Games To Watch Around College Hockey: Week Nine

Story posted December 3, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Mike Wszolek

Last week everybody was treated to some action-packed games, and there will be much of the same this weekend. However, this week starts conference play for some teams in college hockey. Conference games mean more to teams where there will be extra hustle and more exciting play.

No. 3 Quinnipiac at No. 10 Yale

This will be a one-time game on Friday, featuring two top teams from Connecticut. Quinnipiac will enter the game coming off of a two-game weekend sweep of UMass remaining undefeated with a 13-0-2 record. Yale will be coming in with a 5-2-2 record after a heartbreaking loss to top-ranked Providence last Saturday. Yale led by one after two periods, but Providence scored two quick goals in the third to hang on. Yale wants and needs this win badly after their last loss. Yale goaltender Alex Lyon is top ten in all of college hockey and has a .937 save percentage. Besides the four goals given up against Providence, Lyon has been sharp stopping almost everything shot at him. If Yale wants to give Quinnipiac its first loss, they have to stay out of the penalty box. Quinnipiac forward Tim Clifton is tied for the college lead in power play goals with five. Also joining Clifton with five is his teammate, forward Travis St. Denis. Clifton and St. Denis are deadly on offense as it is, but when they are up a man, forget about it. Puck drop is at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

No. 9 Denver at No. 4 North Dakota

Another matchup of two top ten teams, Denver and North Dakota, are both expected to stay there throughout the season. Hockey fans will be treated to not only one, but two games between the two teams this weekend. Last weekend, Denver had a two-game series at the Kohl Center in Wisconsin. The team would’ve liked to come out with two wins, but instead the Pioneers tied one and won the other. Denver needs to get at least one at North Dakota and improve their current record of 7-3-2. All three of their losses have come on the road, which is why these two games can be critical, confidence wise. Denver won three of the five meetings between the two teams last year including an NCHC tournament game. Entering, North Dakota has a 12-2-2 record and has the home ice this weekend where they have only lost one game this year. These should be two fantastic games with Friday’s game starting at 8:37 pm EST and Saturday’s at 8:07 p.m.

No. 1 Providence vs. No. 16 Merrimack

The top team in the country will once again face another test. this time from Merrimack in a home and home weekend series. Merrimack will host the Friars on Friday, and Providence will be home Saturday. Providence has yet to lose a game all year, but Merrimack has opened some eyes with a few of the results it has gotten. The Warriors have already knocked off Boston University and tied UMass-Lowell twice. Merrimack (6-2-4) likes to shoot the puck averaging around 29 shots per game, but Providence has one of the best goalies in college. Nick Ellie has a .929 save percentage and has not let in more than three goals a game except for one game this season. Merrimack is tied for ninth in team defense, which is better than Providence, so the two games played should be pretty even. Friday and Saturday night’s games will both begin at 7 p.m..

Three really good games to keep an eye on this weekend, however, there are even more to watch. No. 6 Nebraska-Omaha will face No. 7 St. Cloud State on Friday and Saturday, and No. 13 St. Lawrence will take on No. 15 Cornell on Friday.

Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email mewszolek@gmail.com.