkson and Harvard, who are the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively.

3. North Dakota still alive for home-ice advantage for first round of NCHC playoffs

North Dakota has had a playoff series at home the past 17 years, and that streak will now extend to 18 years.

The Fighting Hawks earned a split with Colorado College over the weekend as the Tigers won 3-1 Friday night. North Dakota came back Saturday night with a 2-1 victory.

With the split, North Dakota assured itself at least the No. 5 seed. The Fighting Hawks are four points behind Western Michigan for the key fourth position to host in the first round. The Broncos would need to be swept by Miami next weekend while North Dakota needs to get five of the possible six points against Omaha to leapfrog.

4. Arizona State ends regular season dropping two against Minnesota

It was a rough weekend for the Sun Devils as they visited the Golden Gophers to cap off the regular season.

They began the weekend with a 5-1 loss and on Saturday, dropped a 5-2 decision. ASU ends the regular season 21-11-1. They went 11-2 at home while going 9-9 on the road and 0-1-1 in neutral-site contests.

As the nation’s lone independent, Arizona State has to sit and wait for the next three weeks to find out its fate. They currently sit eighth in the PairWise rankings, which should be comfortable for them to get into the NCAA tournament.

5. Controversial plays highlight Saturday’s action

With close races throughout the six conferences and Arizona State ending its historic regular season, you would think that would be the talk of the weekend.

Sadly, that’s not the case as two on=ice incidents dominated the conversation Saturday night involving Quinnipiac’s Chase Priskie and Arizona State’s Jacob Wilson — plays that saw both players leave the game because of their actions.

Priskie, who is a Hobey Baker candidate, kicked Yale’s Tyler Welsh in the chest multiple times when Welsh was lying on the ice. Priskie received a kicking penalty and a game disqualification for the incident. The game DQ carries an automatic one-game suspension, but the ECAC could offer additional supplemental discipline.

Wilson, meanwhile, took out Minnesota’s Sampo Ranta with somewhat of a blindside hit that caused Ranta to get stitches, but he did return to the game. Wilson received a five-minute major for contact to the head and a game DQ.

The WCHA handles supplemental discipline for Arizona State.

6. Nation’s leading scorer held pointless this weekend

Michigan State’s Taro Hirose was held pointless in the series against Michigan State as the Spartans split the weekend with the Buckeyes.

The junior from Calgary has 15 goals and 35 assists for 49 points in 34 games this season.

Meanwhile, Joseph Duszak of Mercyhust inched closer to Hirose with two assists in a 5-4 loss to Robert Morris on Friday. The junior defender has 16 goals and 29 assists for 45 points in 35 games for the Lakers.

7. Still a tight race for second in Hockey East

With one weekend remaining in the regular season for Hockey East, the race for second place is heating up.

Northeastern and Providence have 29 points while UMass Lowell has 28 points and Boston University has 27.

Entering the final weekend, Northeastern hosts New Hampshire while Providence hosts Boston College. Lowell travels to Vermont while BU travels to Orono to take on the Black Bears.

The Friars play the Eagles on Thursday and can end the drama with a win as they would own the tiebreaker over the Huskies.

8. Northern Michigan extends winning streak to four

The Wildcats swept Michigan Tech over the weekend to climb to second place in the WCHA standings with a weekend to go.

On Friday night, Troy Loggins had a hat trick in a 4-2 win while Atte Tolvanen made 58 saves. On Saturday, Loggins added two more goals and Tolvanen made 20 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

The Wildcats take on Alaska in the final weekend of the regular season. Bowling Green is one point behind NMU in third has Michigan Tech to cap its regular season.

9. St. Cloud still has something play for

The Huskies captured the NCHC’s Penrose Cup last weekend as regular-season champions, but they still have something play for in next weekend’s final series against Minnesota Duluth.

With a 17-2-3-2 record in conference and an .841 win percentage, SCSU is on pace to set the record for the league’s best winning percentage. Via College Hockey Inc. the previous high marks were 2015-16 North Dakota (.812), 2016-17 Denver (.812) and 2017-18 St. Cloud State (.750).

10. Notre Dame on bubble for NCAA tournament

If the tournament started tomorrow, Notre Dame would be the last at-large team into the NCAA tournament.

The Fighting Irish are ranked 15th in the current PairWise.

Conference rival Penn State would be the first team out at No. 16 with the Atlantic Hockey champion getting an automatic bid. For this exercise, it will be AIC as the regular-season champion.

The Fighting Irish and the Nittany Lions split this past weekend. Notre Dame hosts Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament this weekend while Penn State hosts Wisconsin.

Bowling Green is No. 17 and UMass Lowell is No. 18. Union is No. 19 while North Dakota and Minnesota are tied for 20th.

53 COMMENTS

  1. This article should be edited. NMU begins the first round of the WCHA playoffs against Alaska. The regular season is over. It was also Atte’s 5th shutout of the season.

  2. 4. ASU drops 2 to unranked Minnesota, while getting out scored 10-3, and only drops one spot in the PWR. ufb. While in KRACH, they drop to (out of the the tournament) #16

    5. If I’m running the ECAC and WCHA (disciplinarian for ASU), both of those guy’s seasons are over. The kicking for sure, and while I understand that crossing the blue line with your head down is a bad idea; that hit was high, a charge, and made contact with the head. It was also avoidable. Don’t get me wrong, I like hitting in hockey. I just think the main focus of a check is to separate the player from the puck, not to kill him.

    7.The more compelling story is 6-8th. 2 pts separate #6 Maine (24 pts) from # 8 UNH (22 pts) with #7 BC in the middle with 23 pts. #8 would get a series with #2 (PWR) UMass.

    11. While I’m sure Norm Bazin had his reasons, his goalie assignments this weekend were suspect IMO. Friday, he starts Hernberg @ UNH, which on the surface seems fine, but on Saturday, which just so happened to be Senior night, and with Senior goalie Hernberg’s parents and sister in the bldg from Finland, he starts the Junior, Wall. Seriously, Norm? You thought that was the way to go?

    • I thought of #11 when I was at the game Friday night, seemed weird unless he was going with Hernberg both nights.

      #6, just for fun… USCHO writers still can’t do math:
      “The junior from Calgary has 15 goals and 35 assists for 49 points in 34 games this season.”

    • KRACH has ASU 14th, not 16th. Think ASU SOS ratings between RPI and KRACH might be some of the difference in rankings.

    • 4. Yeah, I’ve always thought that the KRACH ratings were superior to the PWR. That being said, the PWR basically determine the NCAA Tourney participants, after the automatic bids. Oh, well…

      5. Agreed. They need to get the “intent to injure” plays out of college hockey and, apparently, major penalties (even with a game or DQ) aren’t doing it. A good, solid LEGAL hit is far more appreciated, anyway. In addition to the controversial plays on Saturday, ASU was a party to another on Friday. I was at that game and witnessed ASU coming unglued in the 3rd period. Steenn Pasichnuk was called for elbowing (only a 2-minute penalty; IMO it should have been 5 and a game). The crowd was livid at the egregious call. Sure enough, after serving his 2 minutes, Steenn was called for cross-checking a whole 9 seconds later. I’m pretty sure I called him a ‘GOON’ and the refs were soundly ‘Booed’.

      11. Saturday was Minnesota’s Senior Night, as well. Coach Motzko started senior Eric Schierhorn in net and played another senior, Brock Kautz, for the last half-minute of play. Junior Matt Robson has been mostly minding the Gopher net all year, but it IS SENIOR night, after all.

      • 5. To me, both plays were really dangerous and both could be considered ITI. The rules state that a DQ carries the remainder of that game plus one more for the 1st DQ. Honestly, I think there are levels within the DQ. For instance, the kicking incident was far less egregious than say what Bertuzzi did to Moore. I think you need to be able to evaluate each case for supplemental discipline.

      • 5. How did McManus not see that hit coming? Set his line mate up to get pummeled asunder. How about passing to Novak? It was some solace that they scored seconds later.

        Have to wonder how much different ASU would look with Walker on the ice. One thing is certain, ASU did NOT like the big ice. The one and only player who did look comfortable with the big ice was Koumontzis, the kid from Edina.

  3. 9. Looks like SCSU would need a split to break the NCHC conference winning PCT record. 2 wins (.905), 1 win (.857), 0 wins (.810).

  4. Jerry York worked his magic on the hockey east refs, getting Jeremy Davies tossed for Saturday nights game against NU

  5. Hope UMGC and family got home with no problems. Might have been a rough ride back to Denver, up I-25, Saturday night after after ND-CC game. Many flight delays Saturday night at DIA, hope it didn’t bleed over and cause them problems Sunday morning. Traveling with kids can be a challenge.

      • You are getting what we got last week. Only had about 6 inches, but it was bitter cold (-3) and wind blowing like mad. Think they couldn’t de-ice the planes successfully Saturday night, in addition to runways being a sheet of ice. That’s why I hope UMGC got back OK.

        • I live in an apartment building so there is a crew that comes around to plow but we have to clean off our own cars. We never know when they will arrive so yesterday morning a few of us were digging out of the parking lot so we could get to work. For most of my life (not now) I lived 5 minutes from PC campus and more than once walked to the rink for a game. Stupidity or dedication? Our final regular season game is at home on Thursday vs BC, no snow predicted and there are now 2 indoor garages adjacent to arena.

    • It would be helpful for NU if BC beat you, however my disdain for York and that Hockey team will never allow me to cheer for them. Go get em.

        • Hope your guys fare better with UVM than mine did; Lekkas was an acrobat and HE player of the week following our series.

          • Indeed! For a little guy, he’s a damn good goalie! He’s gotta be getting tired though, he’s played every single game this year.

      • Thanks for the support, I know what you mean about St J. Losing Davies is all his doing. They’ve won 2 against PC this season so Thursday is huge. My motto going forward is stop the Bs.

  6. #3: When they state: “North Dakota has had a playoff series at home the past 17 years, and that streak will now extend to 18 years.” at the beginning this is not true as of today. Yes it is possible that North Dakota does get home ice for the playoffs but as they state later in #3. North Dakota is 4 points behind Western Michigan for 4th place. So they need to most likely sweep Omaha and hope that Western drops both games to Miami. Other scenarios could get them home ice but it comes down to those two series for North Dakota and Western Michigan.

    • You beat me to the punch about it stating in error that ND extended it to 18 yrs.
      Remarkable streak at 17 years if it does end.

      • And the other issue too is attendance. The Ralph seats like 12,000 and it sells out every game so that’s potentially 2 (or 3) large-venue home games that may not happen. The other issue is that if they don’t make it to the Frozen Faceoff in St Paul, I’m wondering how attendance will look there too. 75% of the fans there are the green army. Having St Cloud and Duluth there will help, but the green machine is what keeps the wheels turning.

        • It will be interesting in St Paul if North Dakota doesn’t make it. Even with St Cloud and Minnesota Duluth there last year about 70% of the fans were from North Dakota. Without North Dakota you could have a crowd similar to the Big 10 playoffs a few years back. Worst case scenario would be Miami, Denver, CC, and Western Michigan. There would be no one there except us hardcore fans that go whether our team makes it or not. Hey if your team doesn’t make it, its a lot more relaxing as you just enjoy great hockey.

          • Some of us “out of towners” would rather save their money to go to a Regional, and Frozen Four, rather than the Frozen Faceoff. The only time it might pay to travel to St. Paul is if your team needs to win it to qualify. The key is the NCAAs, not winning the NCHC tourney or Penrose Cup.

  7. “Michigan State’s Taro Hirose was held pointless in the series against Michigan State”.

    It’s like one of those mirror-image fights in a video game, eh?

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