These are the three things I think I learned from this all-or-nothing weekend.
1. The All: Teams swept all four league series
Hockey East is typically so tough top to bottom that it’s extremely difficult to take four points from a league foe. That, however, is exactly what happened this weekend in all four league series.
Boston College, Boston University, Massachusetts-Lowell and Massachusetts all swept, giving themselves big boosts in the standings. All but the Minutemen rest tied atop the league standings with six points, and they’re a point behind with five.
That said, the number of league games played so far varies widely so it’s really BC (3-0-0) in first and Lowell (2-0-2) in second.
And when you see that Eagles goaltender Thatcher Demko has now shut teams out in six of the last seven games, it’s clear which team is in unquestionably the best shape.
2. The Nothing: Four teams got swept in league play
If four teams did the sweeping, it’s pretty basic math that four teams got swept. Taking the broom into the lower reaches of the standings were Maine (at the hands of BC), Northeastern (at the hands of BU), Vermont (at the hands of Lowell), and Connecticut (at the hands of UMass).
All four clubs have concerns. UConn lost to the most lightly regarded of the foes. Vermont took its sweeping at home, where it is now a stunning 0-6-1.
But I’d argue the greatest concern has to lie at Northeastern and to a lesser extent Maine. Going in reverse, one can forgive the Black Bears for getting shut out by a BC team that has become a defensive juggernaut, especially since they were on the road. Still, there’s no way to sugarcoat an overall 0-6-3 record.
As for Northeastern, so much better than 1-7-1 overall was expected this year. The Huskies rank a clear first in the Biggest Disappointment category.
3. Nonconference play was a mixed bag.
Including a mid-week battle, Merrimack collected four points outside of Hockey East, moving to a surprising 5-1-2 overall. Kudos to the Warriors.
Notre Dame hosted Minnesota and won on Friday but couldn’t complete the sweep, falling one night later.
New Hampshire took it on the chin at Michigan State, losing 5-0 and 7-4. Giving up 12 goals on a weekend is never a good thing. It’s particularly ominous for a team with as high expectations as UNH.