These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. Connecticut sweeps Massachusetts-Lowell!

UConn got off to a surprisingly strong start in Hockey East last year, but came into the weekend struggling with a 1-7-0 league record. And since the Huskies were facing a Lowell squad that was undefeated in Hockey East play, folks like me didn’t have much optimism for a turnaround.

A split would have been more than a moral victory. (Well, of course. It would have included an actual victory. But you get my point.) It would have included an important two points against one of the league’s top teams and provided a huge confidence boost.

But a sweep? That was eye-opening.

2. And then there were two.

Two teams now remain undefeated in Hockey East play: Providence and Boston College, not coincidentally the numbers one and two teams in the country going into the weekend.

Providence swept a Merrimack team that had been mighty pesky, earning a number 16 ranking itself. But the reigning national champs took a close one in Merrimack’s barn and then dominated a third period back at home to take a decisive 4-0 win.

The Eagles only managed three of four points against Northeastern, but that’s still nothing to sneeze at despite the Huskies’ 0-8-3 league record.

With Lowell’s twin losses, these two clubs are separating themselves from the pack, despite what the standings (and the radically unbalanced number of league games) show.

3. Notre Dame moves into striking distance.

It feels like the Irish have been playing possum this year. They’ve been at the fringe of the national rankings at number 20, but with a sweep of Massachusetts now are one of only two teams with only a single league loss. (New Hampshire is the other, but 2-1-4 doesn’t impress the way that 5-1-2 does.)

The 3-1 and 5-1 victories appeared, at least for someone who wasn’t in South Bend, quite conclusive.

If the Irish can topple Boston College on Thursday, we may have ourselves another serious contender for the title.

  • Jason

    It’s nice that you recognize what we are saying. Regardless if what we say is right or wrong it’s nice to get acknowledged so thanks for that. 

  • Vizoroo

    Drew Shore

  • Poker Face

    As an easterner, I just want to interject and say that I’m fine with a westerner winning the award this year.  This year the best player in the East is Kreider but he doesn’t have the numbers.  Same with Dumoulin – hands down the best defenseman in the East.  Both phenomenal talents and they look great when you watch them.  Don’t be fooled by Spencer Abbott.  Not Hobey material.  Good player having a great season but he won’t blow anyone away.  No goalies out East really stick out either, especially in HE where the level of competition is high.  This kid in the ECAC has eleven billion goals but the ECAC is borderline DIII. 

    Is it time maybe we actually give it to the best player and not the guy with the most goals/points.  People are such stuck on the numbers end of the argument it is just getting ridiculous.

    • css228

      Yeah 30 goals in a defensive league not Hobey worthy? If Colgate makes the tourney it has to be Smith

      • Does Smith have nearly 200 career points?

        Thought so.  The Hobey isn’t always a single-season award, no matter how much they say it is.

        • K

          idiot… yes, it IS a single-season award… given out EACH year. duh. with a relatively lack-luster league, its an ease to knock down goals

        • keppelfinga

          smith no, connolly is the leading scorer for all active skaters

    • Boston-Maine~iak

      How is Abbott not a legitimate candidate? The kid took his game to a whole other level this season. The Black Bears needed people to step up and fill voids left by last year’s Seniors and Gustav Nyquist and Abbott (along with Flynn, Diamond, and Mangene) have been a major reason why Maine has had the season they have had and are back in the National picture. 

      • Taylor Birkelo

        Sorry Jack is the only honest contender for this.

      • 2011NAT_champsUMD

        gosh now only if Abbott did that for 4 straight years like Jack Connolly did then he might have a chance…..Jack is at 191 points. This is his second straight 50+ point year. Come on man pull your ” East Coast Biased” head out.

    • Tom

      Ur dumb Abbott is def top candidate been leadin league for a while and taking Maine to the tourney after loosing Gus. KReider is good but not hobby material this year, Abbotts put up mad points and set lots of achievments this year, like turning around a team ppl wrote off after winning 3 og the first 11. The Maine reason was Abbott.

      • WCHAFAN

        Bet he is not as dumb as the guy who thinks it is the “Hobby” Baker Award.

  • ColSkate

    Poker Face should wake up and smell the coffee. The Union goalie – I think it’s Troy Grosenick – is only leading the country in GAA – something like 1.52. He is far and away the best and deserving of Hobey mention. And this is coming from an arch enemy who would like to see Austin Smith win the award.

    • Gatefan

      Since when is Union our archenemy?

  • JJ

     Jack Connolly should win this hands down. The best college hockey player, in the best league on the best team.

    • Agassiseven

      Best team that is in 2 nd place.  Was lost 2 to the Gophers.  Not so much..

  • Brettno44

    How can you not even mention Torey Krug of MSU as he is leading the CCHA in league scoring as a D-man??????

  • Geoffrey Chiles

    Wait…MSU fans follow hockey?

  • krios

    I also wanted to say thanks for listening. Whether we were all wrong or right, it was nice of you to listen and acknowledge our comments. 

  • Tech Fan

    Jack Connolly.  Leadership.  Integrity.  Makes plays and delivers the puck like no-one else.  

    • K

      all done in a weak league.  its easy to play division-2 quality opponents

      • Cdahlin05

        Hahahaha, weak league???? You fricken crack me up. That is the exact equivalent to calling the SEC weak in football. Get a clue pal.

      • WCHAFAN

        Gotta be the dumbest statement ever made on this site…  Ill take any WCHA team and plug them into any other conference around, and bet my lif savings they finifh in at least the top half of that conference.

  • broz

    Look at JCon’s entire career as well as this season. Looking at the big picture he wins. With his scoring and leadership he has taken a Bulldog team way beyond expectations this season. GO JACK!

  • keppelfinga

    jack connolly deserves this. leadership like said before, and he proved to everyone he can be a top player even when he lost both of his linemates.

  • 2011NAT_champsUMD

    Kent Patterson? WHO? who does he play for? Kenny Reiter from UMD has a better chance of winning it than Patterson does. I mean Reiter has 5 points this year….as a GOALIE. He has more points than 10 players on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMTC) squad…..But with that aside UMD’s Jack Connolly will win HANDS DOWN. Nobody else in the country even has a remotely close chance of winning. Wooo, Abbott puts up 4 points against North Dakota in a weekend. While Jack on the other hand puts up 6 in a weekend against North Dakota…Oh yea and (5) in Saturdays game. All the East Cost people can shut up. Not a chance…. Jack Connolly will be UMD’s nation leading fifth Hobey Baker Award Winner come season end.

    • Tom

       I didn’t know Abbott vs JC came down to a ND Series lol, checkout Abbotts series last year vs them.  5 points is a solid game even thou ND spent most the game in the box, thats a huge help….

      For this season Abbott has a better story, bringing a team who won only 3 games out of the first 11, back to make the tournament(first time since 07), something that was never done with Nyquist.  Also to be leading the nation on a team that wasn;t ranked number 1 all year is a big thing as well.

  • K

    who is this idiot Olshansky??  a native of Minnesota?  when it comes to puck, all leagues are ignored except WCHA and Hockey East.  we’ll see who comes out on top …
    and people… READ the definitions pertaining to Hobey. its not all about scoring in an easy conference

  • Ryan Lund

    Bjustad is the best canidate just look at the teams success if Bjustad scores the gophers usually win. So if Bjustad doesnt come to play so do the gophers! Look out fo the Gophers in the NCAA we will be in the frozen four and make it to the title game

  • RyanMaine

    Abbott should take it!!! Best player this year!!