The title basically says it all. When USCHO.com asked me to write a blog for them this year, I figured it was a nice opportunity to throw away the deadlines and topics that have buried me for years and take the chance to do what I’ve wanted to for a long time now: screw around.
Okay, seriously, USCHO.com has given me the chance to share some of my knowledge and perspective with a very captive audience of readers, aka the best fans in college hockey. So over the coming days, weeks and months, I’ll do my best to entertain, inform and give college hockey fans a reason to goof off as much as possible in the office further contributing to the black hole that is the American workforce.
Right now, the season is just a couple of weeks old. Quickly, though, teams have made impressions that are notable – both good and bad.
The first one that jumps out in my mind definitely falls in the category of good. The Maine Black Bears, coming off yet another Frozen Four bid in 2005-06, have started the season 6-0-0 and soared to the top of the USCHO.com/CSTV poll. The fact that the Black Bears are perfect through six is amplified by the opponents they’ve faced: Minnesota at the Xcel Center to start the season (and avenge the national championship game loss of 2002) and North Dakota (a two-game sweep on the road) both stand out. Two wins against Bemidji and a league win versus UMass also deserve note.
Finding the opposite side of good thus far is Ohio State. With somewhat high hopes entering the season, the Buckeyes didn’t even give Minnesota a contest two weeks ago at home, falling 7-2 and 6-3. Oh and that 7-6 overtime loss to Lake Superior might be something to remember come March.
Back to the good, I’m impressed with the way Notre Dame has come out of the gate this year in coach Jeff Jackson’s second season in South Bend. The Irish’s 7-1 victory over then-number one Boston College at the Heights on October 20 raised plenty of eyebrows. But to prove that wasn’t a fluke, the club has reeled off three straight since. The question now is how long this ride can last. Irish fans have waited a long time for a successful hockey team so they hope this ride will continue.
Clarkson is another club that has played well in the early stages. The only question mark accompanying the Golden Knight’s 4-1-1 start is the strength of their schedule (or lack thereof). But the Golden Knights might be part of a trend in the ECACHL. Among teams that have played three or more games, only St. Lawrence possesses a below-.500 record.
Had this blog entry been written a day earlier, I’d be calling Providence the biggest disappointment yet. The Friars slept-walked through their early schedule, but last night posted a 5-3 upset victory over Boston College at home.
Of course, as any good writer would, I’ve saved the biggest and best surprise for last.
I’m sure that I’m not the only college hockey fan in the nation wondering what head coach Jamie Russell has put into the Gatorade at Michigan Tech. The Huskies, fresh off a 7-25-6 season and eighth place finish in the WCHA, have come out of the gates gangbuster racking up a 5-1-0 record to start the season that includes back-to-back road wins at Vermont. The only blemish on the Huskies schedule is a 1-0 loss to Northern Michigan, itself proving to be a better-than-decent team this year. This weekend could be a true test for Tech when it travels to Colorado College to face a Tigers sqaud that is reeling out of the gates.
So there you have it. My first brain dump on the college hockey season (dump being the important word, there). I’ll be back within the next week with more commentary, but in the mean time, flame away!