We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN Friday night November 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET, as Cornell takes on Harvard.
When Boston College dropped their first game of the year, a 3-1 road loss to Northeastern, it was enough to knock them out of their preseason No. 1 ranking in the polls. After returning to No. 1 last week, the Eagles could’ve found themselves in a trap against last season’s NCAA tournament surprise team and Hockey East rival UMass-Lowell this weekend.
Instead, BC swept the weekend earning a 1-0 win in Lowell on Friday and a 6-3 decision at home on Sunday. Now that they’re on track and riding a four-game winning streak, BC next heads off to Orono on Friday for a battle against early season disappointment Maine and follow that with a rematch against UMass at home on Sunday.
Jerry York’s club best not get caught looking ahead to what sets up for an early-season throwdown with Notre Dame the following week. With the play of sophomore Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary) and senior Pat Mullane (undrafted), Maine and UMass will have their hands full.
Butt-whooping of the weekend: Frozen Four semifinalists Union College got to stretch their legs on Friday night taking out a hapless American International team 8-0. The Dutchmen must’ve tired themselves out as they merely drew a 2-2 tie against UConn the following night. Union had better be ready to go this weekend as they’ve got a home-and-home set with local rivals RPI.
CCHA going out in style: It’s the final year of the conference as everyone is heading for either the Big Ten or NCHC, but Michigan and Miami made this weekend worthwhile as the teams split their games over the weekend. Michigan won Friday night’s tilt 4-2 while the Redhawks won a 4-3 thriller on Saturday. Let’s hope these two hockey powers keep it up all year long.
New home on the range: Nebraska-Omaha earned approval for a new on-campus rink. With the Mavericks headed to the NCHC next season, a new building and a new big-time conference will help coach Dean Blais sell that program even more.
Black Knights bounce back: Sure, Army lost to the new kids on the block, Penn State, 5-0 last week — but they bounced back big this weekend thumping Holy Cross 7-2. That makes a nice gift to coach Brian Riley for his 100th career win.
We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN on November 16 as Cornell takes on Harvard.
One of the big trips in college hockey is when teams and officials have to fly the friendly skies for a weekend set in Alaska. For WCHA referee Peter Friesma, he found out that making a joke about a bomb being in a bag while “perhaps an effort to be funny or flirtatious” isn’t cool to do while in an airport as the Anchorage Daily News reports.
“But my friend’s bag has a bomb in it,” the agent remembers him saying, according to a charging document. He recounted it to authorities slightly differently, more to the effect of “what if my friend’s bag has a bomb in it?”
File that away under “failed pick-up lines that could land you in jail for a long time.” At the very least he’ll have an even better story to try and flirt when on the road.
Upsets of the week: It started on Thursday night with RIT coming back from a 4-2 deficit against No. 3 Michigan to shock the Wolverines 5-4 in overtime. On Friday, it was Rensselaer beating No. 11 Ferris State 3-1, last year’s national championship runner-up, and then tying them 2-2 on Saturday. Finally, Hockey East saw Northeastern upset No. 1 Boston College on Saturday night 3-1.
Welcome to the big leagues: Penn State’s Division I campaign got off to a tough start on Friday losing 3-2 in overtime to lowly American International but things changed for the better on Saturday. The Nittany Lions earned the programs first win with a 4-3 overtime victory in front of a sold out crowd. Coach Guy Gadowsky, the former head man at Princeton, is going to do big things there.
Disappointment of the week: St. Cloud State getting swept on the road by New Hampshire isn’t becoming of a team that has hopes of winning the WCHA and making noise in the tournament. UNH isn’t a bad team and having the home ice advantage helps, but St. Cloud is better than that.
The last we’ve heard from Andy Murray, he was fired by the St. Louis Blues after 40 games of the 2009-2010 season. That year, Murray had a record of 17-17-6 and after coming off a season that saw the Blues rally to make the playoffs, the disappointment and frustration with the younger players finally had him sent out of town.
After a coaching career that saw him spend six years with the L.A. Kings and parts of four seasons with the Blues, Murray is taking his coaching style and big time NHL name to the college ranks and will be accepting the head coaching job at Western Michigan. The Broncos made the NCAA Tournament last season under Jeff Blashill, but Blashill left WMU to take a job as an assistant coach with Detroit and become part of Mike Babcock’s staff.
At Western Michigan, Murray will look to keep the positive momentum going as the Broncos’ NCAA Tourney appearance last season was the school’s first since the 1995-1996 season. With that setting the table for Murray’s arrival in Kalamazoo, Murray’s big name will be a boon for them in recruiting and may potentially help sell them as a team to move to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference that starts play in 2013-2014.
That new conference will feature schools jumping ship from both the WCHA and CCHA in North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Denver, Colorado College, Miami University, and Minnesota-Duluth. With Notre Dame potentially also jumping to that conference out of the CCHA, to keep an even number of teams, Western Michigan could join them. Having a big name coach and a program on the rise would make WMU a very attractive option.
As it is, Murray’s got success to build on at WMU and he’ll need to keep the good things going. This isn’t Murray’s first dalliance with college hockey as he was a candidate for the RPI head coaching job back in 2006 that eventually went to Seth Appert. Instead of landing at RPI, Murray took the head coaching job with the Blues. That wasn’t such a bad consolation prize for him in the end. Seeing pro coaches move on to college is rare to see and how Murray handles things at Western Michigan will be worth watching.