It's the debut chat of the year for Inside College Hockey here at ESPN.com SportsNation. We'll be taking your questions about NCAA Men's Division I College Hockey teams, games, players and news for the next 30 minutes.
What is the lookout of the Atlantic Hockey Association for this season and the future.
Some of the most surprising aspects of the first part of the season in my opinion have been in regard to Atlantic Hockey. Many of their teams play against tough non-league opponents to begin the campaigns and many of those games take place on the road, but Atlantic Hockey teams won just one game in their first 24 outings (Canisius over Ferris State). Now that league play is getting underway, we'll start to see where these teams stand.
For example, Air Force swept RIT with a pair of one-goal victories. Nice start for the Falcons. RIT (0-5-0) is still seeking its first win, and will play its first true home games this weekend at Ritter Arena against Connecticut. The Tigers hosted Colgate at the downtown Rochester facility and drew more than 7,000 fans for a great game against Colgate - another one-goal loss for RIT.
Nice little start from my QU Bobcats. Now a two-game series on the road against Robert Morris, a team they've always had a bit of trouble with. What are your thoughts on their good start and this series?
Great job by Quinnipiac starting strongly with a sweep at Ohio State, a team that had great expectations to start the year. The Bobcats had a lot of question marks in terms of scoring and goaltending and a very young roster. Seems like they're on the same page to start the season. I think this is a good weekend on the road for Quinnipiac to continue to build momentum as ECAC Hockey games begin in early November. They host Clarkson and St. Lawrence to begin the year.
Could Lowell have a chance against BU this weekend? Or is BU still as good as last year. Lowell brings back a ton of experience especially at Goal and D. BU has the best goalie in Hockey East
UMass Lowell absolutely has a chance against Boston University this weekend (at Lowell, Fri.; at BU, Sat.). The River Hawks return a ton of talent and have a bit of a grudge against the Terriers (and Hockey East) following last year's conference championship game. I'm not sure that Kieran Millan of BU is the best goalie in the league but he's in the conversation. The Terriers will also be without prolific scorer Nick Bonino for a few weeks. I give the advantage to UML.
How about Michigan State's start? Do you think they can keep it up? Go Panthers!!!
Michigan State is doing two things that they didn't do as well last year -- First, they're scoring some goals and that makes things much easier as you can play a little more relaxed in all three zones. Second, I think they've got a better mix of personalities and camaraderie in the room. Perhaps a little bit of addition by subtraction in terms of roster departures.
Three questions, one answer on the way ...
Is Miami University the best team in the nation? Will they finally get over the hump and win this year?
Will miami(ohio) make a run at the championship agian this yr?
What are Miami's chances of making it to the Championship game again?
We all wondered how Miami would respond to the collapse in the 2009 NCAA title game and the answer appears to be, just fine, thank you. The RedHawks have talent, depth, and experience on par with any team in the country. In my opinion, they've got to be one of the early favorites to advance to the Frozen Four -- right up there with North Dakota andDenver.
Hey Joe, looking forward to your insight and coverage this season. Which most-Western team do you see being successful this season?
Geographically? I'll go with Alaska (Fairbanks) of the CCHA. They made it to the league's final four last year after a thrilling series win in the quarterfinals against Ohio State and are 3-0-1 this year. Most success? Denver and North Dakota look really tough so far, especially North Dakota from what I've been able to see.
What's wrong with my Golden Gophers? Will we score another goal this season?
Your guys will score, Donny. There's enough talent on the Minnesota roster to make that happen. What is apparent, however, is the disconnect between talent and effort. It's one thing to come out listless in a January non-conference game against Providence ... but to show up flat for the season opener against rival North Dakota in Grand Forks is unacceptable. From our vantage point, it seems like some guys on the roster are coasting on reputation.
How do you think the non-Ivy league teams did in the first month of the year? Now those teams are starting and ECAC can start league games.
We mentioned Quinnipiac earlier in this discussion and they're off to a nice start. Clarkson has been solid, but not spectacular and they've got a good weekend series at Minnesota Duluth this weekend. St. Lawrence got a couple of nice home wins and lost at Clarkson. I like what RPI has done. Great win in the home opener against New Hampshire and a pair of one-goal wins last week. Union has been a little inconsistent and is taking too many penalties. Colgate had a great win in front of a big crowd in Rochester but has lost three in a row, all to ranked teams. David McIntyre - no goals yet in five games for the Raiders.
Who's your favorite to win the WCHA this year? North Dakota and Denver have looked good early this season.
Through six games, Denver and North Dakota appear to be the class of the WCHA. Predictions rarely hold form in the Dub, but I don't really see anyone else cracking the top two. Really, flip a coin -- these two clubs are that close in terms of talent.
I love seeing big open ice collisions. You just do not see those much in the NHL anymore. What teams are the most physical in college hockey this season?
Good question. Ferris State is always among the most physical teams in the country. Ask a coach who has played Ferris, and they'll tell you how difficult it is to match up with them because they're relentless. North Dakota always has a few guys who can drop the hammer as does Wisconsin, though the Badgers got nailed for a couple ugly checking from behind calls last week. Notre Dame's Ian Cole might be the best hitter in the college game.
In the east, Cornell is always going to be very strong physically. As is Northeastern. I like the way those teams play.
That's all of the time we have for questions this week, thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey. We'll be here every week for the rest of the season at 2:30 p.m ET. And, as always, you can follow college hockey with new content every weekday at InsideCollegeHockey.com.