2021 is here…hallelujah.
There was plenty of hockey to talk about, and a lot of great games as well. Also, the ECAC conference schedule is in full swing. Let us look back at the first weekend of action in the new year.
Friday, Jan. 1
No. 10 Clarkson def. Colgate, 4-1
The Clarkson Golden Knights were able to avenge their upset loss at the hands of the Colgate Raiders just a week prior. Jack Jacome and Zach Tsekos each scored a goal and two assists in the win, Connor McCarthy chiming in with a goal and an assist.
Connecticut def. New Hampshire, 2-1
Even though the New Hampshire Wildcats scored first, UConn bounced back with a pair of goals in the second and third to win their third game of the season. Roman Kinal and Jordan Spetz’s second goal of the season was all that the Huskies needed. Tomas Vomacka picked up the win in net by making 30 saves.
No. 9 Massachusetts def. No. 13 Northeastern, 4-3
In a top-20 battle, it ended up being the UMass Minutemen victorious against the Huskies. Northeastern trailed 2-1, into the third period, but the teams traded goals before Oliver Chau scored in the final minutes to give UMass the win. Chau ended up having a two-point night as he assisted on another goal, with Josh Lopina also registering a goal and an assist.
Vermont ties No. 15 Providence, 0-0 (Providence wins in the shootout)
While there was no official scoring in the game, that did not mean either goaltender had to work to help their team pick up a point. Jaxson Stauber made 23 saves for Providence, while Tyler Harmon stopped all 33 shots he faced.
Greg Printz and Michael Callahan each scored in the shootout to give the Friars the win.
Colorado College def. No. 16 Denver, 4-3
The struggles continue for the Pioneers, as the Colorado College Tigers beat DU for the first time since March 2019, only putting 24 shots on goal. Hunter McKown had a great game, picking up a goal and two assists for the Tigers, with Tony Conzo helping out with a pair of assists.
Saturday, Jan. 2
Canisius def. Mercyhurst, 3-2
In only their third game of the season, the Canisius Golden Griffins rode three consecutive third-period goals to help put them ahead of the Lakers on Saturday. Keaton Mastradonato led Canisius with a goal and an assist, with Lee Lapid and Mitchell Martan also finding the back of the net for the Golden Griffins.
Robert Morris def. RIT, 3-1
In a battle between two teams that may be vying for the Atlantic Hockey crown in a couple of months, the Robert Morris Colonials and RIT Tigers went into the third period tied at one. That was when freshman Randy Hernandez scored his third game-winning goal of the season to send Robert Morris on their way to their seventh win. Nick Prkusic helped out with a goal and an assist for the Colonials.
No. 15 Providence def. Vermont, 3-1
After a scoreless affair in regulation on Friday night, it only took a little over two minutes for Vermont’s Vlad Dzhioshvili to break the ice. However, that was all Vermont got in this one, as the Friars scored the remaining three to earn the win. Matt Koopman, Parker Ford and Tyce Thompson scored for Providence, with Jaxson Stauber earning the win in goal.
New Hampshire def. Connecticut, 2-1 in overtime
After falling to the Huskies on Friday, the Wildcats returned with a win by the same score the next night, in dramatic fashion. After Jackson Pierson tied the game for UNH in the third period, he ended up scoring the game-winner in overtime to help New Hampshire pick up the weekend split.
Mike Robinson earned the win for New Hampshire in goal, making 36 saves in the contest.
No. 9 Massachusetts def. No. 13 Northeastern, 5-3
UMass was able to complete the weekend sweep against the Huskies, but not for its fair share of drama. The Minutemen built a 4-0 lead by the early stages of the second period. However, the Huskies came back with three unanswered to come back within one. However, an empty-net goal from Garrett Wait proved to be the nail in the coffin for Northeastern. Wait also had an assist in the game, with Matthew Kessel also scoring a goal and an assist.
No. 16 Denver def. Colorado College, 6-1
After suffering an embarrassing loss to the Tigers the night before, the Pioneers came back with a convincing win to at least split the weekend with their in-state rivals. Brett Stapley and Reid Irwin each scored twice for Denver, with Corbin Kacsperski picking up his second win of the season in goal.
No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth def. No. 6 St. Cloud State, 4-3 in overtime
In a big-time matchup, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs came away with a dramatic win in St. Cloud, needing overtime to defeat the Huskies. The teams traded goals through the first 40 minutes before Minnesota-Duluth’s Kobe Roth tied the game in the third. Two minutes into overtime, Noah Cates ripped home his fourth of the season to give the Bulldogs the win.
Noah’s brother Jackson also had a good game, picking up a pair of assists during the contest.
Miami (OH) def. Western Michigan, 3-1
The Miami RedHawks and Western Michigan Broncos had a tight affair on Saturday night. Trailing by one heading into the second period, Miami came back with goals from Derek Daschke and Phil Knies. That’s all the RedHawks needed, as Ludvig Persson shut the door on the Broncos, picking making 27 saves in the victory.
No. 7 Bowling Green def. Ferris State, 6-1
In the first official conference game for both teams, the Bowling Green State Falcons hit the same number of tallies against the Ferris State Bulldogs as they had a couple of weeks ago. Cameron Wright had himself a three-point game, with Connor Ford scoring a goal and an assist, with Eric Dop earning the win in a 35-save performance.
Michigan Tech def. Alabama-Huntsville, 4-0
In the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers’ first game in almost a month, they struggled against the Michigan Tech Huskies, only getting 18 shots on Blake Pietila, who earned his second shutout of the season. Nick Nardella, Tyler Rockwell and Trenton Bliss each scored a goal and an assist for the Huskies.
No. 5 Minnesota State def. Northern Michigan, 5-0
The Northern Michigan Wildcats wanted to use home ice to their advantage against the Mavericks, but Minnesota State did not give them a chance, scoring four goals in the opening 20 minutes. Minnesota State added one more in the third to complete the dominant performance, going 3-for-6 on the power play in the process. Nathan Smith had one of the goals on the man advantage for the Mavericks, also assisting on a goal from Cade Borchardt, who had a two-point game himself.
Bemidji State def. No. 19 Lake Superior State, 4-1
Lake Superior State suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Bemidji State Beavers. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the third, but three goals from the Beavers gave them their second win of the season. Brendan Harris scored two of those goals, including the game-winning goal. Zach Driscoll stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced, picking up the win in net.
No. 20 American International def. Long Island, 2-1
Even though they fell behind in the first period, the AIC Yellow Jackets scored twice in the middle stanza, which proved to be enough to beat Long Island on Saturday.
Aaron Grounds scored his third goal of the season, with Chris Theodore scoring the other for AIC.
Sunday, Jan. 3
Canisius def. Mercyhurst, 3-0
The Golden Griffins finished off the weekend sweep of the Lakers, thanks to another two-point game from Mastradonato. Lapid also scored a goal and an assist for Canisius, with Matt Ladd, picked up the third shutout of his career, stopping all 30 shots he faced.
Niagara def. Air Force, 7-2
In only their second win of the season, the Niagara Purple Eagles had an offensive explosion against the Air Force Falcons. It was the first time the Purple Eagles scored seven since January 2019. Four Purple Eagles had multi-point games, most notably Ryan Cox, who scored twice while assisting on another. Josef Mysak also scored twice, with Croix Evingson posting a goal and an assist in the win.
Robert Morris def. RIT, 4-3
The Colonials picked up a sweep of their own after a rather interesting win over the Tigers. Robert Morris had a 3-0 lead by the second period, a led 4-1 through the halfway mark of the third. RIT did not give up, scoring twice to get within one. Yet, it proved too little, too late, as the Colonials held on for their seventh win of the season.
Matthew Guerra led the attack with a goal and two assists, while Hernandez and Prkusic each registered two-point nights.
Penn State def. Michigan State, 1-0
For the fourth time this season, the Michigan State Spartans have scored one or fewer goals. Sam Sternschein scored the lone goal for Penn State, his first of the season. Oskar Autio earned his third win of the season with a 23-save shutout, helping the Nittany Lions with their fourth straight game.
Colgate ties No. 10 Clarkson, 1-1 (Colgate wins in a shootout)
For the second time this season, the Raiders are victorious against the Golden Knights. Clarkson opened the scoring back in the first, but Nick Anderson tied the game around the halfway mark of the third period. After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout. The Raiders earned the extra point as Alex Young and Matt Verboon scored in the skills comp….I mean shootout.
Andrew Farrier stopped both shots he faced in the shootout, and 29 in 65 minutes of action.
St. Lawrence def. No. 12 Quinnipiac, 4-2
After a tie on Friday, the Saints pulled off the upset to win their first game of the season, despite a late surge from the Bobcats. Emil Zetterquist was outstanding for St. Lawrence, making 37 saves in the win, including 13 in the third period. Jordan Steinmetz, and Greg Lapointe were the goal scorers for the Saints.
No. 17 UMass-Lowell def. Maine, 5-3
The UMass-Lowell River Hawks earn their second win of the season, in only their third contest of the season. They did so with a great defensive performance, only allowing the Maine Black Bears to put 14 shots on goal. Maine was in the game though, tied at two heading into the third period. Then, in the first five minutes of the final frame, UMass-Lowell reeled off three unanswered goals to send them to victory. Andre Lee led the River Hawks with a goal and two assists in the game, with his goal being credited as the decider.
No. 6 St. Cloud State def. No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth, 3-1
After a close battle against the Bulldogs on Saturday, the Huskies came back with a win to split the weekend. The game was tied late in the third, but Jami Krannila changed that, scoring his third goal of the season.
His tally proved to be the game-winner, as St. Cloud State improves to 7-4. Kranilla also assisted on the other two goals.
Miami (OH) def. Western Michigan, 5-1
A big second period helped the RedHawks earn the weekend sweep against the Broncos. Two goals from Joe Cassetti highlighted a three-goal middle frame for Miami. Matt Barry and Phil Knies each helped out with two assists each. Persson was great again in goal, stopping 31 shots in the win.
No. 7 Bowling Green def. Ferris State, 4-2
The Falcons beat the Bulldogs for the fourth time this season, improving to 11-1 on the year. Ferris State made it tough on Bowling Green, as they were tied at two heading into the third period. Cameron Wright’s third goal against the Bulldogs proved to be the game-winner. Gavin Gould scored a goal and an assist, with Zack Rose picking up his fifth win of the season for the Falcons.
Michigan Tech def. Alabama-Huntsville, 2-1
The Huskies earned the weekend sweep over the Chargers, thanks to both of their goals less than 90 seconds apart in the first period. Tyler Rockwell scored his second goal of the season on the power play, followed by Chris Lipe’s first of the year.
Mark Sinclair earned his first win as a Husky against his former team, making 19 saves.
No. 5 Minnesota State def. Northern Michigan, 4-0
The Mavericks end up outscoring the Wildcats 9-0 in the weekend sweep. Dryden McKay earned the 18th shutout of his career, passing former Minnesota-Duluth netminder Hunter Shepard and is now tied for seventh all-time in shutouts in NCAA history with a 21-save performance. Borchardt scored his second goal of the weekend, the fifth of the season, which ended up being the game-winning tally.
Bemidji State ties No. 19 Lake Superior State, 2-2
As this game was technically a non-conference game, the game ended in a draw.
The Lakers had to rally from a 2-0 deficit in the third to come back and tie the game, capped off by Ashton Calder’s fifth goal of the season with just over 90 seconds left in regulation. William Riedell scored the other goal for the Lakers, with Nick Cardelli and Brendan Harris scoring for Bemidji State. Zach Driscoll made 28 saves for the Beavers, while Mareks Mitens stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
No. 1 Minnesota def. Arizona State, 4-1
Three goals in the second period helped keep the Minnesota Golden Gophers perfect, now 9-0 this season. Sampo Ranta scored twice for the Gophers, with Mike Koster and Jonny Sorenson scoring the other two.
Jack LaFontaine looked confident in net once again, stopping 27 shots in the win.
I’m a broadcast journalist from West Michigan, with an incredible passion for the game of hockey. After playing in goal for 16 years, I realized that my time on the ice was up, and chose a slightly different path working in the media. It is just as demanding, just a little less physical.