We now have one month left in the 2010-2011 regular season and the conference playoff pictures are starting to shake out.
In the ECAC East, Norwich has a five-point lead over Manhattanville and looks to have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs locked up for the first time in program history after the Valiants were swept this past weekend by UMass Boston and St. Anselm. However, maybe Manhattanville will prefer a change of scenery after the Valiants lost in the semifinals at the Playland Ice Casino the last two seasons and watch Norwich skate away withthe tournament title both times.
In the ECAC West, RIT needs seven points in its final four games to lock up the title. The Tigers have two games each with Oswego and Elmira left. If Elmira and RIT split, Plattsburgh and RIT will be tied for the regular season title assuming each team wins its remaining league games.
In the NESCAC, Amherst and Middlebury are deadlocked with identical 10-1-1 record and 21 points each. The Panthers face Hamilton, Conn. College, Colby and Bowdoin; while Amherst faces Bowdoin twice on the road and hosts Williams for two.
In the MIAC, St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus are deadlocked with identical 7-2-1 records and 15 points. First and sixth place are separated by only five points as St. Olaf has 10 points. The MIAC has shown the most parity top to bottom in the conference once again this season, but GAC has to continue to be considered the favorites until they are dethroned.
In the NCHA, River Falls is three points clear of second-place Superior and has two games in hand on the Yellowjackets. The Falcons, baring a collapse have locked up home-ice advantage. Concordia Wis. has come onto the scene in the NCHA and has established itself as a threat this season after going 2-1-1 the last two weekends against Lake Forest and Superior.
Apparently this past weekend should have been called record-breaking weekend or milestone weekend with the amount of achievements that happened.
Norwich junior forward Julie Fortier became just the second player in program history to record 100-career points and 50 career goals. Fortier tallied a hat trick and all three goals in Norwich’s 3-2 win over New England College on Friday.
Elmira freshman forward Tori Charron tied the all-time single-game record of six goals when she tallied two natural hat tricks in the Soaring Eagles’ game against Chatham. Charron tied Manhattanville’sKatie Little, who scored six goals in a game against Plymouth State last season. She also tied the single-game record of eight points in a game by picking up two assists as well to tie Annie Annunziato’s (Augbsburg; 5-3-8) eight points against Hamline in 2003 and Andrea Peterson’s (Gustavus Adolphus; 2-6-8) eight points against St. Catherine in 2005.
RIT head coach Scott McDonald picked up his 100th career victory after his Tigers swept Buffalo State. He reached the milestone in just 128 games, which is the second-fastest the milestone has ever been reached next to Plattsburgh’s Kevin Houle, who did it in 122.
The last thought I’ll leave you withthis week is something I came across today while at work. How many hockey players have you ever heard of from Australia? Well, there is one playing Division III hockey at Plymouth State. Stephanie Newmark is a freshman defenseman with the Panthers and is from Sydney, Australia. In 18 games played this season, she has recorded two assists. Kudos to Stephanie!
Player of the Week – Kayte Holtz, Bowdoin
Katie, a sophomore from New Berlin, Wis., scored seven goals on the weekend to help lead the Polar Bears to a sweep of Division I Sacred Heart. Holtz scored four goals in Saturday’s 6-2 win and then followed up with three goals and an assist in Sunday’s 8-2 win over the Pioneers. Holtz has 21 goals on the season and seven assists. Her 21 goals rank second in the country to only Elmira’s Tori Charron.
Goalie of the Week – Mel Gerten, St. Catherine
Mel, a senior goalie from Inner Grove Heights, Minn., helped St. Catherine take three points for the first time ever from Gustavus Adolphus. Gerten made 38 saves to backstop St. Catherine to a 2-1 win over the Gusties. She followed up with 29 saves in a 1-1 tie against GAC the next night. Gerten is 7-5-2 on the season with a 1.98 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
Rookie of the Week – Tori Charron, Elmira
Tori, a freshman from Goodwood, Ont., tied the single-game record with her six goals in Saturday’s win over Chatham. Charron scored two natural hat tricks and picked up two assists to tie the single-game points record too. She was named the ECAC West Player of the Week and leads the country with 24 goals. She also has seven assists on the season for 31 total points.