Plenty of turkey in my stomach (no surprise to anyone who knows me), and here we are another weekend in the books and some really interesting games in the rear-view mirror. Included in that was the still-incredible rivalry between former ECAC powers Boston University and Cornell. The third edition of the every-other-year Red Hot Hockey proved once again not just an incredible draw (18,200, a sellout of famed Madison Square Garden) but a heck of competitive event on the ice. That tops my three takeaways from this weekend in Hockey East.
1. BU and Cornell are still a Red Hot draw.
The renewal of the rivalry between the Terriers and Big Red lived up to its billing as the packed house in Manhattan saw one incredible overtime thriller. The game wasn’t without controversy, though, as Cornell thinks a quick referee’s whistle took away the winning goal in regulation. A Cornell shot was, according the reports of the game, deflected in front of the net and might as well have hit the MSG roof it took so long to come down. When it did, it hit Kieran Millan’s back and went into the goal. Upon review of the replay, it was determined that the referee, having no clue where the puck was, blew the whistle prior to the puck entering the net. BU went on to get the game-winner in OT from Ross Gaudet. Nothing like adding some controversy to such a heated rivalry.
2. Northeastern has quietly come alive.
Two victories over Providence and Vermont a week ago was a positive sign for Northeastern, which hadn’t won a game prior to that in more than a month. But the sign that the Huskies are on the upswing was a definitive victory over Michigan on the road on Friday evening. Until last weekend, Northeastern had scored four goals in a game just once (the Huskies lone win to date over New Hampshire). In each of these three victories, Northeastern has scored four or more goals, a very positive sign for first-year head coach Jim Madigan.
3. Newly-crowned No. 1 Merrimack continues to take care of business.
Yes, Merrimack’s only win of the week was a 6-0 drubbing of Alabama-Huntsvile (which also lost to Massachusetts-Lowell and New Hampshire this weekend). But having just ascended to the top spot in the USCHO.com poll for the first time ever, the decisive win was a positive sign this team isn’t letting their success go to their head.