This isn’t a series between two teams, so I suppose it is cheating, but the Ivy Shootout featuring Yale, Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth will be a first look at some teams who look to feature in the ECAC Hockey race. Yale has a first place vote in the USCHO poll and while that’s probably a bit presumptuous they are widely considered favorites for the ECAC title. Dartmouth looks like they could push for third and Princeton and Brown look like they’re under mini-resurgences.
Union at New Hampshire
They only play on Friday, but UNH needs a big win in the worst way. They haven’t won yet, and have scored either 0 or 1 goal in three of their five games. Their lone offensive outburst came in a 7-5 loss at St. Cloud. So far the Dutchmen have been an odd group, tying three of their first five contests, but just throttled a good RIT team 5-0. They’re scoring over 4 goals per game in the early going, picking up where they left off last year when they were 7th in the country in scoring.
Denver at Michigan Tech
Two of the seven teams tied atop the WCHA meet this weekend as the Huskies try to continue their hot start. They already have more wins than they did last year, but they have just a +1 goal differential on the season, so maybe we shouldn’t plan the MacNaughton Cup parade just yet. Denver meanwhile has gotten a lot of great play from Sophomores, as three of their top four scorers are in their second season on campus.
Minnesota at Alaska Anchorage
The Gophers, who are scoring almost 6 goals per game so far this year, travel to Anchorage to face the team that ended their season last year. Though they haven’t had the toughest schedule, Minnesota’s hot start has been impressive, with two of the top seven scorers in the country including Sophomore Erik Haula, who leads the country in scoring at 2.33 points per game.
Freshman Kyle Rau has been great as well, scoring 6 goals in his first 6 games and he has been picking up some serious World Juniors buzz as well. Anchorage, meanwhile, needs to get on track after scoring only two goals in a weekend series vs. Omaha
Maine at Boston College
On Sunday the Black Bears travel to the de facto #1 team in the country. As expected, goaltending has been an issue for Maine, as their two goalies have .889 and .896 save percentages. Spencer Abbott has been great, with 3 goals and 7 points in 4 games, but he needs some help if Maine is going to be as good as I thought they would be this year. BC meanwhile has had a few goaltending issues of their own, but have the offense to cover it up. Sophomore Bill Arnold leads the team with 5 goals, but it’s Chris Kreider and Johnny Gaudreau who have been their best players.