There may not have been many games, but there was certainly plenty to take notice of this past weekend. Here are the top three things I learned:
1. Northeastern may just be the hottest team entering break
First there was a win at Michigan. Then two road upsets of Notre Dame. Now Northeastern may have staked its claim as Hockey East’s hottest team entering the break. A 3-2 victory over Massachusetts-Lowell, which had the River Hawks won we’d be likely calling them the league’s hottest team, gives Northeastern a six-game winning streak as the first half of the season unofficially comes to a close. It still will be a long road back for the Huskies, which are in seventh place in the Hockey East standings. But this is a team that must be beaming with confidence right now.
2. Norm Bazin is a happy to take risks
Lowell head coach Norm Bazin proved on Saturday night he’s willing to take risks. Trailing Northeastern, 2-1, in the third, Bazin pulled goaltender Doug Carr with more than four minutes to play in the third, his team having about 30 seconds remaining on a power play and an in-zone faceoff. The move, which had it worked would have made Bazin look like a genius, backfired as Steve Quailer scored into the open net. To make matters worse, Lowell scored an extra-attacker goal with 1:23 left that could have been the tying goal. Bazin, though, stood by his actions saying not only that he didn’t regret the move and would do it again if in the similar situation.
3. Merrimack was able to bounce back from the Providence sweep… well, sort of
The Merrimack Warriors responded to a weekend sweep last weekend at the hands of Providence with a victory over Vermont on Wednesday night. A tie on the road on Saturday at Colgate has re-started the unbeaten streak for the Warriors but it remains difficult to say whether this team is as legit as its once No. 1 ranking indicated. The Warriors hardly manhandled Vermont, a team that has been just short of miserable throughout the first half of the season. Colgate has played well but only coming away with a tie might be a disappointment. Merrimack closes its first half on Saturday at home versus Union, but the team’s biggest test will come in January when it opens the New Year with road games at Boston University and Boston College (Jan. 7 and 8).