Each week, USCHO.com will pick the top 10 moments from the past weekend in our Monday 10 feature.
1. Minnesota sweeps No. 6 Ohio State
Minnesota swept Ohio State, 6-3 and 4-1.
With the wins, the Golden Gophers move to a .500 record both within the Big Ten and overall. They have won five of their last six.
By contrast, the Buckeyes have won only one of their last five (1-3-1). While they may be 9-1-2 at home, they’re now only 4-6-0 on the road.
2. Still a logjam atop the Big Ten
Going into the weekend, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Penn State, and No. 19 Michigan State were all tied with 26 points. With the latter two clubs facing off for two contests head-to-head while Ohio State faced the sub-.500 Gophers, some separation might have been expected.
It didn’t happen. The picture isn’t a whole lot clearer now.
Ohio State got swept (as noted above) while Penn State and Michigan State split. The latter two schools now hold a two-point lead over the Buckeyes.
3. Overtime problems for Boston College, heroics for Maine
Boston College lost not once, but twice, in overtime to Maine.
Coming into the weekend, the Eagles had won 13 of 14, rising to fourth in the PairWise (and owning the RPI tiebreaker). They also seemed poised to take over first place in Hockey East since they were trailing Massachusetts by only a single point while holding two games in hand.
Now BC has fallen out of the all-important top four in the PairWise and is part of a multi-team logjam near the top of the league standings.
The two stunners might have been at least a bit more predictable had the games been at Maine’s Alfond Arena where the Black Bears are 7-0-2 this year. But the wins came on the road, so major kudos to the Black Bears.
Since only eight of the 11 Hockey East teams will make the playoffs, the wins are crucial since they put Maine and Connecticut in a tie for the last berth.
4. Robinson, UNH defense stymie UMass; Wildcats move into PWR position
Massachusetts came into its home-and-home series with New Hampshire as the No. 9 offense in the country, but somebody forgot to tell UNH goaltender Mike Robinson. He came within five minutes and change of blanking UMass for the entire weekend.
On Friday night, Robinson stopped all 31 shots. One night later, he stopped 26 of 27, the only exception coming at 14:37 of a third period in which UMass outshot his team 14-4.
Taking three of the four points looks huge. UNH has now moved into 15th in the PairWise, and if it cashes in on a game in hand, it will be only a point out of a multi-team tie for second place.
Since the ball fell in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats are 5-1-1.
5. Hockey East suffers brutal week for PairWise teams
Hockey East entered the weekend with five teams in the Top 14 of the PairWise: Boston College, UMass, Providence, Northeastern and UMass Lowell.
Only Providence and Northeastern failed to have disastrous weekends. Neither team played.
The other three all played unranked teams and either got swept (BC, as detailed above), or managed only one of four points (UMass, as detailed above, and UMass Lowell).
UMass-Lowell completed the Stinker Hat Trick against Boston University. The Terriers scored five times in the third period on Friday night, four on the power play, to win 5-0. They then rallied twice on the road (or Lowell blew leads twice, depending on your point of view) to take the third point.
BU is now only a point out of the three-way tie for second place in Hockey East with BC, Lowell, and Providence (though BC holds a game in hand).
For Lowell, taking only the one point has dropped the River Hawks into a tie for 16th in the PairWise, essentially just outside the bubble.
6. North Dakota still solid atop NCHC
While second-ranked North Dakota split with No. 11 Minnesota Duluth, fifth-ranked Denver swept Miami.
Although Denver did move two points closer to North Dakota, who sits first in the NCHC standings, the lead remains six over Denver and eight over Duluth. And North Dakota hosts last-place Colorado College for two games next week.
Even so, the opera ain’t over quite yet. Denver hosts Duluth for two contests next week before traveling to North Dakota the following week for two likely must-win contests.
7. Sacred Heart wins inaugural Connecticut Ice Hockey Festival
The only question is why an idea this good took this long to get off the ground. Analogous to the Beanpot as the Battle for Boston, the Connecticut Ice Hockey Festival pits the four Connecticut Division I hockey programs against each other in a battle for state supremacy.
By all accounts, the organizers did a great job trying to involve the community, making a three-day event of it from Friday through Sunday even though the games were on Saturday and Sunday nights. Starting Friday, the events included on-ice clinics as well as championships in youth hockey ages up through Pee Wees and U12 girls, as well as high school and prep school championships.
Perhaps all of that helped boost interest, resulting in 5,724 fans at the semifinals in the 8,412-seat Webster Bank Arena.
In those games, Quinnipiac defeated Connecticut and Sacred Heart knocked off Yale to set up the title tilt between Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart.
8. AIC moves into tie atop Atlantic Hockey
While Sacred Heart played nonleague games in the aforementioned Connecticut Ice Hockey Festival, American International used the opportunity to sweep Robert Morris and move into a tie in the Atlantic Standings with the Pioneers.
AIC also holds a game in hand.
The Yellow Jackets have now won four straight, all on the road, where they have played seven of their last eight.
9. No. 3 Minnesota State still solid atop WCHA despite split
After a 3-2 win on Friday night, Minnesota State could have delivered a knockout punch to Bemidji State’s hope of overtaking the Mavericks for first place.
Instead, Bemidji stayed in the race, at least to some degree, with a 4-2 Saturday night victory.
Even so, Minnesota State leads the WCHA with 51 points to Bemidji’s 45 and Northern Michigan’s 38.
10. Cornell moves into ECAC tie for lead; Clarkson, ASU split
While No. 8 Clarkson hosted No. 13 Arizona State in nonconference play, splitting the two games in overtime, No. 1 Cornell took three-of-four league points with a win over No. 20 Dartmouth and a tie with No. 15 Harvard.
In doing so, Cornell moved into a tie for first place with Clarkson and still holds a game in hand.
For Arizona State, the Saturday night 3-2 win in overtime capped off a rally from a 2-0 deficit. A D-I independent seeking to qualify for an NCAA at-large berth, Arizona State now sits at 11th in the PairWise. The games with Clarkson were its last against ranked opponents, and hence vital to its NCAA hopes.