It was a good week to a be a “family” pet in Hockey East as two Cats (Vermont Catamounts and New Hampshire Wildcats) and one dog (Boston University Terriers) earned a total of four wins in two nights. That headlines the three things I learned in Hockey East this week:
1) Vermont, UNH and BU all solid
After an poor showing in the opening weekend of nonleague play for Hockey East, the league’s members have responded with two solid weekends top to bottom. Highlighting those victories was Boston University, which garnered one-goal victories over Michigan State (1-0) and Michigan (3-2 third-period comeback) to help the league in the Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge. New Hampshire dominated a struggling Colorado College squad with a 6-2 win, while Vermont won a league battle against newcomer Connecticut. Hockey East’s out-of-conference winning percentage now improves to .561 (21-16-4), second only to the NCHC, which is .583 (17-12-1).
2) After a tough Icebreaker, Notre Dame back to form
I can admit that I, personally, had some concern when Notre Dame lost to Rensselaer and Minnesota-Duluth during the season-opening Icebreaker tournament. Since that, the Irish have won four straight, albeit against competition that some may consider inferior. Regardless, Notre Dame, after scoring just two goals in the two-game opening weekend, potted 23 goals in back-to-back two-game series against Lake Superior and Niagara. Personally, I don’t care who your opponent is. When you need to score goals, offense explosions are welcome and I am sure Jeff Jackson and his club are welcoming the offensive awakening from the last two weekends.
3) Is it time to panic at Northeastern?
The Northeastern Huskies entered the season with high expectations. And through three weekends, those expectations seem to be burying this club which, after a 3-2 loss to Massachusetts on Friday, fell to 0-4. Goaltender Clay Witt, a standout a season ago, didn’t dress on Friday and according to a team source is day-to-day with an upper body injury. But goaltending is hardly this team’s problem through four games. Northeastern has scored just four goals thus far for a skimpy average of a single goal per game. The team’s two gunners from a season ago, Kevin Roy and Mike Szmatula, each have just one point. So while there is plenty of question of what is happening between the pipes for the Huskies, there should be a search for where to the Huskies offense has disappeared.