Valery-Trabucco: Union's secret weapon

Valery-Trabucco led his Union team to a pair of wins and back into a share of first place in ECAC Hockey. UnionAthletics.com for ESPN.com

Mario Valery-Trabucco

Sr. | F | Montreal, Quebec

His Statistics: 2 GP, 4-3--7, hat trick, +5 vs. Clarkson and St. Lawrence

His Impact: Valery-Trabucco led his Union team to a pair of wins and back into a share of first place in ECAC Hockey.

He factored on five of Union's 11 goals (yes, 11) in Friday's win over Clarkson with three goals and two assists. The following night, Valery-Trabucco led Union's comeback against St. Lawrence. He scored the game-tying goal 3:09 into the third period that knotted the score 2-2. Union went on to a 4-2 win over the Saints.

Valery-Trabucco leads the Dutchmen with 16 goals and 35 points and shares the team lead with 19 assists. He is tied for 11th nationally in points for a Union team that ranks fifth nationally in scoring offense (3.64 goals per game).

Runners Up: Cory Conacher, Canisius; Ryan Lasch, St. Cloud State; Craig Roehl, Western Michigan; Steven Whitney, Boston College.

Stick Salute

This week we take time to salute a couple of programs that entered the year with high expectations. Instead of holding a top-10 national ranking, both Boston University and Princeton languished near the bottom of the standings in their leagues through the first three months of the year. We raise the branches to both teams for pulling themselves out of difficult first halves and making a run over the last six weeks. Prior to its Beanpot final Monday night, the Terriers were 7-2-0 in their last nine games and moved their overall record to 11-11-3. Princeton is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games and within one game of .500.

Bench Minor

Though they've languished around the .500 mark all season, we've always left the light on for Notre Dame-with the way they've played the past two seasons and the talent on that team, we thought they'd make a late-season run and, at the very least, be on the periphery of the NCAA tournament picture. That ended when the Fighting Irish were throttled by 7-2 and 4-1 scores by Western Michigan, which was then the last-place team in the CCHA. Injuries have taken a toll on the Irish, for sure, but at 12-13-7 overall and 8-10-6 in the league, Notre Dame's season must be considered nothing short of a monumental fail.

Say What?

"You try to stay focused, but everything going through your head is about Brendan. With the emotions everyone's had, I'm just so proud of all the guys. It's something we're going to go through as a team."

A comment from Miami captain Tommy Wingels following the RedHawks' 10-4 win over Lake Superior State Saturday, the team's first game since learning that student assistant Brendan Burke was killed in a car accident the previous day. Whatever anguish Wingels and his teammates felt in last April's stunning defeat in the NCAA championship game against Boston University pales in comparison to this loss.

Rankings Outrage

This week, the outrage belongs to INCH reader Steve in Golden Valley, Minn., who says we "look silly" for putting Minnesota Duluth at No. 11 in the INCH Power Rankings even though the Bulldogs are tied for first atop the WCHA. Perhaps, but we're not alone … sort of. UMD is ranked behind Denver, Wisconsin, and St. Cloud State this week in both voter-driven polls.

When we sat down to tackle this week's rankings, we had UMD in our second tier of teams along with Bemidji State, Colorado College, Michigan State, and North Dakota. There's no real science to why the Bulldogs ended up at the bottom of that grouping, but the loss at Michigan Tech didn't help. The Huskies have just five wins this season, and UMD has been the victim in two of them.

Tweet Of The Week

@rlenzi Maine, Cornell, St. Cloud State and Miami of Ohio to play in 2010 Florida College Classic.

Maine's beat writer for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram reported Monday that the Black Bears and Cornell, co-hosts of the Florida College Classic, will welcome elite teams from the CCHA (Miami) and WCHA (St. Cloud State) to Estero, Fla. in late December. It's not too early to get excited for a Frozen Four-type field that could feature the 2009-10 regular-season champions of four different conferences.

For more on college hockey, check out Inside College Hockey.