College Hockey Exile: Week One
This will attempt to be a (boring/mediocre) weekly chronicle of a college hockey fan's attempt to follow the season from what is essentially a college hockey "no man's land," Cleveland, Ohio. This will mostly consist of me watching high numbered extended cable channels on weekends, listening to the radio with a bad wireless connection, and complaining.
Based on my present location, this should include visits to Quicken Loans Arena to watch former BU players play (Kenny Roche) and coach (Joe Sacco) for the new local AHL club, the Lake Erie Monsters. I'll also probably drop in on division III club team Case Western Reserve University at the Cleveland Heights Community Center at least once.
The real highlight will be an exodus to Ann Arbor for the BU-Wolverines series in 2 weeks.
Speaking of Michigan, when I watched BC's attempted comeback in the first round of the IceBreaker on FSN-Atlantic last Friday, I had mixed feelings about Michigan's victory on a cheap own goal in sudden death OT. I like seeing BC get beat, but Michigan would have been a nice non-conference scalp for Hockey East on the whole. In the scheme of things, one non-conference loss rarely has a large effect on the league as a whole... of course, I didn't know how the rest of the league was faring on Friday night.
On Friday, Hockey East went 1-7-0 in non-conference play. This included losses to teams from ECAC Hockey (Clarkson over UMass, St. Lawrence over Providence), the CCHA (Miami over Vermont, BC's aforementioned loss to Michigan), the WCHA (Denver over Maine), the soon-to-be disbanded CHA (Robert Morris over BU), and Canadian Interuniversity Sport's Atlantic University Sport (New Brunswick over UNH, thankfully an exhibition).
What a colossal disaster.
The league's lone win came via Merrimack (last place in the HEA Coach's Pre-Season Poll) who beat Niagara.
At this point, Hockey East's interconference record is 3-9-1, better only than Atlantic Hockey's 0-10-1. All other conferences are over .500.
I'm not saying HEA is the second worst conference (down from their usual position of second best), some of those results were wacky, like BC beating themselves or BU losing despite outshooting RMU 35-15 and still losing to three unanswered late goals, but the panic button must be hit. Unlike football and basketball, hockey's postseason berths are decided by a wholly objective process. League reputation is worthless if you don't win this season. 27 (plus playoffs) of each HEA teams' games are inconference, leaving only room for 7 non-conference games (plus extra for exempted tournaments). That means there's not alot of time to get the out of conference wins necessary to garner a respectable RPI or PWR. At this pace, HEA could be looking at getting only 2 teams to the dance since the dawn of the 16 team field.
What to Watch
Flipping between a pair of games Friday at 8PM:
- North Dakota @ BC on CSTV
- "BU Killer" Robert Morris @ Wisconsin on FCS-Atlantic
Sunday at 4PM:
- BC @ Vermont on ESPNU
Labels: American Hockey League, Boston College, Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, College Hockey Exile, Joe Sacco, Kenny Roche, Lake Erie Monsters, Robert Morris University, University of Michigan, University of New Hampshire