UConn gains ground, travel woes for Wildcats and stormin’ into the ‘Pot

With a few teams idle, the Beanpot schools playing, at most, a single game and a couple of splits, the only team to gain any ground this weekend in Hockey East was Connecticut. That leads the three things I learned this weekend:

1. UConn only team to take three points

It was a heckuva weekend for Connecticut as they made the most of a difficult two-game home-and-home with Maine. The Huskies earned an overtime win at Maine on Friday night. Then, after both teams hopped a bus back to Connecticut, UConn rallied from two goals down to earn a 2-2 tie on Sunday. The three points catapulted the Huskies from 10th place all the way to eighth, passing Maine and Merrimack along the way. More over, UConn is now just three point out of fourth place and a first-round bye. We’ve said it all season, but there was simply no way to see this coming before the year began.

2. A long day, night and day for the Wildcats

Next time you are about to use the cliche “it’s been a long day,” consider what New Hampshire went through on Saturday and Sunday. The Wildcats were on a weekend trip to Notre Dame. After winning Friday night’s game, 5-2, UNH fell to the Irish, 6-4, in Saturday’s series finale. They often say losing the second game of a trip makes for a long ride home. With UNH, they weren’t kidding.

Because a blizzard was about to slam into Chicago, the team wasn’t able to fly out of O’Hare Airport on Sunday as planned. So, instead of spending an extra day or more in the Windy City, UNH chose to bus back. According to Dan Pankhurst, the voice of the Wildcats, the team traveled from South Bend to Buffalo, N.Y., on the first leg. There they changed busses and made their way to around Albany, N.Y., where the team’s usual bus company for local road games met them. The team headed to campus while Pankhurst and a couple of UNH coaches, all of whom had left their cars at Logan Airport, found their way back to Boston.

All tolled, the trip was about 17 hours for the team and about 18 and a half hours from the trio that arrived home via the Logan parking garage. Now that is one very long day(s).

3. Streaking to the the Beans

This year’s Beanpot semifinals will be delayed a day to Tuesday because of a snowstorm in Boston. Nonetheless, all three of the Hockey East entries in the tournament arrive on decent winning streaks. Northeastern has the most modest having won two games the weekend before last while sitting dormant this past Friday and Saturday. The Huskies, though, are unbeaten in four (3-0-1). Boston College has won three straight since losing to Maine a few weeks back. And Boston University, since falling to BC that same weekend, has run off four straight wins. The non-Hockey East entry, Harvard, is the only team limping into the Beanpot having lost to Union, 5-4, on Friday, though more notably just 2-4-0 since returning from the holiday break. Translation: put your money on Harvard.

20 COMMENTS

  1. “A listed attendance of 76 went to the game on Friday with 144 reported for Saturday’s game.”

    Is there anyone keeping track of average attendance for AHA games? I always assume that Canisius was near the bottom of the list, but even they draw better numbers than this.

  2. Well, in fairness, it was Valentine’s Day. I was dumb enough to suggest going to the game to my wife. Suffice to say we were not among the 76.

    The larger issue is why is AIC’s attendance so lousy the rest of the season? There are a number of reasons, but right at the top of the list is the fact that virtually nobody in Western Mass knows that there is Division 1 hockey in West Springfield. I’m an alum and I didn’t know for more years than I’m willing to admit.

  3. “Translation: put your money on Harvard.” Statements like this, and “Throw the won/loss records out the window” sound cute and clever when discussing the Beanpot, but the trouble is that they don’t stand up to reality, not even remotely.
    With very few exceptions, year in and year out, the best two teams in the tourney are BC and BU. After 62 years of this tradition, Harvard and NU have NEVER, NOT A ONCE, met in the final; it boggles the mind.

    • First, I agree that the fact NU and Harvard have never met in finals of the Beanpot is mind-boggling.
      I think perhaps Jimmy meant that upsets can and do happen in the Beanpot and the energy and passion the teams and venue bring, can help create upsets. Overall, no other college hockey conference or group of four D-1 teams has been able to duplicate the level of interest and enthusiasm for an in-season tournament to the level we see for the Beanpot.

      • I agree that the author meant that upsets are a trademark of the Beanpot, and I agree that the tournament draws lots of interest. What I’m saying is that, no, it’s in fact not the case that upsets are a frequent feature of the Beanpot. It sounds good to say, but the results simply do not bear it out.

  4. Lots of sweating this year for some programs. As a UND fan, I remember all too well that feeling last year. Prefer this year where it is pretty much a guarantee they are a #1 seed and hopefully the top overall if they win a game or two.

    • No matter what happens this weekend, in any of the 3.1+ million scenarios, UND will be a #1 seed and can slide no further than #2 overall. They host a regional anyways, so location was never an issue either.

      • Would love to play RMU other than a lower at-large, however. Not that it really matters much, though. Every team that gets in deserves it.

      • Are there really 3.1+ million scenarios? Wow.

        Obviously I know where UND will be playing at this point for them I am hoping to have the top spot for one reason and one reason only. Then no matter who we play we are the home team and get that slight advantage of having last change, etc. That’s all its about for UND at this point making sure they can get that top overall spot if possible.

    • So true. I remember last year too when Denver was 24th in PWR going into Frozen Faceoff. Only hope was auto-bid. A lot of teams are in that position now.

  5. There is no way in hell Harvard should even be considered..They have been the most inconsistent team in the nation the second half of the season…I see a QPac-SLU ECAC final with the best goalie in the league Hayton and the Saints beating QPac 2-1 in OT

  6. If the four teams in the NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff were in one of the four NCAA Regionals it would automatically earn the Regional of Death title. 1, 3, 7, and 10 in the PWR. That’s two 1 seeds, one 2 seed, and one 3 seed.

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