Commentary

Yale, UNH exit playoffs early

Updated: March 16, 2010, 11:06 AM ET
By Mike Eidelbes and Joe Gladziszewski | Inside College Hockey

[+] EnlargeUVM Hockey
AP Photo/Josh GibneyNew Hampshire, the top seed in Hockey East, lost its quarterfinal playoff series to Vermont in OT.

Cameron Talbot
Alabama-Huntsville
Sr. | G | Caledonia, Ontario

His Statistics: Made 72 saves on 74 shots in CHA tournament wins against Robert Morris and Niagara.

His Impact: Cameron Talbot was the man for Alabama-Huntsville as he stopped 72 of 74 shots he faced on the weekend as the Chargers won the College Hockey America tournament championship. He earned the tournament's most valuable player award.

Talbot's 29-save shutout of Robert Morris in the semifinals sent the Chargers to the championship game, and was UAH's first shutout since November of 2008. Talbot made 43 saves in the championship game.

Some say the goalie is a team's most-important penalty killer and Talbot epitomized that. He held Robert Morris scoreless in seven power-play opportunities and blanked Niagara in five extra-man chances as 18 of his saves on the weekend came during opposition power plays.

Runners-Up: Louie Caporusso, Michigan; Mike Clemente, Brown; Josh Heidinger, Canisius; Rob Madore, Vermont; Garrett Roe, St. Cloud State.

Stick Salute

Sunday night hockey is a rare occurrence in the college game, but nine games were played this past weekend as playoff series were stretched to the limit across the nation. Not only did it give fans an opportunity to get out to their local rinks one last time before games move to neutral sites, but fans of other teams around the nation certainly followed along to see which opponent their favorite team might draw next weekend or how certain results impacted NCAA Tournament criteria.

Bench Minor

INCH has long heralded the regular-season championship as a worthwhile and meaningful goal for all teams to achieve. It's a sign of sustained excellence against regional and traditional rivals over a long period of time. Here's another benefit: It guarantees a very good overall record, and is a nice insurance blanket if things don't go your way in the conference tournament.

Top-seeds and first-place teams New Hampshire, Yale and Bemidji State were all eliminated in their first action of their respective conference tournaments. UNH and Yale lost quarterfinal playoff series on home ice. Bemidji State lost in the semifinals of the College Hockey America tournament. It's no way to get momentum for the NCAA Tournament, but teams (Denver and Miami come to mind) have proven that you can have success in the national tourney after early exits in the conference playoffs.

Say What?

"That was a vicious hit … it's not the kind of hits we want to see in the game. My own personal feeling, it was more than a five."

Minnesota coach Don Lucia, talking to reporters Sunday about a second-period hit by North Dakota forward Matt Frattin that knocked Gopher defenseman Kevin Wehrs out of the team's season-ending loss in Grand Forks. Frattin was given a five-minute major for charging but was not tossed from the game.

On Monday, the WCHA suspended Frattin for Thursday's Final Five play-in game against Minnesota Duluth. It's the right call. Video screen captures may paint a picture of Frattin's innocence but as INCH's Joe Gladziszewski noted, one video frame represents one-thirtieth of a second and the impact of that collision lasts much longer. Wehrs exposed himself to a big hit, but Frattin left his skates and got his elbows and stick up.

Rankings Outrage

What does Union need to do to get more love? The Dutchmen are one of 12 teams in the country that enter the week nine games or more above .500, yet the voter-driven polls have them ranked 15th, behind two 17-13-7 teams, New Hampshire and Vermont (which was also two games below .500 in conference play). Maybe it's the lack of marquee wins -- Union's best victories are a pair of season-opening wins against Maine.

Tweet Of The Week

@Mike McKenzie11 Good to see all my fellow SLU students back from spring break … well rested and tanned. Must be nice.

St. Lawrence senior forward Mike McKenzie, who's typically good for at least one hilarious tweet a week, is a Twitter must-follow for college hockey fans. And while he may not be tan or rested, he and his teammates are playing for the ECAC Hockey playoff championship this weekend in Albany.

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