The first Mercyhurst men’s hockey season was 1987-88. The Lakers spent that season as a Division III independent team before moving to ECAC East within Division III the following season. Mercyhurst posted an impressive inaugural season record of 16-7-0. One of the teams on the schedule that season was Division I Notre Dame. The game that took place November 25, 1987, between Mercyhurst and Notre Dame is important in that it’s the first time Mercyhurst played a Division I opponent. The visiting Fighting Irish won the game 7-3 and would end up with an impressive 27-4-2 record. The two teams met again during the 1990-91 season when Mercyhurst was still a Division III program. The first time the two teams met in a true Division I game was October 13, 2007, during a season-kickoff tournament in Ohio. The teams have met five times overall throughout the years.
By the time the 1947-48 hockey season ended in early March, St. Lawrence had put together the most successful team the school had seen to date. St. Lawrence finished 6-3-0 in collegiate play and broke all of the previous school records. The Saints were managed by first-year coach, Paul Patten, who doubled as the school’s backfield coach for the football squad. Defenseman Jack Klemens served as captain in his final season at St. Lawrence. The school paper and yearbook boasted a record of 9-5-1. However, six of the contests were considered exhibitions due to games against Canadian schools and other hockey programs outside of the college ranks. Either way, it was the first winning season in St. Lawrence hockey history. And in what could be considered the biggest accomplishment, this winning season was played almost exclusively in opponents’ rinks. The Skating Saints only played one game on home ice.
The Saints scored 112 goals throughout the season. This shattered the previous school record of 39 goals scored during the 1940-41 season. Tom Gerard scored 23 goals with 19 assists to set the school record at the time for most points scored in a season. Bud Crutchley tied Gerard for the school record in assists with 19 as well. There were several notable games for the program as well. In the Saints’ first-ever meeting with Princeton, St. Lawrence shocked the hockey world with a 6-3 victory at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink. And the scarlet-clad hockey team defeated Union late in the season by a seemingly improbable score of 17-0.
This season jump started the program. St. Lawrence put together 16 seasons in a row with winning records thereafter. This included the 1960-61 season where the Saints were national runners-up. In 1951, the program moved the hockey games indoors to Appleton Arena where the Saints home games are played to this day in Canton, New York.
This is the next installment in our On Location series where we live tweet a college game (or games) that we attend in person and then later post an article here on the site. If you missed our first installment, you can read it here.
Teams (seed): Denver Pioneers (1), North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2), Western Michigan Broncos (3), Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (5)
Where: Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota
When: March 18/19, 2022
Denver came into the weekend as the number one seed in the conference tournament and started the weekend against the only team to win an opening-round upset: Minnesota Duluth. It was the first time back at Xcel Energy Center for both teams since a previous Frozen Faceoff tournament March 23, 2019.
The Bulldogs scored first in the opening period. There was no scoring in the middle frame and for the majority of the third period. UMD scored an empty-net goal with 20 seconds left to defeat the top-seed Pioneers 2-0. The Bulldogs were set to play in the conference’s championship game for a fourth time the following night.
The two NCHC trophies were on display. The Penrose Cup on the left is awarded to the top team during the regular season. Denver and North Dakota were co-champions this season. The NCHC Tournament Trophy is on the right and was on hand to be presented to the winner on the ice after the championship game March 19, 2022.
The second semifinal game was second seed North Dakota against third seed Western Michigan. The Fighting Hawks were looking to become the first repeat Frozen Faceoff champion in conference history. The Broncos were looking for the program’s first Frozen Faceoff win. This was Western Michigan’s first game at the X since losing an opening round NCAA tournament game to North Dakota March 24, 2012. This was North Dakota’s first game in the venue since a 4-1 victory over UMD in the 2018 Frozen Faceoff consolation game. It’s worth noting the consolation game for this season was cancelled due to the Minnesota Wild hosting a hockey game during the day on Saturday prior to the NCHC championship game.
North Dakota got off to a fast start by scoring first but Western Michigan answered back less than two minutes later. The first period ended 1-1. The Broncos went up 2-1 in the second period and then scored again with less than a minute remaining. The Fighting Hawks answered back by cutting the lead back to one with less than eight seconds remaining in the period. The third period remained scoreless until an empty-net goal from Western Michigan clinched the program’s first Frozen Faceoff win. It would be Western Michigan versus Minnesota Duluth in the title game the following night.
There’s an area in the Xcel Energy Center that is dedicated to the Patty Kazmaier and Hobey Baker Memorial Awards. It includes a list of past winners, jerseys, a replica award, and information about the trophies and players they are named after.
The 2022 NCHC championship game took place the evening of Saturday, March 19, 2022. The Western Michigan Broncos were looking for the program’s first NCHC tournament title and were facing two-time winners Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Following the blueprint from the first game of the weekend, the Bulldogs jumped on the board first in the opening period. UMD scored in the middle frame to take a 2-0 lead on a power play goal from Casey Gilling. Ryan Fanti continued his hot streak and made some fantastic saves to prevent the Broncos from getting momentum. Wyatt Kaiser’s goal in the third period iced the game.
The UMD Bulldogs won the program’s third Frozen Faceoff title. Noah Cates accepted the trophy at center ice after the game and Ryan Fanti was awarded the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. He did not allow a goal throughout the last six periods of play. By the end of the tournament Fanti was sitting at an active shutout streak of 145:21 dating back to the St. Cloud State series. With this win, UMD broke the two-way tie with Denver for the lead in number of NCHC tournament championships.
The Minnesota State Mavericks elevated its men’s hockey program to Division I prior to the 1996-97 season. The Mavericks were known as the Mankato State University Mavericks at the time. While still considered an independent team the following season, MSU was scheduled to join the WCHA in 1999. The first time the Mavericks traveled up highway 169 to meet the Minnesota Golden Gophers was January 2, 1998.
The second year Division I program was facing a Minnesota team that was coming off a 28-13-1 season that ended in a tie for first place in the WCHA. The Mavericks posted a 17-14-3 record the previous season against a mix of Division I and III teams. The favored home team welcomed the Mavericks to Mariucci by defeating them 6-2. The following night was a closer affair with the Gophers victorious once again; this time in a one-goal game 4-3. The Mavericks would end up with a 15-17-6 record in the first-ever season against only Division I opponents. While not technically a part of the WCHA during the 1997-98 season, the Mavericks were invited to play in the WCHA playoffs due to the future admission of the team. At 17-22-0, the Gophers ended with a surprising losing record that season as well. It was the Gophers first losing season since 1976-77. Both teams would lose in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Fast forward twenty-four years and both of these hockey programs have ascended to the top of Division I men’s hockey. While this is relatively new success for Minnesota State, it’s a return to glory for the Gophers. Minnesota State won the first NCAA tournament game in program history last season and rode the momentum to the 2021 Frozen Four. In fact, the Mavericks shut out the Gophers 4-0 to reach the Frozen Four last year in the first-ever meeting in the NCAA tournament between these programs. The same two teams will play Thursday, April 7, in the second semifinal of the night in Boston. The Gophers are out for revenge while the Mavericks hope to make the leap to the NCAA title game for the first time.
In the featured photo, Mavericks goalie Des Christopher blocks a shot January 2, 1998, in the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
The Michigan Wolverines and Denver Pioneers have a long history against one another on the ice. The first meeting between these storied programs took place in 1951. The teams were long-time division rivals in the WCHA until Michigan left for the CCHA in 1981. The two teams met four times throughout the 1961-62 regular season with each team sweeping at home. All four games took place in February 1962. The tiebreaker would take place in the WCHA playoffs at the beginning of the following month.
The 1962 WCHA tournament included the top four teams in the conference and took place at the Weinberg Coliseum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Third seed Denver faced second seed Michigan in a battle of familiar foes in the second semifinal game March 2, 1962. The other semifinal game took place between Michigan Tech and Michigan State the previous night. The Wolverines proved to be too much for the Pioneers and won 8-4 in front of the home crowd. The legendary Red Berenson scored a hat trick in the game. As in the previous season, Berenson was selected to the All-WCHA First Team during the 1961-62 season. He was honored as a West All-American in those two seasons as well.
Both teams lost their next WCHA playoff game. Denver lost the consolation game to Michigan State 4-3 and Michigan lost the WCHA title game later that night to Michigan Tech 6-4. This marked the end of the Pioneers season while the Wolverines were invited to the 1962 NCAA tournament as the West’s at-large bid. Michigan lost the opening semifinal game to Clarkson but defeated St. Lawrence to earn the Third Place trophy. Michigan Tech defeated Clarkson in the championship game 7-1 to earn the program’s first national title.
Red Berenson added another honor to his name when he was voted to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team in 1962. He would later play in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. Berenson coached the Blues before heading back to his alma mater to coach the Michigan hockey team. He was the long-time head coach of the Wolverines from 1984 through 2017 and won two NCAA championships.
Denver and Michigan will meet Thursday, April 7, in the 2022 Frozen Four semifinal in Boston. This will be the 84th meeting in the series. The teams have only played each other twice since a 1981 WCHA playoff series and both games took place within the NCAA tournament. The winner on Thursday will play either Minnesota or Minnesota State in the NCAA Division I men’s championship game on Saturday.
In the featured image Red Berenson is shown scoring one of his three goals against Denver in the 1962 WCHA playoff game March 2, 1962.
Photo Credit: U-M Library Digital Collections. Bentley Image Bank, Bentley Historical Library.
The 2013 Frozen Four in Pittsburgh was unique in that the four teams were all searching for their first Division I men’s hockey championship. Of these teams, only Yale had previously reached the national semifinals back in 1952; long before the Frozen Four moniker was even an idea. Two of the teams from the 2013 Frozen Four will be facing off against one another in the national tournament this Friday.
Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State were slated for the nightcap on Thursday, April 11, 2013. These were two teams who took similar routes to get to this destination yet ended up with opposite seeds in the 2013 national tournament. Quinnipiac was the number one seed in the East Region after winning the ECAC regular season title and going 27-7-5 prior to the national tournament. The Bobcats lost the ECAC semifinal game against Brown yet still ended up a one seed in the regional. St. Cloud State represented the WCHA in the team’s last year in the conference and went 23-15-1 prior to the national tournament. The Huskies won the WCHA regular season title yet lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA semifinals. Warranted or not, the Huskies ended up as the fourth seed in the Midwest Region. Quinnipiac defeated Canisius and Union to win the region. St. Cloud State defeated Notre Dame and Miami.
Yale won a close contest with Massachusetts Lowell in the early game April 11, 2013. The second game that night tilted in the Bobcats favor early. Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored a power play goal less than two minutes into the game for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats didn’t let up, scoring less than four minutes later. Then scored again to make it 3-0 before the end of the first period. The Huskies got one back in the second after a goal from Joey Benik but Quinnipiac answered back before the next intermission. A scoreless third period propelled Quinnipiac into the title game.
Quinnipiac faced division-rival Yale in a battle between Connecticut schools and a repeat of the ECAC Third Place Game. The Bobcats defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 in that earlier game but it would be a different outcome when it mattered the most. Yale won the program’s first NCAA national title after a 4-0 shut out and the Bulldogs were crowned 2013 national champions.
Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State will meet this Friday in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA men’s national tournament. The two teams are in the Midwest Regional and will play at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Bobcats are the second seed while the Huskies are the third seed. Both teams are at-large bids. Will Quinnipiac defeat the Huskies on the national stage yet again or will St. Cloud State avenge the loss from 2013? The victor will face the winner of Michigan and American International for a chance to head to the 2022 Frozen Four.
The first season the University of Connecticut officially fielded a hockey team was 1960-61. The first game in program history took place at Harvard against the Crimson JV team. The Huskies lost 7-3 but it wasn’t too surprising since the team only practiced several times before the first game and did not have a hockey rink of their own. The Huskies would play all games on the road throughout this inaugural season. In fact, it would be several seasons before the Huskies would host a hockey game. The first program win for UConn was the second game of the 1960-61 season when the Huskies defeated Fort Devens 4-3. UConn would end up with a respectable 4-6-1 record in the program’s first season. The highlight of the season was a 7-4 win over MIT followed by an 8-7 victory over American International to end the season. The Huskies had three goal scorers in double digits in 1960-61. John Dello Stritto led the team with 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists).
UConn joined the ECAC the following season. From there, the UConn program didn’t sit still for long. The Huskies made the move to ECAC 2 in 1963 (to be classified later as Division II in 1973). When ECAC 2 was split into two conferences in 1984, UConn became a part of ECAC East and moved to Division III along with the conference. The Huskies made the jump back to Division I hockey prior to the 1998 season as one of the founding members of the new Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (MAAC) hockey conference. Then five years later UConn was one of the teams that left the MAAC to start the Atlantic Hockey Association in 2003. The Huskies stayed in that conference until 2014 when the program moved to Hockey East, where the team resides today.
The Huskies won the program’s first-ever Hockey East postseason game last weekend in a 3-1 victory over Boston University. UConn will be heading to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time and will face Northeastern at TD Garden in Boston this Friday, March 18.
Photo Credit: Connecticut Huskies 1960-61 team photo from the University of Connecticut Nutmeg Yearbook, 1961.
The team we all know as the Minnesota State Mavericks went by a different name in 1995. Mankato State University transferred to the newly created Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system in 1995. However, the school didn’t change its name until 1998. The Mankato State Mavericks hosted a team from the Twin Cities January 27, 1995. The St. Thomas Tommies made their way to southern Minnesota that Friday to take on the Mavericks in the first game of a home-and-home series that weekend. While both programs are currently playing Division I hockey, the Mavericks were Division II and the Tommies were Division III during the 1994-95 season.
The Mavericks had a 16-5 record going into the Friday night game. The Tommies held a lead going into the third period that night thanks to stellar play by goalie Brian Volp. Mark Zacharias scored 8:50 into the period to tie it for the home team. Then with 24 seconds remaining, Brian Amundson scored the power play game winner for the Mavericks. The two teams would play the next night in St. Paul where the Mavericks won again by a one-goal margin. This time in a higher-scoring affair: 6-5.
This January 27, 1995, game is historic for Minnesota State in that it was the last men’s hockey game played at All Seasons Arena in Mankato. The men’s team played the first game at the new Mankato Civic Center (now known as the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center) the following weekend. The Mavericks defeated Alabama-Huntsville 6-3 February 3, 1995, to christen the new arena. The Minnesota State men’s team still practices at All Seasons Arena and the women’s hockey team plays home games there.
The same two teams will meet for a best-of-three series this weekend in Mankato at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center during the opening weekend of the playoffs for the revived CCHA. Minnesota State is the top-seed in the conference. These two teams – along with all other CCHA teams – are looking to win the famed Mason Cup in this first season of the reforged CCHA. This is also the first season St. Thomas is participating in Division I hockey.
In the featured image, Aaron Broten of Mankato State takes a shot against St. Thomas goalie Brian Volp at All Seasons Arena.
Photo Credit: Mankato State Reporter, Vol. 66, No. 41, January 31, 1995.
The 53rd Beanpot took place February 2005 between the same four men’s hockey teams that had participated since the first tournament in 1952. At the time, the Boston College Eagles were the reigning Beanpot champions after defeating Boston University the previous February by a score of 2-1 in overtime. It was the Eagles 13th Beanpot title. The 2005 tournament was held in the arena currently known as TD Garden. However, it was known as YourGarden in 2005 when it was in naming-rights limbo after FleetCenter and before TD Garden.
The early game on Monday, February 7, was between Northeastern and Harvard. The crowd got its money’s worth from the get-go when it took two overtimes for Northeastern to defeat the Crimson 2-1. The nightcap saw Boston University defeat the Eagles 3-1 setting up a Northeastern versus Boston College Beanpot title game.
The Huskies brought a 10-13-4 record into the Beanpot. The Terriers had a winning record of 15-10-2 at the time. Boston University had previously defeated Northeastern 3-1 earlier in the season on January 7. A sellout crowd was on hand for the Beanpot final between the two Boston schools. Boston University scored twice in the first period but Northeastern chipped away with a goal in each of the final two periods. At the end of regulation, the score was tied 2-2. The game was decided a little more than 14 minutes into overtime when Chris Bourque (son of Ray Bourque) scored to clinch the Beanpot for Boston University.
It was the third time in four years and ninth time in eleven that the Terriers had won the men’s Beanpot. It also marked the 24th time in 39 years. A truly incredible Beanpot run for Boston University. In the above photo, Boston University players mob Bourque and celebrate the Beanpot championship.
Exactly seventeen years later on February 14, the same two teams will meet in the 69th men’s Beanpot final at TD Garden. As the reigning three-time Beanpot champions, Northeastern will be looking to four-peat. Boston University will look to win the Beanpot for the first time since 2015.
There was a specific time in the 1950s when the Ivy League hosted its own hockey conference. This occurred in the six seasons between the ending of the Pentagonal League and formation of the ECAC. The 1957-58 season took place during that time. Dartmouth posted a 13-12-0 record the season before. The team also had a winning Ivy League record of 5-3-0. Yale came into the season looking to improve upon a 10-15-0 overall and matching 5-3-0 Ivy League record from the previous season.
The game that took place on the Dartmouth campus January 11, 1958, was technically the Ivy League opener for both teams. However, Yale played Brown in the third game of the RPI Tournament in Troy, New York, the week before. The Indians (later renamed the Big Green in the 1970s) touted a 7-2-0 nonconference record. Yale was looking to rebound from an early hole of 2-6-1 and get back into the win column for the first time since December 4, 1957.
The game was played on campus at Davis Rink – the precursor to Thompson Arena. The home team would end up victorious by a score of 5-2. In the featured photo, sophomore Ryan Ostebo scores as a Yale player defends. Ostebo grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was a standout defenseman on the Dartmouth team. He was twice named to the All Ivy Team and once to the All New England Team.
The nonconference hot streak at the beginning of the season would help Dartmouth finish with a 13-10-1 winning record despite the team’s 2-5-1 Ivy League record. Yale bounced back after this game and went 2-0-1 in the following three games. The Bulldogs ended with an 8-12-2 record yet were even with a 4-4-0 in-conference Ivy League record.
The six Division I men’s hockey programs that are a part of the Ivy League today are currently members of the ECAC. The Ivy League team with the best record against the other five teams are crowned the Ivy League hockey champion. There was no Ivy League champion crowned last season during 2020-21 due to the schools not participating during the pandemic. Cornell was the Ivy League champion for the 2019-20 season with an 8-1-1 Ivy League record.
The Dartmouth Library Archives noted the game was from January 1, 1958, due to the hand-written note on the back of the featured photograph. However, Dartmouth and Yale archives state the game was played January 11, 1958, with neither team playing January 1. This archival date was likely due to an overzealous comma in the hand-written “January, 1958” note being mistook as the number one on the back of the photo.