Five Things That Happened in the CHA, September 30 Edition

1. Kearns Departs For Neumann: Penn State’s offseason of chaos had one more major strike left as Gina Kearns, Josh Brandwene’s top assistant, accepted the head coach position at NCAA Division III’s Neumann University last Tuesday. It was a tough blow for the Nittany Lions – the former Boston University captain is considered a rising star as a coach, is a great recruiter, and related to players extremely well. For her part, Kearns gets the chance to run her own bench and move closer to home (she’s a Philadelphia-area native who was an assistant at NU from 2009-2011), but we probably haven’t seen the last of her in DI.

Without too many other options late in the offseason, PSU responded by naming Alex Dawes to Kearns spot. Dawes came in to the program as director of operations last season, and has been well regarded for his work there as well as during his undergraduate years at DIII’s Utica College, but his ability to coach on the ice is certainly an open question at this point.

2. Polisseni Center Sees Game Action: That “thunk” sound you may have heard Monday night was RIT finally breaking in their new Gene Polisseni Center with a hockey game, but dropping a 3-2 decision to Pursuit of Excellence. That’s the same PoE that Mercyhurst waxed 7-0 over the weekend, not exactly a ringing endorsement for the Tigers’ repeat bid. It doesn’t officially count of course, which will also undoubtedly lead to a bunch of awkward “what was the true arena first” conversations – in hindsight, Penn State probably got it right by making a regular game lead the way at Pegula Ice Arena.

It wasn’t all bad for RIT, as they did enjoy a 42-19 shooting advantage and didn’t play star goalie Ali Binnington. Still, coach Scott McDonald was not pleased.

“Tonight was an embarrassing effort. We overlooked a team that with a full lineup is very talented and dangerous. Our fans deserve a better effort, especially opening a new building and that effort will be corrected by Friday.”

Yikes. Enjoy the bag skate, guys.

3. Syracuse Goes Farming: Community service? Sure. Other sports? Often. Some pseudo-military survival game? Naturally. Syracuse, though, has found one of the more unique preseason team-building activities: apple picking.

4. RMU Introduces Freshmen: Opening weekend didn’t go exactly as planned for Robert Morris, with the Colonials taking a large step off of their aspirations with a home sweep at the hands of Bemidji State. But on a more positive note, RMU is showing that Penn State and RIT aren’t the only conference schools on top of the video thing, as they’ve launched a set of freshman introductions that (so far) include Natalie Fraser and Amanda Pantaleo:

5. CHA Announces First Award Winners: One of the somewhat amusing things about College Hockey America is that the league conducts its weekly awards, regardless of how few teams are playing (the CHA stepping in with an all-champion set, including player of the week, a couple days after a league playoff MVP is named is always funny…if you have a low threshold for comedy anyway). Hey, gotta be consistent, I guess. Senior defenseman Erin Staniewski was the season’s first player of the week after scoring two of RMU’s three goals over the weekend (the first two of her career), while Lindenwood’s Nicole Hensley was goaltender of the week, more or less for surviving second-ranked Wisconsin.

Five Things That Happened in the ECAC, September 30th Edition

Hockey! While the ECAC has yet to play a regular season game, several of the conference’s teams were in action in exhibition games this weekend. Rensselaer shut out the Ottawa Jr. Senators 2-0 on Friday night, and Union then tied the Jr. Sens 2-2 on Saturday. Colgate also opened its season with a 3-0 shutout victory over Cambridge in exhibition play.

The ECAC preseason coaches’ poll was released: Harvard was tabbed the top team in the conference, garnering nine first-place votes and 119 total points. Cornell was second with 108 points and one first-place vote, while defending national champion Clarkson was third and earned two first-place votes. Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence, and Yale rounded out the top half of the rankings, while Princeton and Colgate finished seventh and eighth. Dartmouth, Rensselaer, Union, and Brown followed in the nine-through-12 slots to finish out the poll. The full ECAC release is here.

Union added Ashley Johnston to its coaching staff: Johnston is a 2014 graduate of Union and served as a captain during her senior season with the team. She’ll join head coach Claudia Asano Barcomb’s staff as an assistant in 2014-15.

Harvard unveiled its new locker room to the players: Harvard tweeted out pictures from the unveiling on Monday afternoon, and the team seemed pretty excited about its new home.

Clarkson announced that it will have a banner-raising on Oct. 4: The Golden Knights will raise their 2014 NCAA Championship banner at 4 p.m., before their game against St. Lawrence. They’ll have a “Knight’s Faire” prior to that at 3 p.m., also at Cheel Arena, and the NCAA championship rings will be presented to the team after the game. The game as well as the preceding activities will be free for all those who attend. You actually have to pay if you’re not in attendance. It’s just a really good idea to go, because free hockey and fun stuff generally makes for a good Saturday afternoon.

Five Things That Happened in the WCHA, September 30th Edition

1. Hockey! The WCHA regular season officially kicked off on Friday with Wisconsin, Bemidji State, and Minnesota Duluth all in action. The Badgers swept the Lindenwood with two dominant victories, defeating the Lions 5-1 on Friday and 6-0 on Saturday. The Beavers also earned a big sweep on the road over Robert Morris, winning 5-2 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. Minnesota Duluth surprisingly found itself tying with Connecticut on Friday night, but it was still a remarkable 58-shot performance from the team and the Bulldogs bounced back on Saturday with a 3-0 shutout victory.

2. The WCHA Coaches’ Poll was released: And the Gophers finished first with 48 total points and six first place votes. Wisconsin earned the other two first place votes, and was second with 44 points. Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota round out the top four, while Ohio State finished fifth, Minnesota State sixth, Bemidji State seventh, and St. Cloud State eighth. The full results can be found here.

3. Katy Harding Took Over “Nurse’s Notes” For One Post: Wisconsin forward Sarah Nurse is keeping a blog this year over at UWBadgers.com, but she was away at camp with the Canadian National Women’s Team this week, so Badger teammate Katy Harding provided a quick update instead.

4. Gophers’ “Meet the Newcomers”: Minnesota is running a series called “Meet the Newcomers”, and this week saw freshman forward Nina Rodgers profiled.

5. Gracen Hirschy is Vine Famous: And really, do you want to be the only lame person who hasn’t seen it? No. So see it.

Five Things That Happened in Hockey East, September 30th Edition

1. Hockey! The Hockey East regular season kicked off with UConn, New Hampshire, and Maine all in action. UConn earned a big tie against Minnesota Duluth in its first game before falling to the Bulldogs on Saturday. New Hampshire and Maine squared off in the first conference tilt of the season, and the Black Bears came away with the 2-1 win. Boston College and Boston University also earned exhibition wins, while Vermont, Providence, and Northeastern dropped their exhibition contests.

2. The preseason coaches’ poll was released: And Boston University was tabbed first with 53 points, just edging out Boston College’s 51. Both earned four first-place votes each. Northeastern was third, with Vermont behind in fourth, while Providence, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire rounded out the rankings. The full poll can be found here.

3. Vermont announced its 2014-15 promotional schedule: The Catamounts will again have a “Pack the Gut” game as they try to break the Hockey East attendance record, which they set at last year’s Pack the Gut event against Boston College. This year’s game will be held on Friday, Oct. 24 against Union College. Vermont’s full promotional schedule release is here.

4. Merrimack makes a coaching staff addition: Merrimack has added two-time U.S. Olympian and former New Hampshire defenseman Kacey Bellamy to its coaching staff as an assistant. Bellamy will join head coach Erin Hamlen and fellow assistant Brent Hill. Merrimack is set to join Division I hockey as a member of Hockey East in 2015-16.

5. New Hampshire participated in a 5K and raised $2,500 for My Breast Cancer Support: The sixth-annual CelebratePink 5K Road Race, which took place in Portsmouth, N.H., was run in support of My Breast Cancer Support, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Seacoast-area patients. The team has participated in the event all six years it’s been held so far. Full release from UNHWildcats.com here.

College Hockey America Weekly Recap: September 29th, 2014

Friday, Sept. 26

Wisconsin 5, Lindenwood 1 Lindenwood, rather infamously, opened its NCAA Division I era with a trip to Madison to take on the star-studded Badgers, games that ended 11-0 and 13-0. Fortunately, they’ve gotten a bit more competitive since, with Shara Jasper’s first-period goal and Nicole Hensley’s 49 saves keeping the Lions within two until the late going… | Box Score | LindenwoodLions.com Recap

Penn State 5, Western Ontario 2 (Exhib.) A talented and important freshman class shined for the Nittany Lions in the program’s first exhibition game at the NCAA Division I level. Defenseman Bella Sutton stepped to the fore among that group with a pair of goals and an assist ahead of PSU’s grinder of a regular opener against Minnesota next week. | Box Score | GoPSUSports.com Recap

Bemidji State 5, Robert Morris 2 The Colonials missed a chance to make an early positive statement in its quest for an NCAA Tournament bid, instead making a negative one in getting swept at home by Bemidji State, a member of the WCHA’s lower classes. Erin Staniewski and Rebecca Vint scored for RMU, but the Beavers victimized a young Colonials D, posting 35 shots and making goalie Jessica Dodds look human. | Box Score | RMUColonials.com Recap

Saturday, Sept. 27

Wisconsin 6, Lindenwood 0 …at the same time, things really haven’t changed that much over the last three years. LU was outshot 102-29 over the two contests, and the Badgers once again overpowered the Lions late in this one, after only accumulating a 1-0 lead halfway through. | Box Score | LindenwoodLions.com Recap

Bemidji State 3, Robert Morris 1 Bobby Mo did a little better in the second game of the series, riding a Staniewski goal to an advantage for most of the game. Jenessa Philipczyk and Alexis Joyce flipped the result in an 11-minute span bridging the second and third periods though, and Stephanie Anderson grabbed a late empty-netter. | Box Score | RMUColonials.com Recap

Mercyhurst 7, Pursuit of Excellence 0 (Exhib.) Mike Sisti’s gang was presented with few issues in a dominating exhibition win. Jenna Dingeldein led the way with a hat trick, while Kirsten Miller had a goal and two helpers. Things ramp up a bit for the Lakers next weekend when Providence comes to town for their regular season opener. | Box Score | HurstAthletics.com Recap

WCHA Women’s Hockey Weekly Recap: September 29th, 2014

Friday, Sept. 26

Minnesota Duluth 4, Connecticut 4 (OT)

The Bulldogs found themselves down 3-0 less than 15 minutes into the game, but thanks to two goals each from Lara Stalder and Ashleigh Brykaliuk, they fought back to earn the tie. | Box Score | UMDBulldogs.com Recap

Bemidji State 5, Robert Morris 2

The Beavers scored three unanswered third period goals to pull away from the Colonials and seal the win. The team was led by a three-point night from Kaitlyn Tougas. | Box Score | BSUBeavers.com Recap

Wisconsin 5, Lindenwood 1

Katy Josesphs’ two-goal, three-point night led the Badgers to their first victory over the new season. Transfer goaltender Megan Miller made nine saves on 10 shots in her first start for Wisconsin. | Box Score | UWBadgers.com Recap

St. Cloud State 3, Toronto Jr. Aeros 0 (Exhib.)

Lauren Hespenheide, Kelsey Saelens, and Jenna Redford all scored for Huskies, who captured the win in exhibition action. | SCSUHuskies.com Recap

Saturday, Sept. 27

Minnesota Duluth 3, Connecticut 0

The Bulldogs ended their non-conference series with a win over the Huskies. Their power play came up big with two goals, while Michelle Lowenhielm recorded a goal and an assist. | Box Score | UMDBulldogs.com Recap

Bemidji State 3, Robert Morris 1

The Beavers erased an early Colonials lead to seal the win and sweep Robert Morris on the road, advancing to 2-0-0 so far on the year. | Box Score | BSUBeavers.com Recap

Wisconsin 6, Lindenwood 0

Jorie Walters earned the shutout in net for the Badgers and forward Karley Sylvester netted a goal and three assists, while freshman forward Annie Pankowski had a four-assist night. | Box Score | UWBadgers.com Recap

North Dakota 9, Toronto Jr. Aeros 1 (Exhib.)

Gracen Hirschy and Shannon Kaiser each scored two goals apiece, while Leah Jensen led UND with a four-point night. | Box Score | UNDSports.com Recap

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Sunday, Sept. 28

Ohio State 2, Western Ontario 2 (Exhib.)

Claudia Kepler’s two assists helped lead the Buckeyes to a tie in exhibition action, their first contest of the 2014-15 season. | OhioStateBuckeyes.com Recap