Now we’re rollin’

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October 13, 2012 by Casey Hart

There were 19 NCAA Division I men’s hockey games on the schedule Friday, the first night of extensive action this season. A few quick thoughts:

• ECAC Hockey and the CCHA met in four games, with the Easterners winning three of the matchups, including one each against the defending CCHA regular-season and tournament champions. St. Lawrence, playing its first game officially under Greg Carvel, won 4-3 in overtime at No. 9 Western Michigan. The Broncos are coming off a CCHA tournament championship and regular-season runner-up finish, while the Saints placed eighth in ECAC Hockey last year. In what was perhaps an even better reminder that it’s a new season, Rensselaer, last season’s 10th-place ECAC finisher, defeated No. 11 Ferris State 3-1. All the Bulldogs did last year was take the CCHA regular-season title and go on to reach the NCAA title game. In the other games between the leagues, No. 10 Union scored a 5-3 win at Bowling Green and No. 8 Miami shut out Colgate 3-0.

• Beating a top-10 team on the road is impressive enough, but Carvel’s Saints had to overcome some extra adversity. St. Lawrence appeared set to close out the victory in regulation, only to see Garrett Haar tie the game with 31 seconds left. Jeremy Wick, however, scored the winner 93 seconds into overtime.

• Rensselaer goaltender Scott Diebold, a surprise starter to some, stopped the final 30 shots he faced after surrendering a goal in the game’s second minute.

• Vermont, last season’s Hockey East basement dweller, tied No. 6 UMass Lowell 1-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Tsongas Arena. Brady Hoffman made 38 saves in his first collegiate game, and Colin Markison scored the tying goal with less than nine minutes left. And, by the way, the Northeastern University Huskies remain in first place.

• No. 2 Minnesota, considered by many to be the top team in the country, showed why in a 5-1 throttling of No. 16 Michigan State. The host Gophers outshot the Spartans 42-26 and led by a handful before a late MSU goal.

• The only other matchup of ranked teams pitted No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 20 Maine in the opening game of the Ice Breaker tournament in Kansas City. The Irish won 1-0 behind a T.J. Tynan goal and a 22-save shutout by Steven Summerhays. Maine fell to 0-2 and has scored just one total goal in its two games. The Black Bears have not scored in their last 116 minutes of play.

• Two teams that could have just as easily been ranked met in Durham, N.H., with New Hampshire topping St. Cloud State 5-3. The UNH win marked the 500th victory in head coach Dick Umile’s career.

• No. 3 Michigan was not amused by its upset loss at the hands of RIT Thursday. Things went a little differently this time around, as the Wolverines won 7-2 and outshot the Tigers 51-23. Steve Racine won in his U-M debut.

• No. 13 Minnesota Duluth may have lost more talent than any other highly ranked team from last year but opened with what appears to have been a pretty dominant 6-2 win against Ohio State. There appears to be plenty left in the UMD arsenal.

• Penn State made its Division I debut and nearly pulled off a win, but Jon Puskar lifted American International to a 3-2 win with an overtime tally. Final shot count: 63-29, Nittany Lions. 63-29. That means 61 saves for AIC goalie Ben Meisner. Here’s hoping he makes it out of bed for Saturday’s rematch.

• No. 15 Wisconsin managed just 20 shots in a 2-1 loss to Northern Michigan to open the season. The Wildcats posted 21 shots and scored both their goals in the third period.

• The only game I’ve gotten the chance to watch so far is the second Ice Breaker semifinal, between Nebraska-Omaha and Army. The Black Knights have looked overmatched so far, as the Mavericks hold a 5-1 lead in the third after a beauty of a goal by Matt White.

• Colorado College scored two shorthanded goals in the same five-minute disadvantage during the second period of a 5-4 win against Clarkson. Give credit to the Golden Knights for scoring three third-period goals to get back in the game on the road. The win was the 300th behind the bench for CC coach Scott Owens.

• Mark Jankowski, who generated some buzz when he was selected by the Calgary Flames in the first round of this summer’s NHL draft, debuted with two goals in Providence’s 8-2 defeat of Providence.

• Massachusetts’ John Micheletto and Minnesota State’s Mike Hastings also won their coaching debuts. Their teams were both 4-1 winners, the Minutemen against future conference foe Connecticut and the Mavericks against Alabama-Huntsville.

• At the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, Air Force tied Alaska 2-2, and the host Seawolves blanked Canisius 2-0. Nik Yaremchuk scored two of the Nanooks’ three goals, and  UAA goalie Chris Kamal needed just 14 saves for the shutout.

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