Marquee nonconference games to watch
These are the weekends that make college hockey great, the ones when there are a bunch of marquee nonconference matchups everywhere you look. Heck, we wouldn't mind seeing games like these in March and April.
Boston College at Denver (Friday-Saturday): The top-ranked Eagles are working on some impressive streaks that go back to last season -- goaltender John Muse owns a scoreless stretch of 134:41 following last weekend's shutout of Northeastern, the Eagles have won 10 straight and are on a 14-game unbeaten streak (13-0-1). One area the defending national champions struggled last season was on the road; BC had a 7-6-3 road mark including a Jan. 2 Denver Cup loss to the Pioneers. The DU lineup has changed dramatically since then, but the young Pios have to be confident after getting a win and tie at Vermont last weekend.
Miami at St. Cloud State (Friday-Saturday): This is a reprise of a nonconference series from last October which the RedHawks swept. Both teams are likely disappointed with the results of last weekend. Miami split with New Hampshire -- the RedHawks were sharp in a 6-3 win Friday, but allowed five second-period goals in Saturday's 6-3 loss. At the Maverick Stampede in Omaha, meanwhile, the Huskies beat RIT in the opener, 3-1, but allowed four second-period goals Saturday in a 6-2 loss to Clarkson.
Brice Alaska Goal Rush, Fairbanks (Friday-Saturday): Nice little event here featuring three teams which should be in the hunt for an NCAA tournament bid (Alaska, Colorado College, Union) and a fourth coming off its most promising weekend in some time (Alaska Anchorage). Fairbanks hockey fans get a chance to see the Tigers' Jaden Schwartz, a first-round pick of St. Louis in the NHL Entry Draft this past summer and the top-rated forward in the recently released INCH Recruiting Rankings. It may be early, but we're in midseason form when it comes to self-promotion.
Michigan at New Hampshire (Saturday): When it comes to nonconference play, Red Berenson and the Wolverines typically hole up in Yost Arena. Anyhoo, UM is off to Durham for a single game with a UNH team that looks like it'll be able to put some crooked numbers on the board this season. The Wolverines, meanwhile, have scored 4, 4, and 4 in their first three regular-season games. Could be a lot of goals Saturday, which should thrill Greg Robinson.Also: Bemidji State christens its new rink and ushers in its WCHA membership with a pair against visiting North Dakota. Speaking of WCHA debuts, Nebraska-Omaha plays its first league series at Minnesota this weekend. Maine is at Michigan State for a nonconference series, but by the time you read this, Thursday's opener will be in the books. Alabama-Huntsville goes to Wisconsin for a Friday-Sunday series sandwiched around Saturday's nationally televised football game between the host Badgers and top-ranked Ohio State. Hope the Chargers get the chance to jump around.
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