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Joe Gladziszewski (1:47 PM)
INCH writers will be on hand to answer your questions at 2:30 p.m ET. Submit your questions now.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:31 PM)
It's time to talk college hockey once again as we get ready for an exciting weekend that features a lot of key games in league play and some cross-regional matchups with plenty of intrigue. We'll be here taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Does the successful return of Brock Bradford answer the only problem for BC - that they lost their big-time scorer in Gerbe? Also, is BC the deepest team in the country? They are just loaded.
Jeff Howe (2:33 PM)
To be as straightforward as possible, Gerbe's dynamics cannot be replaced. However, Bradford's return does give BC another go-to scorer who could definitely find himself in the Hobey Hat Trick. It's hard to argue with their depth. I'd say BU is close in that regard among Hockey East teams, but BC has players who have been there before.
Rich (Princeton, NJ)
I am worried about Princeton playing with a target on its back all year especially after the boys in the North Country (Clarkson and SLU) have had some impressive showings -- Clarkson 2 ties against Colorado College and the Saints a huge national TV win over UNH. I can't get Cornell out of my mind either -- want that IVY League Title... the question -- is it really to early to tell or is the top the ECAC loaded for Bear and going to make an impact on the national stage this season?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:35 PM)
Because of the late start of many of the Ivy teams and a slew of non-league games for other ECAC Hockey teams, it's too early to tell. Fortunately teams are diving right in and we'll learn a lot, starting at 4 p.m. Friday with Cornell and Princeton (ESPN U). One of the challenges for the Tigers this year is how they play now that they're defending champs. They'll get everyone's best effort every night.
Lonnie (Marysville, WA)
Where would you rather be? UNH at Minnesota or Notre Dame at BC??
Joe Gladziszewski (2:36 PM)
Great question. I've got the recorder set for Notre Dame and BC (ESPN Classic, Friday) so I guess I'd opt for Minnesota and UNH. Even moreso because it's a test for the Wildcats to see if they can build on a three-point weekend against Northeastern, and a WCHA chance for payback against Hockey East after Wisconsin and North Dakota dropped games out east to start the season.
Mike; Boston, MA
Although Northeastern was handed their first lost over the weakend,how much was Goalie Brad Thiessen performance (76 saves over two games)and the Special Teams play (10 Power Kills on Sat.) signs of staying power in the Hockey East as the season moves forward.
Jeff Howe (2:38 PM)
There's no doubt Northeastern will be in the thick of the Hockey East race all the way through March. They do the important things you've mentioned, Mike, plus they finish checks, play physical shifts and try to punish teams for 60 minutes. That type of play never slumps.
Gus, (Old Tappan, NJ)
Clarkson Goalie Paul Karpowich has been great thus far earning him 2 ECAC rookie of the week awards. Is he the real deal or is it too early to tell?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:40 PM)
So far, so good for Karpowich especially considering that Clarkson isn't playing with a completely healthy defensive group in front of him. The perfromances against Colorado College did two things -- first, gave a freshman goalie confidence that he can play well at a high level, and second, let the team know that they can count on a guy who is just getting accustomed to college hockey.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:41 PM)
... and in similar situations in ECAC Hockey, the same has gone on early this season for unproven goalies at Harvard (Matt Hoyle) and Colgate (Charles Long).
Joe (Burlington, VT)
I'm a CC alum and of course, a fan. Obviously everyone in the college hockey world has reason to be impressed with Richard Bachman's play as of late, and of course I'm personally happy to see CC at #1 in the polls...but realistically, if they don't find a way give up less shots AND score more goals, how long can they sustain this run?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:43 PM)
There's a reason we kept Colorado College atop the INCH Power Rankings this week, and that reason is Richard Bachman. The sophomore goalie shows no signs of a slump. People can point to CC being outshot in games, and not scoring a ton of goals, but Bachman is there to backstop them. Goalies are a great equalizer, and even if the 18 skaters don't match up better than a team like Denver, they've got the guy in the crease that makes the biggest difference.
With Hockey East's impressive out of conference results and four teams in the top 10 (BC, BU, NH, NU), has the balance of power in college hockey shifted east?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:45 PM)
It's far too early to make that distinction, but Hockey East's top teams will have the chance to make a statement this weekend as UNH visits Minnesota and Boston College hosts Notre Dame.
Josh from Potsdam, NY
Obviously Colorado College showed some weakness a few weeks ago with they played 14th ranked Clarkson. What are your thoughts on the Golden Knights as they defend the ECAC championship and look to make it to the NCAA championships this year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:48 PM)
Clarkson's roster is not as talented as it was a year ago, but that doesn't mean that the Golden Knights can't be successful. Clarkson is going to need big contributions from younger players like Louke Oakley, Julien Cayer, and Karpowich who we mentioned earlier. Other players are taking on bigger roles, which is another key to success. They'll be fine, and will challenge for another NCAA Tournament berth.
Chris (Waltham, MA)
I'm a B.U. fan but I'm very interested in what will happen in Minneapolis this weekend between the Gophers and UNH(and I do get to watch via Fox College Sports). Will they split ir will there be a sweep? Does the big ice out there help UNH?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:51 PM)
This is going to be a good one. The big ice won't negatively affect UNH since they have such familiarity on the Olympic-sized sheet. It'll be a big test of their defensemen, as Minnesota has great quickness and comes in waves. The key for the Wildcats will be moving the puck out of the defensive zone and handling the line rush. Then the big offensive players for the Wildcats will have to be opportunistic on their chances.
Dan (Bellingham, WA)
Whats the early verdict on shootouts from CCHA coaches, coaches from other leagues???
Joe Gladziszewski (2:53 PM)
Several of the coaches we've spoken with aren't crazy about it, but also realize that it's probably not going away anytime soon. There are positives and negatives, just like anything, and the teams that take on the challenge and prepare for it will have the most success.
Mike (Washington, D.C.)
B.U. is better than B.C.. Right? right
Joe Gladziszewski (2:55 PM)
Unfortunately we won't be able to find out on the ice for another month, when the teams play a home-and-home on Dec. 5-6. BU has certainly been impressive lately with back-to-back seven spots on the scoreboard and a ton of power-play goals.
Scott K. (Livonia, MI)
Does Michigan's Mark Mitera have what it takes to play in the NHL?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:56 PM)
We think Mitera has a ton of pro potential, and that should drive him through rehabilitating his injury this season. Tough break for the Wolverines, missing one of their leaders and one of the nation's best defensemen, but Mitera's career has a bright future.
Rick (Durham, NH)
Do you see UNH continuing to have scoring issues this weekend or will they finally come out of their funk?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:58 PM)
If there is a concern about New Hampshire thus far, it's probably the team's limited offensive production. They won't need to score a million goals to win every night because of Brian Foster and a solid defense, but they've gotta get more than they have recently.
Crew (Ann Arbor)
What is your take on the Michigan team this year? They seem to be playing well but have had a bad injury problem early with Mitera out for the season and Kampfer with the off ice incident that has put him out for the season.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:01 PM)
Yeah, Michigan's been struck by bad luck early on, but there's enough talent to overcome bad breaks. I think they'll have a good year and will be back in the NCAA Tournament. A Frozen Four return is probably a bit much to ask, but Aaron Palushaj is leading the way offensively and they're doing enough to win. Tough trip to Alaska this weekend. We'll see how that goes to learn a little more about the Wolverines.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:01 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions, and thanks for checking in. Sign in for INCH PIck 'Em and check out details on all of the conferences in our notebooks. We'll be back next week at the same time for more college hockey chatter.
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