For the third straight week, the Hobart College hockey team was ranked fifth in the USCHO.com poll. The Statesmen, who wrapped up their regular season on Saturday, will begin play in the New England Hockey Conference tournament Saturday, Feb. 22, when they host Skidmore. Faceoff at The Cooler is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Additionally, Hobart is fourth in the PairWise rankings, up two spots from last week. Pairwise is a system which attempts to mimic the method used by the NCAA selection committee to determine participants for the NCAA Division III hockey tournament.
The Statesmen are 18-4-3 overall and posted a 12-4-2 mark in NEHC play, finishing as the No. 3 seed. Hobart locked up the third seed following a weekend sweep of UMass Boston and Babson to conclude the regular season. On Friday night, the Statesmen scored five goals in the third period to erase a three-goal deficit, defeating the Beacons 5-3. Five different players scored for the Statesmen. The next day, Hobart scored three goals in the third period to defeat then No. 6 Babson 4-1. Sophomore Liam Lascelle made a season-high 32 saves as he earned the victory.
Hobart enters the week ranked seventh in the nation in scoring margin (+ 2.08 gpg) and winning percentage (.780), eighth in scoring offense (4.32) and penalty kill (87.9%) and 15th in scoring defense (2.24). Hobart’s 108 goals are ninth most in the nation. Hobart has spread the offensive wealth around this season. The Statesmen have 14 different players who have reached double digits in points, 21 different skaters who have a goal and 24 who have tallied a point.
Sophomore Joe Halstrom is 12-3-3 overall in goal this season with a 2.37 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. Halstrom and Lascelle have split the minutes in goal this semester. Lascelle is 6-1-0 with a 1.81 GAA and a .928 save percentage.
Skidmore enters the weekend with an 11-10-4 overall record and a 7-9-2 mark in conference play. The Thoroughbreds are the No. 6 seed in the NEHC tournament. Skidmore is averaging 3.00 goals per game while surrendering 2.64. Austin Rook leads the team with 21 points on six goals and 15 assists. Matt Muzyka leads the team with seven assists. Brandon Kasel has played a majority of the minutes in goal. He is 10-9-4 with a 2.37 GAA and a .928 save percentage.
Saturday’s game will be the 15th on ice meeting between the Statesmen and Thoroughbreds. Hobart holds a 12-3-1 record in the series, including a 7-1-0 mark at The Cooler. The Statesmen swept the regular season series with their NEHC travel partner. On Jan. 31, Hobart jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on to defeat the Thoroughbreds 4-2 at The Cooler. The next day, the Statesmen scored four unanswered goals in a 4-1 victory in Saratoga Springs.