The ‘Pot Puck Drop: Weekend Preview Dec 30th-31st
Forum Faceoff “Game of the week” –
UMass (6-7-4) at Maine (7-7-2) Fri 7:35pm EST – Florida College Classic Estero, FLA
How can I anoint this the game of the week you might ask? It is difficult to look at a game between a sub .500 and a.500 team as the profiled game of the week, but this game is so very critical for both Maine and UMass who both come into the game with major question marks that must be addressed. Although this is technically not a league game for either, it is a critical contest with hardware on the line. You could argue that a win in the Florida Classic could provide the momentum needed to get either team back into the race as the season enters a crucial stretch with only Hockey East games remaining from this point on.
The first round of the Florida College Hockey Classic will pit all too familiar Hockey East foes, Maine against Massachusetts. Both schools are looking to rebound from somewhat enigmatic first halves and certainly got off on the right foot by winning their respective first round games yesterday. Hockey East prevailed in resounding fashion over ECAC fixtures, Clarkson and #13 Cornell (7-4-1), as both fell and will meet in the unheralded consolation game this afternoon at 4:05 EST.
For UMass, the first round win over Cornell was amazingly the team’s first win away from the Mullins Center and their second win in a row over an elite ECAC school (Beat Yale 3-1 on 12/7). Steven Guzzo’s 3rd period goal snapped a 2-2 tie and the Minutemen added an empty netter to clinch the 5-2 victory. Conor Sheary also tallied two goals for UMass and Kevin Boyle stopped 27 shots for his 5th win of the season.
Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, MA) and Spencer Abbott continued to exert their offensive prowess as each had a goal and 2 assists to lead Maine over Clarkson, 6-1. To say the game was chippy would be somewhat of an understatement as the 2nd period alone had 84 minutes in penalties. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has tuned in to any Maine hockey action this year as the mercurial Joey Diamond typically stirs the pot up quite a bit.
This title game should serve as a springboard for one of the two squads as they will both enter into the intense final stretch in Hockey East. Maine’s Tim Whitehead has been rumored to be on the hot seat and as CHN’s Steve McLaughlin writes, it may just take an epic run to save his job. UMass is looking to gain some consistency and get back into the thick of things down the stretch as they (and Maine) etch ever closer to next week’s Frozen Fenway. So Hockey East will take center stage tonight in Florida on a stage that couldn’t be more polar opposite to either Amherst or Orono.
Tune into WMUA online for the radio feed as the game is sadly not televised.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – UMASS –@FearTheTriangle (Enter the Live Blog through the Fear The Triangle web site- www.fearthetriangle.com), @Fight_Mass, @MassAttack05, @UMassHockey, @bittym87. Maine –@MaineIceHockey
Elsewhere around Campus –
UMass Lowell at Connecticut Fri 7:15EST – Toyota UConn Classic Storrs, CT
UML continues to be the surprise of Hockey East as they opened up the 2nd half with a 7-2 trouncing of RPI. They are heavy favorites to become the first HE team to win the Toyota UConn Classic as they take on the host school, Connecticut tonight at 7:15 EST in Storrs.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – UML – @ULowell_Hockey; @rhhb
Princeton at Northeastern Fri 4:07 CST – Mariucci Classic – Minneapolis, MN
The Huskies are arguably the hottest team in the land and look to continue the HE steamroll of the ECAC with a first round win over Princeton. A win by NU could set up a rather intriguing matchup with host #2 Minnesota.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – NU – @Mad_Doghouse; @Huskyhockeyblog, @JoshuaKummins, @alex_faust, @dieharddogs
Boston University at Notre Dame Fri 7pm –
I must say I can’t wait for this match up to be a regular game on the schedule in 2013. How will BU respond to the loss of Trivino and Coyle? Both teams will be playing without key parts as both ND and BU have players participating in the WJC. This game also marks the start of the acclaimed Versus coverage of Hockey East as Eddie Olczyk will call the inaugural game live from the Compton Center.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed –BU- @BUDogPound, @TheBUHockeyBlog
BC at Michigan Tech Fri 4pm EST – GLI Tournament – Detroit, MI
BC lost to Michigan in the first round and therefore is relegated to the consolation game against perennial GLI doormat Michigan Tech. The game airs live on Fox Sports Detroit at 4PM EST.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – BC – @BostonSportsU18, @BCHockeyNews, @BChockeyblog1, @bcinterruption
Ferris State at Vermont Fri 7:05PM EST – Catamount Cup – Burlington, VT
UVM will host the consolation game against Ferris State as the Catamounts lost Lake Superior in round 1 in Burlington, VT.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – UVM – @UVMmhockey
Merrimack vs. St Lawrence Fri 4:00PM EST – Ledyard Holiday Classic – Hanover, NH
Another Hockey East/ECAC battle with Merrimack looking to get back on track against St. Lawrence at the Ledyard Bank Holiday Classic. Follow Mike McMahon for all of the action via Twitter and read his take on the match up with SLU.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – Merrimack – @MikeMcMahonET
Brown at Providence Sun 4:00PM EST – The Mayor’s Cup
Bragging rights in Providence are on the line for the annual Mayor’s Cup as PC welcomes the Brown Bears for a New Years day tilt.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – PC – @FriarsHockey
Brown at UNH Fri 7:00 EST –
Brown takes on the first of its Hockey East opponents on the weekend when the ECAC squad ventures north to Durham to take on a reeling UNH squad. Much like UMass and Maine, UNH is looking to erase the dreadful first half memories and get back into the HE race. The talent on the Wildcat roster doesn’t equate to an 8th place team and UNH will look to Senior Stevie Moses (Leominster, MA) for some leadership down the stretch.
- The BF Rinkside Tweetfeed – UNH – @UNHhockey