Yes, Quinnipiac lost 11 seniors off its national runner-up team of a year ago, but let's put UAA's 3-1 season-opening win over the Bobcats into perspective.
Savor any win, because crazy things happen -- like Sacred Heart's 2-1 win at preseason No. 1 UMass-Lowell tonight. Yes, that would be Sacred Heart, owners of last season's worst record in Division I at 2-30-4. Yes, the Sacred Heart that last season opened the season on a 28-game game winless streak (0-26-2).
Anyhow, with the Division I college hockey landscape massively altered this season by the new Big Ten, the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Association, not to mention the demise of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, it's worth checking how WCHA teams did in nine nonconference games tonight. The answer: 3-5-1, with UAF (a 6-1 winner over Air Force) and UAA accounting for two of those wins. The only other WCHA winner was Lake Superior State, which beat Robert Morris 3-1.
WCHA preseason favorite Minnesota State-Mankato got beat 5-1 at Providence. Mankato goaltender Stephon Williams of Fairbanks, last season's Rookie of the Year in the WCHA, got the hook with 12 minutes to go, after surrendering five goals on 27 shots.
Well, another WCHA goalie from those parts -- Pheonix Copley of North Pole -- played very well, but still took the loss for Michigan Tech, which fell 2-1 to Minnesota-Duluth. But Copley racked 39 saves, so can't hang that defeat on him.
Toughest night in the WCHA belonged to Mike Corbett, good dude who was a finalist for the UAA job that went to Thomas. His debut as head coach of Alabama-Huntsville went rough -- a 9-1 loss at Northeastern, where it got ugly early. The Chargers surrendered four goals and an astounding 28 shots in the first period on the way to getting outshot 52-27.
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com