These are the three things I think I learned this past week.
1. Holy Cross woke a sleeping giant.
Okay, maybe Boston College hadn’t been totally asleep. But the Eagles were already coming off a 5-1 loss to Maine when they hosted Holy Cross two weeks ago, so a drubbing seemed in order.
Instead, the Crusaders pulled off the road upset, 5-4, giving BC only a single win in its last four games.
New Hampshire paid the price this past weekend. Although the Wildcats played well, the Eagles swept the homne-and-home series to move atop the Hockey East standings.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them stay there all year.
2. Parity rules.
I knew that, but not to the extent it played out this weekend.
Massachusetts and Merrimack found themselves at the bottom of the standings going into this past weekend, but you couldn’t have told that from the results.
UMass traveled to Notre Dame for a two-game set and though the Irish were 6-2-1 at home and the Minutemen were 1-6-2 in league play, that didn’t stop them from splitting the series.
Merrimack began the weekend with only a single league point off a record of 0-5-1. But in a home-and-home series with Boston University, the Warriors emerged with three of four points, winning at home and splitting on the road.
Notre Dame had been the 13th ranked team in the country. While BU had been just outside the Top 20, it had been one of the leaders in the “also receiving votes” category.
3. Alfond Arena dominance is back.
In the old days, a road trip to Maine felt like stepping into a den of lions. The Black Bears dominated opponents with one of the top home ice advantages in the sport.
In recent years, though, they’d lost a lot of that home mojo.
Well, it’s back. Baby, it’s back! Although Maine still has yet to win a game on the road (it’s 0-5-1 away from Alfond), it’s now 7-1-0 at home. Included in those wins are lopsided victories over Boston University (7-0) and Boston College (5-1).
This past weekend, the Black Bears added Massachusetts-Lowell — a team that had won six straight and 10-of-11 – to their trophy case. They knocked off the seventh-ranked River Hawks, 4-2.
Whatever lingering doubts existed as to Maine’s home ice dominance (such as Jim and I both picking Lowell) have to be gone now.