Each week, USCHO.com will pick the top 10 moments from the past weekend in our new Monday 10 feature.
1. Providence rebounds by pounding Merrimack
Providence remained a top ten team despite losing two games to UMass last week, but that was likely little consolation to a team that arguably outplayed the Minutemen. It created a little extra rocket fire to the team’s game, and the Friars quickly rebounded by beating Merrimack by a combined 14-9.
The Friars set a defiant tone in both games by scoring in the first 30 seconds on both nights. Brandon Duhaime’s fourth of the season came just 13 seconds into Friday night’s game, and it bested Scott Conway’s third of the season by eight seconds on Saturday. The offense just kept rolling from there, and the team piled 11 goals in the first two periods on both nights.
It was also the first time the Friars scored that many goals on back-to-back nights since Nate Leaman became head coach in 2011.
2. UMass Lowell gets first weekend sweep since last November
Last January, UMass Lowell swept Vermont and UMass at home with a pair of dominant victories. It was the River Hawks’ third four-point weekend in conference play of the season and fourth overall at that point. It failed to provide a springboard in the second half of the season, though, and the team failed to sweep a weekend the rest of the year.
The streak finally ended this past weekend with a pair of home-and-home wins over UConn. On Friday, the River Hawks surrendered the first goal but scored twice before the first period ended, then added two second period goals en route to a 5-2 victory. They then scored twice in the first two minutes of Saturday’s game and rolled to a 3-0 victory.
The four points pushed the River Hawks right back into the early season Hockey East playoff race and tied them for fourth place with Boston College and Boston University. It also put them within striking distance of Providence and Northeastern.
3. 15 goals in one game
On Saturday night, three Atlantic Hockey games combined for nine goals. Canisius and Niagara nearly broke that in the third period alone. The two teams combined for 15 goals, seven of which were in the last period, as the Purple Eagles won 9-6 to earn a sweep of their longtime rival.
The ironic part is that it contrasted with a 1-1 first period. Niagara outshot Canisius by 13 in that period but seemingly couldn’t crack goalie Blake Weyrick. Then the Purps scored five goals in the second to take a 6-2 lead through two, then added three more against Tucker Weppner in the third. But leading 8-4 with eight minutes remaining, the Golden Griffins scored an extra attacker goal on a delayed penalty, then added another less than two minutes later as part of a 4-on-4.
It earned Niagara its first weekend sweep of Canisius since 2012.
4. AIC stings Air Force
Air Force scored four goals in each of its last four games as part of a five-game winning streak, but it ran into an absolute brick wall this weekend when it came east to play American International. The Yellow Jackets shut out the Falcons, beating them 5-0 and 4-0 in a pair of early-afternoon matinees in Massachusetts.
The AIC defense shined on both nights, holding Air Force to 10 shots in the second and third period on Friday and just three shots in the second period on Saturday. The wins were the first of the season for Zackarias Skog, as well as his first shutouts in 2017-18. They also boosted the Yellow Jackets into a tie for third place with Army West Point heading into an early-week game against Holy Cross.
5. Welcome to the wins column
Alabama Huntsville made the longest road trip in college hockey this weekend, traveling to Alaska to play the Nanooks. The Chargers didn’t seem to mind the time zone or climate change much none and walked out of the Carlson Center with their first victory of the year with a 3-1 victory on Friday night.
With the win, every Division I hockey team now has at least one victory. It might not seem like much, but it pushed UAH past Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA standings. It also drew the team within shouting distance of both Ferris State and Alaska in the early-season postseason race.
6. St. Cloud rolls … again
Another weekend, another sweep for a St. Cloud team that just seems to be getting better. The Huskies scored seven goals against Colorado College on the road two weeks ago, then scored eight against Denver at home last weekend. So the natural progression this past weekend was to score nine against Bemidji State.
The Huskies earned a 2-0 shutout over Bemidji on Friday and exploded for three third period goals on Saturday. Robby Jackson’s third of the season made it 4-1 in the second period before the Beavers made things interesting with two goals in a minute around the halfway mark. The drama didn’t last long; Jon Lizotte scored with four minutes remaining and the Huskies added two more in the third to pull away.
The Huskies are now plus-29 on the season with a 51-22 goal advantage, including a plus-24 mark in non-league play. They’re also a perfect 6-0 on the season at home, having scored less than four goals only once – ironically this past Friday in that shutout.
7. Rally race
Boston College remains a well-documented case study to start the season, but Friday’s 2-2 tie against New Hampshire is a good example that the Eagles are continuing to turn the corner. They trailed that game 2-0 after two periods before hitting the gas pedal to rally at home.
It was a gritty game for the Eagles, who trailed despite outshooting the Wildcats by a 19-17 margin after the second. The third period became a shootout with 26 combined targets, but goaltender Joseph Woll posted one of his finest performances of the season. He made a glove save with less than a second remaining in the third that ultimately forced overtime and the tie.
While the USCHO poll measures a team’s current performance, the PairWise Rankings are the mathematical proof to register overall, season-long results. The season is approximately one-third complete, and one quick look at the PWR shows a stark contrast between the west and east in college hockey.
On one hand, only a handful of eastern teams are inside the PWR bubble at the first measuring stick, with three of them sitting in 13th and 14th place. Massachusetts is the nation’s top seed with a 10-1 mark, but no other Hockey East team is safely inside the bubble before Providence at No. 13. In contrast, three Big Ten teams are inside the Top 10, and Arizona State remains seventh despite struggling against Harvard this past weekend.
On the other hand, every league has at least one team in the race, including Atlantic Hockey. RIT is tied with Princeton at No. 14, and the Sun Devils are the only independent team in the nation.
9. Maine splits BU’s momentum
Boston University outshot Maine on Saturday by a 41-25 margin as the Black Bears committed eight penalties for 27 minutes. In the third period alone, BU outshot Maine by a 15-3 margin. So it’s a bitter pill to swallow that the Black Bears boarded the bus at Agganis Arena with a 3-1 victory.
It was a stark contrast to a Friday night game where the Terriers scored three power play goals and had 34 shots in the second and third period combined. In the second period, a 22-10 shot advantage resulted in man-up goals for Bobo Carpenter and Joel Farabee, and BU earned the win thanks to David Farrance repeating the act with a tie score in the third. At the time, it was BU’s fourth straight game without a defeat.
It split the momentum of a team heading into a stretch where the wheels need to keep moving. BU heads to Ireland as part of the Friendship Four before returning home for a home-and-home against BC.
10. Penn State keeps scoring … and scoring … and scoring
Penn State scored 18 goals last weekend, including 11 on the road, to sweep Robert Morris. This week, the Nittany Lions hosted Michigan to the tune of a split, making them the only team ranked in the Top 5 with a loss. But they continued to light the lamp at a breakneck pace, scoring 11 more goals.
It took an uncharacteristic third period breakdown to hand Michigan the win on Friday after Penn State led 4-2 after two. Josh Norris and Jack Becker scored for the Wolverines to start the third period, then added one more with over five minutes remaining to take the lead. It was the first time the Nittany Lions lost a game they led after two periods after winning the past six.
Regardless of outcome, Penn State now has 63 goals in 11 games, an average of 5.73 goals per game. Only three teams are averaging over four goals per game, but the Nittany Lions are clear of No. 2 Minnesota State by more than a goal. They led the nation last year with 4.10 goals per game, one of only two teams to finish the year over the four goal mark.