Early surprises abound

These are the three things I think I learned this weekend.

1. UMass is a lot better than I thought.

Last year, Union was 25-10-3. Massachusetts was 5-29-2. On Friday, the two would play in Union’s barn.

The math seemed pretty easy. The Minutemen would give it their best, but their best wouldn’t be good enough. I’d have bet the ranch on it.

Good-bye ranch.

UMass now owns a three-game winning streak.  More on this stunning development (if all goes well), in this week’s column.

2. UNH keeps rolling.

I know Jim covered New Hampshire’s surprising opening weekend in last week’s column, so I’m not going to rehash that here. It is noteworthy, however, that not only did the Wildcats once again sweep, they scored five goals each night, and shut out Colgate, 5-0, on Friday.

It’s only October, but it’d be a wonderful, feel-good story if UNH coach Dick Umile goes out on the highest of notes.

3. Mediocrity in the non-conference games.

All the games this week, except for Sunday’s Boston College – Providence thriller, were non-conference games. And unlike the previous week, the results were not impressive.

Hockey East went 7-7-1.  Considering that UMass and UNH, both projected to finish in the lower half of the league, went 4-0 in non-conference games, one would have expected better than an overall .500 mark.

Boston University, predicted to finish first in the league, lost twice. UMass-Lowell, projected to be right on BU’s heels, lived up to that, but only in the negative sense. The River Hawks picked up their third loss to open the season before finally getting in the win column on Saturday. Boston College lost its lone game outside of the league.

Hey, the sample size is small, and some of the opponents have been tough, but let’s hope the league’s standard-bearers right their ships soon.