MSU sends out Comley in style
Notes: Nation’s longest unbeaten streak snapped
Elliot Olshansky, NCAA.com
One of the giants of coaching in college hockey may have coached his last game on his conference’s grandest stage on Saturday. If that’s the case, Rick Comley certainly got a great sendoff.
Michigan State’s 2-1 win against then-No. 6 Michigan on Saturday wasn’t the Spartans’ first win against the Wolverines this season; that came on Jan. 7 at Munn Arena. However, it may well be the most satisfying because of the venue: Joe Louis Arena.
“I think it was really a statement game for us,” Comley said. “It was Joe Louis Arena, a big, big crowd split between the two schools. The atmosphere was great, a very competitive game.”
It’s an arena where Comley coached the Spartans to three Great Lakes Invitational championships, a CCHA championship in 2006, and multiple wins against the Wolverines.
“Certain games in certain locations have greater significance,” Comley said. “I think for this program, playing in Joe Louis has always been big, because it’s the site of the league playoff, and it’s usually the site of the biggest crowd of the year. There’s been a lot of success for Michigan State at that building over the years, so I think there’s added pressure to it, but there’s certainly added thrill for all the players. You can see it on their faces when they walk in the building.”
Of course, Comley and the Spartans could be back, since the CCHA Championship will be played at The Joe on the weekend of March 19. However, with the Spartans sitting in 10th place in the CCHA, the odds are long on MSU making that far. That means that Saturday night’s win could wind up standing as Comley’s swan song on the CCHA’s biggest stage, and if that’s the case, he’s OK with it.
“Obviously, you hope it’s not your last game,” Comley said. “But, if it is, the fact that you’ve had an opportunity to play against Michigan, to coach against Red one more time, and to beat your No. 1 rival in that setting is a good memory.”
Comley has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2010-2011 season.
Need to Know
• The nation’s longest unbeaten streak was snapped over the weekend, as Fitchburg State got two goals and an assist from Chris Riggs to defeat Plymouth State 4-1 at Hannaway Rink in Plymouth. The Falcons’ win marked the first loss for the Panthers since Nov. 18, when they fell to Salem Sate in their MASCAC opener. With Plymouth State’s unbeaten streak over at 15 games (10-0-5), the longest unbeaten streak in the country still resides in Division III. Castleton won its 13th consecutive game on Saturday, defeating Connecticut College at Spartan Arena by a 6-2 margin. The Spartans – ranked No. 3 in this week’s USCHO.com Division III poll – haven’t lost since Dec. 4, and will take their win streak on the road this weekend, visiting Southern Maine on Friday and the University of New England on Saturday.
• Yale, meanwhile, went from Nov. 14 to Jan. 15 without suffering a loss, but as the calendar turns to February, the Bulldogs are reeling, with three losses in their past five games. Keith Allain’s team had a rough weekend in New York’s “Capital District,” dropping a 3-2 decision at Union on Friday before losing 5-2 at Rensselaer on Saturday. After a hot first half of the season, Yale’s high-flying offense went cold in January. The Bulldogs who where held to three goals on only two occasions in their first 13 games, were held to just two goals on four different occasions last month, winning just one of those contests. Yale will try to regain momentum on Friday night, when a struggling Harvard team comes to town.
• Elmira is finally stating to get some respect for leading the ultra-tough ECAC West. The Soaring Eagles broke into the USCHO.com Division III poll this week at No. 13 after a
road sweep of then-No. 6 Manhattanville. Elmira is 7-0-2 since Nov. 28, and is one of four ECAC West teams in the USCHO poll, along with No. 8 Utica, No. 10 Manhattanville and No. 15 Hobart.
• Merrimack freshman Mike Collins was named the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week by Hockey East after scoring his first career hat trick. Collins, who ranks 26th nationally in rookie scoring, scored his sixth, seventh and eighth goals of the season on Saturday, as the No. 12 Warriors defeated Vermont 7-1.
• Middlebury goaltender John Yancheck was named NESCAC Player of the Week after stopping 56 of 59 shots in two games during the weekend, including 31 saves in a win at league-leading Bowdoin.
• No. 16 Western Michigan boasts two of the CCHA’s four Players of the Week, as freshman forward Chase Balisy was named the Offensive Player of the Week and sophomore defenseman Matt Tennyson was named the Defenseman of the Week. Balisy scored a goal and handed out four assists while Tennyson contributed a goal and an assist as each posted a plus-4 rating in a sweep of Northern Michigan that ran the Broncos unbeaten streak to 11 games, the longest in Division I.
• Adrian senior forward Eric Miller was named the MCHA Player of the Week after scoring five goals in the No. 6 Bulldogs swept Finlandia during the weekend. Miller’s teammate, Adrian senior Sean Skelly, was one of two Bulldogs who broke the MCHA career assists record during the weekend. Skelly was first, setting up Jordan Watt’s goal at 7:44 of the third period in Friday’s 6-1 win for his 84th career assist, then set up the third goal of Miller’s hat trick on Saturday for his 85th assist. Mike Dahlinger tied Skelly with three assists in Saturday’s 9-2 victory.
• Air Force senior forward Jacques Lamoureux was named Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week after scoring four goals and adding an assist in a win and tie against Canisius. Lamoureux, who ranks seventh in Atlantic Hockey in points with 28, broke the program record for career power-play goals and extended his career-record for game-winning goals during the weekend.
• Cortland junior Brittan Kuhlman was named the SUNYAC Goalie of the Week after a weekend that saw him backstop the Red Dragons to their first win at Plattsburgh. A native of Elkhorn, Neb., Kuhlman turned aside all 40 shots he faced to defeat the No. 7 Cardinals, then followed it up with 31 saves in an overtime win at Potsdam the next night.