College Hockey Inc.
Men's Notes: Four Conference Tourneys in Full Swing
Hockey East, NCHC Wrapping Up Regular Season

Bemidji State celebrates winning the CCHA’s MacNaughton Cup last Friday (Photo: Brent Cizek).

By the time the weekend arrives, playoff tournaments will be underway in four of the six NCAA Division I men’s hockey conferences: Atlantic Hockey, Big Ten, CCHA and ECAC Hockey. Hockey East and the NCHC conclude their regular season schedules this weekend.

Atlantic Hockey dropped the puck on its playoff tournament last weekend, while the other three all begin this week. Here’s a look inside each tournament:

Atlantic Hockey
Regular-Season Champion: RIT (second in a row)
Canisius, Niagara and Robert Morris all advanced to the quarterfinals (best-of-three series) with opening-round victories last weekend … RMU provided the lone upset, knocking off Bentley in OT. The best-of-three quarterfinal series take place this weekend, with #1 seed RIT hosting #11 Robert Morris, #2 Holy Cross hosting #8 Canisius, #3 Sacred Heart hosting #7 Niagara, and #4 Air Force hosting #5 AIC … The Holy Cross-Canisius is a rematch of last year’s AHA championship game, which was won by Canisius.

Big Ten
Regular-Season Champion: Michigan State
The Spartans clinched the regular-season title last Friday to secure a bye into the Big Ten semifinals … This weekend’s best-of-three quarterfinal series pit #2 seed Wisconsin vs. #7 Ohio State, #3 Minnesota vs. #6 Penn State, and #4 Michigan vs. #5 Notre Dame … The Wolverines have won each of the last two Big Ten Tournaments.

Regular-Season Champion: Bemidji State
The battle for the Mason Cup begins this weekend with a quartet of best-of-three quarterfinal series … #1 seed Bemidji State hosts #8 Ferris State, #2 St. Thomas hosts #7 Lake Superior State, #3 Michigan Tech hosts #6 Bowling Green, and #4 Minnesota State hosts #5 Northern Michigan … Minnesota State is pursuing its third consecutive Mason Cup.

ECAC Hockey
Regular-Season Champion: Quinnipiac (fourth in a row)
The ECAC Hockey Championship begins Friday and Saturday with four single-elimination matchups in the first round: #5 Clarkson vs. #12 RPI, #6 Union vs. #11 Brown, #7St. Lawrence vs. #10 Yale, and #8 Harvard vs. #9 Princeton … The top four seeds – Quinnipiac, Cornell, Colgate and Dartmouth – earned byes into the quarterfinals … A different school has won each of the last five Whitelaw Cups, most recently Colgate in 2023.

Daily Scoreboard | Weekly ScheduleStat Leaders | Goaltending Leaders

Must Read:

Bemidji Pioneer: ‘High-character’ Jack Powell gets his moment on Bemidji State’s Senior Night
Boston Globe: Here’s what’s at stake on the last weekend of the men’s Hockey East regular season
College Hockey News: Team of the Week: Bemidji State
College Hockey News: In Year 4, Reid Cashman has Dartmouth back on the map
College Hockey News: Knuble finding his stride at Notre Dame
College Hockey News: Led by its freshman goalie, Yale is starting to look like its old self again
ECAC Hockey: Pierre McGuire to join broadcast team for ECAC Hockey Championships
Grand Forks Herald: Ludvig Persson puts his stamp on UND’s Penrose Cup evening
Lansing State Journal: Reed Lebster is living his dream playing hockey for Michigan State 10 free agents soon eligible to sign with NHL teams
The Rink Live: Outgoing defenseman Warren Clark is finding his groove with SCSU
The Rink Live: A look at the goalies for each CCHA team heading into the Mason Cup Playoffs
USCHO: Regular season complete, conference playoffs starting this weekend
USCHO: After regular-season champions crowned, college hockey gearing up for conference playoffs
USCHO: First round of conference playoffs takes center stage this weekend in CCHA
USCHO: Penrose Cup champs for 2024, North Dakota aims to keep winning

Must Hear:

CHN Insiders: Featuring Bemidji State Head Coach Tom Serratore
Inside Atlantic Hockey: Featuring Bentley Head Coach Andy Jones
Inside ECAC Hockey: Featuring Cornell senior F Gabriel Seger
Inside Hockey East: Featuring UMass freshman F Jack Musa
NCHC Icecast: Matt Wellens, Mick Hatten break down last weekend of NCHC race, MVP candidates
Parting Schotts: Hauge looks back at Cornell-Colgate games; previews ECAC tourney game vs. Brown
UND Hockey Podcast: Penrose Cup champs
USCHO Weekend Review: Which teams hurt or helped themselves in a weekend with four crowned

Must Watch:

NCAA: Boston College tops latest men’s hockey Power 5 after conference title

A Banner Weekend:

Regular-season champions were crowned last weekend in the Big Ten (Michigan State), CCHA (Bemidji State), Hockey East (Boston College) and the NCHC (North Dakota).

  • Michigan State defeated Wisconsin last Friday to clinch the Spartans’ first conference championship since winning the CCHA in 2000-01. That Michigan State team featured future Hockey Hall of Fame G Ryan Miller, as well as current Lake Superior State Head Coach Damon Whitten and current MSU Director of Player Development Brad Fast.
  • Bemidji State blanked six-time defending conference champ Minnesota State 6-0 last Friday to capture the MacNaughton Cup. The Beavers completed the sweep the following night to push their unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1).
  • Top-ranked Boston College, also the No. 1 team in the PairWise rankings, blanked New Hampshire 1-0 on Sunday to claim the program’s 18th Hockey East title.
  • North Dakota made it four Penrose Cups in the last five years when it completed a home sweep of Western Michigan last Saturday night. UND has won a league-leading six Penrose Cups since the NCHC’s inception 11 years ago.

A Clean Blake:

Michigan Tech fifth-year G Blake Pietila (Howell, Mich.) registered his 23rd career shutout in the Huskies’ regular-season finale last Saturday against St. Thomas. Only two goalies in the history of NCAA Division I men’s hockey boast more career clean slates:

Most Career NCAA Shutouts
1. Dryden McKay, Minnesota State (2018-22) 34
2. Ryan Miller, Michigan State (1999-2002) 26
3. Blake Pietila, Michigan Tech (2019-pres.) 23
4. Yaniv Perets, Quinnipiac (2020-23) 21
  Michael Bitzer, Bemidji State (2015-18) 21
  Matthew Galajda, Cornell/Notre Dame (2017-22) 21

Over the final four games of the regular season, Pietila logged a 0.50 goals against average and .979 save percentage with a pair of shutouts.

Action Jackson:

If he can register one point on the final weekend of the NCHC regular season, North Dakota sophomore F Jackson Blake (Eden Prairie, Minn.) will set a new conference scoring record.

Blake has posted 35 points in 22 conference games so far this season, giving him a share of the NCHC’s single-season scoring record with Bobby Brink (Denver, 2019-22) and Brock Boeser (North Dakota, 2015-17). Boeser had 35 points as a freshman during UND’s NCAA title season in 2015-16, and Brink matched his total as a junior in 2021-22.

In 34 games overall this season, Blake is tied for third in the NCAA scoring race with 50 points.

Net Gains:

The next start for Robert Morris fifth-year G Chad Veltri (Fox Chapel, Pa.) will be the 129th of his collegiate career and will tie the all-time Atlantic Hockey record currently owned by former Holy Cross netminder Matt Ginn (2011-15).

Veltri and the Colonials, the 11th seed in the Atlantic Hockey Postseason, will face top-seeded and two-time defending AHA regular-season champion RIT in this weekend’s best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Notebook Quotebook:

“This is why I came back – to have the success we missed out on last year and being able to experience these moments. I love Grand Forks. What I just experienced out there, that’s everything right there.”

-- North Dakota senior F Riese Gaber (Gilbert Plains, Manitoba) after UND won the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions on Senior Night (source Grand Forks Herald)

NHL Note of the Week:

Boston F James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire, 2007-09) skated in his 1,000th career NHL game in the Bruins’ loss to Edmonton on Tuesday night, becoming the first-ever UNH alum to reach that milestone.

Van Riemsdyk is the second NCAA alum this season to reach 1,000 career games, joining Buffalo F Kyle Okposo (Minnesota, 2006-08).

Two other former college hockey players are within close reach of that plateau: Washington RW T.J. Oshie (North Dakota, 2005-08) is at 996, and St. Louis D Nick Leddy (Minnesota, 2009-10) sits at 991.

Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:

Boston College has won 12 consecutive Hockey East games, the conference’s longest such winning streak since 2012-13 when BC also won 12 straight … BC freshman F Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) had his point streak snapped at 18 games last Sunday. It was the longest streak in the country this season … Arizona State’s 23 wins this season are a program record … Alaska Anchorage senior F Ben Almquist (Victoria, Minn.) registered back-to-back hat tricks in the Seawolves’ sweep of Stonehill last weekend … Almquist’s teammate, junior F Max Helgeson (Anchorage, Alaska) had six points (3G, 3A) in Saturday’s win, the most points by a UAA skater since Feb. 1988 … Canisius’ 5-2 win over Mercyhurst last Saturday in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs was the 100th coaching victory for bench boss Trevor Large (Ferris State, ’04).

Longest Active Point Streaks:

  • 17 games, F Ryan Leonard (Boston College)
    • 15-16—31, Began Dec. 9 vs. Providence
  • 16 games, F Gabe Perreault (Boston College)
    • 12-18—30, Began Dec. 1 vs. Northeastern
  • 11 games, D Eamon Powell (Boston College)
    • 3-14—17, Began Jan. 26 vs. Boston University
  • 10 games, F Liam McLinskey (Holy Cross)
    • 7-10—17, Began Jan. 13 at Army

Longest Active Goal Streaks:

  • 5 games, F Matthew Wilde (RIT)
    • 6-1—7, Began Feb. 10 at Mercyhurst
  • 4 games, F Chaz Smedsrud (Union)
    • 4-2—6, Began Feb. 23 vs. Harvard
  • 4 games, F Daniel Panetta (Colgate)
    • 5-3—8, Began Feb. 23 at St. Lawrence
  • 4 games, F Liam McLinskey (Holy Cross)
    • 5-2—7, Began Feb. 3 vs. Air Force

Atlantic Hockey | Big Ten | CCHA | ECAC | Hockey East | NCHC

College Hockey Inc. Resources:

Did you know? 92% of NCAA Division I men’s hockey players earn their degree!