Week 7 already? College hockey season is already a quarter done? And what do we know? Probably not as much as we think we know, but here goes anyway:
* We have our first teams to 10 victories on the season, and if you had Quinnipiac and Bemidji State in that exacta box, pick up your big winnings at the window, please.
At 10-1, the Bobcats have the nation’s best record, just ahead of the 10-1-1 Beavers. Bemidji is first in the Ratings Percentage Index; Quinnipiac is fourth.
If you took a poll (as a couple of organizations, including USCHO, do each week), most would say the two best teams in the country right now are Miami and Denver. But I’d love to see the RedHawks, the Pioneers, Bemidji and Quinnipiac in a tournament right around now. I don’t think the results would be as cut-and-dried as you might think.
* Speaking of tournaments right around now, big ups for North Dakota moving its holiday tournament to a different holiday. The Subway Holiday Classic is back after a five-year hiatus, and the field this weekend includes Miami, Bemidji State and Ohio State.
Post-Christmas tournaments are so 1990s, anyway.
* Will I miss the College Hockey Showcase if this, indeed, is among the final times it is contested in its current form? Maybe a little. There was a time when putting Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State together on the same weekend was a highlight of the season.
It just doesn’t mean the same these days, though. Attendance hasn’t been great. The atmosphere at the arenas, which lack a significant portion of the student sections because of the holiday, is below average.
And this season, the combined record of the teams is 25-21-4, with Michigan State propping that number up.
All in all, it’s probably time to find better ways to use these non-conference games.
* The hyping of the Denver-North Dakota series did not appear to be unwarranted. The Pioneers took a 1-0 victory Friday night in Marc Cheverie’s return to the DU goal after having his leg cut by a skate three weeks ago. North Dakota jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the series finale, only to have Denver score three times in the second period and withstand a video review of a disputed Sioux goal in the final minute for a 3-2 win.
Why do I get the feeling we’re going to be talking about how close these games were when March rolls around and it’s time to count points in the final standings?
* Yes, Minnesota-Duluth got a big break to beat Minnesota on Saturday night, with the winning goal coming off a Gophers defenseman’s skate with just over two minutes remaining.
But I think there’s more to these Bulldogs than just good fortune. And I think they could be better than last year’s team, even without guys named Sharp and Stalock.
* Here’s my top 20 this week:
4. Colorado College
5. North Dakota
6. Michigan State
8. Bemidji State
10. Notre Dame
12. Ferris State
16. Boston College
19. St. Cloud State