The Weekend in Stick is exactly what it sounds like -- a recap of all the important things that happened in the universe while you were enjoying two days of not-work. Part I features the big stories from the weekend.
The HAMtriot League
The Patriot League opened conference play this past weekend and the league delivered: The eight teams that faced league competition played tight games in miserable conditions while delivering results concomitant with a conference that is poised going to crash through the season with excitement and joy. The biggest result that came out of the weekend was Holy Cross' massive upset of Loyola on Ice Planet Baltimore, a victory that stands as the Crusaders' first against a ranked team ever.
Holy Cross hasn't had a winning season since 1988, an interminable drought of success that has placed the Crusaders in the back seat of the Patriot League for longer than the lifespans of Holy Cross' current players. The Crusaders need only five more wins to assure the team of seven triumphs, enough victories to assure the program of a winning regular season. There is much development remaining in the scope of the 2015 season, but Holy Cross has established itself as one of Division I's most interesting stories in the early part of the year. This is a good thing not only for the Cruasders but college lacrosse in the overall, even if it exists only for a moment.
As for the rest of the league:
- Ryan Walsh showed up for Colgate in the blowing snow, depositing four goals and throwing around two assists in the Raiders' victory. Colgate doesn't need its bulldozer to go for a half-dozen points each week, but popping for six after only generating three points through the team's first two games -- shooting 15 percent in those first two games -- is a welcome sign for the Raiders as the team pushes toward a huge meeting with Bucknell this coming weekend.
- Bucknell has shuffled off of its season-opening loss to Delaware and has now corralled two victories in a row over Bryant and Navy. The Bison needed some heroics to dispatch the Midshipmen -- Sean Doyle bucketed the game-winner with 51 seconds left in regulation after two straight Navy goals knotted the scoreboard at seven with 3:27 to play -- but the "W" is probably more important to the Bison than how it was earned. The sledding gets tough for the Herd the next few weeks with consecutive dates against Colgate, Lehigh, and Fairfield.
- Lehigh thwarted an upset effort from Boston University in a ridiculously snowy game in Bethlehem. The Mountain Hawks are kind of inching along, but the Earth's rotation may spin a little differently when Lehigh travels to Loyola this weekend to face a pissed off 'Hounds team at Ridley. This is the time when the accelerator requires mashing.
Three Ivy teams faced three stiff tests on Saturday and all walked away with wounds and victories:
- The Elis pounded Maryland in the second half, using a four-goal fourth quarter to blow open a game that was locked at six at the end of the penultimate period. Considering that the Bulldogs' victory came in just the team's second game of the season, the victory potentially stands as a signal that the Elis are prepared to make a push in 2015 back toward the NCAA Tournament. Yale got seven assists on 10 of its goals while triggering 39 shots against the Terps and looked like a frightening force over the last 15 minutes of play (the Bulldogs shot around 31 percent in the fourth quarter while committing only one turnover).
- LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts. TIME: 14:33, Fourth Quarter. SCORE: 13-10, Massachusetts. Harvard wasn't dead but the Crimson were in a tough spot: Despite shooting 42 percent through three quarters of action and committing only eight turnovers, Harvard could not seem to change their situation. Then, of course, the Crimson happened: In 2:20 span that started at the 5:35 mark of the fourth quarter, Harvard hammered Massachusetts to the tune of four unanswered goals that moved the Crimson past the Minutemen and into the ranks of the unbeaten. First games are oftentimes a fight against oneself, and Harvard seemed to experience that in many ways against their neighbors to the west.
- This was pretty great:
It's a loss -- the second of Hopkins' season -- but it's not the kind of loss that buries the Blue Jays as a viable entity in 2015. Johns Hopkins showed a lot of fight against the Tar Heels, battling back from a five-goal deficit late in the second quarter and turning a five-goal deficit early in the fourth quarter into a manageable two-goal hole with just under eight minutes to play in regulation. The Jays are starting to find their place after their loss to Towson and snow-fueled win against Villanova, and there's an urgency for that to focus for Johns Hopkins: The Blue Jays will face Princeton this coming weekend at Homewood, a major moment on the calendar for the Jays that can help the team find a value win before the calendar flips to March.