The holiday tournament season has come and gone, and teams will get back to work on the league schedule. The tournaments helped set up a lot of teams for a potentially magical stretch run, and exposed others that have work to do.
The general consensus coming into this season was that Massachusetts would take a step backwards. But in this year's wide-open Hockey East -- and with goaltender
Eight different players scored in the wins including
The trend for
Also, with Miami's
In addition to Massachusetts' impressive run in Tampa, the other holiday tournaments provided some interesting results. At the Great Lakes Invitational, an upstart Michigan Tech -- looking for its first GLI win since 1980 --battled Michigan into double-overtime of the Finals before the Wolverines'
Massachusetts-Lowell is coming on these days, and after a tumultuous off-season that nearly included the end of the hockey program -- is just one point out of first in Hockey East. This past weekend, the River Hawks won the Florida College Classic, beating Cornell and Maine.
Let's also give a big thumbs up to Team USA for its play so far in the World Junior championships in the Czech Republic. Led by six goals from Boston University freshman
The U.S. lost some high-end talent in recent years -- some of whom are still eligible for this tournament but are playing in the NHL -- such as but this team is functioning strongly as a TEAM.
The big question mark --the team's goaltending -- has been answered by 18-year old
This weekend, after New Hampshire defeated North Dakota 7-4 in a non-league game, UNH forward
Then there's Colorado College, which was missing three key players for the Lightning College Classic opener (along with
Northeastern, coming off a win in the Badger Showdown, returns to division play in first place, but will have to win a road game against Maine this weekend to keep the top spot as the top five teams in Hockey East are separated by one point.
Also, keep an eye on Minnesota as it hosts Wayne State. This might not seem like a big deal, but the way the Gophers seem to be free-falling, it's going to be a story no matter what happens.