Holiday Hibernation??

I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought that holiday tournaments have been key opportunities for Hobey Baker candidates to distinguish themselves. With coaches from all across the country involved in the selection process, holiday tournaments offer players exposure to coaches that don’t normally see them, especially when tapes of the games wind up being used for scouting as conference play resumes. I’m not sure how much coaches look at the other team when they break down game footage, but there’s certainly some exposure that  

This was something of an odd year for Hobey contenders in  the holiday tournaments. Two front-runners, Colin Wilson of BU and James vanRiemsdyk of New Hampshire were at the World Juniors – although it’s safe to say that Wilson might have done himself more good at the Denver Cup. Brock Bradford and Boston College skipped the holiday tournament scene in favor of a trip to New Brunswick. 

To some, those are the top three forwards contending for the Hobey – although Air Force’s Jacques Lamoureux might have an opinion about that – and they were all out of Hobey-relevant action. Still, there were several Hobey hopefuls in the holiday tournaments who are worth talking about.

Cornell’s Ben Scrivens has to be viewed as one of the holidays’ big winners, with MVP honors at the Florida College Classic. The Big Red netminder didn’t have his best performances of the season, giving up a pair of goals in both games, but he got the job done, and he now has two wins over WCHA schools this season, which will probably help his cause later on.

When Scrivens did give up a goal against St. Cloud, Garrett Roe had something to do with it, with a goal and an assist in the 3-2 loss to the Big Red. It wasn’t a happy weekend for St. Cloud, though, so I think Roe probably stood pat, possibly helping himself a little. The real story for Roe, though, will be how St. Cloud does in the second half, and whether the Huskies can get that ever-elusive first win in the NCAA tournament.

The Air Force boys took a hard hit with a loss to Quinnipiac in the championship of the Toyota UConn Holiday Classic, although Greg Flynn did find his way onto the all-tournament team. Really, though, the Falcons made their big non-conference statement against Colorado College, and now, it’s a question of whether Flynn and Jacques Lamoureux can keep up their scoring pace over the rest of the Atlantic Hockey season. I’d say that one of the two is a likely Hobey finalist at the Falcons’ current pace, more likely Lamoureux.

It sounds like a boring couple of weekends, Hobey-wise, and unfortunately, that’s what it was, but there are a couple of big winners worth mentioning. One is Matt Gilroy of BU, who was the MVP of the Denver Cup with the game-winning goal in the championship game over Denver. Gilroy doesn’t exactly have eye-popping numbers, but he’s about where he was in the last couple of years, when he’s been an All-American, and this year, he’s the co-captain of a Terriers squad that looks like it has the potential to go deep in the postseason. He’s also a player who’s turned down many, many pro offers to stay in school for his senior year, and in these times, that certainly helps his cause. I don’t think Gilroy’s teammate Colin Wilson has to worry about competition from his captain, but I can certainly see a Hobey finalist berth in Gilroy’s future if he continues to produce at his pace and lead in his own zone.

The other holiday winner is Quinnipiac’s Bryan Leitch, who handed out five assists en route to MVP honors at the UConn tournament, and has tacked on four goals and an assist in wins over Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend to take the national scoring lead. The one thing I’d say is that 23 of Leitch’s 31 points are assists, so he’d probably have a better case as a Hobey contender if he were on the blueline. Then again, the Brian Leetch comparisons would just be too much.

Bad jokes aside, Leitch and Gilroy are definitely worth keeping an eye on in the second half.

Author: Elliot Olshansky

Elliot Olshansky covers the Hobey Baker Award beat for USCHO.com and also covers men’s and women's hockey and lacrosse at NCAA.com for Turner Sports. His experience includes four years covering college hockey for CSTV, stints at other media outlets including the New York Daily News and Spike TV, and freelance writing. His debut novel, "Robert's Rules of Karaoke," is currently available from The Write Deal (www.thewritedeal.org).

  • Blueliner

    At the end of regular season play in Hockey East, BU’s power play rated # 8 of the 10 teams at 12.8%. They were 1 for 9 tonight. OUCH; that’s not going to get the job done.

    • Debonvine

      So the Power Play tonight was Business as usual…

  • Jasper 194

    Jack Parker’s refs did a good job trying to help the Terriers tie it up in the 3rd, but the Huskies played very well on the PK

  • FightinSue

    On one hand, you have Jack Parker still getting some good old wink wink nudge nudge calls from the officials. But he doesn’t even have to work too hard for that, just his past reputation earns him these calls.

    On the other hand, he’s completely lost the ability to get his kids up for these games (2009 notwithstanding, and we all know a monkey could have coached that team to a national title) and he can’t relate to these kids anymore.

    It’s a sad state of affairs but I hope he coaches there forever!

    • Bharvey13

      Its really amazing how BU still gets all those calls. UNH was one of the least penalized teams in the country this year and it feels like they spend half the game in the box against BU

      • Anonymous

        Who’s reffing that series? Please say Benedetto/Gravalese, I am praying MC/ME doesn’t draw them.

        • After Further Review

          Benedetto/Shea… at least last night

    • Getreal

      Maybe a few recruiting violations would have helped Parker. The NU coaching staff is a joke.

  • NUkid

    We brought an “impressive visiting crowd” at a ridiculous $30 a ticket I might add. Good thing we have jobs.. (poke at BU, I think so)

  • Ctyank84

    Not a fan of either team however NE will win the series because they are hungier and also because Cronin is a better bench coach. His ability to make changes during the coarse of the game will prove NE the series winner. Not to mention NE 1st line is as good as any in HE.

    • After Further Review

      Really? I agree Cronin is a good bench coach. I am also happy to see NU doing well, with wins over BC and BU lately, but I think there are 4 other HE teams that have a better first line… not to mention lines 2 through 4. They may work as hard or harder, but they don’t have that talent.
      This is in no way a shot against NU, they have played a good team game and goaltending has been a bit sporadic, but come up big at times, like most good teams do.

    • Blueliner

      I love the Huskies. Plus, Matthews Arena when the dog house is packed is one of the best venues in college hockey. BUT, I need to agree with “After Further Review”; my pick for the BEST first line is the UNH trio of Paul Thompson, Phil DeSimone and Mike Sislo.

  • fcc56

    Okay, so this is just an opinion, but the way these two teams have been playing in recent weeks, I don’t really see this as an upset. I actually expect NU to win this series.

    An interesting element to this is that NU is close to becoming a TUC (RPI .4978). If that happens, BC picks up two wins, a loss, and a tie in the PWR TUC comparisons. If I am doing the calculation correctly, this would drop BC’s TUC percentage to .675 (13-6-1) from .6875 (11-5), making it more difficult to overtake Yale and increasing the chances of being passed by UND. So, it is in BC’s best interests that BU take the series and prevent NU from becoming a TUC. It might also be in BC’s best interest to not get NU as a semi-final opponent. :)

    UNH has a win and two ties against NU, so it would also benefit UNH for NU to not become a TUC (since ties lower the “win %” – really a “not-lost %”). Maine, OTOH, is 2-1-0 against NU (so far). If NU becomes a TUC, Maine improves to 8-9-2 against TUC, or .4736, up from its current .4375. This would give Maine a couple more PWR comparison wins, Dartmouth and Ferris State.

    Assuming I have done this right, I don’t know if this would be enough to get Maine into the NCAA tournament, but it can’t hurt. A couple wins against Merrimack would go a long way toward HE getting four teams in.

    Of course, I could have this all wrong!

    Perhaps I am missing something, but when I go through the individual PWR comparisons that Maine loses, the team’s record against TUC is not consistent from one comparison to the next. ??

    • Blueliner

      Oh my gosh! You actually understand this arcane stuff?
      My system is that I cheer for the teams I like; let’s go Huskies!!!!

    • After Further Review

      It would not hurt UNH though… their TUC winning pct is .5000 (8-8-1)… add in 1-0-2 (.6667) vs, NU would make them 10-8-3, which is .5476.

  • Patriotssuper3

    Could we get a writeup involving a team OTHER than RIT?