March 3, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin
NCAA.com

Northeastern University remained on top of the Hockey East standings with the help of freshman forward Mike McLaughlin, who netted game-winning goals in each victory in the sweep of UMass Lowell over the weekend.

McLaughlin also tallied an assist against UML to earn the league’s Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week award. 
The Huskies’ 22 wins this season are the second-most in program history.  They have clinched home ice for the league’s best-of-three quarterfinal series on March 13-15 – the first time NU will host a playoff series since 1997-98.

Goaltender Brad Thiessen has played a crucial role in the Huskies’ success this season, and the school recently launched www.Thiessen39.com to promote him for Hockey East Player of the Year, All-America and the Hobey Baker Award. He leads the nation in minutes played in goal, and carries a 2.10 goals against average and .932 save percentage.

Northeastern looks to claim the Hockey East regular season title when it faces Boston College in a home-and-home series beginning March 6.

RIDING HIGH: Western Michigan completed the regular season with three victories, including a sweep of Bowling Green last weekend, to earn home ice advantage in the opening round of the upcoming Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament.

The Broncos netted five goals in each contests against BGSU, led by Patrick Gallivan, who stretched his scoring streak to 11 games with a goal and an assists in WMU’s 5-3 win Feb. 28.  Gallivan, who has posted at least two points in 10 of the
last 11 contests, also claimed the CCHA scoring title with 42 points on the year.

In addition, junior Tyler Ludwig was credited with three assists on the weekend, including one on each the game-tying and game-winning goals in a 5-2 win on Feb. 27, earning CCHA Defenseman of the Week honors.  Ludwig finished the regular season with career-highs in goals (7), assists (20) and points (27).

The Broncos begin postseason play by hosting Lake Superior State in the first round of the CCHA playoffs March 6.

BIG FINISH: St. Lawrence University concluded the regular season with a fourth-place finish in the ECAC Hockey standings with a pair of victories last weekend as the Saints secured a first round bye in the league’s upcoming playoffs.

Junior goaltender Alex Petizian registered two 31-save shutouts in 2-0 victories over Rensselaer and Union last weekend, and moved up a place in the standings with the help of Quinnipiac’s upset of Dartmouth over the weekend.  It was the program’s first back-to-back shutouts since 1997.  Petizian, a native of Kirkland, Quebec, now ranks ninth in the nation with a 2.06 goals against average.

The Saints completed their ECAC slate with a 5-0-1 record, moving them up to No. 15 in the latest USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Network Division I poll.

NOTABLE: North Dakota moved into first place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings for the first time this season after a three-point weekend against Colorado College.  The Fighting Sioux hold a one-point lead over second-place Denver, and will be looking for their first WCHA title since the 2004-05 season… Despite falling to Colgate in overtime to conclude the regular season on March 1, Yale walked away with its first ECAC Hockey regular season championship since the 1997-98 season.  The Bulldogs will now enjoy a weekend off before the conference tournament best-of-three quarterfinals begin March 13.  No. 11 Yale joins Cornell, Princeton and St. Lawrence as the league members that earned a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.