Weekend Breakout: Jan. 13-15
On the heels of what might have been the season's best weekend of college hockey comes its close challenger - a schedule filled with rivalry games, top-10 meetings, attendance-record breakers and outdoor games.
In the Spotlight – The sparkling Compton Family Ice Arena has already hosted its share of memorable games and it's only three months old. Another comes to town tonight as No. 3 Notre Dame hosts No. 10 Western Michigan on CBS Sports Network (the teams meet again in Kalamazoo on Saturday). The Irish have recovered well from a four-game losing skid, winning their last four games. Western Michigan fell twice to No. 1 Minnesota Duluth last weekend and will look to rebound as its tough schedule continues. The two teams met in November, with Notre Dame winning a one-goal game and Western Michigan posting a shootout win.
Also On TV - Friday: Boston University at Northeastern (7:30 p.m. ET, NESN), Michigan at Ohio State (7:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network), Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska-Omaha (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network), Minnesota at North Dakota (8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North), Bemidji State at Denver (9:30 p.m. ET, Root Sports). Saturday: Northern Michigan at Michigan State (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Detroit/Leafs TV), Minnesota at North Dakota (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North). Sunday: Michigan at Ohio State (5 p.m. ET, Fox College Sports/Leafs TV).
Full TV Schedule | Live National Scoreboard
Take it Outside - There are some who say the hockey schedule is overpopulated with outdoor games, but we're willing to bet that none of them were in attendance for last Saturday's terrific twinbill at Fenway Park in Boston. The action on the ice, with two overtime games, was compelling, but the story was told by the smiling faces of players and spectators. Even the losing teams raved about it.
"The whole thing was absolutely fabulous,” New Hampshire coach Dick Umile told USCHO.com's Dave Hendrickson. “Congratulations to Hockey East and the Red Sox. We had two overtime games here tonight at Fenway and 40,000 people. It doesn’t get any better than that."
Fenway hosts four more teams this weekend - Union vs. Harvard on Friday and Boston College vs. Northeastern on Saturday - while Cleveland's Progressive Field welcomes Ohio State vs. Michigan on Sunday. All are sure to provide memorable games and moments for players and fans.
Future watch – Few NHL organizations have scouted the Boston area as well as the San Jose Sharks, who will have five top prospects taking part in a pair of Boston University games this weekend. Matt Nieto, a second-round Sharks pick, is the offensive leader for the Terriers, who meet Northeastern on Friday and Harvard on Saturday. The Huskies have a trio of San Jose selections, all forwards: Cody Ferriero and Drew and Justin Daniels. Cody's brother Benn, the former Boston College star, has five goals in 14 games for San Jose this season. San Jose's seventh-round selection in last June's draft, Colin Blackwell, has impressed in his freshman year at Harvard. After starting with one goal in his first six games, he has eight points in his last eight games, including a goal and an assist Saturday at Rensselaer.
In the show – It's a rivalry weekend in the NHL as well, where Chicago and Detroit face off Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The two teams have exmployed a total of 20 former college players this season. Given their alma mater's heated rivalry, which faces off this weekend in Grand Forks, keep an eye on these former North Dakota and Minnesota stars: Jonathan Toews and Nick Leddy for Chicago and Mike Commodore for Detroit.