A hat trick of surprising teams

Although there are a few downers that could be discussed (hello, New Hampshire), we’ll send out some holiday cheer by looking only at three surprising teams that had surprisingly good weekends.

1. Maine sweeps Quinnipiac! On the road!

Okay, so Quinnipiac isn’t the same team that two years ago went 32-4-7 and played in the national championship game, or isn’t even last year’s squad that went 23-15-2.

I get it. Even so, the Bobcats aren’t exactly chopped liver.

Maine followed the same recipe on Friday and Saturday nights, bending but not breaking in the first period, then powering home to the win in the third period. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 50 saves on the first night and followed that with 45 one night later for a jaw-dropping total of 95.

The Black Bears, who couldn’t win a road game to save their lives in recent years, are now 3-1-0 in away games.

Now that’s the way to head into the break.

2. Merrimack takes two!

If you’re a Hockey East homer like me, you expected the Warriors to defeat Army West Point on Friday. And they did.

But they didn’t stop there, toppling UNH on the road on Sunday in an important league game. Ironically, they won in the exact opposite fashion as Maine, jumping out to a 3-1 first-period lead, extending it to 4-1 in the second, then holding on in the third for the win.

Merrimack still has one more game to play before the break, on Saturday against Northeastern–the only Hockey East contest that remains–but this was a definite great beginning-of-the-end of the first semester.

3. UMass stuns Union!

Maybe we shouldn’t be stunned anymore. This is not your father’s Massachusetts Minutemen.

Even so, few expected them to go off to 19th ranked Union, and emerge with a win. In fact, many assumed the clock had struck midnight last Tuesday when Connecticut thumped them, 8-2.

Instead, UMass did what good teams do after a bad loss. The Minutemen dusted themselves off, and came back with a 2-1 win. They’ve now won four of their last five.

Yet another terrific finish to the first half.

 

12 COMMENTS

  1. I do not think they really care who shows up on the scoresheet as long as they have at least one more goal than Union at the end of the game.

    I would love to see Justin Holl get the game winning goal vs. Union. It would make for a terrific trivia question years from now.

    • I agree. Personally, I’d like to see Ben Marshall get the GWG–I know he would like to make amends for last year’s Yale OT win. As long as it is somebody with a Gophers sweater on, though, I won’t really care…

  2. Wow, no love for UConn? You know, the team that “thumped” UMass 8 – 2 and then upset #16 Colgate and has won 5 of 6! I mean that’s not at all surprising, but still disappointing…

  3. Dave, Maine swept Quinnipiac on the road this past weekend. The same Quinnipiac team that swept the current top 10 team (Northeastern) on the road in October. Maine did not sweep Quinnipiac by accident or a stroke of luck. I am wondering if you will pick Maine to win in the coming weeks, or just take a “wait and see” attitude before picking the Black Bears. If you simply picked Maine to sweep this past weekend, and gave Northeastern the benefit of the doubt against BC this past weekend, you would be beating Jimmy year-to-date.

    • You guys have to stop taking it personal when I pick against your team. It’s just an opinion on that week’s games. That said, I’m almost certain to pick the Black Bears to sweep RPI between Christmas and New Year’s.

      • Long time Maine season ticket holder here, Dave. Not everyone has disagreed with your opinions on Maine thus far this season. True, the Black Bears are looking improved, but they still display the same lack of discipline that has cost them games in recent years. There is a total lack of patience concerning the team up this way, and whenever they win a game or two, folks get defensive if anything even remotely negative is said about them. Let’s just calm down folks, and enjoy the ride thus far !

      • Dave, I know it’s early but I would be really happy if you would simply pick Northeastern to win the Beanpot this season, and they do. Think about it.

  4. Difference right now is that Maine has finally received strong play in net with Swayman….goaltending is always the key to any team. Last weekends sweep is a confidence builder. Now if they can return from break with the same mindset.

    • I remember something about this a couple of weeks ago. He has finally stayed with the guy that’s playing well instead of consistently rotating McGovern in. Now, it looks like McGovern will be playing over the break because Swayman will be with the U-20’s.

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