It seems this past weekend that the sweep was the preferred method of dealing with opposition, at least for some of the nation’s top teams. Michigan, Miami, Colorado College, New Hampshire and North Dakota all posted back-to-back Ws on the weekend that with either maintain or improve the poll positioning.
The sweep that probably had the most impact was New Hampshire’s over #5 Massachusetts. UMass had climbed to its highest ranking in school history but stands to take a major slide after letting a third-period lead slip away Friday night at home and then never really getting things started in a 5-3 loss at UNH on Saturday. This could cost the Minutemen a spot in the top ten.
North Dakota posted two impressive wins over Michigan Tech that should help get the Sioux higher standing in the poll, which possibly pushing the Huskies out of the top 20 (they entered the weekend at #18).
While the poll will not have any type of significant movement at the top, one thing to watch this weekend is the release of the USCHO.com PairWise Rankings. This is the first look that college fans will get at their team’s standing in the overall national picture as the NCAA Tournament selection looms just 10 weeks away.
Buzzer Beaters and Replay
Many of you may have already read of the near buzzer beater that negated in Denver on Friday night by instant replay. Wisconsin appeared to have tied the game at the buzzer of regulation but a look at the play using instant replay – standard in all WCHA facilities – showed the the puck crossed the line after the clock read 0.0.
The following afternoon, I sat at UMass-Lowell as the River Hawks battled Providence. At the conclusion of the second period, Lowell scored a goal that, to my naked eye appeared to enter the net almost simultanesouly to the buzzer sounding. The referee, positioned perfectly on the goal line, immediately signaled goal.
There was no instant replay available for the game, as Hockey East only using video review in televised games.
It’s impossible for me to say whether or not the goal should have stood. But I’m sure there were enough people in Tsongas Arena who wondered themselves what the clock read as the puck entered the net.
This contrast of incidents that took place in Denver and Lowell, though, certainly makes the case for schools and league to invest in video replay. No one wants to leave a game having doubt, and instant replay certainly takes that away.
Denver’s coach George Gwozdecky, whose team was the beneficiary of instant replay, verbalized well the benefits of instant replay:
“The one reason that our coaches in this league and administration, and the referees especially, pushed so hard and for so long for a very expensive but effective tool like instant replay was to get the call right. It’s tough when it goes against you, no question about it, but as tough as it is, you can’t argue against it.”
No One Hotter than Gerbe
There are streaks in college hockey all over the nation, but few may be as impressive as the one that Boston College’s Nathan Gerbe has going.
Gerbe has what you’d consider a modest eight-game scoring streak. He also has a pretty impressive eight-game goal scoring streak.
Neither of those hold much weight as to the overall offensive that the junior has produced over those eight games. Gerbe has potted 13 goals and added 12 assists for 25 points in the eight game stretch (a little better than three points per game for the match-challenge in the audience). If he were to maintain that pace through the remainder of the season, Gerbe would have 82 points BEFORE the playoffs even begin.
It’s ridiculous to think that he’d maintain such a pace, but that comparison certainly put into perspective how impressive a streak BC’s top forward is on.
It’s also not coincidence that Gerbe’s production began shortly after he was handed a one-game suspension by the league for spearing. It seems that Gerbe has focused more on his game and less on playing chippy, all of which has translated to improved performance on the ice.
More to Come…
I’m hoping to write more this week once the PWR debuts. Check back later.