March 16, 2009

STOPPING `EM COLD: Senior goaltender Chad Johnson proved why he is recognized as one of the best net-minders in the nation as he lifted the University of Alaska to its third trip to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association semifinal round with a 1-0 shutout of Ohio State in the third game of the best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Johnson tallied a season-best 43 saves in the contest for his sixth shutout of the year, while rookie Ron Meyers notched the game-winning goal. The native of Calgary, Alberta, leads the nation with a .939 save percentage, and ranks second in Division I with a 1.67 goals against average. He is one of three finalists for the RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Year award, and is a Hobey Baker candidate.

The Nanooks advanced to the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for only the third time in program history, and first time since 2005. Alaska will face third-ranked Michigan on March 20. The Nanooks have never won a CCHA title. BULLDOGS BATTLE: Yale University remained in the hunt for the program's first-ever ECAC Tournament title as the top-seeded Bulldogs turned back a pesky Brown University squad with a two-game sweep in quarterfinal action last weekend. The 12th-seeded Bears entered the series fresh off consecutive shutout victories in first round play against Harvard, but Yale goalie Alec Richards fended off 19 shots in the program's first playoff shutout since 1997.

All four top seeds in the ECAC playoffs advanced to the semifinal round in the 2009 Bank of America ECAC Hockey Championship on March 20-21 at the Times Union Center. Yale will face No. 4 St. Lawrence and Princeton takes on second-seeded Cornell.

The Bulldogs have not won a game against the Saints the year, losing the first contest, 3-2, and tying the second one 2-2. Yale split its' series with Princeton and posted a 2-0 record against Cornell this season.

BEEN A WHILE: UMass Lowell has advanced to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2002 after posting a two-game sweep over Vermont in quarterfinal action last weekend.

Sophomore forward Scott Campbell registered four points against the Catamounts, including two third-period goals and an assist in the River Hawks' 4-2 win on March 14. The native of Navan, Ontario, was named Hockey East Reebok Player of the Week for his contributions. Campbell is currently tied for the team lead with 28 points on 13 goals and 15 assists.

The River Hawks have won four straight contests and are 11-4-2 over their last 17 games, and will face second-seeded Northeastern in the first semifinal game on March 20 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Mass. Boston University and Boston College will follow in the second semifinal contest.

NOTABLE: Bemidji State survived sudden death overtime against Robert Morris University to claim the 2009 College Hockey America Tournament title, and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore forward Matt Read, the team's top scorer, was credited with the game-winning goal in the 3-2 win. Read, who netted three other goals in the tournament, was named Most Outstanding Player for his efforts. It will be the Beavers' first NCAA appearance since back-to-back bids in 2005 and 2006 ... Air Force advanced to the Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament semifinals for the third straight year as the Falcons downed Sacred Heart, 8-1, in the third game of the best-of-three quarterfinal series on March 15. The Falcons are now 9-1 in AHA Tournament play, and 6-0 in elimination games. Air Force's 25 wins are a school-record for Division I victories.