As is the norm at this juncture in the schedule, the postseason structure begins to take on a semblance of order. Nevertheless, there are always a few unheralded teams willing to upset the applecart. Such was the case this week in both the NESCAC and MIAC. Consistency overcame unforeseen upsets however, as five teams (Norwich 12-0-0, ECAC East, Elmira 10-0-0 ECAC West, Plattsburgh 10-0-0, ECAC West, St. Thomas 10-0-2, MIAC, and Middlebury 9-0-3, NESCAC) stayed unbeaten in conference play, enhancing their respective chances at securing a No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs.

Ephs serve notice to NESCAC
A year ago, Williams stumbled to a seventh place finish in the always competitive NESCAC, compiling a 9-15-1 (5-10-1 NESCAC) record. Entering 2013-14 with only two winning seasons since the 2005-06 campaign (71-114-12 overall), the Ephs rolled out to a rather aggravating 3-5-0 start. Since the semester break however, Williams, led by third-year coach Meghan Gillis, had made an exemplary about face. With a sweep over formerly ranked Bowdoin this week, the Ephs advanced their slate to 8-1-1 in 2014.  Consequently, No. 9 Amherst’s split with Connecticut College (3-6-3 NESCAC) provided Williams with a three-point advantage over the Jeffs in the race for second place in the conference. Leading scorer Cristina Bravi (15-12-27) has collected 12 points in her last six games for Williams. Teammate Hanna Beattie, who leads the conference in scoring among freshman (7-14-21), is currently in the midst of a seven-game point streak. The Ephs last exceeded the .500 mark by going 12-11-2 in 2009-10 under coach Marissa O’Neil. O’Neil, now with Bowdoin, and Gillis, were teammates when they skated for the Polar Bears from 2003 to 2005.  With only six games left in the regular season, all of which are conference matchups, Gillis’ club is within reach of securing home ice for the quarterfinals of NESCAC playoffs, beginning Saturday, March 1.

Blazers monumental weekend
St. Benedict freshman Katie Cristan’s first collegiate goal midway through the third period of Saturday’s game with visiting Gustavus Adolphus stamped an exclamation point on what was unquestionably the utmost meaningful weekend in program history. With the embers still smoldering from the previous afternoon, (an upset 4-2 victory over the No. 7 Gusties), Cristan’s marker at 11:56 in the third unlocked a 2-2 stalemate and served as the jumping off point to a 4-2 triumph. The Blazers improved to 3-9-0 in the MIAC. Cristan had a run of 11 scoreless games before striking for the monumental goal. Coming into the matchup, Gustavus Adolphus had not been swept in conference play since 2003-04. St. Thomas moved past the Gusties in the standings with a pair of wins over Augsburg in a home-and-home set.

Cadets looking to run table in ECAC East
Following consecutive 4-0 wins over Southern Maine and Plymouth State, No. 4, Norwich (17-3-0, 12-0-0 ECAC East) ran its win streak to eight games. With the positive results, the Cadets closed to within one victory of securing the No. 1 seed for the conference playoffs. Leading scorer Tori Charron had two goals in Friday’s win over the Huskies, giving her 19 for the season and 99 for her career. Norwich held a significant advantage in shots on goal in both weekend contests, going 33-5 over Southern Maine and 50-4 against the Panthers.

NCHA playoff seeds in question
In an uncharacteristic low-scoring affair, St. Scholastica pulled out a 1-0 win over host No. 10 Adrian Friday night. Saints freshman goalie Lindsey Hartfiel finished with 39 stops in gaining her ninth win and third shutout of the season. Adrian outshot St. Scholastica 39-13. The Saints were without Nina Waichader for the second game, as the Olympian joined her Swiss teammates in Sochi last week. Weekend action left a logjam at the head of the NCHA standings. Adrian (10-4-0), St. Scholastica (9-3-2) and Lake Forest (9-3-2) are deadlocked with 20 points; St. Norbert is a point behind.

  • Cis

    Paula I know people are hard on you, and I know it was late when you posted this. But Redmond had 68 assists??? Come on……proofread!

    And give Slater a break. People throw cliches around in sports too much but he was referencing legitimate adversity in the context of the conversation you were having with him. Japan and others aren’t facing adversity, but rather catastrophic challenge to health and well-being. Hell I face adversity every day just driving to work!

    Thanks though, and go Broncos!

    • Paula Weston

      But Redmond did have 68 assists. The sentence reads: “In four years, Redmond had 22 goals and 68 assists.”

      I know it’s the middle of the night and I’m really wiped out, but I don’t see the error in that sentence.

      The way that coaches — and now players — throw around the word “adversity” is ridiculous, and I stand by that. It’s a game. And you don’t face adversity driving to work. I don’t, either — and I live in Flint.

      • cis

        My apologies, I didn’t see the 4 years comment (it was late). But there is no need to say that about a kid! Look up adversity, it does not only apply to dire situations. Now if you want to say that about “battle” and “war” being used in sports context, I’d agree with you.

        • Paula Weston

          Unless a player is injured during the course of a game, I maintain that he suffers no adversity. Losing a hockey game is not adversity. Losing a playoff series is not adversity. These are disappointments. Profound disappointments? Sure. But not adversity.

          Adversity is crisis. Falling behind in a hockey game? Potentially disappointing but not a crisis in one’s life. Liken real crisis to manufactured crisis and we have a society that loses perspective about what is genuinely adverse. Take that one step further, and we have a society completely desensitized to real human suffering. Personally, I don’t want to go down that road. Words matter.

          In the context of our culture, college students — and coaches, especially coaches — are privileged. I’m not saying they can’t and don’t suffer adversity, but the Broncos have not at all had to overcome any real adversity as a team this season. In fact, their season’s been kind of charmed (and very fun to watch).

          Ask the RedHawks about the definition of adversity — and be thankful that this year’s Broncos did not have to go through what the RedHawks did a year ago.

          • Matt

            My gosh Paula, this is the second time I can remember in the last year+ when you chastised somebody for words that I believe everyone would consider benign or even laudatory!

            The first was your classless finger-wagging to ESPN’s John Buccigross after his heartfelt, compassionate, and deeply-personal tribute to Brenden Burke. Why? Because he had the audacity to say Burke wasn’t “flamboyant.” Sorry, Paula, if you want to talk about disgraceful, the only one who should be disgraced is you for calling out a class-act like Buccigross at a time when he’s grieving for using an innocuous word that you bungled the intention of.

            Now, you condescendingly call out Slater for using the word adversity? Are you kidding?! Adversity is akin to an obstacle, there is nothing cataclysmic about its connotation. This isn’t just an example of media annoyingly examining words with a fine brush, this is an example of a media member having no idea how to contextualize, as well as not knowing the meaning of a word.

            You want to pick a bone with sports figures’ word choices, you’ll your pick. Mike Bellotti’s comparing the BCS to a cancer that keeps growing when Oregon was left out of the title game during Harrington’s senior year — that is worthy of condemnation. So were Bobby Knight’s comments about rape, Lou Holtz comparing Rich Rodriguez to Hitler, etc.

            But a player using the word adversity to describe, well … adversity?! You owe Slater an apology.

            Anyone who AGREES that Paula was right in chastising Slater, please, speak up. I highly doubt you’ll have many (any?) come to your defense on this matter.

          • Paula Weston

            This is the last response I’ll have to anything in this thread.

            I stand by what I say about about the use of the word “adversity,” both here and in previous blogs/columns. I understand that many sports fans are comfortable equating disappointment on the playing field (or sheet) with real, actual problems, but losing a sporting event is not real adversity.

            It’s telling, Matt, that you’re clearly still fuming about my column that addressed Buccigross’s use of the word “flamboyant.” I never said that Buccigross lacked class; what I said was that he lacked awareness. At that point, Brendan was out — and Buccigross was the one who told his story (and in a very sensitive way), and so knew that he was gay. It was common knowledge that Brendan was gay. The word “flamboyant” has a very specific connotation in reference to gay men. I stand by what I said.

          • paula quit

            Paula you are the worst reporter and writer I have ever come across in decades of reading. Half the time you get game facts incorrect (I once read Northern Michigan won a game 3-1 in double overtime), and the other half what you say is just plain stupid. I wish they’d fire you ever single day.

          • Matt

            Fine Paula, respond no more, but that won’t stop me. What you’ve shown here is that you either have too much foolish pride to admit your mistake, or ignorance of the meaning of words. It scares the living daylights out of me to think that it’s possibly the latter considering I believe you’re an English teacher, but either way, it’s pathetic that you’ve reduced yourself to this.

            Your notion that adversity only relates to issues of paramount importance is simply wrong. Just downright wrong. There’s no other way to put it. Adversity can refer to global crises, and it can relate to smaller bumps in the road. If you want to debate that, well, your beef is with the English language, not with Slater.

            Likewise, flamboyant isn’t a word used primarily to demean gay men. Again Paula, you obviously just don’t know the full scope of the word. Look up the word “run,” and you’ll see more than 20 different meanings — not merely “putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession.”

            As a sportswriter, you should know that “responding to adversity” is a phrase that almost all coaches and players have uttered many times throughout the course of their careers. And don’t try to tell me I’m wrong, because like you, I’m a sportswriter. And unfortunately it’s journalists like you who go out of your way to stew up controversy that make athletes and coaches hesitant to talk to us.

            I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Now, there’s no more doubt. You’re a disgrace.

  • streaker

    I agree that Scott Greenham is a class guy. Showed that at Yost clowning around with fans that are usually pretty hard on opponents.

  • broncos24


    Are you serious with this Ian Slater thing? This has to be a joke right? I can’t believe you’re calling out a 22 year old kid who simply talking to reporters. I think you might be the only person on this planet to interpret his comments as if they were something bad.

    At least he didn’t pull a Roy Williams (UNC hoops) and compare losing the game to the tradegy in Haiti.

    “In a press conference (full of television cameras no less) prior to North Carolina’s loss to Duke in Chapel Hill, Roy Williams compared the Tar Heels’ season to the disaster in Haiti.

    ‘Our massage therapist told me, ‘You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you’re having is a disappointment,'” Williams said. “I told her that depends on what chair you’re sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it’s my life.’

    You need to get a clue

  • Mmoney64

    You are on Slater’s case?

  • MSU101

    I honestly believe Paula C. Weston just hates bronco nation. I am glad Kuhn called you out last week and I believe he should have rubbed it in your face more. Paula, face it you are just trying to create a distraction because the Broncos are going up against your beloved Wolverines this weekend.
    You should be ashamed, and should immediately step down from your position here at as I am sure there are more partial writers available.
    Also the Broncos and Ian Slater have faced adversity (Noun: Difficulties; misfortune.) in his 3 years here he has seen WMU finish dead last and they have overcome that and more this year.
    Paula you sound ignorant.
    Go Broncos, Beat U of M and go Slater

    • Bob

      Actually, the Buckeyes are her beloved.

  • CIS

    Paula, you either enjoying stirring the pot or simply don’t think things through when you are writing. Ian Slater responded to a reporter’s question after a dramatic victory (can we call it dramatic, at least?). I don’t think he was comparing it to a catastrophic earthquake.

    You are being ridiculous, and there was no need to even go there in a HOCKEY BLOG. People do jump on you a little too much here, but your material is often rushed, incorrect, and in this case, way off the mark.

    Fortunately, I doubt Ian Slater cares what you think.


  • CIS

    Uh oh!!!

    “I think we’ve grown a lot since the Michigan series,” WMU senior defenseman Mike Levendusky said. “Adversity and that sort of stuff happens in a season. You learn to move on and deal with it. We know that we can beat Michigan. They’re just another team.”

  • IrishHockeyFan

    Adversity is relative. If he had said “we’re dealing with the same kind of adversity those folks in Haiti and Japan are dealing with”, yeah, I can see calling him out for a serious lack of perspective. That isn’t what he did. In the context of hockey, their season, and how they did end up responding to the loss, yeah, he was completely correct to use that word.

  • paula please quit now.

    From that big thick book you’ve never opened, the dictionary.

    1. adverse fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress: A friend will show his or her true colors in times of adversity.
    2. an adverse or unfortunate event or circumstance: You will meet many adversities in life.

    So by this definition you’re suggesting Webster’s means people will face many earthquake’s, floods, and tsunami’s in one’s life?

  • bronconick

    Maybe you should spend less time sniping about players and coaches, and more time chasing down your fellow journalists with this lonely belief of yours, considering a google search for news about overcoming adversity has 6 of the 11 stories being about sports, with a 7th about a movie.

    You must be one of the folks that leave at the end of regulation so you’re not patronizing those heartless people referring to “Sudden-Death” overtime, which is clearly a slight to anyone whose lost someone to a heart attack or some other version of a quick death. By the way, make sure to donate to the American Heart Association.

  • Anonymous

    Context, Paula, context! Slater’s remarks were made in relation to a weekend hockey series. You took him out of context, and that is unprofessional.

    To single Slater out in your column the way that you did – implying that he fails to understand what is important in this world – was shabby. You should be ashamed, but you defend your condescending remarks instead.

    You point the finger at Slater for not understanding his relative importance? You should look at yourself. This is a hockey website, Paula. Get a grip on yourself.

  • Victoriabutler1122

    I’m completely amazed at the language and anger used by many on this blog. All of you are calling out Paula, but you are acting like the very things you accuse her of: classless, misquoting, stirring the pot, to name but a few. I loved the comment, “And, don’t try to tell me I’m wrong, because like you, I’m a sportwriter.” Wow… all of you think you’re perfect? If you don’t agree with her, debate her on the merits of what she wrote. Don’t personally attack her. We don’t have to all agree with each other’s opinions to show respect one another. You can defind your opinion without belittling someone else. Right or wrong….all news articles have opinion in them, even sports articles. So, I will quote what someone wrote above, “You need to get a clue.”

    • paula please quit now.

      Victoria she get’s facts wrong, and doesn’t know the meaning of words. Anyone with “writer” in her title deserves to be belittled for that.