Hockey East set to kick off 31st season

If you’re in New England, the sub-40 degree temperatures this morning in many cities and towns should signify one thing: it’s hockey season.

Personally, I say it’s about time. As short as the offseason in college hockey is (the shortest of any college sport), it doesn’t matter. It’s nice to see ice down in every rink across the league, players shaking off the summer cobwebs and, this weekend, many teams ready to hit players with whom they don’t share the same locker room.

There is a ton of optimism heading into the season, and Dave Hendrickson and I will continue to document that from now through April, beginning Tuesday with the Hockey East season preview. With Providence beginning its defense of the national championship and Boston University looking for a return trip to the national title game, you also have Boston College and UMass Lowell in the USCHO top 20. Additionally, four other teams – Notre Dame, New Hampshire, Northeastern and Vermont – all received votes, which means two-thirds of the league are on the minds of media, coaches and administrators as this season kicks off.

There is a lot of exhibition action this weekend before the season fully begins a week from now. Highlighting those practice tilts will be games at Boston College (Sat.) and UMass Lowell (Sun.) against last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) silver medalist, New Brunswick. The five-time CIS national champion defeated the AHL’s Portland Pirates, 5-3, on Thursday night to move to a perfect 4-0 in preseason play.

Ten Hockey East teams will play exhibition games this weekend, a perfect chance for fans to see what returning players have improved and what freshmen might have an impact.

On a side note, I want to offer best wishes to the women’s program at Merrimack College, which will play its first official game tonight hosting St. Cloud State. It’s always a pleasure to see college hockey grow on both the men’s and women’s side.

Enjoy the hockey this weekend, folks!

 

158 COMMENTS

  1. A little shocked with the mention of Mello and York, but not Kinkaid. Kinkaid only leads NCAA with a 1.93 GAA and has a .923 save percentage. Just wait til he hits center stage during the NCAA tourney.

  2. A little shocked with the mention of Mello and York, but not Kinkaid. Kinkaid only leads NCAA with a 1.93 GAA and has a .923 save percentage. Just wait until he hits center stage during the NCAA tourney.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Even though Kinkaid’s numbers aren’t on par with “Ryan Miller Numbers,” for a team that just won the league’s regular season after 14-1-1 of recent ECAC play, he backed them up incredibly the entire way. He at least deserves a mention, if not more extensive consideration.

  3. I did a little research on the goalies. I looked at all league games that Kinkaid, Mello and Rondeau have played since the new year, since these games are considered “crunch time” games. Kinkaid was 14-1-1 and gave up 29 goals. Mello was 7-6-1 and gave up 31 goals and Rondeau was 10-3-1 and gave up 29. goals.

  4. Anyone who has seen York play this year knows that he should be in the conversation. He’s been at the top of the list for goaltender’s stats all season, and while he might not be as good as Kinkaid, his SV% is better than everyone above him in the GAA list. I think that’s a testament to how good he’s made RPI’s defense look.

  5. I’ve watched Kinkaid and York play a whole lot, and York is a significantly better goalie and prospect. He has better control of rebounds, makes more astounding saves, plays the puck extremely well, and has kept RPI in a lot of games they should have lost. Kinkaid is on a higher scoring team and quite frankly, Union has a more consistent defense than rpi’s which has been up, down, and injured all season. Forget numbers, just watch them both play and its pretty obvious that York is the better goalie

  6. I’d say that the key thing is: Can player-X change the game? Ryan Miller, and for that matter all of the Hoby candidates need to fit under that bar, more than just their numbers.

  7. Paula: Here is the Pumpkin Bread recipe:

    2 eggs beaten
    11/2 cups white sugar
    1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    1/2 cup veg oil
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp cloves
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    3/4 tsp salt
    12/3 cups flour
    1/2 cup raisins or nuts (optional)

    Combine eggs and sugar; mix well. Add Pumpkin, oil and water; blend well. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl; add to pumpkin mixture. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan. Add raisins and nuts to batter and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Makes 1 loaf. This recipe can be easily doubled.

    I hope you enjoy it. I’ll tickle you on twitter to let you know it is posted here.

    Yostmeister

  8. If Tech didn’t have to play in Fargo, I’d give them the nod to get to the Frozen Four. They may steal one against SCSU, but UND will be tough to beat with the home ice advantage.

  9. I’ve attended the WCHA Final Five for many years now, and I was curious what the attendance and atmosphere would be like after the realignment.
    Friday’s games were very competitive but the crowd wasn’t nearly as excited about the tournament as it was for the Championship Game on Saturday night. Saturday’s atmosphere felt like the old WCHA, it was electric!
    I have to say, the Tech Fans are a blast to be around. They had a great following, with many witty chants and antics. They were louder than the MSU fans.
    Congrats to the new WCHA!

    • .
      “My father was a miner on the upper Malamute.
      My mother was a hostess in the house of ill repute.
      And at the tender age of three, they threw me on my ear,
      And there was nothing left for me to do but become an engineer.”
      .

      • See, that’s what I’m talking about…
        Some of the Tech Pep Band members were lining up in the isles like the MSU cheerleaders and mocking their routines. Awesome!

    • The MSU fans are wannabe Minnesota fans. They are completely weak. But most fans are weak compared to mtech. I absolutely love that bands cheers. Especially the ones where (since they are engineers) mock you after because “they don’t get it” lol best part of college hockey is the bands

  10. Attendance in St Paul was also affected by the NCHC tournament held 10 miles away and the Women’s Frozen Four played this past weekend.

  11. So much for bracket integrity. So number 1 overall doesn’t get number 16? I love how Moy makes ZERO mention of bracket integrity and protecting the overall number 1 seed.

    • Sounds like you are afraid of your fighting Hawks having to play the gophers. According to you, the gophers are the worst team ever. Not sure why you sound so nervous then.

      • Who said anything about being nervous. Those are your own words. I asked what happened to bracket integrity that they are always preaching with always protecting the overall number 1 seed.

    • God, what a crybaby. Minnesota is a host school. It is either move UND to Cincinatti or have them play the Gophers in St. Paul. You have complained about both! Why would you even care about having to play the Gophers? They are awful.

      • Yeah, I can totally see why NoDak would need to be protected from #15 Minnesota. Funny how they never seemed to mind going into St. Paul for Final Fives every year, amirite? Of course, if UND loses in their tournament, they can drop out of that nasty #1 seed and maybe go east where they’ll feel safe.

        • And when was the last time the #1 overall seed didn’t play the #16 seed? You can’t preach about bracket integrity last month and say the #2 overall seed should play the #15, not #16 seed and then flip flop that statement this month. Which is exactly what was said a month ago.

          • You might want to address your scolding to someone who actually *was* preaching about bracket integrity. I don’t necessarily disagree with you. However, as we have seen in previous columns, and in the committee’s actual practice, seeds get moved around all the time – both to avoid first-round conference matchups, and to try to boost attendance at specific sites. I have no problem with any of that. Of course, I’m not in a panic about having to play a rival from a league that I’ve bad-mouthed since it’s inception either…

          • Minnesota is the host team, they MUST play in St. Paul. UND as the #1 seed gets to play closest to home.

          • Agree, but would you want them to ship the Sioux to Worcester to play RMU? That is really the only option with Gophers at #15.

          • That would work perfectly by the numbers. By keeping Michigan in Cincy, you would have #1/#8 matchup also. Would Sioux fans prefer travel to Cincy over St.Paul though?

          • Might be harder, but we do travel. I think UND fans are spread out around the country. I think Cincy would be hurting for fans no matter who was there. Its still 4 hours for Michigan, and who knows how well they travel.

          • I agree, Cincy will be hurting for fans unless Miami wins our tourney. Even then, don’t know how much it would help. That is what the NC$$ gets for picking these sites that are not conducive to college hockey. How many Packers fans attended Green Bay regional?

      • I’m well aware that the rodents are a host team. They are the stupid host every other year. Then they would move UND to Cincy. Each year Moy talks about having to protect the overall number 1 seed by having them play number 16….but apparently he just throws that out the door here. Plus, the host school thing has to go. Create regionals and then start placing teams based on pairwise.

        • Choker, don’t worry about playing Goldy in St Paul. They’re going to lose to no matter who they play in that regional, regardless. That’s IF they make the tournament.

          • I’d love for UND to be in St. Paul, then I can go cause its a lot closer than Cincy. But its just amazing that week after week, Moy preaches about having to protect the overall number 1 and then doesn’t mention a single thing about it this week.

          • You cannot fix stupid! we get on here to discuss bracketology and get attacked as being scared of the Gophers. Maybe if this clowns team was in contention more often he would know that storied programs like ours do not worry about such petty BS as Tipsy McSlappy is arguing about. Go Sioux!

          • Simply amazing one can say it should be 1 vs 16 and that immediately means you are scared of the ground rodents. Hilarious.

        • You complain no matter what. This was you last week: “The almighty selection committee has pulled some bonehead moves before……you’d think a higher seed would be the closest to home…but they’ve shipped teams off for really no reason or their so called “attendance” BS” So he puts you closer to home and you complain anyway.Fighting Hawks fans wanting to be “protected” from the mighty Gophers.

          • Please remind me where I said protected from the rodents? Go ahead and find it. You’ll be looking for a while. We are talking about actual bracket integrity.

          • “I love how Moy makes ZERO mention of bracket integrity and protecting the overall number 1 seed.” You are asking for the number 1 seed (UND) to be protected from the number 15 seed (Gophers). Bracket integrity isn’t destroyed by having the #1 seed play the 15, who happens to be tied for 17th in the PWR, instead of the 16, who is 21st in the PWR.

          • Nice try to spin words. That is definitely not even close. If you could comprehend what you are reading. I said number 1 should be protected in playing number 16. They have stated this year after year, but for some reason it doesn’t apply there.

          • You are sure worried about the Gophers opponent! I never once mentioned a teams name, I just said 1 should play 16, could be the Gophers and that is fine! Now if I was worried about which bracket I want to be in I would want to avoid the West, and not because of the Gophers but I would not want to play Denver in the Regional final as they are one of the hottest teams in the country right now. So get off your Gopher high horse and look a little further down the line. But I know Huskie fans are not used to looking at the big picture as it is usually one and done!

  12. So, you swap 50% of the teams from one regional…..because of attendance? This is why CH needs an overhaul. Am I the only one who considers the CH playoffs a bit of a farce?

      • But UND is #1 and Denver is 6. The best 1 seed shouldn’t be in a region with the 2nd best 2 seed, whom also happens to be the hottest team in the country.

  13. Tech, Michigan, the Domers, and St. Cloud in Cinci? That’s probably as good an attendance fit as you’re going to get there, presuming Miami or Ohio State couldn’t grab a surprise autobid. Better yet, throw money at the NCAA and have them move that group to Detroit and we can have Son of Great Lakes Invitational.

      • I’m originally from the Detroit area, so I have family and favorite places. Cinci, not so much, but once you get out of town that area’s a fun place to ride a motorcycle. I hear the chili’s OK too…

    • As long as teams from the same league don’t play each other in the first game, there is no problem. If you bothered to look at other brackets you would see two NCHC (West) and two HE (East) in the same regional.

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