As the season gets shorter, the proximity in the standings gets closer. Consider both the MASCAC and the ECAC Northeast.
While not secure, Salem State is on top of the MASCAC standings, in part due to a seven-game unbeaten streak that includes five conference wins and one tie, including Saturday’s 4-2 win at Worcester State.
Two points separate first from third place in the MASCAC — Salem State has 18, Massachusetts-Dartmouth has 17, and Plymouth State 16.
There’s a bit more breathing room in the ECAC Northeast, as Curry is atop the conference. While it appeared as if Curry had stumbled, going winless in seven nonconference games from Dec. 31 to Jan. 17, the Colonels are back on track.
The Colonels have won their last three games — all ECAC Northeast games — to garner six points in the standings. Entering the week, Curry is in first place in the league with 16 points, five points ahead of Johnson and Wales and Wentworth, tied for second place with 11 points each.
Curry’s 5-2 win Saturday at Johnson and Wales helped further the separation between first and second place. Curry built a 4-1 lead in the second period and got a 30-save performance from freshman goalie Derek Mohney.
Johnson and Wales and Wentworth meanwhile, are only one point ahead of upstart Nichols, which enters the week on a four-game winning streak. The Bison put 46 shots on goal and scored three goals in the first eight minutes of Saturday’s 5-1 win over Western New England, which finished 0-for-5 on the power play in the loss.
Given the proximity in this week’s standings, the game to watch this week is on Thursday, when Wentworth host Nichols at 8 p.m.
Of note: There are no ECAC Northeast or MASCAC games scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday — proving that yes, “The Big Game” is akin to a national holiday.