You are forgiven if you missed it since it couldn’t have been scheduled at a worse time last weekend for sports fans: Boston College beat Boston University, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon (at the same time as a full day of NFL games) at Agganis Arena in their first meeting of the 2012-13 regular season.
While I’m complaining about awful scheduling, how about the fact that their two other games (not including the Beanpot, if they play each other) are Nov.30 and Dec. 1? So conceivably, the best rivalry in college hockey will be dormant for January, February and March - although they could meet again in the Hockey East playoffs and NCAA tournament. It’s tough to explain the thinking behind all of those decisions.
1. Boston College (8-1-0, 7-1-0 Hockey East; unanimous No. 1 in USCHO.com poll)
Last week: Beat Notre Dame 3-1 on Friday; Won 4-2 at Boston University on Sunday
This week: host Merrimack on Friday before short Thanksgiving break
You won’t find a hotter team in college hockey or a better one. The Eagles are not only the premier program in their sport but also one of the true powerhouses in college athletics in general. They have won eight straight games, including wins against the No. 8 Irish and No. 11 Terriers last weekend. We are only a month into the regular season but Boston College already looks like the team to beat nationally as it strives for its second consecutive NCAA title.
2. Boston University (5-3-0, 4-2-0 in Hockey East; No. 11 in USCHO.com poll)
Last week: Won 3-1 at Merrimack on Friday; Lost 4-2 to Boston College on Sunday
This week at Vermont on Friday; host UNH on Sunday before short Thanksgiving break
Jack Parker’s team took care of business on the road against the Warriors but fell short in the first installment of the bitter BC-BU blood rivalry. There will be no time to dwell on that loss, however, since the Terriers have two games this weekend, plus they’ll see the Eagles again (twice) in a few weeks. They have split (1 win, 1 loss) their last two weekend series, so picking up four points this weekend would be nice, especially since the Wildcats are one spot ahead (second-place) of them in Hockey East.
3. Harvard (3-2-0, 2-2-0 ECAC; No. 17 in USCHO.com poll)
Last week: Lost 6-2 to Union on Friday; Beat Rensselaer 4-0 on Saturday
This week: at Cornell on Friday (on NBC Sports Network); at Colgate on Sunday
It is still tough to gauge the Crimson at this early point of the season. They suffered their second four-goal loss in a row but they promptly bounced back with a four-goal victory. This weekend should provide some insight since they finally head out on their first road trip of the season. The Big Red are ranked No. 10 so that is a huge game in terms of a barometer for where they stand in the ECAC.
4) Northeastern (4-4-1, 2-4-1 Hockey East; not ranked but received 5 votes)
Last week: Beat Alabama-Huntsville 3-0 on Saturday and 3-1 on Sunday
This week: at Providence on Friday; at Vermont on Sunday
The Huskies haven’t had a football team for years but Alabama-Huntsville might as well have been a cupcake on Homecoming Weekend. They served their purpose as Northeastern picked up its first wins in nearly a month and snapped an ugly five-game winless streak (0-4-1). Getting back on the ice against Hockey East opponents should prove to be much tougher. The Friars are in 5th place in the conference, Northeastern is in 6th and the Catamounts are tied for 7th so this weekend is a big one for the teams in the middle of the pack.
Star of the week
Boston College sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau
The 4th round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2011 that burst onto the national collegiate scene last season had a great weekend as he scored twice against Notre Dame (his first multi-goal effort of the season) and once against Boston University. Most impressively, both were game-winners and he has now recorded points in nine straight games.
Quote of the week
From ESPNBoston..com’s Brion O’Connor:
“Notre Dame is a big rivalry of ours because there’s a lot of sports we play (together), but this one just ratchets it up a little bit more because of the history,” BC head coach Jerry York said after he notched career victory No. 921. “Both rivalry games make you play with an intensity to match the other team’s intensity. There were a lot of good players we saw against us this weekend, from Friday and Sunday.”