Top action on the ice
If there is such a thing as too much sports, this would be the time of year where such a thought could be entertained. In addition to the World Series, there's NCAA football and the NFL, the NHL, NASCAR's Chase for the Cup, and something called the NBA started earlier this week. And, of course, there's college hockey. This weekend's matchups aren't really attention grabbers, but there's enough out there to pique your interest.
New Hampshire at Cornell (Friday): The Big Red open the season against the team that ended their 2009-10 campaign. New Hampshire scored six goals -- four of them in the third period -- against Mike Schafer's typically stingy bunch in an NCAA tournament East Regional semifinal. A lot of the guys on the ice that night in Albany, N.Y., will be in the lineup at Lynah Rink, but the focus will be one of two guys who didn't play in that game. Either junior Mike Garman or freshman Andy Iles, the U.S. National Team Development Program alum and Ithaca native, will make their first career start against the Wildcats.
Michigan Tech at Wisconsin (Friday-Saturday): We'd like to know a little more about both these teams, so what better way to find out than by having them playing each other in Madison this weekend? The Badgers have dominated lesser opponents Holy Cross and Alabama-Huntsville, but are 0-2-1 against ranked foes Boston College and Denver. A better showing against a quality team would give Wisconsin a boost. The question surrounding Michigan Tech is, are the Huskies a quality team? Off to a 3-0-2 start, Tech is, at worst, vastly improved, and has been scoring goals (24 of 'em) in bunches. That said, the combined record of the teams they've played to date is an underwhelming 3-9-5. The trip to Mad Town will provide a measuring stick.
Halloween Shootout (Lake Placid, N.Y., Saturday): As if one needed extra incentive to visit the site of greatest moment in American sports history, four ECAC Hockey members make the trek to Lake Placid for two nonconference matchups. The first game features Union, one of the country's highest-scoring teams with 37 goals in seven games, against a Rensselaer club that's allowed a total of 10 goals in six games this season. Rivals Clarkson and St. Lawrence meet in the nightcap; the Golden Knights have three wins and a tie in their first six games after winning nine times in 37 tries last season. The Saints, meanwhile, are 0-3-3, hindered by an offense that's provided just 12 goals thus far.
Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State (Friday-Saturday): Sure, the Denver-North Dakota series has more sizzle, but this series is intriguing because it's been so even -- since the Beavers and Bulldogs began playing annually in 2002-03, BSU leads by a 9-7 margin. Bemidji State had last weekend off, which was probably good for goalie Dan Bakala, who faced 62 shots in a series against North Dakota two weeks ago. He'll see plenty of rubber from a UMD attack that averages five goals and 34.3 shots on goal per game.
Also: Denver travels to North Dakota. The Pioneers were pretty good last weekend against Wisconsin. The Fighting Sioux were pretty bad at Maine last weekend. Undefeated Robert Morris starts a weekend road trip Friday in Rochester against defending Atlantic Hockey champion RIT. Ivies Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Yale take part in the Ivy Shootout in New Haven, Conn. The nonconference event starts with Dartmouth facing Princeton and Brown meeting Yale. Friday's losers play Saturday, followed by the winners. Quinnipiac, off to a 3-1-0 start, goes to St. Cloud for a nonconference series against the Huskies. Former Michigan State standout Chris Luongo, now the head coach at Alabama-Huntsville, returns to his alma mater this weekend as the Chargers take on the Spartans.
For more from Inside College Hockey, check out insidecollegehockey.com.
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