Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Site Has Moved

This blog has now been turned into a blog network:

I still hope Blogger (please?) keeps this site up as a reference to the network though.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mourning the loss of former Army player Tom Kennedy, and How to Help

Tom Kennedy and family

Some sad news came out West Point yesterday. Former Black Knight hockey player Tom Kennedy died in Afghanistan on Wednesday from a suicide bomb attack.

I really won't go into the whole thing since USCHO has covered it all pretty well.

But, what I can do is tell you all how you can help in this sad situation.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with my connection to Army Hockey. My family had season tickets to Tate Rink at West Point from the mid-1990's to the mid-2000's. Growing up, I rarely missed a home game. It's where I learned to love hockey, and college hockey especially. I got to know a few players and their families during my time there.

This past Fall, Anthony "Tony" Felice, a former captain of the Army Hockey team in the late 1990's contacted me after reading this post from when I ran the Union Hockey Blog. Since then we've had several email exchanges about Army Hockey and other topics, and we were lucky enough to meet up and talk for a few minutes in Tampa during the Frozen Four this past April.

When I heard the news about Kennedy, the first person I thought of was Tony. I sent him an email this morning sending my condolences to him and the entire Army Hockey family, and asked him if there's anything I could do to help.

Here's an email from Tony explaining how we can all help:
This week one of my very close friends, Major Tommy Kennedy, was killed in Afghanistan.  I played hockey with Tommy at West Point for 2 years.  He was in a convoy and apparently two suicide bombers attacked the convoy, killing a total of 3 people.   Tommy was Class of 2000 and had served for 12 years.  Tommy had already served two prior tours in Iraq and he was just recently deployed to Afghanistan for his 3rd tour.  The hardest part of the story is that Tommy leaves behind a wife and twin 2-year-olds (they turn 2 in a week or so).  Unfortunately, they will never have an opportunity to know how amazing their father was. 

Tommy's family and close friends are in the process of setting up a trust for the benefit of Tommy’s kids.  In the meantime, a link has been set up for people that want to give money to help out the family.   If any of you would like to contribute, the link is below, if not please forward to people that you think would like to help.  And those knowledge with Facebook or Twitter please get the link below out,  he was a great Army Officer, teammate and man and will be sorely missed. Thanks 
 - Tony 

Any support is needed at this time. I hope the college hockey community can come together and support the Kennedy's in their time of need.

Thank you for reading this post, and have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

ECAC players in NHL Prospect Camps

Here's a list of guys who played for an ECAC Hockey team last season, who are attending 2012 NHL Prospect Camps this summer.

Former Brown captain Jack Maclellan (Nashville Predators)
Matt Lorito - Chicago Blackhawks
Dennis Robertson - Toronto Maple Leafs
Bobby Farnham - Minnesota Wild
Jack Maclellan - Nashville Predators*

Julien Cayer - Detroit Red Wings
Ben Sexton - Boston Bruins

Eric Mihalik - Chicago Blackhawks
Thomas Larkin - Columbus Blue Jackets
Austin Smith - Dallas Stars
Spiro Goulakos - Dallas Stars
Kurtis Bartliff - Vancouver Cancuks
Chris Wagner - Anaheim Ducks*
Corbin McPherson - New Jersey Devils

Cornell's Andy Iles in Carolina (Jamie Kellner)
Braden Birch - Chicago Blackhawks
Joel Lowry - LA Kings
Kirill Gotovets - Tampa Bay Lightning
Andy Iles - Carolina Hurricanes
Sean Collins - Columbus Blue Jackets
Brian Ferlin - Boston Bruins
John McCarron - Edmonton Oilers
Nick D'Agostino - Pittsburgh Penguins
Joakim Ryan - San Jose Sharks
Greg Miller - Washington Capitals

Matthew Lindblad - Chicago Blackhawks
Harvard's Max Everson was drafted by Toronto (BR)

Max Everson - Toronto Maple Leafs
Brandon McNally - Tampa Bay Lightning
Marshall Everson - Minnesota Wild
Stephen Michalek - Minnesota Wild

Andrew Calof - NY Islanders
Michael Sdao - Ottawa Senators
Jack Berger - New Jersey Devils
Mike Ambrosia - New Jersey Devils
Andrew Ammon - Washington Capitals

Eric Hartzell - Philadelphia Flyers
Matthew Peca - Tampa Bay Lightning
Jeremy Langlois - Vancouver Canucks
Jordan Samuels-Thomas - Winnipeg Jets
Connor Jones - Edmonton Oilers
Quinnipiac's Kellen & Connor Jones (Edmonton Oilers)
Kellen Jones - Edmonton Oilers

Ryan Haggerty - NY Rangers
Patrick Koudys - Washington Capitals

St. Lawrence
Chris Martin - Chicago Blackhawks
Greg Carey - Toronto Maple Leafs
Justin Baker - Toronto Maple Leafs

Daniel Carr - Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins
Troy Grosenick - NY Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks
Mat Bodie - Chicago Blackhawks
Union's Wayne Simpson at Bruins Camp (Patch/Mike Abelson)
Josh Jooris - Vancouver Canucks
Greg Coburn - Philadelphia Flyers
Shayne Gostisbehere - Philadelphia Flyers
Wayne Simpson - Boston Bruins
Jeremy Welsh - Carolina Hurricanes*
Kelly Zajac - New Jersey Devils

Brian O'Neill - LA Kings
Antoine Laganiere - Edmonton Oilers
Brad Petlz - Ottawa Senators
Kenny Agostino - Pittsburgh Penguins

*Signed pro deal

A few of the teams have not released their prospect camp rosters yet, so I might have to add a few more names later. Let me know if I missed anybody.

Friday, April 13, 2012

2011-12 #ECACHockey Twitter Awards

It's the awards you've all been waiting for... the #ECACHockey Twitter Awards:

Tweeter of the Year
Mark Armstrong (SLU)
Pretty easy one here. Armstrong was the league's top tweeter with 38 Tweets of the Week, which accounted for 38% of SLU's TOTW. He provided us with great chirps, advice, and other great tidbits. Here are some of the highlights:

August 31 - Worst part of taking your roster pic is the fellas heckling from the hallway Best part, you can't look any worse than @TT_status @C_Mart10

September 7 - @C_Mart10 like I said before, C's get degrees but Marsh wants the 4.0

November 10 - Clarkson mus hate road trips. Seeing the hot girls all the other schools have then busing back to their engineers #2ontheroadisa10athome

November 12 - Qpac: great tunes, great rink, great cheerleaders and Brutal atmosphere. #dresslikeaseatnight

March 4 - I guess since that I'm not longer a collegiate athlete I can now accept all forms of gifts.... I prefer cash.

Thank you King Tweeter for bring your "A" game for your senior year. Next year's winner will have big shoes to fill. Also, sorry, but I wasn't able to get the prize you wanted. Who would've thought you couldn't buy a Quinnipiac cheerleader?

Rookie of the Year
Luke Curadi (RPI)
Not only was the biggest player in the league imposing on the ice, he was the same in the #ECACHockey Twitter world this season. He supplied us with some of the best variety of great tweets including chirping teammates, rivals, and even himself. He finished second in the league with 21 TOTW, and at one point it looked like he could challenge Mark Armstrong for the title. He's my early favorite to become #ECACHockey's King Tweeter next season. Here are some of his best tweets:

October 15 - tough weekend for #theboys will make us that much stronger. its about the process not the result

October 19 - Give @jakelaliberte15, the kid who started playing jr hockey during vietnam and committed to RPI before schroeder was born, a get well tweet

November 7 - I wonder if the girls were better at RPI when Oates or Juneau were here. Nevermind, females dressed weird in the 80s.
... I bet the girls they got were top shelf. Us on the other hand, #topramen

November 10 - @jakelaliberte15 is definitly the frenchest kid in the #ecac, he speaks 3 languages: crappy english, quebecois, and his own mix of the 2

December 9 - For me, getting retweeted is like scoring a goal in practice, doesn't happen often, but still is a highlight of the day. #handslikefeetprobz

March 4 - Also a shout out to the RPI pep band. Heard they took some abuse from clarkson but they stayed strong for us. Ill stand by those kids anyday

March 24 - Everyone is rooting for union to win it all, but personally I'm rooting against them. I would never root for my rival. I hate those guys.

Unsung Tweeter of the Year
Troy Grosenick (Union)
Grosenick has received a lot of attention and accolades lately, but no one has really talked about how lethal of a tweeter he is. His eight TOTW honors ranked eighth in the league (the most for third place Union and the most of any goalie in the league), which is pretty good, but he supplied us with some of the best chirps this season (especially towards classmate Kevin Sullivan):

September 27 - @k1nkaid was gonna draft you in Fantasy....decided Trevor Kidd coming out of retirement gave me a better shot to win

October 24 -  Don't call us  - it makes me feel like a cannibal

October 24 -   Who wins in a fight, a hurricane or coach bennett? Trick question the hurricane is hurricane bennett

October 30 - @JJooris19 Like the Cowboys using Dez Bryant to imitate Mike Vick, AIC used their #waterboy to prepare for @KevinSullivan27

November 6 -  hats off to the  boys, don't know how they tweet so much, I had no signal north of the adirondacks

January 5 - Get off the front page of uscho  that prep school style is bad for our rep  

Team Twitter Award
St. Lawrence "Tweeting" Saints
Another obvious pick here. They led the league with 99 Tweets of the Week, which was 39 more than second place Brown, and twice more than 10 of the teams. Of the 28 Twitter-Athletes on their roster, 13 of them received TOTW honors. While Armstrong received all the publicity, guys like Gunnar Hughes, Greg Carey, Chris Martin, Patrick Raley, and Matt Weninger should also be commended. These guys had 49 Tweets of the Week between the five of them, which is why I predict SLU to be on top again next season. Heck, they would've come in third this year if they were their own team.

Twitter Target of the Year
Tyson Fulton (Union)
This award could have gone to a number of guys, but I think this guy is most worthy. Not only did he get chirped by his roommate and fellow Minnesota boy Sam Coatta, but he also received a nice chirp from SLU's Gunnar Hughes... on his birthday. Here are some of the chirps:

September 19 - @ECACHockeyBlog I gave @tysonfulton a set of hands for his birthday today #silkymittens

October 31 - @tysonfultonlookinforawife

November 28 - Ehhh room is looking solid. @tysonfulton interior design major? Hardest part is getting into the room but after that your golden

January 3 - "does de-caff mean there's more or less caffeine, I always get confused." - @tysonfulton #ECACHockey at its finest

January 31 - He might not be able to read but he can definitely crush some note-cards #beautyroomy

February 19 - "excuse me sir you have broccoli on your forehead" never a dull moment with this character

But, the thing that really put Fulton over the top in my eyes was that he took it all in stride, and was always supporting his boys :

November 24 - Happy thanksgiving very thankful for family friends teammates and my beauty roomate @samcoatta

December 31 - New years resolution: no regrets always be a beauty

February 9 - Big exam for the boys today need to wear our work buckets and battle back after a tough one last time

Hashtag of the Year
This hashtag was the talk of #ECACHockey during late September thanks to SLU's George Hughes. All the boys from Canton would not stop chirping about how brutal Kyle Essery's hair was. While there were other good hashtags this season, none lasted longer and got as much play as this one.

Chirp of the Year
Mark Armstrong (SLU)
While this tweet took place very early in the Tweeting season, it was pure gold. Of course it was by the King himself, who found a way to chirp two teams in one tweet:

September 4 - Those Brown players should have been around last year when the Clarkson guys tried to swim across the river and had to get rescued

Background: Last spring, two Clarkson hockey players had to be rescued while swimming across a river [link], and late this past summer a group of Brown hockey players rescued some kids at the beach [link].

Well, that's all! Congrats to the award winners and the rest of the great #ECACHockey Tweeters on a great season. Let's make this bigger next year!

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Thoughts on Union, Hobey, Tampa, and the Frozen Four

The 2011-12 ECAC Hockey season officially ended on Thursday as the Union College Dutchmen fell to Ferris State 3-1 in the Frozen Four semifinals. The league has yet to have a representative play for the national championship since Colgate in 1990.

I thought the Dutchmen didn't bring their best game to the big stage. They weren't able to get much going and looked sloppy and timid at times. The Bulldogs were excellent defensively and in their transition game, and in the end came up with the big plays. But, I thought Ferris played their best game of the weekend on Saturday in the 4-1 loss to Boston College. If the Dutchmen played with more poise, I think they could haveve definitely won that game. Against Boston College, well, that might have been a different story.

Mat Bodie was called for an elbow on this play
While Union hurt themselves with their play, I also felt they were hurt by the refereeing. The Dutchmen thrive on the power-play and were going up against the 10th most penalized team in the nation, which looked like a good matchup. But, the Dutchmen only received one man advantage (which didn't even last the full two minutes), while the Bulldogs received four PP opportunities, converting once. The one call the really stood out to me was when Josh Jooris was called for high-sticking with about 40 seconds left in Union's only power-play chance. I've watched about 50 college hockey games this year, and I think this call was the one of the worst I saw all season. In the play Ferris goalie Taylor Nelson covered up the puck, and one of the Ferris defenders put up his hands and then so did Jooris. They both hit in to each other, but the Ferris player fell, prompting the ref to call a penalty ONLY on Jooris. There shouldn't have been a penalty to either player anyways. I was shocked, especially since in another instance in the game, Union's Kevin Sullivan was sucker punched in the back of the head while driving the net on a shot and nothing was called. It was infuriating.

But, at the end of the day you have to earn your penalties and goals, and overcome adversity.

It was very depressing to see the Bulldogs score the empty netter, knowing that the season was over. But, I feel the Dutchmen have a good chance of being back next year. They have been building a great program and have been reaching new heights every year. But, as a league we are still... 1989 & Still Waiting.


Austin Smith sitting on the far right
I was hoping the weekend could be salvaged on Friday with the announcement of the Hobey Baker Award. While all the candidates were definitely deserving of this great honor, Colgate's Austin Smith was definitely the most deserving candidate THIS SEASON. Just read my analysis of the candidates, and it's pretty obvious who should have won... SHOULD HAVE WON. Instead of Smith, Minnesota-Duluth's Jack Connolly won the award. Don't get me wrong, Connolly had a tremendous career (one that was better than Smith's), won a national championship, and was one of the best players during the past four seasons, but he was not better than Smith this season. I feel that Connolly was given the award based on his career achievements. But, this is not a CAREER award, it's an SINGLE SEASON award. Some voters might have discounted Smith's numbers because he played in the ECAC, which they might feel is "lesser" competition. To some extent I understand that, but this season was one of the tougher seasons in league history in a long time. I mean, seven of the 12 All-America East selections were from the ECAC. Austin Smith was robbed of this award, and the league is, once again, 1989 & Still Waiting. 


Plaza in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum
On a more positive note, I thought the city of Tampa did a great job hosting this great event. You could really tell that the people involved and the the city really cared about the event. There was great signage around the city and the events were well put together. I also thought the Tampa Bay Times Forum was a great venue. It's a very nice arena with good food, short lines, and other nice pieces to it. I liked the plaza where the Frozen Fest was held. But, I do have one big knock on the event... it didn't sell out. That's a HUGE for the event and college hockey as a whole. You have to sell out the Frozen Four. So, while maybe the event was great, maybe it wasn't good for the game as a whole. I do think the Frozen Four will be back in Tampa, but hopefully by that time the event will easily sell out.


Overall, this was a very exciting but disappointing weekend for ECAC Hockey. But, the league and its members have a lot to be proud of. I think this season was a statement to the changing college hockey world saying that we're here to compete with the big boys and we can succeed doing it. Not only do we have great academics, but we have great teams and players. WATCH OUT AND RESPECT US! But, there is still more respect to be gained. I think many feel that until an ECAC team wins a national championship, that the league is a "lesser" league. Hopefully we don't have too much longer to wait for that moment. 

We will have to earn this moment:

ECAC Hockey in the National Polls (Final 2011-12)

Union fans packed Messa Rink on Thursday and watched the Dutchmen play Ferris on projection screens

Union: #3 
Cornell: #10
Harvard: #18
Colgate: 9 votes
Quinnipiac: 8 votes

Union: #3
Cornell: #13

Inside College Hockey Power Rankings
Union: #4
Cornell: #11
Harvard: #16
Colgate: #18

PairWise Rankings
Union: 3rd
Cornell: tied for 12th with UMass - Lowell
Harvard: tied for 20th with Colorado College
Colgate: 26th
Quinnipiac: tied for 27th with Northeastern

Union: 2nd
Cornell: 14th
Harvard: 19th
Quinnipiac: 26th
Colgate: 28th

Union: 13th
Cornell: 19th
Harvard: 28th
Colgate: 33rd
Quinnipiac: 34th

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Scouting Ferris State

Ferris State
25-11-5 (16-7-5-1, CCHA)

Last Frozen Four Appearance
First Appearance

How They Got Here
Finished 1st in CCHA with 54 points... Lost two out of three to Bowling Green in the CCHA Quarterfinals... Earned victories over Miami (twice) and Michigan State (twice) in the regular season... Finished 6th in the PWR... Beat Denver 2-1 and Cornell 2-1 in the Midwest Regional

Top Scorers
Jordie Johnston, Sr., Forward ---- 41GP, 20G, 16A, 36PTS
Matthew Kirzinger, Jr., Forward ---- 40GP, 10G, 24A, 34PTS
Kyle Bonis, Jr., Forward ---- 41GP, 18G, 11A, 29PTS
Chad Billins, Sr., Defense ---- 41GP, 7G, 22A, 29PTS
Travis Oulette, Jr., Forward --- 40GP, 9G, 14A, 23PTS
[Complete Team Statistics]

Taylor Nelson, Sr. ---- 29GP, 20-6-3, 2.10GAA, .923SV%
C.J. Motte, Fr. ---- 12GP, 5-5-2, 1.98GAA, .925SV%

Team Stats
2.93 Goals per Game (21st nationally)
2.17 Goals Allowed per Game (t-5th)
19.17% Power-Play Conversion Rate (25th)
85.8% Penalty Kill Rate (6th)

Why Union will win
This game will be a very defense-heavy matchup with both teams featuring two of the best shutdown defenses in the country. So, both teams will have to rely heavily on special teams. While the Bulldogs have a great penalty kill, I think the amount of penalties they take will hurt them. They  are the 10th most penalized team in the nation, averaging 15.46 penalty minutes per game, which is about seven to eight penalties per game. If this is the case, I can see the Bulldogs shutting down the Union PP three or four times, but not more than that. The Dutchmen's power-play is too lethal to be shutdown that many times this season. People might point back to how Union's PP got shutdown by Minnesota-Duluth in the regional last year, but this year's team is a different team. On the other hand, Union takes very few penalties (not even in the Top 40), and have a great penalty kill of their own. Don't be surprised if the Bulldogs get one or two power-play chances and get shutdown each time. Ferris will have to score the goals at even strength, but that will be a tough task against Union's top ranked defense. They're ready to get down to business and advance to the final. I love the mindset they've had during their playoff run, and I expect it to continue on a bigger stage.

Other notes
Head Coach Bob Daniels has been coaching the Bulldogs since the 1989-90 season, but has been the bench boss since the 1992-93 season. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach in the CCHA for two seasons with University of Illinois-Chicago.

Leading scorer Jordie Johnston accumulated 10 goals, 11 assists, and 21 points in his first three seasons at Ferris, but has surpassed all those totals in his senior season. He scored two goals in the Midwest Regional.

In the beginning of the season, Nelson and Motte were splitting time in between the pipes, but Nelson has taken over the reigns. Motte has only played three times in 2012. Like Union's Troy Grosenick, Nelson was a backup last season.

The Bulldogs have played four ECAC teams this year, and have won all seven games against those opponents. They swept St. Lawrence to open the season in Canton by the scores of 4-2 and 5-1, and then beat RPI 4-0 and 2-0 the following weekend back home. Colgate also visited Ferris, but dropped both games in early January. In those two games, Austin Smith collected a goal and an assist. In the Midwest Regional final, the Bulldogs snuck by Cornell by the score of 2-1.

ECAC Hockey Daily