Here are three things I think I learned from this weekend’s games.
3. When it comes to the Boston College – Boston University rivalry, home ice doesn’t matter for much.
And you can toss in shot totals, too.
This past weekend, the two archrivals completed their regular-season series and in all three games the visitors triumphed. Three weeks ago, BU left Kelley Rink with an impressive 5-0 win. On Friday, the Terriers took the series with a 5-3 road win only to have the Eagles roar back with a 6-1 win at Agganis Arena.
Adding to that statistical oddity is that on Friday, BC outshot BU by a 23-1 margin, but was outscored, 1-0. Then on Saturday, the roles were reversed. BU outshot the Eagles, 22-8, but was outscored, 4-0.
“It’s as bizarre a three games I’ve seen us play in 20 days,” BU coach Jack Parker said.
To which BC coach Jerry York added, “I wish I could figure it out. It’s not the number of first downs; it’s getting across the goal line. Sometimes a goaltender just plays so very, very well.”
Kieran Millan was that goaltender on Friday night; BC rookie Brian Billett filled the role on Saturday while making just his second start.
2. There’s going to be some reshuffling amongst the two-and-a-half Hockey East teams that had been one-two-three in national rankings.
Number one Merrimack fell off its perch as the only undefeated team in the country and fell hard, getting swept by Providence, 2-1 in overtime on the road and a surprising 6-1 back at home. The Warriors will almost certainly lose their top billing.
Second-ranked Boston College, as already noted, split its series with BU.
Number three Notre Dame (a Hockey East team in waiting) fell hard as well, getting swept at home by Northeastern, 9-2 and 2-1.
Since the number four and five teams, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota, both swept, you can expect changes at the top.
1. The three first-year Hockey East coaches all had themselves an amazing weekend. Especially when you factor in the preseason expectations for them. The three schools were projected to finish eighth, ninth, and tenth in the standings.
As just noted above, Northeastern stunned third-ranked Notre Dame in its own barn with a sweep to bring the Huskies’ overall record to 6-7-2.
Massachusetts-Lowell took both ends of its home-and-home with New Hampshire. The River Hawks now enjoy a 6-3-0 league record.
And Providence knocked Merrimack off from its number one ranking, delivering not just the first but also the second loss of the season for the Warriors. As a result, the Friars are now tied with Lowell for fourth place in Hockey East.
Congratulations to new head coaches Jim Madigan (NU), Norm Bazin (UML), and Nate Leaman (PC).