Driving home through four states on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend? Not fun. But the trip that yielded that ride home also yielded some more insight on college hockey this season, so here goes with this week’s installment of some random (and not-so-random) thoughts:
* Of the four teams in the College Hockey Showcase, the the team that loses twice is … the highest ranked? I was hoping (expecting?) to see a little bit more out of Michigan State this weekend, but they were dominated in stretches against Wisconsin and didn’t bury the chances they had against Minnesota.
The Spartans didn’t play as physical a game as it appeared they can with the size they put on the ice. It’s hard to say from two games whether that’s a season-long issue (the Spartans fans I talked to seemed to think it was) or just a product of the flow of the two games I saw.
* It was a nice sign to see a sellout crowd of 18,200 for the Boston University-Cornell game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Should New York City enter into the landscape when we talk about Frozen Four sites? I’m not behind that yet. I don’t think the Frozen Four could get out of “small fish” status in the big pond of NYC sports, especially when we’re talking about the time of year that the Yankees and the Mets are getting started.
* Alaska-Anchorage seems to be getting pretty good at salvaging a weekend with a Saturday night victory, ranked opponent or not. The Seawolves took down No. 5 Colorado College this weekend on the road to go with series finale home victories over North Dakota, Denver and Minnesota State earlier this season.
* So Maine dropped 10 on St. Lawrence Saturday night. That’s not the shocking part. Try this: The Black Bears did it on only 34 shots on goal. That’s a save percentage-killer for the three Saints goaltenders who partook in the carnage.
* Bemidji State’s case for legitimacy for those who already aren’t on that train got another page when the Beavers knocked off No. 1 Miami in Grand Forks, N.D., on Friday. But you’ve got to think some of the shine came off that trophy when the Beavers lost in overtime to Ohio State the next night.
* I used some of that long ride home Sunday for an internal debate on whether to boot Miami from the top spot in my ballot for this week’s USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Division I Men’s Poll. The RedHawks are winless in their last three (0-1-2), but it was hard to find someone to replace them in the No. 1 spot.
Denver? Split at home with St. Cloud State. Massachusetts-Lowell? Went 0-2 last week. North Dakota? Hard to make that swap when those teams just tied in North Dakota’s barn. Colorado College? Split with Anchorage.
So Miami gets my top spot again. But I’m starting to feel uneasy about that. Here’s what I sent in:
2. North Dakota
5. Colorado College
7. Bemidji State
9. Notre Dame
11. Michigan State
12. Ferris State
15. Boston College
19. St. Cloud State