Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's Official: Tigers Back on the Right Track

Before I get to the substance of this post I'd like to address a couple things. It's obvious that my posting has slowed down this year, and I'm sure most readers have noticed. I hate to make excuses, but I have had an awful lot going on lately, which always makes it harder to keep up with side interests such as this one. Please keep in mind that this blog is a hobby of mine, it's not a job - I write here for two reasons: 1. I like to write, and 2. I love college hockey. At the same time, like everyone else who runs blogs around the league, I have a personal life that I have to attend to. There will always be periods of time where I miss an update or two. I would love to have more time and energy to commit to this blog, but sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise. So, in terms of things that I want to make clear:

Will I try to update more frequently?
Absolutely. The last month has been one of the busiest and most stressful for me in recent memory, and moving forward I anticipate having more free time to update.

Do I plan on "hanging it up?"
This question refers to a comment made in response to a post of mine a few weeks ago. The answer is certainly not. Like I said, this blog is a hobby of mine, and I do it because I enjoy it. I don't plan on quitting any time soon. For the foreseeable future, I plan to continue with this whether I'm posting once every three days or once every month.

With that said, I want to add one more thing. I'd like to extend an invitation to anyone who might want to contribute to this blog. With more people contributing, there will always be more, and better, content. So if any followers of CC hockey are interested in helping me post more updates, feel free to email me (link on the right), and I'd be glad to have you on the team. With that said, let's move on to the update.

After a four game losing streak that had many questioning whether the Tigers could contend this season, Colorado College extended its season-high winning streak to five games with a 4-3 win before falling to North Dakota 5-2 in the Saturday night contest. While a sweep would have been tremendous, stealing a single win at the hostile and abusive Ralph Engelstad arena against a very good North Dakota team shows how far this CC team has come in the past few weeks. Friday night's win over the Fighting Sioux also marked what could be the Tigers' first "TUC" win of the season.

The usual suspects once again accounted for most of CC's scoring; Jimmy Kilpatrick, Scott McCulloch, Jack Hillen, Billy Sweatt, and Chad Rau all had nice weekends points-wise. Derek Patrosso had some solid production as well. The Friday night win is important because it keeps CC right in the thick of things in the WCHA standings. The Tigers now sit at 5th in the conference standings behind Minnesota (1st), and Denver, North Dakota, and St. Cloud State, all tied for second. The Tigers have two games in hand on North Dakota and St. Cloud State, and face Denver this coming weekend.

As for other WCHA teams, what is there to say? Minnesota is just sick - that's a given. They're sitting at 12-1-2 on the season and are riding a 14 game unbeaten streak. After that, however, things get murky. Last year's champ Wisconsin still has time to turn things around, but things are looking pretty ugly in Madison. The Badgers recently endured a six game losing streak before finally notching a 2-0 win over Michigan State at the College Hockey Showcase. Regardless, they have two non-conference wins (Northern Michigan and Michigan State) that could potentially help them come tournament time - if they can start winning some games. Denver has racked up an impressive 9-4-1 record thus far, but with very few quality wins. St. Cloud State, like Denver, has a solid record - but the Huskies also are lacking in quality wins. So two things seem clear at this point in the WCHA - 1. Minnesota is the class of the league thus far in the season, and 2. CC, DU, UND, and SCSU are the remaining top teams at this point, although each team needs to prove themselves with some quality wins. Who's the best out of those four? Right now, I'd probably go with St. Cloud - they're a solid all around team with a top-tier goaltender, and they managed two ties against Minnesota - that's better than just about anyone else has done. There are still teams in the bottom half of the WCHA that could challenge, as well. While it's unlikely, Alaska-Anchorage's recent sweep of UND has left them at 4-4-0 and just outside the top five - if they can keep winning, don't count them out. Michigan Tech also had been off to an impressive start, but has fallen to 3-3-2 in the league. They could still be considered a sleeper. One team that has underperformed drastically is Minnesota-Duluth, who many thought would be a top five team this year, but so far has accumulated a dismal 1-7-2 record in WCHA play.

Outside of the WCHA, things have gotten even stranger. Maine, who had been off to a fantastic start to the season, is sitting at 6th in the Hockey East standings, while New Hampshire, who indeed looked great out here in the Springs, is at 7-1-1 and 1st in the league. And in the ECAC, people who were expecting big things from Harvard this season have to be disapointed with their pathetic 2-7-0 start. Things are certainly a mess right now in college hockey, and other than Minnesota no team has proven themselves to be a contender, in my opinion. We'll see how things play out in the coming weeks and find out which teams can find their groove and separate themselves from the pack.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger Eric said...

It is very nice to see the Tigers with a little bit of jump in their step after a horrendous couple of weeks.... DU on Friday and Saturday should be fun, then a nice home stretch (looking forward to seeeing Bemidji St. at the World Arena)--

hopefully they can keep it going!

by the way, excellent job on this blog, keep it up. i just created a tigers blog of my own, but haven't posted anything yet (trying to set up the sidebar and everything first)

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Runninwiththedogs said...

Whoever said that to you can go f*** themselves. Good to see you posting again.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Goon said...

I am not so sure UND is all that good right now. I think some of us Sioux fans were happy to get points.


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