The upset of the year, the comeback of the year and a rash of injuries. Those comprise three takeaways from this weekend in Hockey East:

1. Maine’s sweep of Boston College is far-and-away the upset of the year

Yes, some people may have had high hopes for Maine entering this season. I was among that group. The season to this point may have been disappointing, but this past weekend certainly made some amends for the Black Bears struggles to this point. A two-game sweep at Boston College was certainly an upset but the way Maine swept the Eagles in Chestnut Hill was the real story. Maine dominated BC on the scoreboard, jumping out to insurmountable leads in both games and allowing simply a single goal. It will be interesting to see how the Black Bears, returning to home where they are winless, handles this upcoming weekend against Providence and Massachusetts-Lowell.

2. Upset of the year meet comeback of the year

On Friday night, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks scored twice late in the third to overcome a two-goal deficit and earn a road tie at Northeastern. The tie ended the River Hawks nine-game winning streak, one short of the program’s record at the Division I level. And about 24 hours later, it appeared may have derailed Lowell.

Then, the comeback of the year took place. Down 3-1 entering the third against the same Huskies team at home on Saturday (with the largest crowd in Tsongas Center history watching), Northeastern scored early in the third to take an insurmountable 4-1 lead. Insurmountable, at least, to most teams. Having come back the night before, though, seemingly gave the River Hawks comfort, confidence or a cross between the two. Lowell scored three times in the third, including a game-tying goal with an extra-attacker in the final minute, and then won the game in overtime.

Improbable? Yes. Dangerous? Certainly. If Lowell thinks it can fall behind and win games on a consistent basis, you can plan on watching a lot of frsutrating losses.

3. A decimated BC defense among a rash on injuries in the league

Boston College entered the weekend knowing Patch Alber may be out for the year. Late in the week, it was learned Mike Matheson would follow suit. So on Saturday, when the Eagles took the ice without that pair of blueliners AND fellow defenseman Colin Sullivan, one knew that this Eagles team was quickly becoming far too thin.

Steven Whitney jumped back to fill the void on Saturday night, further messing with the successful offensive line combos that had, until this weekend, been clicking on all (okay most) cylinders. Not an excuse but all had to be part of what contributed to a less-than-stellar performance against Maine.

BC was hardly alone in suffering the injury bug. Lowell is now without freshman goaltender Connor Hellebucyk, his injury not yet disclosed. Providence lost talented forward Nick Saracino. Boston University lost possibly its hottest player, Evan Rodrigues (though the original fear of a broken hand was found to be negative after x-rays on Saturday morning).

Those are just some of the many injuries plaguing league teams this time of year. The ability to overcome these bumps, breaks and bruises is generally what makes a championship team.

  • LarryC24

    No Paula we open some beers, toss in a chew and talk hockey haha

    • Paula Weston

      Larry, this is exactly what I need to know.  Thanks!  :-D

  • JG

    You left out Scott Greenham feeding two tasty doughnuts to BGSU in their barn.

    • Paula Weston

      JG, the entire blog is based on three actual things I said to my friend while writing my picks, all three of which I knew would bite me by Monday morning — even as I wrote them.  

  • FSU82

    JG get on board its alway UM, MSU, Miami..oh I forgot…. always sprinkled with a little OSU.

  • Zach

    No Lake State talk?  Hard to ignore their spilt with #2 Notre Dame.

    • JordanDutcher

      It is great to see our Lakers playing the best hockey that they have played in more than a decade… GO LAKERS!!!

    • Paula Weston

      Once again, Monday’s three-things blog is about three things that come to mind following the weekend.  Every conference columnist picks three things.  This is just one of the articles about the CCHA that will be posted this week.

      There’s a column on Wednesday.  Every week this season, the column has focused on a different team — or on two teams at once.  It’s always timely.  This week, I’m writing about CCHA-specific series from last weekend.  I think that probably gives you an indication of what’s ahead for the column.

      Every Friday I post a picks blog, and every team that is playing is discussed. 

      That’s the format across the site this year.  Every team in the league has been spotlighted in the column, but the Monday blog hits three things.  Sometimes I don’t like to overlap too much (or at all) what’s discussed Monday with what I have planned for the column, since it’s out a couple of days later.

      The coverage is more than just the first thing you read Monday morning.

  • Hoffman Ryan14

    How does a goalie that allows 7 goals on the weekend get Goaltender of the week. What a joke! Greenham was perfect on the weekend. I’ll give you that maybe MSU’s goalie had more saves but he allow 7 goals! Come on!

  • eatinbiscuits

    may I suggest two people doing this column, both offering their opinions just like the WCHA? Or would encroach on your spotlight? I hear from some at Mott CC that its your way or the highway paula

  • Dan

    Quiz time:
    What do  Broncos, Lakers, Bulldogs, Wildcats, and Irish have in common?

    Hint – look at the league standings.

    • Mark W.

      You’ve stumped me Dan. Any clues?

      • Dan

        They are in the CCHA – Even if they are not mentioned in the blog.

        • Paula Weston

          Yet the Lakers were the focus, in part, of this week’s column.  Every team that plays is mentioned every week, if only in the Picks blog.  I rotate focus in the column, and the three things from the weekend are three things — nothing more, nothing less.