Well, this has been quite an educational weekend in the NCAA.
*Not satisfied with proving they weren’t anybody’s opening weekend chumps, Minnesota State upset North Dakota in game one of their series. The MSU juniors have been the team’s standouts thus far. NDU suffered from their usual glut of penalties. They managed to right the ship in game two, but I think it’s going to take awhile for this team to find its identity, with the combo of a large number of new players and a top-loaded group of seniors.
*UMD’s quest to return to the upper echelons of the WCHA took a massive hit from back-to-back losses to Ohio State. It’s well past time for the Buckeyes to redefine themselves, and perhaps they needed to jettison their over-reliance on last year’s seniors in order to do it. It’s impossible not to root for a team whose captain is named Hokey. Meanwhile, a few more losses like this and Shannon Miller’s job security might be a concern.
*BC is apparently not quite ready to take back the torch in the rivalry with BU. The Terriers went a woeful 0-7 on the power play, Poulin didn’t notch a goal, and they still scored four times. Advantage: BU’s freshman class over BC’s. Photos from the game. BU also tied the Blades in their exhibition game. Update: this does turn out to be an impressive performance because I see no evidence the Blades didn’t play full out after a dominating first period.
*Once-proud Vermont has hit rock bottom, losing to a team playing its first D-I game. Granted it’s actually easier to recruit to a new program than one which has had some tough years, so Penn State has the clean slate going for them and some solid young players. I know rebuilding takes time, but it’s not even clear that Vermont has dedicated itself to the process yet. This is on the coaching staff and AD. Let’s not put the players through it for much longer, please. Update: Vermont did take the series’ second game.
*Clarkson took two close ones from Saint Lawrence. Expect the Clarkson defense to continue its dominance this year.
*Minnesota and Wisconsin beat up on weak opponents, which allowed their top scorers to pad their numbers. Doesn’t it seem like Decker has been at UW forever? She’s finally a senior at long last.
*Providence split the weekend series against BSU, and Quinnipiac held strong against ‘Hurst, with a tie and a close loss. Hockey on the East Coast is currently fascinating.
*After a rough set of openers, RIT at least proved it doesn’t belong in the D-III limbo category, beating the living hell out of Sacred Heart to the tune of 15-2 over two games. It will take awhile for them to adjust, but unlike certain other transitional programs they almost surely will.
Given the NHL lockout, let’s make sure we spread the word about women’s hockey this year. It should be a great one.