Notebook: Windy City Stage
Note of the Week
Native son returns to Chicago – Illinois natives dot Division I rosters – 66 in all, sixth among all states – and one of the best is Wisconsin’s Michael Mersch, one of three Illinois natives who will lead the Badgers into Sunday’s outdoor game against Minnesota, part of the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field that also features Miami vs. Notre Dame. Mersch, a junior from Park Ridge and Los Angeles Kings draft pick, has 16 goals – seventh nationally and 10 more than his next-closest teammate. He carries on the legacy of his father, the late Michael Sr., who died of lymphoma in 2000, and was a star at Illinois-Chicago when that school had a team in the CCHA.
Read more on Mersch and his father’s influence.
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Competitive Carey has high standards – Watertown Daily Times
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Lorito leads Bears – Brown sophomore Matt Lorito ranks seventh nationally in goals per game (0.64) and has accounted for 25% of the Bears’ tallies, trailing only Northeastern’s Kevin Roy (27%). Lorito has elevated his goal-scoring from a total of four as a freshman. Part of that success is due to good health – a wrist injury cost him eight games last season – and part he credits to extra work with assistant coach Mike Souza. Souza was a scorer himself, totaling 66 goals in four years at UNH, and is in his second season as an assistant at Brown.
Grogan’s wait paying off for UConn – UConn senior goaltender Matt Grogan started just two games in his first three seasons in Storrs, and didn’t see any action prior to Dec. 1 of this season. Since then he has been one of the nation’s best netminders, posting a .950 save percentage that ranks second nationally. His 8-2-2 record has propelled the Huskies into a tie for fourth in Atlantic Hockey entering a home-and-home with Holy Cross, which is also tied for fourth. An Arizona native, Grogan played junior hockey in Okotoks, Alberta, and Bismarck, North Dakota, so he has certainly traveled a long path. Monday he posted his first college shutout, 9-0 against Bentley.is
Good Gracel – Massachusetts heads into a home-and-home with UMass Lowell led by one of the hottest scoring hands in Hockey East. Junior Branden Gracel – whose 1.31 points per game since mid-November trails only BC’s Johnny Gaudreau and Stephen Whitney in the conference – has goals in three straight games. After a relatively slow start under new head coach John Micheletto (5 points in 9 GP) the Calgary native has caught fire offensively, while also helping kill penalties and proving to be one of the best faceoff men in the nation (60.4%).
Notre Dame offense alive – Notre Dame broke out of a five-game January losing streak and is 3-1-1 since, thanks in large part to an offense that has come alive. Five Irish have at least a point per game in that time – Jeff Costello, Bryan Rust, Anders Lee, Thomas DiPauli and Mario Lucia – with 13 players scoring at least a goal. That offense meets the CCHA’s stingiest defense this weekend with a Friday night game at Miami and Sunday’s game against the RedHawks at Soldier Field in Chicago.
High Q rating – Quinnipiac – which achieved a program first with the No. 1 national ranking this week – is on the verge of more impressive feats. Three weeks still remain in the ECAC Hockey regular season but the Bobcats need just two points (or two lost points by Yale) to clinch the Cleary Cup as league champs. Quinnipiac won the fledgling MAAC in that conference’s first two seasons, but hasn’t finished higher than a tie for fourth in seven previous seasons in the ECAC. What’s more, if the Bobcats can extend their 21-game unbeaten streak (18-0-3) through this weekend at home against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, they will match the nation’s longest unbeaten streak since 1991 (Northern Michigan, 29 games, Dec. 28, 1990 to Oct. 25, 1991).
College Hockey Today
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Beyond the Ice
Ten finalists have been named for the Senior CLASS Award, honoring seniors for achievements in four areas – community, classroom, character and competition. Read More
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