UConn good, Irish bad, and no sure things

These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. I should stop being surprised when Connecticut defeats a strong team.

Earlier this year, UConn defeated Boston College and tied Boston University in the span of just four days. The Huskies also have toppled Quinnipiac and Vermont.

But I really didn’t think they could knock off Massachusetts-Lowell, thereby giving the River Hawks their first Hockey East loss of the year.

But UConn did it again, shutting out Lowell, 2-0.

Expect more on the Huskies in this week’s column.

2. Maybe Notre Dame just isn’t that good.

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, expecting the Irish to finally put it all together. I’m starting to think it just won’t happen.

The Irish went five games without a win in mid-to-late November, but then followed a sweep of UMass with an upset of sixth-ranked Miami.

So I started to believe, at least just a little.

But then the Irish lost to a Lake Superior team that even with that win is only 4-19-1.

This weekend, Western Michigan, in next-to-last place in the NCHC with a 2-6-2 league mark, swept Notre Dame.

At some point, you just have to look at the record and say, “It is what it is.”

3. You can’t take anything for granted.

I knew this, of course.

But as already noted, Lowell lost its first league game to UConn.

Then Providence, projected in the preseason to finish first in Hockey East and appearing to hit its stride of late, takes on a Brown team next-to-last in the ECAC with a league mark of 1-7-1, and an overall mark of 3-10-0. The Friars take the away portion of the home-and-home series on Friday night, needing overtime to pull out the win. But then they lose back at home, 5-3, and have to settle for a split with one of the ECAC’s weakest teams.

But the piece de resistance was BU traveling to Wisconsin. This is not your father’s Badgers. This year’s edition was 2-11-1 going into the weekend. BU was ranked second in the country with an 11-3-3 mark.

Like taking candy from babies, right? I mean, what else do you expect from 11-3-3 vs. 2-11-1?

Well, BU did win impressively on the second night, 6-1, but the Terriers needed not one, but two, extra attacker goals to pull out a Friday night tie, the second coming with three seconds left in regulation.

No, there are no more automatics.

27 COMMENTS

    • Sad to agree as I saw Lowell get smoked by a Michigan team that is good not great. No dominant team and the bottom four stink.

  1. Regarding Notre Dame it’s shocking the disconnect between the supposed level of talent on this team and the performance on the ice.

    More drafted players than any other HE team (and more than all but two NCAA teams) and they can’t put together a single period of decent hockey most nights. Take away the 7 games against Lake State, Niagara and UMass and the record is just 3-10-2. Toss in the supposed benefits of playing in a state of the art facility full of all sorts of hockey-specific training bells and whistles and the picture looks even more confusing.

    Youth or inexperience can be blamed for some of the troubles in the play early on, but not after 3 months of games and practices. It also loses some potential for blame when you see how another equally young team in BU is playing. Yes they have a dynamic, likely Hobey Hat Trick finalist freshman skating every night, but one player alone is not responsible for all of the turnaround that team is seeing from last year.

    A change behind the bench is sorely needed. Whether or not that is a complete housecleaning or just getting an associate head coach who can turn around this program is the question. At 6.1% the Notre Dame power play is the worst in the NCAA, not just this year, but the worst in at least a decade among ALL NCAA teams. Those players, in that facility being that bad screams for major changes.

  2. While UConn is good, and likely getting better, beating the same team 3 times in a little over a month’s time is a tall task for any team. Statistics say that the Huskies were due vs UML. I’m hoping it’s a reality check for the River Hawks entering the most critical part of their schedule.

  3. UCONN is good enough to steal a playoff series. Rob Nichols is a great goaltender and he could do just enough to steal a couple games for them in a playoff series. I would not want to play UCONN in an opening round series.

    • If the season ended today, they’d get Notre Dame in the first round. Pretty good draw for UConn, I’d say. Though, it could be looked at as the Battle of who shows up. You never know what you’re going to get with either team on a given night.

  4. Considering that the West regional has already sold out and they won’t move it to a larger arena, I wouldn’t be surprised if the NCAA places all the garbage games there for the Sioux to run with.

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