Friday, November 21, 2014

NESCAC Finals 11/21/14

Hamilton (1-1-0)    4
Wesleyan (1-2-0)    0
Box Score 


Evan Buitenhuis (G, '18) made his first collegiate start and it was a beaut. The Continental rookie turned aside all  31 Wesleyan shots to ruin the Cardinals home opener. The highly touted rookie looked the part with excellent positional play. On the other end,  Truman Landowski (F, '17) had two goals, including an empty netter.

Former Hamilton Continental and NHL goalie Guy Hebert ('89) was impressed, but Buitenhuis can't celebrate for too long, as Hamilton faces the seven-goal-a-game early season offensive juggernaut that is Trinity tomorrow afternoon.
Bowdoin (2-0-1)   5
Colby (0-2-1)        3
Box Score 

You can throw the records out when these two meet, or whatever bromide you prefer to that effect. Colby scored first - and fast, going up 2-0 within the first nine minutes of the game - but Bowdoin had the last laugh with two third period goals to brake open a 3-3 game. Reigning NESCAC Player of the Week John McGinnis (F, '15) had three points (2-1-3).

Sid Watson Arena featured an electric atmosphere replete with the usual "Mules are Sterile" chants and a turkey? - yes a turkey - thrown on the ice. But fear not, as announcer Rob Kennedy told us, it wasn't taken out of the bag yet. Should be a fun one in Waterville tomorrow.



Willams (2-0-1)            2
Conn College (1-2-0)   1 
Box Score

Williams outplayed Conn College for most of the game, but a terrific effort from Camels goalie Tom Conlin (G, '16) kept the visitors in it. The Camels took a 1-0 lead on an odd-man rush with Greg Liataud (D, '17) beating  Sean Dougherty (G, '15) high glove side for the lead. But the Ephs would score two goals from  CJ Shugart (F, '18) (his third of the year) and David Jarrett (D, '15) , both set up by Craig Kitto (F, '15).
Tufts (0-2-1)             2
Middlebury (0-1-2)   2
Box Score

Despite being outshot by 16, Tufts earned a tie with the host Panthers thanks to the rookies: 39 saves from  Mason Pulde (G, '17) (a Middlebury transfer) and the first two collegiate goals by Brian Brown (F, '18). Liam Moorfield-Yee (G, '16) made his second straight start for Middlebury, while Mike Najjar (F, '17)) and freshman Vincent Gisonti (F, '18) had tallies for coach Bill Beaney's squad.


Trinity (3-0-0)    7
Amherst (1-1-0)   2
Box Score

Three games. Three 7-2 scores. The Bantams continued their torrid start to the season in their home opener by embarrassing last year's regular season runner-up. 2013-14 Second Team All-NESCAC goalie Dave Cunningham (G, '16) was knocked out in the third period after giving up the seven goals. Eight Bantams had points, including a hat trick from Alaska native Ryan Cole (F, '17) (3-1-4). Cole had 48 points as a freshman (19-29-28) and already has 8 points in three games this year (5-3-8).

The crowd was small but rowdy with drunken on-lookers hurling fish on to the ice for the first few goals at the Koeppel Center, a Bantam tradition. Well, the first goal is the tradition, the second set of fish can be attributed to late arrivers from the bar  library.


NESCAC schedule 11/21/14

Conn College (1-1-0) at Williams (1-0-1) 
Video

Conn College split last weekend at home against Trinity and Wesleyan, while Williams had a successful first weekend on the road thanks in large part to contribution from rookie Ephs. These teams last met in Williamstown in January, with the Ephs' Sean Dougherty (G, '15) picking up his fifth collegiate shutout in a 1-0 win.

Colby (0-1-1) at Bowdoin (1-0-1) 
Video 

The young Mules look to steal the 203rd meeting between these in-state rivals against the high-octane offense of host Bowdoin. Check out our preview here.


Hamilton (0-1-0) at Wesleyan (1-1-0)
Video 

This game might turn out to be an important one at the end of the season in deciding if both of these teams make the conference playoffs ( I know, I know, it's early yet). Wesleyan sporting new home threads with the classic diagonal writing pattern.

Tufts (0-2-0) at Middlebury (0-1-1) 
Video 

Middlebury looks to right its ship after a disappointing opening weekend in Maine. Tufts looks to steal a big game on the road to give them the momentum to climb out of the cellar. Goaltending could be shaky in this one as neither team has a clear cut starter.


Amherst (1-0-0) at Trinity (2-0-0)
Live Stats 

The marquee matchup of the evening pits the two top teams from last year's regular season against one another. A clash of styles as the defensive minded Lord Jeffs battle against one of the most potent offenses in the country.

Overlooked NESCAC, overlooked players?

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.” Oscar Wilde

For the Bantam’s sake let us hope that Trinity Men’s Ice Hockey Coach Matt Greason is not relying on the online paper-of-record for college hockey, USCHO, to scout the Amherst College Lord Jeff’s in advance of this weekend’s NESCAC marquee match-up.

Greason will recall that in Trinity’s goal-fueled run to the NESCAC first place finish last season his charges lost just three games to conference opponents, two of them nail-biters to the stingy Jeffs. While Trinity was first in the conference in goals per game with 4.65, Amherst allowed just 2.15 per game, good enough for second in the conference. Each time Trinity faced Amherst the mighty Bantam offense was stymied, getting just one goal in the November game at Amherst, and two in early February in Hartford.

The metronomic calm with which Amherst killed 87.2% of all power plays last season led the conference. At the opposite extreme Trinity led in power play efficiency scoring nearly a third of the time they went man-up (30.6%). Forty-four of Trinity’s 121 goals last season came on the power play (36.6%).

Overlooked in USCHO's profile of the NESCAC, Amherst's Aaron Deutsch won't be overlooked by Trinity this weekend. A Concannon Award semi-finalist for 2013-14, Deutsch was 5th in the conference among defenders scoring at 5-11-16.


But Jack Arena’s Amherst team proved the old saw that “the best offense is a good defense” frustrating the vaunted Bantam power play while holding it to just 10.5% over two games. This included a vexing 0 for 10 November 23, 2013 in Amherst. Making matters worse, two of the Jeff’s three goals in that game came short-handed. Later in the season in Hartford, Trinity did manage two power play goals but even then they were shut down seven times in a 3-2 loss.

Greason knows all this; he likely also remembers that Amherst defender Aaron Deutsch, then a junior, was a Concannon Award semi-finalist last season. The Concannon Award, claimed at the end of the season by Trinity's Jackson Brewer, is given every year to the best American born player in a New England DII/III. But this fact escaped USCHO’s attention in their NESCAC season preview; Deutsch is not even mentioned among the returning players.


OK, OK, opening with a quotation from a 19th Century Anglo-Irish playwright is an annoyingly pedantic way to make a point, perhaps particular to NESCAC in the world of college hockey. And USCHO is not wrong to conclude Trinity makes sense as a preseason favorite, but as another renowned scholar once said: that’s why we play the games.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Colby at Bowdoin, Bowdoin at Colby. Again.


199….200….201….202….

Friday will mark the 203rd meeting between the men’s ice hockey teams of Bowdoin and Colby College. With the 200th meeting between the Polar Bears and the Mules marked the New York Times and our own focus on the sibling rivalry between the teams last season this season’s 203rd and 204th meetings may be more about the hockey than their storied history.

What’s new? This season's first years:

For Bowdoin the most obvious change in this year’s group of first years is size. Last year’s entering class turned a few heads when Mitch Barrington checked in at 6’3” and Joe Lace loomed at 6’5” but those two stood out. Of this year’s ten rostered first years, seven are 6’2”, two are 6’1” and the tenth, Matthew Lison comes in at 5’11”. Belying his Lilliputian frame Lison notched 3 assists in his first game, a 6-0 blow-out of Middlebury, while partnered with high flying seniors John McGinnis and Connor Quinn.

Five Bowdoin first years—Daniel McMullan, Matthew Lison, Matthew Melanson, Spencer Antunez and Cullen Geary---saw action during the opening weekend’s 6-0 win over Middlebury and the 3-3 draw with Williams. Camil Blanchet played against Middlebury while first year goaltender, Peter Cronin, occupied the crease against Williams.

Four Bowdoin First Years in action against Williams: Spencer Antunez, Goalie Peter Cronin, Daniel McMullan, and Matthew Melanson.


For Colby, it’s geography. The entering class comes from far and wide. Early contributors to the Mule’s 0-1-1 opening weekend against Williams and Middlebury include Slovakian Mario Benicky who has taken an early lead in the scoring race. Benicky got in on both goals in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Middlebury with a goal and an assist, and picked up a helper in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Williams.

With his home country listed as Switzerland, first year Michael Rudolph looked nothing but neutral. Rudolph brought down a momentum killing, third period, five-minute major for hitting from behind against Middlebury.  Though the Mules successfully killed the penalty, Rudolph was ushered off the ice just 1:07 after Colby had drawn even after fighting back from a 2-0 deficit.

While the European Connection figured prominently in the Mule’s opening weekend Coach Blaise MacDonald had to look no further than the breakfast table to find Colby’s first goal of the year. Freshman Cam MacDonald, Macdonald’s son, broke the ice first for Colby earning his first point with a first period goal against Williams.

The continental flair may be a welcome addition to central Maine but it’s worth noting that, like many members of NESCAC rosters, the two prepared for college right here in New England, Benicky at Westminster and Rudolph at South Kent.

Goaltending:

The youth movement continued for both teams in goal. First year Emerson Verrier, got both starts for Colby turning away 21 Saturday in the 4-2 loss to Williams while making 31 saves against Middlebury. The Panthers pelted Verrier with 15 first period shots and the freshman had to survive overtime to preserve the tie. But it’s too early to tell if Coach MacDonald intends to go all-in with the newcomer; it seems unlikely Colby would shelf senior Sam Parker given the numbers put up last season. Parker backstopped a rebuilding Mules team to a 6th place NESCAC finish with a 10-10-2 record with a respectable 0.894 save percentage and a GAA of 3.37. As was pointed out by the Colby Magazine, Parker made 606 saves on the ice last year but none was bigger than one made off the ice when he rescued a swimmer in the Potomac River last spring.

Bowdoin’s Coach Terry Meagher has typically favored splitting goaltending time evenly between his two top goaltenders. The weekend NESCAC series are shared while the goalie with more seniority tends to pick up the extra mid-week, non-conference starts; playoffs tend to go to whoever is hot, sometimes Coach Meagher relies on a committee of team elders to make the call.

If the opening weekend is any indication the pattern will continue this season with Senior Max Fenkell showing the ropes to first year Peter Cronin. Fenkell was solid in the opener stopping all 20 shots the Middebury Panthers mustered. Complicating Fenkell’s pace a bit Middlebury managed just 2 shots in the first period making engagement difficult.

Against Williams on Sunday first year Peter Cronin got the nod. Cronin who had an outstanding high school career at Boston College Highs School spent last season the USPHL playing 13 games with the South Shore Kings. Cronin stopped 27 shots while allowing 3 goals.

Scoring:

Both teams took big hits to their bottom lines. Graduation took a full 48% of last seasons goals for the Mules. Just two players, Concannon Award semi-finalists Ben Chwick and Nick Lanza accounted for 31 of Colby’s 73 goals last season. Last season's highest scoring underclassmen, rated 5th and 6th respectively on the team netted just 8 goals between them in the 2013-14 campaign. Now sophomores, E.J. Rauseo and Devin Albert, have already contributed, but have a lot of ground to cover for the Mules; they’ll need big help from newcomers.

Bowdoin also took some big hits. Commencement saw a group of seniors depart who had won three of four NESCAC Championships. Its senior class featured two members of 100 point club, Colin Downey and Harry Matheson. Downey, like Chwick and Lanza from Colby had been a Concannon Semi-finalist. Though injury kept him out of all but just 7 games last season Ollie Koo, another much decorated member of the class of ’14, had put up 66 points in his first three seasons.

While Bowdoin lost a lot in terms of scoring they retained much more than Colby. Senior John McGinnis, is fast closing in on 100 points; his 3-3-6 weekend puts him at 96 for his career. The playmaker has 61 career assists including a helper on Connor Quinn’s tying goal with 52 seconds remaining against Williams. Quinn, the senior speedster spent the bulk his first two years on an aggressive fore-check and PK line but came into his own as scorer last year. Of the 46 points he put up in his first three seasons half of them, including 13 goals, came during his junior campaign. Junior Matt Rubinoff also lit the lamp 13 times last season.

Intangibles, the X-factor:

It may be too early to call it a pattern but Colby got whistled for 6 minor penalties against Williams and gave up 2 power play goals. A total of 21 minutes in penalties against Middlebury resulted in playing man-down for 11 minutes; 10 of those minutes were a misconduct that didn’t affect on-ice strength. Meanwhile Bowdoin had just 4 minors over the opening weekend.

Coach Meagher may have been using the first weekend to help sort out the newcomers but with one of the bigger rosters in NESCAC look for Bowdoin to work more upper classmen into the line-ups for Colby. With 30 skaters on the roster it has been typical of Coach Meagher to rotate players through the third and fourth lines. Look for some returning faces from last season’s line-up, particularly seniors, who sat out the first weekend in favor of newcomers, especially given the primacy of the Bowdoin Colby series to the college hockey experience.

One player we doubt we’ll see is first year Stevie Van Siclin. The goaltender for the men’s soccer team just completed his season with a second round NCAA loss to Brandeis Sunday. He may need some time to find his skates.





Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday results and first weekend wrap

The first weekend of NESCAC action wrapped up with a pair of OT games in the Pine Tree State, Conn College's first win and another third period explosion by Trinity. 

Wesleyan (1-1-0)           2
Conn College (1-1-0)     5

Conn College scored a power play goal (JC Cangelosi - F, '15) and an empty net tally (Marc Roper - D, '15) to book end their scoring en route to a solid win over the visiting Cardinals. Senior Tom Conlin (G, '15) bounced back from Saturday's beatdown by Trinity to make 24 saves for his first win of the year. Dawson Sprigings (G, '17) made 31 savings in defeat to fall to 1-1-0.

This was the only game of the weekend that did not have a webcast, which speaks to how far we have come with the availability to watch our beloved 'Cac.  Conn College hits the road for Williams/Middlebury next week while Wesleyan returns for their home openers against Hamilton and Amherst.

Conn College recap    Box Score


Williams (1-0-1)    3
Bowdoin (1-0-1)    3   OT

Connor Quinn (F, '15) put in a pass from John McGinnis (F, '15) with 53 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime in a back-and-forth game that saw only one penalty called all afternoon. Williams success this year will be predicated upon their rookie class providing offensive firepower while upperclassmen anchor the backside. If this weekend was any indication, the Ephs are in good shape as all three goals today were scored by freshman (two for Colby Cretella and one for David Italiano) today and five of the seven goals on the weekend were put in by NESCAC neophytes. Sean Dougherty (G, '15) made 33 saves for the Ephs while Peter Cronin (G, '18) turned away 27 shots in his first career start for Bowdoin.

Williams returns home for Conn College/Tufts next weekend while Bowdoin preps for the 203rd and 204th installments of the Colby/Bowdoin rivalry. The Bowdoin recaps are now consistently featuring video cut of all Bowdoin goals. The Maine Hockey Journal has some quotes from both coaches as well as Connor Quinn.

Bowdoin Recap   Williams Recap    Maine Hockey Journal  Box Score


Middlebury (0-1-1)    2
Colby (0-1-1)             2

Colby fought back from a 2-0 deficit and staved off a five minute major penalty in the third to hold on for the tie in Waterville. Middlebury dictated the first half of the game with goals by Vincent Gisonti (F, '18) - his first collegiate goal - and Jake Charles (F, '16). But Colby fought back with a gritty goal by EJ Rauseo (F, '17) and a power play goal by Slovakian rookie Mario Benicky (F, '18), a collegiate first. The European import Mules continued to have an effect on the game as Swiss rookie Michael Rudolf (F,'18)'s game misconduct eight minutes into the third killed some of the Mules momentum. Emerson Verrier (G, '18) looked more comfortable in net in his second start and made 31 saves, including stonewalling a Panther three-on-zero rush in overtime. Liam Moorfield-Yee (G, '16), who made ten starts on the Panther goaltending carousel last year, made six of his 26 saves in overtime in his first start of the season.

Middlebury looks for its first win of the season at home next weekend against Tufts/Conn College, while Colby prepares for...well, you know.

Colby recap    Box Score


Trinity (2-0-0)   7
Tufts (0-2-0)      2

Trinity had their second third period outburst in as many days to close out the weekend with another 7-2 win. The scoring has been balanced with four Bantam players ending the weekend with four points to lead the team and freshman Tyler Whitney(F, '18) leading the team with three goals. Tufts once again killed themselves with the sin bing, allowing three power play goals to end opening weekend with a dismal 55.6% penalty kill rate. Nate Heilbron (G, '16) had 26 saves in victory while Mason Pulde (G, '18) made 37 stops in his first career start.

The Jumbos look for their first points of the season next weekend on the road against Middlebury/Williams while the Bantams take their traveling scoring circus back to Hartford for the home opener against Amherst and then Hamilton. The Bowdoin/Colby historical rivalry aside, the Amherst/Trinity game should be the marquee matchup of the second week of the season.

Tufts Recap      Trinity Recap       Box Score 


So that's a wrap for another exciting opening weekend of NESCAC hockey. I'm not usually one for EDM, but Bessnectar is solid and the youngins' love it, so for the summation of the weekend, here's Bassnectar's "Here We Go"



Opening night results/Sunday's schedule

 Opening night saw little surprises - save the margin of victory for Bowdoin - as the favorite won in each matchup.

Amherst (1-0-0)   3
Hamilton (0-1-0)  1

Amherst continued its recent dominance over travel partner Hamilton as they dropped the Conts for the eighth straight time dating back to 2011. Hamilton played Amherst pretty evenly - including outshooting the Jeffs 32-29 - but turnovers proved costly, especially on the first goal of the evening 17:24 into the 2nd by Amherst freshman David White (F, '18). A pair of Jeff blueliners got into the scoring column in the third with Jake Turrin (f, '15) and Xavier Louis Reed (D, '16) extending the lead to 3-0.  It was the first goal of Reed's career, as the Oakland native only played in five games in his first two seasons while pursuing musical endeavors.The shot appeared to be tipped, but the box score is the box score.

Hamilton got on the board late in the third on a one-timer power play goal from Kenny Matheson (F, '16). The Conts have only scored four goals in their last five match-ups against Amherst. Reinging Second Team All-NESCAC netminder Dave Cunningham (G, '16) was solid in net with 31 saves for 32nd year head coach Jack Arena. Fourth year headman Rob Haberbusch gave the nod to senior Zach Arnold (G, '15) over highly touted freshman, Evan "Boots" Buitenhuis (G, '17). On a broadcast note, the Hamilton webcast was the worst of the evening. While many schools are improving both the quality of the camera and announcing, the Sage Rink camera hasn't been upgraded and there was no audio. Hamilton got a new mascot this year, maybe a webcast upgrade next year?

Hamilton Recap  Box Score


Williams (1-0-0)   4
Colby (0-1-0)       2

The Ephs took care of business against the young Mules (17 freshman and sophomores on roster) with two third period goals by C. J. Shugart (F, '18) in his collegiate debut to break open a 2-1 lead after two periods. In a penalty ridden first, Williams had tallies from Greg Johnson (D, '16) on the power play and Matt Werner (F, '16) at even strength. Colby scored in the first on junior Chris Kennedy (D, '16)'s first collegiate goal and late in the third on the power play with a tally from Jack Burton (D, '17).  The Ephs were 2/6 on the man advantage with Colby going 1/7. 2014 First Team All-NESCAC goalie Sean Dougherty (G, '15) made 22 saves for the victory while Emerson Verrier (G, '18) made 21 stops in defeat.

Colby is the latest school to join the NSN broadcast family, offering clear video and a broadcast duo of a pro and a student. The student appeared to be the same announcer from last year's broadcasts.

Williams Recap   Colby Recap   Box Score


Middlebury  (0-1-0)    0
Bowdoin  (1-0-0)        6

Bowdoin handily defeated Middlebury in the 78th meeting of the perenial 'Cac powerhouses. It's the first time the Panthers have been shutout since January 19, 2013, when the Polar Bears blanked them 3-0 in Brunswick.  John McGinnis paced the Polar Bears with four points (2-2-4) and the Cocoa, FL native now sits just six points away from the hallowed 100 point club. Matt Sullivan (D, '17) chipped in two of his own with Connor Quinn (F, '15) and freshman Spencer Antunez (F, '18) rounding out the scoring. Max Fenkell (G, '15) made 20 saves for his second shutout of his career, the first coming the last time Bowdoin blanked Middlebury in 2013. Senior Mike Peters (G, '15) got the nod in net in the always enigmatic Panther netminder rotation and made 25 saves in the loss. NSN is back with last year's coverage duo of Rob Kennedy and a student announcer.

Bowdoin Recap   Box Score


Wesleyan (1-0-0)          5
Tufts (0-1-0)                 2

Despite outshooting Wesleyan 33-23, the host Jumbos dropped the season opener thanks entirely to the 10 power plays they surrendered to the visiting Cardinals. All five Wesleyan goals were scored on the main advantage, including two from senior Jay Matthews (F, '15). Freshman Marty Rubin (D, '18) also netted his first collegiate tally in the game. For the Jumbos, seniors Andrew White (F, '15) and Tyler Voigt (F, '15) scored goals or the vanquished Jumbos. Sophomore Dawson Sprigings (G, '17) made 31 saves for the victory while rookie Ryan McConnell (G, '18) stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced. The Jumbos camera provides clear video of the game, but the low angle makes the image problematic at times. For commentary, they feature a single man booth.

Tufts recap    Box Score


Trinity (1-0-0)             7
Conn College (0-1-0)  2

Trinity continued its offensive ways from a year ago as the nationally ranked Bantams (#10 USCHO, #7 D3H) scored four third period goals to break open a 3-1 game after two periods of play. Ethan Holdaway (F, '17) netted two goals to match his output from his rookie campaign and 14 Bantams garnered points on the evening. On a team that returned virtually all of its scoring, freshman Thyler Whitney (F, '18) also got his first collegiate goal. None of the goals came on the pp, as the Bantams went 0/4. Both of Conn College tallies came on the man advantage from senior Will Leedy (D, '15) and sophomore Joe Giordano (F, '17). Nate Heilbron (G, '16), officially taking over the netminder position from Ben Coulthard ( G, '14), made 32 saves for the victory. Tom Conlin (G, '16) took the loss and gave up 5 goals on 22 shots, while freshman Tim Cooney (G, '18) made 11 saves on 13 shots in relief. The broadcast was clear when it actually worked, but it didn't work for much of the game and there was no audio to go with the low angle of the camera.

Trinity Recap   Conn College Recap   Box Score


Four games are on tap for today's schedule with Amherst/Hamilton having the day off. Williams/Bowdoin is the best matchup of the day. Last year, the Ephs ruined the Polar Bears opening weekend with a 5-2 beatdown in Williamstown.

Wesleyan (1-0-0) at Conn College (0-1-0)   3 PM   No Video
Middlebury (0-1-0) at Colby (0-1-0)            3PM     Video Feed
Williams (1-0-0) at Bowdoin (1-0-0)            3PM     Video Feed
 Trinity (1-0-0) at Tufts (0-1-0)                    4PM      Video Feed     Live Stats

No matter what happens today, let's all remember that we've only had one weekend of play, so let's not jump to any conclusions yet. 





Saturday, November 15, 2014

The 'Cac is Back!...and so are we

Team activities start on November 1st, but the NESCAC season really kicks off in earnest with opening night on the 15th. We have been delinquent with coverage this fall thanks to other professional/personal duties, but we have come back along with the 'Cac. Proper (belated) season previews will be posted the  week of Thanksgiving with the added input of two weekends of action to evaluate.

But enough with the excuses, it's been 247 days since a NESCAC team last stepped on the ice for an intercollegiate hockey game when Bowdoin lost a thriller to SUNYAC powerhouse Oswego in the 2014 NCAA D-III Men's hockey playoff opening round. So on to the puck! 

Amherst at Hamilton 
Sage Arena, Clinton, NY
7 PM   Video Feed

The only set of travel partners playing each other this weekend and the only two teams that will play one game opening weekend. The Jeffs own the Conts in recent history, including winning the last seven in a row since the ECAC/NESCAC interlock ended in 2011. Amherst enters the season after a disappointing double OT loss to Bowdoin in the 2014 NESCAC championship while Hamilton comes off a disappointing season in which they finished 9th and missed the conference playoffs. Watch out for the goalie matchup between reigning second team All-NESCAC goalie Dave Cunningham from Amherst and likely Cont starter, the highly touted freshman Evan Buitenhuis. 


Cunningham is a Bruce Springstein fan (if we're not mistaken, he's got a quote from the Boss on his helmet) and everyone starts the season with high hopes, so here's a live version of "High Hopes" featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine playing the gee-tar with his face. So there's that.


zero


Williams at Colby 
Alfond Rink, Waterville, ME
7 PM  Video Feed

The Mules look to exact a little revenge as their past two seasons have ended with NESCAC Quarterfinal losses in Williamstown. The Ephs look to rebound from a disappointing loss to arch-nemesis Amherst in the 2014 NESCAC semis. Williams fell to the third seed in the conference playoffs after a promising start that had them poised mid-season to win the regular season crown. They return First Team All-NESCAC goalie Sean Dougherty and a solid crop of skaters and should be solidly in the top half of the 'Cac this season. On the other side, Blaise Macdonald and Chris Hall have done a nice job with a player development since arriving in Waterville. They'll need to expedite the maturation process this year as they lost their top four scorers and their roster features 17 underclassmen. Keep an eye out for the new Mules broadcast as they become the latest NESCAC team to join the NSN roster.

In honor of the youth movement in Waterville and the season being off to the races, here's iconic band Sonic Youth with a Letterman performance of "Bull in the Heather", named after racehorse Bull InThe Heather. Also, please take note of Kim Gordon wearing a John Starks jersey. 




Middlebury at Bowdoin 
Sid Watson Arena, Brunswick, ME
7 PM Video Feed

The marquee matchup of the evening and another rematch of the 2014 NESCAC quarters as the fifth seed Polar Bears disposed of the fourth seed Panthers on the way to the rare bottom half-seeded 'Cac crown after a disappointing regular season. Bowdoin enters the season ranked 13th nationally in both the USCHO and D3Hockey.com polls. Middlebury has a talented group of skaters as well but the key difference here is in net. The Polar Bears have senior Max Fenkell, who presumably will take over the starting job full time after splitting time with Steve Messina ('14) the past two seasons. For the Panthers, they have a question mark. Last year they used four goalies and none of them were all that impressive.

As the traditional powers in the NESCAC look to be the big man in the 'Cac this year, here's former Middlebury student Chadwick Stokes Urmston's band State Radio with "Big Man" 




Wesleyan at Tufts 
Malden Valley Forum, Malden, MA
7 PM Video Feed Stats

2014 was not a memorable year for either the Cardinals or Jumbos. Wesleyan did make a late season push to make the playoffs but was ceremonially dismantled by travel partner Trinity in the Quarterfinals; Tufts finished in last place for the second year in a row, though they did close out the season with a big win over Bowdoin in the regular season finale. Questions abound on both sides of the ice for both teams, with less question marks for the Cardinals, who at least return their two goalies and the surprise scoring machine Elliot Vorel. Tufts will look to one of their three new netminders to provide a reliable presence between the pipes.

The recent past has not been kind to either team, but everyone starts the season at 0-0 with a fresh start. So we present Sage Francis' " I was Zero" 

 


Trinity at Connecticut College
Dayton Rink, New London, CT
7 PM Video Feed

This one's an interesting matchup of the most recent NESCAC Coach of The Year award winners. Trinity enters the season as the prohibitive NESCAC favorites returning nearly all the firepower from one of the best goal scoring teams in the country. They lost their goalie in Ben Coulthard, but Nate Heilbron has looked solid in net in his 12 appearances. The pollsters have them at #7 (D3Hockey) and #10 (USCHO), but the respect they wanted nationally was from the NCAA selection committee last season. The Bantams got snubbed from an at-large bid to the dance after losing to Bowdoin in the 2014 semis. They'll be focused on winning the NESCAC tournament this year to make it a moot point for the committee.

On the other side, it will be interesting to see if the Camels can continue the late season push from last year, which saw them rise from a playoff afterthought to the seventh seed and a near upset of Amherst in the Quarterfinals. The Camels played the Bantams close last time they met in New London in January of this year with the Bantams coming out victorious with an OT goal from Sean Orlando in OT.

The Bantams enter the season with the target on their back as the favorites. We close out the opening night preview with a little old school style hip hop from Jurassic 5 with "Great Expectations" . The praise is all well and good, but the Bantams still need to produce on the ice or their season will become another Dickens' novel, Hard Times.