These are the three things I think I learned.
1. This weekend is a looong one.
From Wednesday, Dec. 28, through Saturday, Jan. 7, a Hockey East team is playing every single day but two: Monday (probably today, as you read this) and Wednesday. And the slate of Tuesday and Thursday games continues next week as well with most schools off until later this month.
2. Lowell and UConn won tournaments.
When Massachusetts-Lowell defeated first Colgate and then Dartmouth to win the Ledyard Bank Classic Championship, few were surprised. The seventh-ranked River Hawks were the class of the tourney, the only one of the four teams nationally ranked.
UConn and its Desert Hockey Classic Championship title, however, is another story. The Huskies had to knock off No. 18 St. Cloud State just to make the title game, where they defeated Brown, 4-1.
Kudos to both schools, but especially the emerging UConn Huskies.
Surprisingly, the only Hockey East school that failed to win at least a single game in their tournaments was traditional standard-bearer Boston College, which lost to Quinnipiac before tying Ferris State.
3. Notre Dame and Vermont got expected sweeps, Providence an unexpected three-of-four.
Notre Dame and Vermont, rankings neighbors at number 12 and 13, respectively, swept and did so convincingly. Notre Dame blanked Alaska, 5-0 and 4-0. Vermont earned no shutouts, but dominated Bentley nonetheless, 7-1 and 3-1.
But arguably the best performances, and most pleasant surprises, came with Providence taking three-of-four points from second-ranked Denver. Although those points won’t help in the Hockey East standings, where the Friars are 1-4-2, they still lift them to 8-6-2 overall and extend their undefeated streak to five. Don’t be surprised to see Providence move up fast in the standings.