These are the three things I think I learned this week.
1. It was great to see the first full weekend of Hockey East play.
Hey, I like the prime nonconference games as much as the next guy. But it was great to see the first full slate of six league games on Friday and another six on Saturday.
We’ll have another full slate this upcoming weekend before the Beanpot interrupts that for a couple weeks. The next six-for-six on back-to-back nights will be the weekend of Feb. 12-13.
And the results of this past weekend’s six series all meant a lot. There wasn’t a single split in the bunch.
2. Four teams swept.
Three of them — Massachusetts-Lowell, Notre Dame and Providence — are jostling for position at the top of the standings; one team, Northeastern, used its sweep to escape the cellar.
With the sweep, Lowell maintained its position at the top of the standings in terms of total points, albeit while still conceding games in hand to every other league team.
Notre Dame and Providence kept pace, remaining in striking range. Both will leapfrog the River Hawks if they cash in their extra games.
And while it might be tempting to consider Northeastern’s sweep of minimal importance since those two wins were the Huskies’ first two in league play, they arguably swept the top opponent of the four. Combined with last weekend’s road sweep of nationally ranked St. Lawrence, the Huskies are now playing like many of us thought they’d play all year.
3. At the other end of the spectrum, four teams got swept and one of the other two suffered almost as bad a fate.
We’re giving Boston University a partial pass since its single point against BC isn’t the end of the world. When Top 10 opponents are involved, that’ll happen.
But Maine’s singleton came against Connecticut with both games at home, and also dropped the Black Bears into last place. A point is a point, but still….
As for the teams that got swept — New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Merrimack and Vermont — one can argue that UNH fell the hardest. The Wildcats had the best opportunity of them all to move into the top of the middle tier of teams and were facing the Huskies, admittedly hot but still 0-8-3 in Hockey East games.
So a particularly tough weekend for UNH, but try telling that to the other three sweep-ees.