Notes: Root of Yale's Success
Root of Yale’s success – One of the leaders of Yale’s national championship run is doing his part to repeat the feat as the Bulldogs and Quinnipiac meet in a rematch of last year’s NCAA title game this weekend. Team captain Jesse Root (Pittsburgh, Pa./Taft-Prep), who was the West Regional MVP and scored in the championship game last year, has been red hot of late, posting a goal and two assists last weekend against Harvard. Root has 12 points in the last 7 games (7g-5a), with a hand in all 5 of Yale’s game-winners in that time (3g-2a).
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Buffalo’s building blocks – As the Buffalo Sabres continue their rebuild, two big pieces will be on display this weekend at Yost Ice Arena. Michigan’s J.T. Compher (Northbrook, Ill./U.S. NTDP/BUF) and Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn./U.S. NTDP/BUF) are former teammates with the U.S. NTDP and two of the best freshmen in the game. The Sabres acquired Fasching’s rights in a trade last week, which could be a good omen – two of the three players who had their NHL rights traded during last season reached the Frozen Four.
Friday’s game is on ESPNEWS; Saturday’s game is on BTN
Hellebuyck hopes for repeat – UMass Lowell nailed down the No. 2 spot in Hockey East thanks in large part to the nation’s third-best team defense, led by sophomore goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich./Odessa-NAHL/WPG). Hellebuyck, who in a year went from undrafted in the USHL or NAHL to an NHL draft pick, split duties with senior Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass./Cornwall-CCHL) for the first half of the season before taking over most of the starts since mid-January. The River Hawks have thrived with both goaltenders but based on recent starts it figures to be Hellebuyck who leads Lowell in search of a second straight Hockey East Tournament title.
Bentley’s other big gun – When your linemate is the conference’s all-time scoring leader, you’re bound to be overshadowed a bit, but Bentley junior Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alta./Westside-BCHL) has certainly made a name for himself alongside Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown-USHL). Grieve leads the Falcons in shots (123) and shares the team lead in goals (22), helping fuel the eighth-ranked offense in the NCAA. Only four juniors nationwide have more career points than Grieve (106), and he and the Falcons enjoyed the program’s best regular-season finish in Atlantic Hockey (second place). They host Canisius in a best-of-three quarterfinal this weekend.
CC hopes to surprise – Perhaps no conference has more of an anything-can-happen feel to its tournament than the eight-team NCHC. Among those aiming for an upset is Colorado College, visiting North Dakota. The Tigers posted three of their six wins on the season in February and just Friday gave eventual conference champion St. Cloud State a scare. A big reason is the maturation of a solid freshman class, led by defenseman Jaccob Slavin (Erie, Colo./Chicago-USHL/CAR). Slavin has good size and can be dynamic offensively, as seen by his 8 points in the last 8 games.
Bailey, UAA back to Alaska – Senior Matt Bailey (Oakbank, Man./Sioux Falls-USHL) leads Alaska Anchorage to Alaska for the second time in as many weekends, seeking to exact some revenge after the Nanooks claimed the Governor’s Cup in a shootout Saturday night. Bailey’s coach, Matt Thomas, says “you won’t find a more determined and well-rounded player in our league,” and he has shown that this year. His 18 goals and 35 points are both easily career highs, while his six game-winning goals are tied for second nationally.
NHL Note of the Week
Paul Carey was recalled by Colorado Tuesday. Should he play, graduating seniors from eight of the last nine classes at Boston College will have reached the NHL. Carey would become the 20th player who appeared in the 2010 national championship game to play in the NHL.
Most Alums in the NHL, 2013-14 Season
Through March 11 games
23 – Boston College
19 – Michigan, Wisconsin
17 – Michigan State
16 – Minnesota
14 – Boston University
12 – North Dakota
10 – Denver
Fries at the Bottom of the Bag
Dartmouth, behind 5 points from Eric Neiley (Warminster, Pa./Exeter-Prep), was the only underdog to advance in the Atlantic, ECAC or Hockey East tournaments last weekend … In eight career Atlantic Hockey Tournament games, Canisius goaltender Tony Capobianco (Mississauga, Ont./Georgetown-OJHL) is 8-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .961 save percentage … Yale was honored at the White House for its 2013 NCAA championship on Monday … Alaska’s Cody Kunyk (Sherwood Park, Alta./Sherwood Park-AJHL) scored four goals Saturday night, the fourth four-goal game in Division I this season (joining Miami’s Riley Barber, AIC’s Jon Puskar and RMU’s Cody Wydo).