Denver at Boston College and BU
Denver goalie Adam Murray got nicked up over the weekend against the NTDP, but all signs point to him being ready to face the Eagles this weekend. Denver will need Murray to be at his best, as the Eagles put up 11 goals last weekend in wins over Michigan State and North Dakota. Chris Kreider in particular was outstanding, with 2 goals and 4 points, but moreso for his play overall. John Gaudreau’s college career is off to a nice start, as the Freshman had 4 points in the IceBreaker championship.
BU lost its exhibition contest, but came back and throttled New Hampshire in their Hockey East season opener. They have over 80% of their scoring back from last season and the school’s winningest goaltender in net.
Denver, meanwhile, will be playing in its first competitive game, getting underway a bit later than most of their WCHA brethren. Jason Zucker had two goals in their tie with McGill and Beau Bennett had 2 in their win over the NTDP, which has to excite Denver fans given his slow start last year.
Minnesota at Minnesota-Duluth
All of a sudden this looks like a big early WCHA matchup, with the Gophers looking mightily impressive in posting back to back shutouts over Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart is one of the worst teams in the country to be sure, but any time a team puts up 15 goals in a weekend it is impressive. It’s mostly been the youngsters for the Gophers so far, as Sophomores Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula each had multi goal games over the weekend. The big story though might be Zach Budish’s return. Budish had a goal in the second game and potentially gives them one of the deeper groups of forwards in the league. Duluth, meanwhile, struggled a bit defensively against Notre Dame over the weekend, but given that the Irish are probably the best team in the country that can be forgiven rather easily. JT Brown has probably been Duluth’s best forward so far, and I am calling Kevin Cheveldayoff daily to try to get the Jets to sign him.
Maine at North Dakota
The tidbit of the day from that series comes via Brad Scholssman, who notes that the Sioux have been swept in the nonconference twice in the past 16 years, and both of them came at the hands of the Black Bears. Both UND and Maine could give a start to each goalie, as there have been some mixed reviews from the starting goalie play. For their part, Maine realizes they are going to be getting a pretty focused Sioux team. (also check out the commenting policy at that link. Wild stuff.). Last year the Black Bears were 5-19 on the power play in the two games, and the Sioux racked up over 60 minutes of penalties.
Western Michigan at Union
A rematch of last year in which the Broncos swept Union at home, this year’s event features the current 11 and 12th ranked teams (though I think there are legitimate arguments for both being in the top 10.). Chase Balisy is, of course, leading Western in scoring so far, but it is Shane Berschbach
, who has 3 goals through 2 games, who leads Western in goals.
The usual suspects are at it again for Union, as Wayne Simpson had a hat trick in their first game, and Kelly Zajac had three assists in that contest. Troy Grosenick stopped 17 of 18 shots vs. Army, but local boy Colin Stevens could see his first action in Messa Rink this weekend. Well, his first game action.