Knee-jerk reactions

We can easily make too much of results at this time of the year, when any outcome represents one quarter or even one half of a team’s games to date, but less than three percent of a team’s schedule by year’s end. Because several games this weekend were decided very late, evaluations can pivot on a single shift that may or may not have implications for the season as a whole.

Some conclusions can already be reached, such as, Wisconsin is still Wisconsin. After a fairly routine 5-2 win on Saturday at home over highly-regarded North Dakota, the Badgers completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory on Sunday, despite never leading until the game ended in sudden death. UW fell behind 2-0 in the second period when the Fighting Sioux power play converted for the second time, answered 57 seconds later on a Brianna Decker goal, and got the equalizer on a power play of its own with a minute remaining in regulation. Hilary Knight sent the visitors home in frustration with the game-winning goal at 3:03 of overtime. UND remains winless all-time versus Mark Johnson-coached teams, as both Sioux decisions over the Badgers came during the 2009-2010 season when he was coaching the United States Olympic Team.

A game that followed roughly the same pattern occurred an hour later in Duluth, where visiting Boston College was the team that came back from two down, denying Minnesota-Duluth a sweep. The Bulldogs took a short-lived two-goal lead on a five-on-three advantage early in the second, but the Eagles negated any momentum with a short-handed goal 15 seconds after the ensuing faceoff. UMD nursed the lead to inside of three minutes to go in the contest, but Emily Pfalzer tied it up, and Alex Carpenter won it for BC in the final second with another short-hander.

Elsewhere in action of note, Mercyhurst had more trouble in Mankato than expected, splitting a pair of one-goal games with Minnesota State, RPI stayed unbeaten with a tie and a win on the road versus a Vermont squad expected to show improvement, and Northeastern kicked off its season with convincing triumphs over Syracuse and Colgate. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend came in Hamden, Conn., where Maine not only earned a road sweep of higher-ranked Quinnipiac, but did so by storming back from three-goal deficits each day. Could something special be brewing in Orono, Maine? Meanwhile, an up-and-coming Bobcats squad already has three losses, a total they didn’t reach until the final game of October last season.

The Patty picture

A half dozen goalies recorded shutouts over the weekend, although none of them were required to make 20 stops to do so. At the other end of the ice, three other forwards notched hat tricks, and senior Natalie Spooner of Ohio State added a fourth goal to her Friday performance and threw in the only goal of the shootout as a bonus.

26 COMMENTS

    • Why would you “absolutely” go with BU either way? What has Merrimack done this year to make you say they would definitely lose this game??

    • can we get this guy banned?  he adds nothing to the conversation.  Tim Whitehead is a fine coach.  He has expanded his recruiting base to Sweden because its so hard to get kids to go to non-Boston schools in HE.  You look at recruiting classes for BU and BC, and its a wonder that UNH, Maine and Merrimack can even compete on ice with them.  A testament to their coaches and their players.  nevermind that Walsh was corrupt and was suspended for recruiting violations….WHITEHEAD CAN’T WIN THE BIG ONES.  

      • OK, I see you’re a UNH student/fan/alum, so I’ll type verrrrryyyy slowllllyyyyy so your pea brain can keep up.  1)  players go to winning programs where ever they’re located.  2) 3 or 4 players from Sweden over a 3-4 year span does not a team make 3) any recruiting issues in the early 90s have nothing to do with Whitehead’s coaching ability, or lack thereof.  Try to stay on point please if you’re going to respond to posts on this board.  4)  if you love Whitehead so much, you can have him because he, like Umile  CAN”T WIN THE BIG ONES.  Ha ha University of No Hardware!!

  1. Fire JimMadigan… This guy has done nothing but add more to the inconsitency of the Huskies. These is a group of highly skill, young players and should be able to at least win at home. I really miss cronin..
     

  2. “It is likely that Minnesota will emerge the champs, given the way the Badgers closed ranks last weekend to secure the regular-season title.”

    Minnesota is actually the GOPHERS!

  3. Interesting picks here and for once I agree with Paula’s picks more than Drew’s

    Penn State/OSU – The play of these teams have been heading in opposite directions the last few weeks with OSU on the upswing and Penn State sliding. OSU 5-3

    Michigan/Wisconsin – Michigan is the one team that seemed to man-handle the Badgers the most this season, coupled with the fact Michigan should be in a foul mood about losing a shot the title on home ice last weekend – Michigan 6-2

    Minnesota/OSU – Even though OSU is playing much better, Minnesota is playing well also and most the recent success of OSU has been at home. Minnesota 5-2

    Michigan/Michigan State – This probably the toughest call of the weekend, with this being a major rivalry game *and* the two teams splitting last weekend. I have to give the slight edge to defense and goaltending this time of year. Michigan State 3-2

    Michigan State/Minnesota – Here we have the top two teams in the B1G facing off for the playoff championship and again it is defense and goaltending against offense, as Minnesota has been strongest and most consistent on offense this year as opposed to the last few years. Once again I will go with defense and goaltending. Michigan State 3-2.

  4. Minnesota did a service to the other teams by agreeing to join the conference. Gophers are the lynchpin of the league, the rest of the conference is dragging them down to a lower level of play and bubble for ncaa’s. On top of it you have to read CCHA homers blog. Joke!

    • the big ten conference should never have been created. It was a dumb move and I agree there are other conferences just laughing at us. You might be a gopher fan but the truth is every year no matter what one team will only get in because we will beat each other up. The gophers did not play great hockey to say the rest of the conference is dragging them down is funny because if Michigan beats MSU there is a tie and Michigan get the 1 seed. The problem is the teams are a hard out week in and week out. 20 games against the same 5 teams kills each member end of story. The big ten killed some great hockey programs end of story.

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