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If you’re in New England, the sub-40 degree temperatures this morning in many cities and towns should signify one thing: it’s hockey season.

Personally, I say it’s about time. As short as the offseason in college hockey is (the shortest of any college sport), it doesn’t matter. It’s nice to see ice down in every rink across the league, players shaking off the summer cobwebs and, this weekend, many teams ready to hit players with whom they don’t share the same locker room.

There is a ton of optimism heading into the season, and Dave Hendrickson and I will continue to document that from now through April, beginning Tuesday with the Hockey East season preview. With Providence beginning its defense of the national championship and Boston University looking for a return trip to the national title game, you also have Boston College and UMass Lowell in the USCHO top 20. Additionally, four other teams – Notre Dame, New Hampshire, Northeastern and Vermont – all received votes, which means two-thirds of the league are on the minds of media, coaches and administrators as this season kicks off.

There is a lot of exhibition action this weekend before the season fully begins a week from now. Highlighting those practice tilts will be games at Boston College (Sat.) and UMass Lowell (Sun.) against last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) silver medalist, New Brunswick. The five-time CIS national champion defeated the AHL’s Portland Pirates, 5-3, on Thursday night to move to a perfect 4-0 in preseason play.

Ten Hockey East teams will play exhibition games this weekend, a perfect chance for fans to see what returning players have improved and what freshmen might have an impact.

On a side note, I want to offer best wishes to the women’s program at Merrimack College, which will play its first official game tonight hosting St. Cloud State. It’s always a pleasure to see college hockey grow on both the men’s and women’s side.

Enjoy the hockey this weekend, folks!

 

  • fargosioux

    Panzer was robbed!

  • Juice09

    A little shocked with the mention of Mello and York, but not Kinkaid. Kinkaid only leads NCAA with a 1.93 GAA and has a .923 save percentage. Just wait til he hits center stage during the NCAA tourney.

  • Juice09

    A little shocked with the mention of Mello and York, but not Kinkaid. Kinkaid only leads NCAA with a 1.93 GAA and has a .923 save percentage. Just wait until he hits center stage during the NCAA tourney.

    • HENH10

      The 1.93 is good enough, but .923 probably isn’t good enough… although they are great numbers.

    • Dan1377

      I agree wholeheartedly. Even though Kinkaid’s numbers aren’t on par with “Ryan Miller Numbers,” for a team that just won the league’s regular season after 14-1-1 of recent ECAC play, he backed them up incredibly the entire way. He at least deserves a mention, if not more extensive consideration.

  • Just Saying

    I did a little research on the goalies. I looked at all league games that Kinkaid, Mello and Rondeau have played since the new year, since these games are considered “crunch time” games. Kinkaid was 14-1-1 and gave up 29 goals. Mello was 7-6-1 and gave up 31 goals and Rondeau was 10-3-1 and gave up 29. goals.

  • Shedd

    Anyone who has seen York play this year knows that he should be in the conversation. He’s been at the top of the list for goaltender’s stats all season, and while he might not be as good as Kinkaid, his SV% is better than everyone above him in the GAA list. I think that’s a testament to how good he’s made RPI’s defense look.

  • rpifan

    I’ve watched Kinkaid and York play a whole lot, and York is a significantly better goalie and prospect. He has better control of rebounds, makes more astounding saves, plays the puck extremely well, and has kept RPI in a lot of games they should have lost. Kinkaid is on a higher scoring team and quite frankly, Union has a more consistent defense than rpi’s which has been up, down, and injured all season. Forget numbers, just watch them both play and its pretty obvious that York is the better goalie

    • The Black Hole

      From a guy named RPIFAN? Seriously?

  • NefariousDrO

    I’d say that the key thing is: Can player-X change the game? Ryan Miller, and for that matter all of the Hoby candidates need to fit under that bar, more than just their numbers.