It’s been a couple weeks since our first rundown of teams we felt deserved to be on this list. Back then, we had 15 on the docket; this time around, it’s 13. You have no idea how refreshing it is to have the ability to draw the line between “pretty good” and “just north of mediocre.” Or as it’s more commonly called, the NFC East.
1. Boston College (10-1-0): The Eagles have won 10 games in a row and 29 of 30 going back to Jan. 27 of last season. During that same period, Johnny Gaudreau has 22 goals and 24 assists. Just putting that out there.
2. New Hampshire (9-1-2): UNH has more players from Maryland and New Jersey (seven) on its roster than New England (six). Some would find that interesting. Count me among the some.
3. Minnesota (9-2-2): Of the six teams that will comprise the Big Ten hockey league next season, the Gophs are the only one with a record better than one game above .500. On the plus side, none of the programs are on probation.
4. Miami (7-2-3): Fourteen RedHawks have scored more than one point this season. All but four of them are freshmen or sophomores, and both of the team’s goalies (who’ve been impressive thus far) are rookies.
5. Denver (9-3-0): Through 12 games this season, the Pios have given up 30 goals—including 14 in the third period and one in OT. Hey, DU, like Blake said in Glengarry Glen Ross, always be closing.
6. Union (8-2-1): Hats off to Penn State goalie Matt Skoff for his work in the Nittany Lions’ two losses to the Dutchmen last weekend. Union launched a total of 88 shots but could muster just six goals, two of which were empty netters. Wait, was this supposed to be about Union?
7. Notre Dame (9-4-0): Coach Jeff Jackson was fined and reprimanded by the CCHA for criticizing the officials following his team’s 2-1 loss to North Dakota Friday. The fine I get, but what is the reprimand? Does someone at the CCHA office write Jackson’s name on a whiteboard?
8. North Dakota (6-4-2): Sure, coaches, fans, and (to a much lesser extent) players get on the officials’ case, but refs can pretty much squash about 98 percent of the arguments they here by saying they either lost sight of the puck or the whistle blew. This is Lethal Weapon 2-level diplomatic immunity, isn’t it?
9. Nebraska Omaha (8-3-1): Did you know Joss Ackland, the actor who said “diplomatic immunity” in Lethal Weapon 2, also played Hans, the skate shop owner in the Mighty Ducks trilogy? The bulk of those movies were shot in Minnesota, which is where the Mavs will be this weekend to face the Gophers. Full circle.
10. Western Michigan (6-3-1): The Broncos are the only team in the country with a plus-.500 record that has been outscored by its opponents. WMU has netted 23 goals and allowed 24 through 10 games.
11. Yale (5-2-1): The Bulldogs are 1-1-0 this season in games in which they have allowed one goal. Yale is also 1-1-0 in contests in which it has given up four or more goals. Not even Nate Silver could predict what will happen next to the Elis.
12. Boston University (7-4-0): I originally had the Terriers below Dartmouth, then noticed BU’s four losses are (in order) at New Hampshire, at North Dakota, and Boston College and UNH at home. That’s three of the country’s top eight teams. Now I’m thinking this spot might be too low.
13. Dartmouth (5-2-2): Keep an eye on this team, because it seems like the Big Green could go in any direction at any time. After reeling off a six-game unbeaten streak to start the season, Dartmouth blew a 4-1 third-period lead in a loss at Colgate, scored with less than a minute left in regulation to salvage a tie at Cornell, and allowed three third-period goals in a 6-3 at Boston College.