The biggest winners, biggest losers, and kudos to UMass

With the results so one-sided this week, I’m listing the three things I think I learned a little differently.

1. There were four big winners this week.

Boston University, Maine, Northeastern and Providence all swept this weekend.

Coaches talk about how tough two points are in this league, and rightly so. Four points? Brutally tough in a league so strong from top to bottom.

But four teams pulled it off.

Boston University reestablished itself as a national power clicking on all cylinders by going into No. 12 Vermont’s barn and taking both contests.

Providence gave evidence that it just might fulfill those preseason high expectations, sweeping its home-and-home series with fifth-ranked Massachusetts-Lowell.

Northeastern continued to show how hot it is, making an important move in the middle of the pack with its leapfrogging, home sweep over Notre Dame.

And Maine showed that it isn’t dead yet. The Black Bears, who have had some awful defensive performances and struggled on the road, followed up a home win with a shutout on the road of New Hampshire. They’ve now won three road games and are tied for ninth.

For all, a huge four points.

2. If there were four big winners, that means there were also four big losers.

Lowell, New Hampshire, Notre Dame, and Vermont all got swept, as described above.

The biggest surprise has to be Lowell since just a few weeks ago the River Hawks were undefeated in league play. That seems a distant memory, though, because they’ve now lost three straight and four of their last five.

The biggest disappointment has got to be UNH, which fell into a tie for last place, albeit with three games in hand over Massachusetts.

UNH tied for last place? Wow. A really rough year for the Wildcats.

3. Kudos to UMass.

I’ve had few good things to say about the Minutemen this year, I’ll admit. I haven’t picked them to win many games. But they took three of four points from a Merrimack team that was ranked 14th in the country and entered the weekend 13-7-2.

Hats off to UMass!

183 COMMENTS

  1. A very tough year for UNH indeed :(

    they’ve been in decline as a program for the last couple year, not making the NCAAs and all that, but they at least seemed competitive at times (almost won the HE tourney last year). They have just gone off the rails this year.

    • It’s been tough to even want to use the season tickets this year, but it will get better. With Glenn Stewart coming in and Tortorella leaving, the recruiting just took a major jump ahead. This Freshman class looks good and the next two years appear to be good, on paper, so far. If Stewart could get some good quality players to go to Merrimack, I would think he should have good success at his alma mater.
      The DeSmith debacle hurt, a lot. The fact that UNH rarely plays more than a couple of Freshman because they don’t get the type of recruits BC, Minn, No. Dakota, Michigan get and therefore not quite ready to play yet (pretty much practice players for a year in most cases), will pay dividends in the future too… although it hurts to watch now.

    • Almost won the Hockey East Tournament last year? They got crushed in the final, 4-0, by Lowell. I don’t think DeSmith would count that as an “almost win” for his last game as a Wildcat.

  2. It will be interesting to see who NU starts in net next Monday night against BC in round one of the Beanpot. Jim Madigan has two legit number 1 goalies in Derick Roy and Clay Witt. I was happy to see Maine play well at home and on the road this weekend.

  3. Ohhh, Mason Joy: sagacious seer of all things hockeyish and
    bracketological–will my team Big State Tech A & M make the NCAA tournament field this year?

  4. How do you figure that Harvard is a bubble team? They dont deserve a chance to be in based on how terrible they have been since the first of the Year. I hope brown takes it to them..And no way Yale should be staying east. They should be shipped out west.

      • I’ll take that bet this year if you want to make one. Yale was a much better team than they got credit for clearly, but I think that both UND and MN were maybe a little overrated. This year UND is the real deal. Sucks they lost MacMillan, that is going to hurt a bit, but it wouldn’t hurt against Yale.

    • The NCAA ball-washers can’t wait for another showdown like last year’s FF semi. Literally, can’t wait till the FF, so why not match them up in the same regional? It’s along the lines of 5 NCHC teams, 3 #1 seeds and 2 #2 seeds, all being stuffed into 3 regionals. Tournament integrity has left the building…

      • Tim, are you suggest that having the 5 NCHC teams in only three regionals somehow messes with bracket integrity? If you are, take a look at the bracket before any switches were made. If this week’s bracket was kept with perfect integrity (1v16, 2v15, etc.), the 5 NCHC teams would have ended up in only 3 regionals anyway. Put another way, none of the NCHC teams were moved in this version of the bracket, so there’s absolutely no bracket integrity issues in terms of not having an NCHC team in each regional.

        Now, moving Minn to Fargo and the other moves in the 3rd band? That’s another story, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Gophers will end up in Fargo if they make the tourney.

        • Not completely how I was implying it, but close. I have every confidence that Denver and/ or Duluth, maybe even Omaha will fall into the 3 or 4 seed after playoffs. Your endpoint is my biggest gripe. The Gophs haven’t played good enough to warrant playing in the west, but their PWR may change for the good, also. Regardless, they will be put in Fargo. Not that I’m dreading that matchup, cuz I stillcringe when I think about last year, but cmon. It’s almost set in stone.

          • Yeah Tim, I wasn’t implying the Gophers have played good enough to warrant playing in the West. In fact, I’d argue they’ve played bad enough that they are likely going to end up there if they make the field. I’d rather see them in any other region, frankly, but I doubt that will happen. Can’t complain too much if they end up in Fargo, as at least it’ll mean Minnesota made the tourney.

    • They’re not the host school. The host school is Brown. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a technicality, but there it is.

      Also, you can’t put them in South Bend, because MSU is the no 1 seed and that’s closer to home for them.

  5. Man it sucks to be Omaha. Go from playing Boston in Boston (effectively) to playing Providence in Providence. Why not send Providence and UNO to Manchester and Quinnipiac and Boston U to Providence. It’s not like Manchester and Providence are all that far apart anyway

  6. Every week you put Minnesota in Fargo with North Dakota? Why have seedings if you just ignore them and make attendance decisions.

  7. I would rather Miami not be a #1 seed and see them closer to home. That Providence regional just doesn’t seem right with Providence and Yale being there. It would be the third time in five years that we get shipped up north.

    Also sucks to see Minn-Duluth in Manchester!

    • projecting out a few weeks – if BU runs the table, does it end up a top 4 seed? There will be fratricide in the NCHC tournament, as one of the current top 4 seeds is guaranteed to not make the tournament final and another is guaranteed not to win it. Figure one of those teams drops behind BU, assuming BU wins HE.

        • Actually, he’s completely correct Joseph. Three of the current top 4 overall seeds are from the NCHC. Simple math says that three teams can’t make the NCHC tournament final and two teams can’t win it. So, it is actually guaranteed that at least one of the 3 NCHC teams in the top 4 won’t make the NCHC final and at least 2 of them won’t win the tournament, which would pave the way for another team, like BU, to possibly grab a #1 seed.

          • I misinterpreted what he was saying as I was looking at the Top 4 in the NCHC, not the Top 4 in the NCAAs

  8. Providence being at Providence doesn’t matter their fan base is a joke. Went to their area for a winner take all game for the Hockey East regular season title and it was like a home game for UML. PC is a basketball school.

  9. Perhaps in future seasons we should have a Far West Regional, a West regional, a Midwest regional and an East Regional. I think we 4-5 teams from the east this year in the 16-team field.

  10. Providence playing at Providence doesn’t matter their fan base is a joke. Went to their area for a winner take all game for the Hockey East regular season title few years back and it was like a home game for UML. PC is a basketball school.

  11. One could sell out regionals in Grand Forks and Minneapolis every year. The east and midwest rarely sell well even with home draws. So, put a regional in Grand Forks, Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston.

    • I hear this same BS from Minnesota fans EVERY year. They DID NOT sell out last year as they had under 10,000 for both days in an arena that holds 18,000. Check the facts. Regionals have a tough time selling out because fans paid a lot of money to see their team in their own league quarterfinals, semis and Finals. Then they have to pony up too much money for the NCAA Regionlas. Every year we hear how Minnesota will sell out their Regional. It just doesn’t happen. Minnesota has great fans, but the NCAA charges way too much.

      • Minnesota sells MUCH better than most any place east of Chicago. I’m not sure they don’t sell better than ANY place east of Chicago. I’ve seen UND play a regional final in an eastern rink before less than 1000 fans against an eastern team.

        I agree about the NCAA.

        • Minnesota has good attendance, but every year someone says that they easily sell out in Minneapolis and that building was half full with the University of Minnesota playing both days. That is a fact. It is probably double or triple the size of any (good) eastern school. It would be nice if Boston could host a Regional more often ( instead of Manchester, Worcester or Providence ), but the Garden has the Celtics and Bruins taking up a lot of its time. The Frozen Four is finally back this year.

  12. Agreed. Moving Minnesota to the west regional does nothing for attendance there as it’s already sold out, so then you should keep bracket integrity!

    • It isn’t about helping out west. It’s to get Providence back to Providence where they will help with attendance for that regional.

  13. No one should get too upset over the brackets now (since they will change three more times). What bothers me is teams being moved for attendance. Outside of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, and maybe the Boston teams the other schools don’t travel well enough to justify moving teams around. JMO

  14. How about round 1 be played at the schools. Then do a Thursday, Friday, Saturday 8 team final. These regionals are a joke!

    • I hope you were not serious. Round 1 played at which school (at Miami of course), what ranked team plays what ranked team, where would the 3-day team finals be played (at Miami of course)? This will change at least 3 times so don’t fret, you can complain when the league tourneys are done and the field gets finalized. You have to win 4 games to become champion, it doesn’t matter where you play.

      • No first round the top 8 get a home game and the bottom 8 travel! The 3 day final would be played at a big site like the frozen four is now. Just make it 8 teams instead of 4. Everyone is worrying about attendance, I guarantee that you would sell out a big stadium with 8 teams fans instead of just 4.

        • A “big site” would be empty if no teams close to it were playing. How many fans would show up in Boston if all 8 teams were from NCHC, B1G and WCHA? Likewise for a game at Excel in Minnesota with all 8 teams from ECAC, AHC and HE. Also, having teams play 3 games in 3 days is not feasible, especially if there were any OT games. You do realize you would have to play 4 games in one day, also not feasible unless you started first game at 1000, due to possible longer games. How many teams, and fans, would appreciate that. Why not wait until you really have something to worry about?

        • Yeah I was at the FF in Denver a few years ago. Certainly wasn’t a sell out and you had BC, UND, Michigan and Notre Dame all teams that either travel pretty well (by college hockey standards) or have huge fan bases everywhere (Notre Dame). Selling out shouldn’t be a goal as I think it is hard to come by.

  15. But, but… all the brackets suck. None of the teams mentioned should make the field. Plus fans all have to travel to the wrong places. Sure my team has lost twenty games in a row. Doesn’t matter. It should still be a #1 seed and play on campus in its home rink. And another thing…

  16. is it a mystery that the SOS in the pwr is still flawed? Nodak and Mankato have identical records (24-6-3) and yet they’re 3 thousandths separated in the pwr. their schedules are FAR from similar.

  17. North Dakota is the greatest hockey team ever. We’re gonna win another championship. The BADgers suck. The Gophers are garbage. Wisco has 20 accounts. I hate everything that isn’t North Deekota!

  18. Son (Chockes),

    Are we going to Joe Black’s this weekend? I had a great time with you last weekend. Will your mother let me see you two weekends in a row?

    Love,

    Dad (Ken Kenakenski)

    • I was at that game and the guy should not have done it for sure. But which college hockey team hasn’t had a fan go a little nuts. I will tell you that the Gopher fans in the building that night were so disgusted that UND made it and the Gophers didn’t that they were just looking to start something. The guy that was sitting next to me can thank his lucky stars that my mom was sitting on the other side of me, cause me and a couple of other buddies that were there were more than happy to take him up on his invitation outside. They were saying some pretty awful stuff about scalping, wounded knee was another comment I heard. So yeah not all fans act appropriately at these games.

      • Wow! Where to start?

        You’re such a humanitarian. One guy is offering to fight your entire group, and you didn’t destroy him. You’re the man!

        I would disagree with the description of the fan’s actions as a little nuts.

        I thought Wounded Knee happened in South Dakota, not North Deekota. I guess somebody on this site is right about the Fighting Mount Rushmores.

        • Guess I should have been more specific there were 5 of them and 3 of us. And yes they were just drunk enough that the extra two of them were just about making it a fair fight. I tried to find the loud mouth later but he disappeared before the end of the game.

          • That’s better.

            A couple questions. Was your mom part of the three, or did she make your group four?

            Was Chockes with you? That guy’s a menace, and I wouldn’t mess with him. That’s probably why the loudmouth fled the scene.

            Good luck this weekend against the Hawks!

    • As a Michigan fan, I have to say that was one of the most satisfying wins of any Michigan team I’ve ever seen. The number of North Dakota fans howling about how the final score would be 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 on here was deafening. I imagine that fellow was one of them.

      • Thank you for your post, Brandon.

        Do you remember if Chockes was one of those loudmouth Nodakers?

        9 > 7
        Go Big Blue!

  19. Completed brackets after last night’s games. Appears there is no way to move Gophers to west based on current PWR/RPI. Appears to be a contentious issue non the less. Realize there are games today but I don’t think the outcomes will matter. Maybe Vermont, but unlikely to move into the field. The only possible attendance swap I see is Gophers (14) NE with UML (15) MW. The rankings will most certainly change in the next 2 weeks but I enjoy this exercise to see if I can come up with the same as Moy.

  20. The last swap confused me as well. If you want Bowling green in the midwest, why not make the swap moving BC to Fargo. Denver is a direct flight to Fargo and I don’t understand the WCHA 1st round matchup issue. Where is that?

    • I thought the same thing. There’s no WCHA-WCHA matchup if Providence goes to Providence, QU goes to Manchester, BC goes to Fargo, and Bowling Green goes to South Bend. I think Jayson confused himself and Omaha should have stayed in South Bend, Denver in Fargo, and Tech in Providence…

  21. While current rankings will change. A good predictor of the group of death is the sum of each group’s rankings. This leaves us with Providence 31, Manchester 35, South Bend 36, Fargo 34.
    Mathematically, Providence is toughest, while I would argue Manchester does seem like the group of death. Then Fargo.
    Which raises the question, why would the No 1 seed (NoDak) have the second toughest group?
    Either way…Manchester seems loaded on paper.

  22. First thought… Miami will be wishing they were a #2 tier seed. Except for MTU, I’ve seen the other 3 play at least 3 times… Yale’s speed (as well as PC’s) will be a huge problem… Just my opinion.
    2nd thought… Should Mich St win this weekend and/or their tournament, BIG will be hard-pressed to get a 2nd PWR team in. Just my opinion.

    • Not to mention the location of the regional with Providence playing minutes from campus and Yale just 100 miles away. Would certainly be a tough regional, but these days, there aren’t really any easy regionals anymore. I’d argue South Bend provides the easiest path for the #1 seed to advance, although UND in Fargo is going to be pretty tough no matter who else is there.

    • Maybe. If they sweep Penn St. this weekend and win one game in Detroit, but lose in the championship, there is a good chance they’ll still be above the cut line.

  23. Actually Michigan produces more NHL players than Minny. As much as it pains me to say, the Siouxage have more NHL players than Gophs. Being g a gopher fan sucks. No rivalries, team and conference both suck. Can’t bear to cheer for NoDak, or Duluth, go Tech.

    • You’re wrong my friend, not by much though…. Minny and Mich are tops for sure! go to Quanthockey . com nhl/state-totals/active-nhl-players-career-stats and it will give you the stats each season. I tried to post the link but it wouldn’t let me.

  24. Love to see a NCHC Frozen Four … BUT … my guess is by final bracket time, it will be engineered out. For attendance sake, or the like.

  25. So after this weekend, the pairwise creates pods like this:

    1 North Dakota, 8 Neb Omaha, 9 Boston College, 16 Atl. Hockey automatic
    2 Minn State, 7 Miami, 10 Providence, 15 ECAC at-large/UMass Lowell
    3 Denver, 6 UM-Duluth, 11 Bowling Green, 14 ECAC winner
    4 Boston U, 5 Mich. Tech., 12 Minnesota, 13 St. Cloud State

    So here’s my question. Would you move Providence so that the 2 seed isn’t penalized by playing in a lower seed’s rink? Best option seems to be BU’s pod, if you do that then you can’t move Boston College into an eastern pod. The West regional also doesn’t need any attendance help at all, so I’m thinking when all is done you end up with:

    Fargo — 1 North Dakota, 8 Neb-Omaha, 11 Bowling Green, 16 auto
    South Bend — 2 Minn. State, 7 Miami, 12 Minnesota, 15 ECAC at-large/Mass Lowell
    Manchester — 3 Denver, 6 UM-Duluth, 9 Boston College, 14 ECAC winner
    Providence — 4 Boston U, 5 Mich. Tech, 10 Providence, 13 St. Cloud State

    Hopefully next year they have regional sitings that better reflect the balance of power in NCAA hockey. Having two regionals in New England and the Frozen Four in Boston is just ridiculous. No idea what knucklehead thought that was a good idea.

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