This weekend there really aren’t very many exciting match ups that jump out at you. Don’t get me wrong, on any given weekend I watch roughly 4- 6 college hockey games. Last weekend I watched UND and C.C. (on B2TV), Notre Dame and Boston College (on ESPN Classic), Miami and Ferris State (NHL Network) and Minnesota and UNH (Fox Sports Net-X2). I would have watched more hockey games if I could have. This weekend there is only one conference match up that makes me want to jump up check the TV listings to see if this game is on (Boston University and Northeastern University), it’s not.
UND VS UAA
I will also be sitting in the stands this weekend to watch the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux play the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves on Friday and Saturday night in beautiful Ralph Englestad Arena. College hockey fans can watch the game nationally on the NHL Network this Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m. central standard time, that is 4:30 Alaska time.
So far this season the Fighting Sioux have been inconsistent and have struggled on defense and between the pipes. After leading the Fighting Sioux in goal Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has since graduated and moved on and is now playing in Anchorage of the ECHL. Now starting in goal for the Fighting Sioux, is rookie Brad Eidsness, who has a 3-3-0 record. His goals against average is 3.52, with a save percent of .883. The much heralded Eidsness has been inconsistent so far this season; at times Eidsness has looked great, at other times has also let in some soft goals. Contrary to some of the naysayers I think there are many reasons why UND Fighting Sioux fans should be excited about their young goaltender.
On the other side of the ice the UAA Seawolves are kind of an enigma. The Seawolves finished the past three seasons dead last in the WCHA and were seen by some WCHA fans as an easy win. This season the Seawolves who were picked to finish 10th again in the preseason poll have played better this year and have a conference record of 2-2-2 is tied with the Fighting Sioux and MSU-M for fifth in the WCHA standings. The UAA Seawolves have 5 forwards with ten or more points in ten games; Paul Crowder (6-7-13), Brian Bales (1-11-12), Tommy Grant (7-4-11), Josh Lunden (6-4-10) In goal the Seawolves have had to goalies split time Jon Olthuis and Bryce Christianson. Bryce Christianson has the better of the record and stats 3-0-2 record of the two goaltenders, his goals against average 1.94 and save percentage of .903.
Prediction: While UAA is no give me and this will be a hard fought series, the Sioux still take three points on the weekend.
The Battle of Boston
The Boston University Terriers face off against the Northeastern University Huskies in a battle of two teams that resides in the city of Boston Massachusetts. The question this weekend will be can Brad Thiessen 6-1-2 record, goals against average 1.53 and save percentage .951 stop the high flying Boston University Terriers led by Colin Wilson (5-7-12), Christopher Higgens (4-6-10)and Nick Bonino (4-8-12)? Early on the Boston University Terriers have been the best team in college hockey. Boston University has scored five or more goals in five out of eight games this season
Northeastern is also a good team but not as dynamic offensively, the Huskies are a more defensively focused team.
Prediction: Boston University wins this game.
Goon’s Weekly top 10
1.) Boston University
2.) University of Minnesota
3.) Colorado College
5.) Boston College
6.) New Hampshire
7.) Notre Dame
8.) North Eastern
9.) Minnesota State Mankato
Realignment coming to college hockey?
Realignment is coming to college hockey per Denver Post hockey blogger Mike Chambers. Chambers covers the Denver University Pioneers and the WCHA league office is at Denver University so I don't doubt Mike has strong contacts.
This isn’t just opinion. In true blog form, I can’t divulge my sources at this time because things are too political — which is why this issue won’t make the paper right now — but this is what is being discussed by conference commissioners. And it makes sense.
CHA currently has Robert Morris, Alabama-Huntsville, Niagara and Bemidji State. It’s a joke, because the four-team conference gets an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament for its playoff champion, and judging from history, teams in other conferences with far better numbers in the Pairwise Rankings get left out. That’s going to change.
Robert Morris and Niagara have applied for entrance to the AHA. If they are accepted, the AHA will go from 10 to 12 teams.
What we need next — and this is the big one — is for Nebraska-Omaha to apply to the WCHA, and get accepted along with Bemidji State, which previously applied and is a terrific fit. UNO, which currently plays in the CCHA, will be replaced by Alabama-Huntsville.