Thursday’s matchup between Michigan and Boston College features the two winningest active coaches in college hockey. The Eagles’ Jerry York has the most wins in college hockey with 935 during his career which spans 42 years while guiding Clarkson, Bowling Green and BC. Michigan’s Red Berenson, who enters his 30th year as a head coach, has 770 all at the helm of the Maize and Blue.
Déjà vu all over again
The contest against Boston College will mark the fifth time that Michigan will face a ranked opponent to open the season. The last time they did so was also against the Eagles as the Wolverines captured a 4-3 victory to open the 2007-08 season. Michigan is 2-0-2 against ranked teams in season openers.
There were 210 former NCAA players representing 44 schools on opening night NHL rosters this year. The colleges with the most players are Wisconsin (17), Michigan (15), Boston College (14) and Michigan State (14). With 11 college players on its roster, the Florida Panthers lead the way in that category while Calgary, Pittsburgh and Vancouver with 10.
National champion opening night
Winning on opening night isn’t always a precursor to success. In the last six years, the eventual national champion is only 2-2-2 in its season-opener. Boston College lost its first game in 2008 and 2010 before going on to win NCAA titles. Defending Champion Yale doesn’t open its season until October 25 vs. Brown at the Liberty Invitational in Newark, N.J.
Knights looking golden
After sweeping Niagara last weekend, Clarkson is looking to start the season with a three-game win streak for the first time since 2006-07 and only the second time since 1990-91. The Golden Knights will take on New Hampshire Friday in the Icebreaker Tournament which will be held at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.
Seth Appert of Rensselaer and Brian Riley of Army head into this weekend needing one victory to join the century club for coaching victories. The Engineers travel to Sacred Heart on Saturday and Boston College on Sunday, while the Black Knights travel to Penn State on Friday for its only action this weekend.
Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation announced the creation of the Mike Richter Award to annually honor the most outstanding goalie in Division I Men’s Ice Hockey. The award will be presented during Frozen Four weekend along with the Hobey Baker and Humanitarian Awards. Richter played for Wisconsin in 1986 and 1987.
New era of college hockey
When Michigan opens against Boston College Thursday night it will be the first time a team will play as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Friday night will mark the first appearances of National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams as Miami (Ohio), Western Michigan, Minnesota-Duluth, Saint Cloud State, North Dakota, Nebraska Omaha and Denver will all be in action.
Lake Superior State will honor the 25th anniversary of its 1988 NCAA championship team this weekend when they host Robert Morris. Almost 20 players will be back from the team which went 33-7-6 and defeated St. Lawrence in overtime to win the title.
BC to EVEN-tually win NCAA title?
The Boston College Eagles have won the NCAA title each of the last three even years. BC defeated Notre Dame in 2008, Wisconsin in 2010 and Ferris State in 2012. In fact, Boston College has made the Frozen Four the last five even years, finishing as runner-up in 2006 to Wisconsin and losing in the 2004 semifinals to Maine.
North Dakota enters its season-opening series against Vermont this weekend with a 9-1-1 record in its last 11 season-openers. The only loss during this span was a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Boston U. in October 2008 in the Icebreaker Invitational.
In last weekend’s only four games of regular season action, there were no players that scored more than one goal. Ferris State, Colgate, Niagara and Clarkson combined for 17 goals, but no player scored more than one.
This year the Black Knights are partnering with Team IMPACT, an organization which matches children who are facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses with collegiate athletic teams. Army will welcome a child as a full part of its team, including coming to practices, games and team events.
As part of its annual Brick City Homecoming Weekend, Rochester Institute of Technology hosts a game at the Blue Cross Arena. This year, the Tigers will face-off against Michigan on Saturday night in a game in the annual Homecoming game which is sold out for the fourth consecutive year with more than 10,000 fans in attendance.