Saturday, March 29, 2008

College Hockey Closer: A Good Night For the CCHA

It was an exciting opening day of tournament action. Both WCHA teams that played on Friday lost, and Michigan was the only higher seed to advance.

Michigan 5, Niagara 1
Things started slowly in this game with a scoreless first period and Michigan not playing anywhere near its crispest hockey of the season, but Max Pacioretty got the Maize and Blue on the scoreboard in the first minute of the second period, tallying on a power-play carried over from the first. From that point on, it was all Kevin Porter. Porter made an emphatic statement to those who doubted his Hobey Baker worthiness by putting in the next four goals. His first was a great sequence from Pacioretty to Kolarik to Porter, and the final one was an empty-netter. Highlights.

Notre Dame 7, New Hampshire 3
I'll admit it: After New Hampshire scored in the first minute of the game, I turned and said "Game over." I didn't believe the Irish were going to get more than one past New Hampshire's Kevin Regan, Hobey Baker finalist and the unanimous Hockey East Player of the Year. Not without Condra, and not with the way ND had been playing since January. Wow, was I ever wrong. The Irish slipped five past Regan and added a pair of empty-netters to send the University of No Hardware back to Durham.

Clarkson 2, St. Cloud State 1
And the Huskies go home winless once more. Clarkson held them to a single even-strength goal, keep St. Cloud' potent power-play off the score sheet despite six opportunities. The Huskies jumped out to a 1-0 lead 4:08 into the second on a 40-footer from Garrett Raboin, but it was Clarkson's power-play unit that sent a bloop deflection into the St. Cloud net. And then 4:58 into the third, Shea Guthrie put a backhand into the top shelf for the game-winner. St. Cloud had its chances in the third, but couldn't connect to get one past Dave Leggio.

Michigan State 3, Colorado College 1
Another game scoreless after one period, MSU looked comfortable out on the big ice of Colorado College, though neither team held much of an edge. Play had been frequently interrupted, as each team took six minutes in penalties. It was the Spartans who were able to take advantage in the second, scoring on a pair of power-play chances. Then, with 9.6 seconds left on the clock, MSU won a faceoff deep in the CC zone to put what looked like the dagger past Richard Bachman. But the Tigers weren't done yet. They finally solved Lerg 12:00 into the third to make it 3-1 and kept applying pressure, but couldn't get anything else by him.

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