West is best

Three things I learned from Atlantic Hockey this weekend:

I would have liked to be at the John A Ryan Skating Arena on Saturday – Where one of those rare, Mighty Ducks-like moments occurred. Bentley and Niagara were tied at two goals each, when, with 1.3 seconds to play, Niagara’s Dan Baco covered the puck in his own crease. That gave the Falcons a penalty shot, but Brett Gensler’s attempt sailed wide, and the teams settled for a point each after a scoreless overtime.

West is still best – The western half of the league went 7-3-2 in eastern rinks this season to bring the total so far this season to 21-5-4 in favor of the west. Eight of the top ten teams in the standings are from the west “pod”, including the top four teams. But we have a long way to go.

Offenses are waking up –  It’s been a down year offensively for most AHA teams (or, to look at it another way, a good year for defenses and goaltending). But Robert Morris scored a total of 15 goals this weekend, and Air Force had 11. An average of seven goals a game were scored in the games this past weekend.

Getting my vote:

Here’s how I’ll vote in tomorrow’s USCHO.com Division I men’s poll:
1. Boston College
2. Minnesota Duluth
3. Ohio State
4. Minnesota
5. Notre Dame
6. Merrimack
7. Colorado College
8. Western Michigan
9. Union
10. Denver
11. Boston University
12. Ferris State
13.  Lake Superor State
14. Colgate
15. Michigan State
16. Cornell
17. Massachussetts-Lowell
18. North Dakota
19. Air Force
20. Yale


  1. Your rankings are quite the joke.  BC splits and moves to top spot.  And ND and Merrimack should both drop out of top 10 for the paper tigers they are.  UMD should be in top spot after a good sweep and have play great since their early sweep by the Gophers. 

    • That was a great show about the Russian view of the Miracle on Ice. It really made you feel for some of those great Russian players that were forced off the team not long after the 1980 Olympics. That and Fetisov’s fight to play in the NHL.

      • Made me want to watch the entire 1980 Olympic hockey again.

        I really liked the comparison of the two Russian coaches philosophies coinciding with the political stance of the USSR.

        The older player, he got the boot just after the ’80 Olympics, was an arrogant sumbich. In his defense, that was one heckuva hockey team.
        USA,USA,USA……mostly MNs.

  2. Hate to be overly dramatic, but the Gophers need to come big this weekend, or their finished — I’d be happy with 3 points, but a couple of wins would be better. Michigan skates well and the bigger ice won’t be a hindrance to them.

    Optimistic that some of Gophers have finally woken up and realized that it’s time to play. Nobody can accuse the Gophers of peaking too early this year….

    • Why does everyone seem to think the “bigger” ice is such a big deal? They act like teams have never played on an olympic sized rink before. Those lame gopher announcers bring it up every 5 seconds.

      • Considering there are 8 (almost 9) Olympic sized rinks in hockey, most teams don’t play on it often — some maybe not at all during the course of the season. The Olympic rink is 15 feet wider (17%) wider than the standard NHL (or similar) rink.

        I’ve seen the Gophers play home and away series against teams with the smaller rinks size, and the games have been completely different in the two venues. In particular because the Gophers have been faster and the extra space works to their favor. (Yes, their are other factors as well.) As I indicated, that won’t be the case this weekend with Michigan’s speed.

        • I wasnt saying it would make a difference this weekend for Michigan, but most teams have somewhere to practice on it, so its not a huge deal.

          • So then, it’s most teams, but not necessarily Michigan. But the other teams who aren’t playing Minnesota this weekend practice on it —- which you somehow know, and thus as a result, you can definitely say its a not a big deai.

          • Michigan practices at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor to prepare for big sheets of ice and they have played on a big sheet when they swept Wisconsin.

          • Really — you know where most teams practice, and that in fact, they’ve practice on an Olympic sheet. Wow. Impressive.

        • I believe that some teams have problems with not being able to handle the large rinks because the Gophers are able to spread them out and attack, it is not as much of an issue with good skating teams. I also think that it tends to backfire on the Gophers in many cases as it is much harder to adapt to a smaller rink as things happen much quicker and aren’t afforded as much time to react. Just my two cents.

      • I couldn’t agree more with a Sue fan than I do right now. I am so tired of hearing about different sized ice sheets. There has been talk of “renovating” Mariucci arena to make the ice smaller, I like the idea because number one it shuts everyone up about playing on olympic ice, and two I think if all college teams play on the same or similar size ice it levels the playing field somewhat. Plus the regionals and FF are played on smaller ice.

      • When considering that only 8 teams play on an Olympic sized sheet, it does make a difference to a team that doesn’t play on it regularly. MN is the only Big Ten team with that size ice. Michigan has yet to play on a big sheet this year.

  3. Saturday’s Wisconsin – Ohio State game is being televised. Regionally. Its on ASN. American Sports Network. It can be seen in the Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio areas. In Milwaukee its on channel 24 WCGV. Other channels are listed on the Badgers’ hockey website.

  4. Well needless to say, I a happy guy. This is the best MSU has played since Anastos became Coach. Tonight Hildebrand was tough. The two he let in he never saw. But….almost five minutes of EN time and MSU couldn’t pot one. That’s not good. But now, if Sat’s Gophers do their job, and beat the Weasels, we will have a tie at the top and for third place just two points back. Credit where credit is due. Good week-end boys. Good Week-end.


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