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College Hockey:
Even with just two games, I still learned three things

Or at least I think so.

3. The bloom is off the rose for Merrimack.

Just a few short weeks ago, the Warriors were the number one team in the country, the last to have their record still unsullied by a loss.

I suspect that of those who sang the praises of this team — and I’d consider myself to have been a pretty loud tenor in that chorus — very few thought it would remain number one. The Warriors were very good, but not that good.

So we enjoyed it while it lasted.

Now it’s over.

Since that top ranking, Merrimack has lost three of its last five games, going 1-3-1. In that stretch, the Warriors have been held to just one goal in all but the win over last-place Vermont.

Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy told USCHO’s Jim Connelly, “It’s the ebb and flow of the season.”

Well, yes to at least some extent. The Warriors aren’t as good as they looked while going undefeated and rising in the rankings; they aren’t as bad as they’ve looked over the last five games, falling in the rankings.

The question will be exactly where in the middle of those two extremes this exciting team finishes.

2. Boston University has taken a broadside without playing a single game.

The Terriers looked to be heading into the holiday break on a perfect note, picking up four points in wins over New Hampshire and Maine, giving them seven wins in their last eight games. The four-point week put them within a point of first place.

Since then, however, Corey Trivino has been arrested and permanently bounced from the team. His 13 goals and 17 points led the team.

Following that stunner, Charlie Coyle, last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year, left to play major junior hockey.

The Terriers should still be a very good hockey team, but those are two major holes to fill mid-season. We’ll have to see if this drops them into that “good but not great” category. And if it temporarily does, will they recover to again be a force by the postseason?

1. Hockey East might post a losing record against the ECAC.

While Hockey East’s nonconference success against the CCHA and WCHA has fluctuated up and down — last year was a down year in which the good guys won barely more than a third of the time — Hockey East has dominated the ECAC. Over the last 19 years, Hockey East has posted a winning record against its Eastern brethren every year except 1996-97.

That dominance is now in danger. With Merrimack’s loss to Union and Vermont’s to St. Lawrence, that nonconference record now stands tied at 6-6-0.

Bear in mind that what’s at stake here is more than chest-thumping. If a league does poorly outside of its conference, that’s potentially going to affect how many of its teams make the NCAA tournament.

So keep an eye on the upcoming holiday tournaments and how well the Hockey East teams other than your own fare.  A selection berth may hang in the balance.

The following is a self-policing forum for discussing views on this story. Comments that are derogatory, make personal attacks, are abusive, or contain profanity or racism will be removed at our discretion. USCHO.com is not responsible for comments posted by users. Please report any inappropriate or offensive comments by clicking the “Flag” link next to that comment in order to alert the moderator.

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  • Ms London

    I have to say I’m not amazed at the results. This seems typical for top teams right after the winter break. All players are trying to get back in the right mode while the ones that have nothing to lose bring it all. After watching SLU this weekend it made me wonder why was this team so bad on the first half??? Granted, they do not have “exceptional” talent… they have a solid defense, great passing and most importantly great positioning. Great technique overall! With that said, neither BC or  NU gave a great performance. BC players looked like they were still waking up from a nap, like a Van on a NASCAR speedway on a Sunday race… no connection, bad passing all dump and chase to the point of frustration when you start seeing the “I wanna be a hero” behavior from their players to try passing two defenseman on their own and wasting lots of shots when they had open teammates with better chance of scoring. Newsflash birdies, if you keep on shooting right at the goaltender it ain’t going in! How about better aim and some creativity? Like Dru Burns on the winning goal against Clarkson.
    BC and BU are much alike, they have a great overall talent but you never know when they decide to bring it or just show up because they have to. Hence why I agree that Minnesota and Wisconsin should be on top, they actually know the meaning of consistency!
    NU on the other hand.. Esposito was on fire! Two amazing goals (priceless!) even though they lost. You can’t blame Desjardins for the SLU goals.. where was the defense that allowed players completely open in front of the net?
    As for BU, I expected a close win since I knew Poulin would be back but Watchorn and Menard were out on top of Kohanchuk. I expect this team to get back to its powerhouse mode soon.. very soon.
    There is not much to say for the Gophers but the fact that they set their mind to win both games and they didn’t stop hustling till they did! Like I said, mental toughness defines great teams. No D-I hockey player made it there because they didn’t know how to play the game.. but yet they seem to forget quite often. Like the NE Patriots say “Do your job”.
    Take care and play smart hockey!

  • Jmm410

    the latest womens D-1 poll shows what a joke these voters are, UW goes on the road gets 2 points in a shootout win Friday and loses 1-0 Saturday and somehow they lose 12 votes??????? If they had lost both by 2 or more goals I would have no problem with that but that clearly did NOT happen. 

  • http://twitter.com/The1Sandman Eric Richardson

    You give UCONN the sweep yet have AIC as #10. While that is true, you forgot to note that it leaves SH and AIC tied with AIC with the tiebreaker.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HJU44WA3Z5GDH6ZBIA67FX4ER4 The Boss

    does anyone seriously care about the AHA lol

    • ritalum

      You’re an idiot. Go away.

  • Jmm410

    I understand what your saying but it is still a joke how these so-called experts vote. It should not matter how a team got the 2 points, regulation win, ot win or by shoot out. UW got the “win” on the road then lost, that is a split and therefore should make them even. If your number one and go on the road and split 4 points you are still number one. There is no excuse for the way these people vote.

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