It was an interesting weekend in Hockey East with national number one Boston College falling to rival Notre Dame, Northeastern and Lowell earning their first wins and Boston University picking up two more ‘W’s in league playing with victories over Massachusetts and Providence.
But among that, what grabbed my attention and likely that of many around the national was the beating that Maine put on North Dakota, sweeping the Sioux, 7-3 and 4-2. Everyone knew coming into the season that Maine has a strong team. But the three games leading into the North Dakota series – ties against UConn and Michigan State and then a loss to the Spartans – maybe had many worried that the Black Bears would be easy prey for the Sioux.
After the Michigan State series, Maine head coach Tim Whitehead was uber concerned about his team’s lack of disicpline. And while Maine made its share of trips to the box over the weekend, it was the Black Bears who were drawing penalties much of the time, particularly in the early part of Friday’s series opener where Maine scored three times with the man advantage to take a 5-1 lead through one. That continued on Saturday when Maine scored two more power play goals, the final of which was a nail-in-the-coffin goal giving the Black Bears a 4-1 lead late.
So with a successful sweep in the rear view mirror for the Black Bears, the question now still remains just how good this team is? Was North Dakota the over-ranked club here? Or is consistency simply going to be Maine’s challenge throughout the year. Time will tell but whichever the case may be, the faithful fans in Orono were certainly treated to two night of memorable hockey over the weekend.
Where do the Eagles belong?
I’m sure there will be a lot of curiosity this afternoon when the national polls come out as to where Boston College ends up after a tough 2-1 loss to Notre Dame on the road on Saturday. Personally, I’ll be keeping the Eagles in the top spot on my ballot. If North Dakota had swept Maine, I’d feel compelled to put them ahead of BC. But I’m not quite ready to put Miami first at 4-1-1, despite the fact they hammered Northern Michigan over the weekend, 4-0 and 9-1. This week I think BC should stay on top of a split ballot poll but will need to prove themselves in the coming weeks to keep that ranking.