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Joe Gladziszewski (2:00 PM)
Good afternoon and welcome to Inside College Hockey's weekly chat here on ESPN.com. We just finished up a compelling weekend of holiday tournament action in which Hockey East teams made a statement and significant upsets grabbed headlines.
Gerard (Houston, TX)
Let's get right to it, thoughts on the epic 1-0 2ot GLI championship? Here's mine: Damn you Billy Sauer! If he would have played like the Sauer of old I could have seen my first MTU GLI Championship.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:03 PM)
Let's start with a few questions on the GLI ... and Billy Sauer, the Michigan goalie who was selected as INCH's National Player of the Week for his back-to-back shutout performances at Joe Louis Arena. You're not alone, Gerard. Some of the college hockey traditionalists would like to see another GLI title for the MIchigan Tech Huskies, the tournament's host school. In recent seasons, this tournament has been a showcase for emerging talents, and a springboard to future success. With this statement by Sauer, nobody should doubt Michigan's goaltending down the stretch.
Mike (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
What happened to MSU last weekend?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:06 PM)
Another GLI thought, this one on the team that finished fourth ... Michigan State. The Spartans were obviously disappointed to be playing in the third-place game and came out with that kind of effort. According to reports, the Spartans lacked effort and passion, and they were "rewarded" with an early-morning practice on Sunday following the tournament to refocus them for this weekend's series against Lake Superior State at Munn.
Edward (South St. Paul, MN)
How can you guys not rank the Gophers? They had guys missing and won't be full strength until after world juniors. This team will prove you wrong down the stretch.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:09 PM)
We don't rank a team based on its potential, or what it's missing. We rank a team based on its performance. The facts are these -- Minnesota is a .500 team; two games under .500 in the WCHA, just lost one of its best players, and lost at home to RIT ... another .500 team from Atlantic Hockey, and tied at home against Air Force.
Joe (Livonia, Mich.)
Hockey East's weekend was an abberation, right? Who had them pegged as the best conference out there?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:11 PM)
It's a bit of a jump to call Hockey East the best conference out there, but the impressive tourney wins by UMass, Boston College, Lowell, and Northeastern are noted. As was UNH's split at North Dakota.
Frank (Boston, MA)
How long can Northeastern keep this up? And what are the Huskies chances at the Beanpot this year in your opinion?
Elizabeth (Worcester, Mass.)
Does Northeastern have the offense to hang in with the likes of BC in Hockey East?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:14 PM)
Two questions, one answer on the Huskies. Northeastern has proven itself capable of "keeping it up" because they've been consistent for the last two months and have taken care of business in the league and outside of the league. With a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) following a four-game skid, Northeastern has shown itself as a legitimate NCAA Tournament contender and certainly a contender for Hockey East honors. There are a lot of good teams right on Northeastern's heels, however, and the pick here is that BC wins the conference regular season, as well as the Beanpot.
With the Holidays over -- an nearly half a season in the books, is it time to worry about the ECAC -- Clarkson is really the only team with good out of conference wins (not to mention a lot of bad out of conference losses by ECACH members); all of this leads to the conclusion that the ECAC is getting one team in the Dance unless Clarkson is upset in Albany -- therefore is this weekend's game against BC a MUST WIN (even though it is January) for Clarkson and the league's hopes of a top 2 seed (ie Albany for the Regionals); additionally should they just write the trip to Florida off and go back to the drawing board?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:17 PM)
Clarkson's trip to Florida was a low point of the season. Players missed games due to disciplinary reasons and there was the opening-round loss to Maine, but the bright spot was rallying for three third-period goals to get a tie against Cornell. That third period may give Clarkson some momentum as they host a red-hot Boston College team this weekend at Cheel. Yes, it's a big game for at-large consideration for the NCAAs, but more important to the Knights is getting back to playing well before returning to league play.
Jeff (Rochester NY)
How big was RIT's win over the U of M and how big was their loss to B.C.?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:20 PM)
It was a great win for RIT, but the follow-up defeat at the hands of Boston College sheds some light on the bigger picture, which is that they've still got a long way to go to consistently compete with college hockey's major powers. That is the case for all Atlantic Hockey programs with scholarship limitations and facilities and traditions that make it very hard to compete for top-level recruits against the best schools in the game. Despite the loss to BC, the Tigers will always have that win over the Gophers to look back on. Not many players will finish their college careers able to say, "We beat the Gophers at Mariucci," but RIT's players will.
Justin H (Denver, CO)
What is wrong with Denver's PP? Is it execution or style? Should Gwoz change it up and try something new?
Jess Myers (2:21 PM)
Amazing how that's suddenly the issue on a team with no other real issues. The one time I saw Denver lose this year, the special teams were indeed the source of trouble. I think the problem has got to be execution, because I would have a hard time questioning the skill of the players Gwozdecky is putting on the ice. But again, if that's your biggest problem and you're 16-4-0, you're doing OK.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:23 PM)
... and keep in mind that Tyler Ruegsegger and Rhett Rakhshani are away at World Juniors. New faces on special teams units make chemistry difficult, but it is a problem that has been going on all year for the Pioneers.
I saw how they messed up the shootout in Madison this weekend. Does it seem like that happens every year? Can't they send out a memo or something to get it right?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:26 PM)
Sending out a reminder memo to host schools or tournament directors would be a great start, as the NCAA certainly does a lot of communication to its membership through memos and letters. The more important thing would be to make sure that teams in all leagues are clear about the shootout protocol for next season, when it's possible (even likely) that the shootout will be used during the regular season.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:27 PM)
For the record, the preferred shootout protocol by the NCAA is that five shooters from each team are selected for the first round. If it is tied after those first five attempts, sudden-death rounds will follow, repeating the order of the original five shooters.
Justin H (Denver, CO)
A bit off topic, but how about that winter showcase in Buffalo outdoors in the NHL... what a great game to watch. Do you think we will see a college holiday tourney in that atmosphere soon?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:29 PM)
I don't think we'll see an entire tournament played in that type of venue, although there will potentially be an enormous crowd in a non-traditional hockey venue at the 2010 Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit. Seeing that game, and especially Ryan Miller and Adam Hall playing in it, reminded me that college hockey was first on board with this whole idea at Spartan Stadium, and again successfully hosted a similar event when Wisconsin and Ohio State played at Lambeau Field.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:30 PM)
That's all of the time we have for questions today. Thanks for sending them in, and for reading Inside College Hockey.