Monday, November 5, 2012

Hockey East Power Rankings, Week of November 5, 2012

1. Boston College: The Eagles took two hard fought victories over Maine and UMass-Amherst this weekend. The first line of Johnny Gaudreau, Pat Mullane and Steve Whitney is the best in the league by far. Goaltender Parker Milner has picked up right where he left off last season.

2. New Hampshire: The Wildcats lost a heart breaker in overtime Friday night in Amherst, but bounced back with a commanding 4-0 shutout win over archrival Maine on Sunday. Dick Umile's top defensive unit of Conor Hardowa and Trevor van Riemsdyk is one of the best in the country at both ends of the ice.

3. Boston University: Jack Parker's squad split their two game non conference series at perennial powerhouse North Dakota. The Terriers face another test this weekend playing second place Merrimack on Friday before battling cross town rival BC on Sunday.

4. Providence: The Friars split their two game road series at Vermont. The Catamounts are not expected to be good, but a road trip to Burlington is always tough. Nate Leaman's team will get better as the season goes along, as many of their key components are young.

5. Merrimack: The Warriors swept Northeastern 5-2 and 4-2 this weekend. Mark Dennehy's squad leads the league in scoring, to the surprise of many. The goaltending has also been better than expected. Sam Marotta has played well and Rasmus Tironnen has played terrificly the last two games after a rough forst two outings. The Warriors have come from behind in all four home games. Junior Mike Collins has ten points in his last four games and the defensemen led the way Friday night, scoring all five goals.

6. UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks were off last weekend, so Norm Bazin's squad could look forward to hosting Maine for two this weekend. UML has gotten off to a rough start, but expect to see them end up with home ice. The challenge for the River Hawks will be playing with the bullseye on their backs as opposed to last season where they were the underdogs.

7. UMass-Amherst: The Minutemen downed UNH in overtime Friday night before losing a close contest with BC on Sunday. John Micheletto's squad has played a tough schedule and has stayed close with the league's upper echelon. It looks like Kevin Boyle could emerge as a true number one goaltender, but the defense and a lack of scoring depth will keep them in the lower half of the league.

8. Northeastern: The Huskies are now winless in five straight after a 2-0 start. Jim Madigan's squad has some talent, but shaky goaltending and a young defense will cost them wins throughout the year. Chris Rawlings is capable of playing really well, but also comes up empty at times. Kevin Roy looks to be one of the early leaders in the race for the Hockey East Rookie of the Year.

9. Vermont: The Catamounts became the last league team to win a game this weekend. Brody Hoffman appears to be a capable number one goaltender, but the forwards are made up of too many grinders and not enough skilled players. 

10. Maine: The Black Bears have gotten off to a rough start as has been well documented by the many pundits covering the team and league. The statistics are not in favor of Tim Whitehead's squad. There is certainly talent on the Black Bears and once Kyle Beattie and Jon Swavely return from injury, there should be more stability with the forward lines. The troubling thing is Maine has more talent than many of the teams directly above them in the standings so if goaltending can pick up, a turnaround is certainly possible.