Notes: Dawn of a new era for pair of DI hockey programs
UConn, Sacred Heart set to open new on-campus rinks

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Sacred Heart opens Martire Family Arena Saturday against Boston College (Photo: JLG Architects)

By Jayson Hajdu

Last week, college hockey celebrated 100 years of Princeton’s venerable Hobey Baker Rink. This week, the sport ushers in two brand-new, on-campus facilities with the openings of Connecticut’s Toscano Family Ice Forum and Sacred Heart’s Martire Family Arena.

UConn will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at Toscano Family Ice Forum. The first game will be played one night later when the women’s program hosts Merrimack. On Saturday, the women and men will play a doubleheader, with the women taking on Vermont and the men hosting Northeastern.

SHU will debut Martire Family Arena on Saturday when the Pioneers host No. 19/20 Boston College.

College hockey will welcome another new arena next fall, when Augustana makes its Division I men’s hockey debut at Midco Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Elsewhere around the country, this week’s top-20 PairWise matchups include:

  • #1 Minnesota at #17 Notre Dame (Friday, Saturday)
  • #4 Penn State at #15 Michigan State (Friday, Saturday)
  • #6 Ohio State at #7 Michigan (Friday, Saturday)
  • #10 Merrimack vs. #20 Providence (Friday, Saturday)
  • #12 Western Michigan at #16 North Dakota (Friday, Saturday)
  • #8 Boston University vs. #11 Cornell (Saturday)

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Must Read:

College Hockey News: Unsung Army hero saved a life
College Hockey News: Quinnipiac hits transfer portal gold with Graf
EP Rinkside: Mullett Arena set to propel Arizona State in NCAA spotlight
ESPN: Top teams, best players, Frozen Four picks
FloHockey: Martire Family Arena set to show NCAA that Sacred Heart hockey has arrived
The Athletic: Ken Dryden, an all-time winner and the conscience of the game
USCHO: Dawning on retirement as conference commissioner, DeGregorio reflects on accomplishments
USCHO: Speed, willingness to adjust big part of Ferris State’s MacLaren succeeding on back end


Must Hear:

Analytics and Eyeballs: Talking polls and this week’s Super 16
College Hockey West Live: Reviewing the weekend, talking Pairwise and previewing the week ahead
Inside Atlantic Hockey: Featuring Sacred Heart graduate forward Ryan Steele
Inside ECAC Hockey: Featuring Clarkson senior forward Mathieu Gosselin
The Athletic Hockey Show: Luke Hughes discusses World Juniors, Michigan, his favorite classes and more
The Pipeline Show: Previewing the second half of the NCAA season with Adam Wodon
USCHO Weekend Review: Looking at Alaska, Quinnipiac, Michigan Tech and more


Must Watch:

ESPN’s The Point: Army trainer who saved player’s life: I was just doing my job
NBC Connecticut: Sacred Heart University opens new $75 million hockey arena


Streaking Swankler:

Bowling Green sophomore F Austen Swankler (North Huntingdon, Pa.) has surged toward the top of the national scoring leaderboard thanks to a 14-game point streak (10 goals, 27 points) that is the longest active stretch in the country.

The CCHA Forward of the Week, Swankler has put together multi-point performances in each of his last five outings, including a four-point effort (1 goal, 3 assists) in BGSU’s 5-3 win over Lake Superior State on Saturday. He now ranks second nationally in scoring with 34 points in 23 games, four points behind Western Michigan freshman F Ryan McAllister (London, Ontario).

Swankler and the Falcons, who trail CCHA leader Minnesota by one point in the conference standings, host Bemidji State this weekend.


Welcome, Matt:

St. Cloud State will retire the No. 9 jersey of Husky great and three-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Cullen (Moorhead, Minn.) in a pre-game ceremony prior to Saturday’s NCHC tilt with Colorado College.

Cullen spent two years (1995-97) at SCSU, leading the Huskies in scoring both seasons. He went on to skate in 1,516 games in the NHL – second all-time among NCAA alumni behind only Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios (1,651) – and captured the Stanley Cup with Carolina (2006) and Pittsburgh (2016, 2017). He also represented the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.


Get Shorty:

When Ohio State’s Cam Thiesing (So., Franklin, Tenn.) struck for a short-handed goal early in the second period of Saturday’s 6-0 win over Michigan State, it was the eighth SHG in 22 games this season for the Buckeyes. That total leads the nation and is already just two shy of last year’s national leader, St. Cloud State, which tallied 10 such goals in 37 contests.

OSU’s eight SHG this season have come from seven different players. Only freshman F Davis Burnside (La Grange, Ill.) has done it twice.


NCAA Hockey on TSN:

College Hockey Inc. and TSN announced Wednesday that Canada’s Sports Leader will showcase no fewer than 10 games across its platforms during the month of January, including a Jan. 20 clash between Colorado College and Western Michigan on TSN. The remaining nine games will be streamed on TSN.ca and on the TSN app. Click HERE for TSN’s complete NCAA hockey broadcast and streaming schedule.


You Can Quote Me On That:

“As coaches, we get recognition. Players, they get recognition. Never do your athletic trainers and yet they may have to save somebody’s life, and we were very lucky to have Rachel on the bench that night because she saved Eric’s life.”

-- Army head coach Brian Riley on team athletic trainer Rachel Leahy (source: College Hockey News).


NHL Note of the Week:

Seattle C Matty Beniers (Michigan, 2020-22) has scored a goal in a franchise-record five straight games entering tonight’s tilt in Boston. Through 40 games this season, Beniers leads all NHL rookies in points (34), goals (16), even-strength points (27), even-strength goals (12), power-play goals (tied, 4), game-winning goals (3) and plus/minus rating (+12).


Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:

Minnesota’s 2-1 victory over St. Cloud State on Sunday was Bob Motzko’s 100th win behind the Gopher bench … Denver senior G Magnus Chrona (Skellefteå, Sweden) made his 100th collegiate appearance (99th start) in Saturday’s win over Alaska … Sacred Heart graduate F Austin Magera (Suwanee, Ga.) registered his 100th career point in last Thursday’s 5-0 win over Army … St. Cloud State senior G Jaxon Castor (Phoenix, Ariz.) notched his first collegiate shutout in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Minnesota, SCSU’s first shutout victory over the Golden Gophers since March 16, 2001 and first at home since March 4, 1995 … RIT boasts the highest-scoring defense duo in the country in juniors Gianfranco Cassaro (Nobleton, Ontario) and Aiden Hansen-Bukata (Delta, British Columbia). Cassaro has 20 points through 20 games, while Hansen-Bukata has 18 points in 18 contests.


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Did you know? 93% of NCAA Division I men’s hockey players earn their degree!