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The weekend in review: Some very Marvin Gaye results

January 8, 2008

What’s going on in Hockey East?

We can all accept, at this point, that Maine is in an utterly shocking, season-long tailspin. We can accept, too, that literally every game in Hockey East is essentially up for grabs. We can even accept that the league is so wide-open this year that Lowell, Northeastern, UMass and BC would be the Hockey East representatives in the NCAA tournament if the season ended today.

But this is ridiculous.

On Friday night, Maine continued its bizarre foray into the Twilight Zone, coughing up a seven-spot to Northeastern in Orono. The same night, New Hampshire needed a last-second goal to edge out Merrimack 1-0, and was thoroughly outplayed all night.

Then on Saturday, BU and ever-underwhelming Vermont skated to a 2-2 tie in Boston, despite the Terriers putting up NINE in Burlington earlier in the year. BC, meanwhile, fell to Clarkson (which lost to Maine last week), with John Muse giving up four goals.

Sunday afternoon, though, really took the cake. UNH rebounded from its embarrassing night in North Andover by blowing a two-goal third-period lead and losing to St. Lawrence 6-5. The Wildcats entered the third period up 3-2.

Okay, fine, two of UNH’s leading scorers, freshman James Van Riemsdyk and senior Mike Radja were unavailable for the weekend. Van Riemsdyk was off at the World Junior Champions in Prague (way to blow that one, USA Hockey), and Radja was suspended for allegedly getting into an extracurricular fight with North Dakota’s T.J. Oshie when the ‘Cats were in Grand Forks last weekend. But still, it’s no excuse for getting shown up by the ‘Mack and losing at home with a third-period lead. UNH fans should send Kevin Regan a fruit basket for the two points on Friday.

BU can also claim that its ineffectiveness was the result of losing Colin Wilson and Brian Strait to the WJCs, but come on? Vermont? Based on past results, the Terriers probably should have won by just three.

Maine has no such excuses. The Black Bears are just in free-fall mode with no hope of pulling up, despite a 4-2 over RPI on Sunday.

Our Weekly Awards
Player of the Week:
Andrew Braithwaite, Merrimack (sophomore goalie) – Braithwate stood on his head for the Warriors on Friday, making 25 saves and turning aside several point-blank, surefire goals that he had no business stopping. Yeah, Merrimack lost, but Mark Dennehy has something special in Braithwaite, who also made 19 saves in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Army.
(Honorable mention: Joe Vitale, Northeastern; JC Robataille, Merrimack)

Rookie of the Week:
Danny Dries, New Hampshire (freshman forward) – Dries scored twice against St. Lawrence and got time on the top line Friday night alongside Phil DeSimone, who scored the game-winner, and Matt Fornataro. Not much more to say on the subject.
(Honorable mention: Jack Downing, Vermont)

Ham ‘n’ Egger of the Weak:
Because we love the wonderful Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, this award “honors” the humanoid who had the worst week in Hockey East.
Ben Bishop, Maine (junior goalie) – What happened to this kid? After posting GAAs of 2.22 and 2.14 in his first two seasons, “Big” Ben Bishop is looking more like he should have just played basketball. Bishop gave up four goals on 18 shots against Lowell last weekend and followed that up with the resounding thud that comes with a 4-goals-on-10-shots performance against Northeastern in the third period (he was brought on in relief of his somehow-less-capable backup, Dave Wilson). Bet the Blues want that second-round pick back, but “you can’t teach size.”
(Honorable mention: Mike Radja, UNH)

Eat up. You earned ’em, Benny.


Permanent Tomato Cans*:

Maine Black Bears (7-9-2, 1-1 this weekend)
Vermont Catamounts (4-7-5, 0-0-1 this weekend)

*A “tomato can” is defined by Wikipedia as “a boxer with poor or diminished skills who may be considered an easy opponent to defeat, or a ‘guaranteed win.'”

National Poll

1 Michigan (38) 18- 2-0 983
2 Miami (6) 19- 3-0 923
3 Denver (5) 16- 4-0 915
4 Colorado College (1) 14- 6-0 869
5 Massachusetts* 9- 3-5 782
6 Notre Dame 18- 6-0 716
7 Northeastern 10- 4-2 681
8 New Hampshire* 11- 6-1 616
8 North Dakota 10- 8-1 616
10 Michigan State 13- 5-3 573
11 Clarkson 11- 6-1 512
12 Boston College* 8- 5-5 429
13 Mass.-Lowell 9- 4-4 404
14 St. Cloud State 10-10-2 283
15 Minnesota 11- 9-2 274
16 Quinnipiac 11- 5-3 235
17 Wisconsin 8- 9-3 160
18 Michigan Tech 9- 9-2 129
19 Minnesota-Duluth* 7- 7-4 123
20 Minnesota State 9- 7-3 116
Others Receiving Votes: Bowling Green 41, Princeton 17, Cornell* 16, RIT 16, Harvard 12, Yale 12, Air Force 9, Rensselaer 8, Bemidji State 7, Ferris State 7, Niagara 7, Nebraska-Omaha 5, Providence* 3, Robert Morris 1

*UML 2007-08 season opponent

Hockey East Weekly Awards
Player of the Week: Joe Vitale (NU)
Rookie of the Week: Jack Downing (UVM)
Defensive Player of the Week: Kevin Regan (UNH)
Honor roll: Andrew Braithwaite (MC), Rob Bellamy (Maine), Joe Cucci (MC), Robbie Dee (Maine), Phil DeSimone (UNH), Boomer Ewing (BU), Joe Fallon (UVM), JC Robataille (MC), Craig Switzer (UNH), Brandon Yip (BU)

Weekend results (home team bolded)
Friday
UNH 1, Merrimack 0
Northeastern 7, Maine 3

Saturday
BU 2, Vermont 2
Clarkson 4, BC 2

Sunday
St. Lawrence 6, UNH 5
Maine 4, RPI 2 (at Portland Civic Center)
Merrimack 4, Army 1

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One Comment leave one →
  1. SAK permalink
    January 7, 2008 11:25 pm

    You missed a candidate for Ham ‘n’ Egger of the Weak. “Defense”man Simon Danis-Pepin did a fantastic impersonation of Hal Gill on Friday when he managed to go -7 for the night.

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