COLLEGE HOCKEY: Lots of loaded teams exist
North Dakota's back-to-back takedowns of the University of Denver over the weekend legitimized UND as one of the country's best teams. There's no more pointing to a weak early season schedule and saying that's why UND has piled up a good record. ...
North Dakota's back-to-back takedowns of the University of Denver over the weekend legitimized UND as one of the country's best teams.
There's no more pointing to a weak early season schedule and saying that's why UND has piled up a good record. There's no more wondering if the potent top line will be slowed when it goes up against top players and top teams.
Denver is a legit National Collegiate Hockey Conference and national contender. And North Dakota manhandled the No. 9 Pioneers 5-1 and 4-0 on back-to-back nights.
How rare is it to see something like that?
UND hadn't swept a top-10 team in four years. The last time it happened was November 2011, when an injury-battered North Dakota squad swept No. 4 Colorado College in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Those guys were much closer.
This year's UND team is now 14-2-2, compiling one of its best first-half starts ever. But what stands out is that UND is not the No. 1-ranked team in the country. Or the No. 2-ranked team in the country. Or the No. 3-ranked team in the country.
This year's college hockey appears to have several giants.
Quinnipiac (15-0-2) and Providence (11-0-3) are both are still undefeated, putting together historic first-half runs.
The Bobcats and defending national champion Friars each have one game left before Christmas break. Quinnipiac takes on Boston University on Saturday and Providence hosts Brown on Thursday.
They both have a shot at becoming college hockey's first undefeated team (or teams) at Christmas break since a Don Lucia-coached Colorado College team 20 years ago. They'll also try to be the first undefeated team or teams at the start of the new year since Maine in 1992-93.
Quinnipiac's 17-game unbeaten streak to start a season already ranks sixth all-time. Providence's streak ranks 10th.
These types of streaks just don't happen anymore these days as parity reigns in college hockey.
When you mix in the fact that Boston College is 13-1-1-and an unbeaten 12-0-1 since slipping up against RPI in the second game of the year-and Cornell is 8-1-2, the field is even deeper.
Quinnipiac, Providence, Boston College, Cornell and North Dakota give college hockey five teams with a winning percentage better than .800.
That's a staggering statistic when you consider that only one college hockey team of the last six years has finished above .800-Union's 2014 national championship team.
Sure, some of these teams' records may even out once conference play heats up. But right now, they are on unprecedented paces in the new era of college hockey.