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And then there were two…

Rensselaer has out-lived cross-Capital rival Union, as the Engineers hope to give North Dakota their best shot later this afternoon. Nothing new on that front, but here’s hoping RPI can give the powerhouse Sioux a run for their money.

Union falls to Minnesota-Duluth

The Dutchmen did almost everything but bury the puck against the Bulldogs Friday evening. Union generated shots, carried play most of the night, and earned nine – nine – power plays. For the most productive power-play corps in the country, that should’ve been good for three goals right there.

But the Bulldogs denied the Dutchmen at each and every turn. UMD clogged the defensive dirty areas, by and large barring Union from point-blank opportunities. Goaltender Kenny Reiter was everything he needed to be between the pipes, coming up with a handful of big stops, especially early in the game when Union earned its first few power plays.

Union has come a long way, but the returning players now realize that finishing first in ECAC Hockey is only the first step in the long climb up the national mountain.

Congratulations to Union on the best season in Union’s D-I history, and good luck down the line, seniors.

Yale survives Air Force

It wasn’t pretty and it probably won’t win points from the peanut gallery, but the Blue pulled it off against the feisty Falcons. Yale had plenty of chances early on, but as the Academy’s high-altitude conditioning began to show through midway through the contest, the Bulldogs had to buckle down and play survival hockey.

They proved that they can adapt, defend, and win a gut-check game when junior Chad Ziegler’s full-body lunge at his own rebound trickled by AFA goaltender Jason Torf 3:16 into overtime.

It was a major test for Yale, but it was also a very effective matchup for Air Force. The Falcons counter-punched each big Bulldogs swing, and the quick tempo – usually a massive benefit to Yale’s style of play – may have actually worked against the Blue a bit, as the Falcons ducked each big roundhouse thrown by the hosts and jabbed right back with quality opportunities of their own. It will be interesting to see if Minnesota Duluth (or any future Yale opponents) will be able to execute such a game plan with anywhere near the same kind of success that the Academy did.

On the board

Up today: RPI vs. North Dakota, 1:30 EDT at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. (ESPN)

Yale vs. Minnesota Duluth, 6:30 EDT at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. (ESPNU)

  • YouSee Alum

    Although a difficult ending (3 losses), congratulations to the Dutchmen for an outstanding season. The program continues to advance, under their excellent, award winning coach Nate Lehman, and I expect they will be in the hunt again next year.

  • Anonymous

    sddfsd

  • Michigan Hockey Fan6

    Hockey is one of the craziest games in the world. Any one of the top 16 teams can beat anyone on any given night. Can’t say BC didn’t come out ready to play with a goal 30 seconds into it. Its just that everything that CC did was right and the were very hot. When you see a team like CC come out and route a team like BC, you know its just one of those nights. Lets just say it made me as a Michigan fan feel really good because I knew that it wouldn’t happen two nights in a row. Michigan saw what CC did to expose BC’s defense, and all they had to do was shut down the neutral zone. Not really hard for a team that has 9 National Championships to figure that one out.

  • BigDog

    Paula….What do you think about BGSU, UAH, and a few of the Atlantic teams getting together for a “new” CCHA….possible? Okay with you?

    • Paula Weston

      Well, I’m not sure this is being discussed seriously.  There was some speculation earlier about a few AHA teams leaving and joining the pared-down CCHA, but I haven’t heard that those AHA teams are interested in re-inventing the entire CCHA league.  I just hope that UAH lands somewhere.  I fear the Chargers’ demise.

  • Big Al

    I like your picks but MI and North Dakota seem to be rated a little high.  Wolverines will have to win low scoring games unless they have multiple forwards stepping up.  Sioux are also great in and around net but I guess they always reload up front.  Maybe AK will suprise this year. 

  • ed_crumbpacker

    I agree, more or less, with you ballot with the exception of North Dakota.  I am always amazed how these minimum-skilled mouth-breathing net-crashers have been able to fool the entire press corp into believing they anything other than a knuckle dragging cheap shot goon squad who closely resemble the Johnstown Chiefs of “Slapshot” fame.  You should really select your team based on hockey skills rather than a season padded with Michigan Tech wins, who they seem to play every other weekend.

    • Paula Weston

      Ed, I don’t share your opinion about NoDak — but you made me laugh this morning.

  • Learnthegamepaula

    Naturally your lack of intelligence rears its ugly head. Really thought we would get past week 1 for our sanity sake but I was wrong…..

    One of a small number of positives of Miami leaving the ccha is not having to read your crap anymore…

    • Paula Weston

      Well, “Learnthegamepaula,” I’m glad to be able to provide something for you to gripe about for at least two more seasons of Miami hockey.  Thanks for reading!

  • x1795x

    I guess its just taken as  a given that Union is going to beat DU?

  • Guest

    Lets go SIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX     Cant wait to travel back for the GOpher sweep

  • Johnsheehan

    2 weeks in a row!
    What about the best team in the country?
    WISCONSIN

    • Arlan Marttila

      How many people do you think would pick St. Cloud State to defeat Wisconsin? Think about the answer to that, and you’ll have a good idea as to why UW isn’t on the menu this week. But I did throw in a mention of your team, just for Badgers fans.

  • Kerri Bonomo

    U of M and OSU: The only form here is that Minnesota will sweep this weekend. 5-0 handily, plus solid goaltending from Raty tonight.  We will see, but I call 4-0 UM tomorrow. Chippy play all around, its hard to win games against Minnesota’s talent when you have that many penalties and OSU will be just as frustrated tomorrow. Raty can handle the weak perimeter shots and the D will be able to clear rebounds and the front of the net. My guess is West wont play tomorrow, but I’ve been surprised by her before. Too bad, she was just getting started after her junior year injury. Good luck OSU, you’ll need it.