Monday, November 12, 2012

Hockey East Power Rankings, Week of November 12, 2012

1. Boston College: The Eagles disposed of two nationally ranked top twelve teams over the weekend, in Notre Dame and BU. The top six forwards continue to do most of the work offensively while Parker Milner is continuing his stellar play in goal. There is not much else to say as the Eagles have been the best team in the league consistently for over a decade now and there is no reason to believe otherwise this year. Coach Jerry York is now just three wins away from Ron Mason's all-time wins mark.

2. New Hampshire: UNH only had one game over the weekend, shutting out UVM 4-0. Austin Block notched two goals, upping his season total to seven. The senior from Thousand Oaks, California had only registered ten goals in his first three seasons in Durham. Sophomore Casey DeSmith recorded his third shutout of the year, bringing his goals against average to 1.36 to go along with his superb .953 save percentage.

3. Boston University: Wade Megan led the way Friday night with three points as BU notched a big road win at Merrimack. Sunday, the Terriers played undisciplined and lost to an opportunistic BC club that took advantage of their chances. Freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has stepped in right away, moving the puck up ice with great vision and has a point per game to show for it.

4. UMass-Amherst: The Minutemen have yet to play a team picked worse than fifth in the preseason media poll. John Micheletto's club has won two out of three, after an impressive 4-0 shutout win over Providence. Will the Minutemen stay this high? Probably not, but no other team really deserves this spot right now and there are certainly some positives for UMass. Michael Pereira got on track, notching a goal and two assists and Kevin Boyle has really emerged in net.

5. Providence: After winning three conference games in a row, PC has now lost two in a row, to two teams that were both picked to missed the playoffs by the league's coaches and media in the preseason polls. The Friars are young so they will see some growing pains throughout the year, but this is still a team that should finish no worse than 6th.

6. Merrimack: It was a rough weekend for Merrimack, losing 3-1 to both Boston University and then lowly UConn. The Warriors played fairly well Friday night, outshooting BU, but a lackluster performance Saturday left Mark Dennehy's squad on the wrong side of the scoreboard against an Atlantic Hockey team. Dennehy will try to get that blue collar approach that has worked so well for MC back, but it will be tough sledding this weekend. The lone game of the weekend is against top ranked Boston College in Chestnut Hill.

7. Northeastern: Ludwig Karlsson scored three goals and Chris Rawlings stopped all but one shot on the weekend as the Huskies swept their non-conference series against winless Alabama-Huntsville. The weekend series was not much of a test, but might be a confidence booster for Jim Madigan's team. Even after a good weekend from Rawlings, the goaltending issues will linger until either Rawlings or Bryan Mountain can perform well over a longer stretch.

8. UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks' struggles continue after a split with last place Maine at home. Norm Bazin's club, coming off a second place finish last year and high expectations for this season, have come out of the gate slow. Scott Wilson is struggling with the dreaded sophomore slump, only registering one goal so far this season. Junior Doug Carr has played well enough in net to win, but the offense is averaging less than two goals per game. Expect UML to finish higher than eight, but for now, the River Hawks don't deserve to be any higher in the rankings.

9. Vermont: UVM was shutout 4-0 at UNH in their only game of the weekend. Scoring woes will keep UVM out of the playoffs again this season. Kevin Sneddon's club just doesn't have enough skill to win in Hockey East. There are too many grinders and penalty killers, not enough skilled guys. After a Frozen Four appearance in 2009, Sneddon's job could be in serious jeopardy if things don't get turned around in Burlington.

10. Maine: The Black Bears split their weekend series at UML, giving Tim Whitehead's team their first conference victory of the season and only second win overall. Martin Ouellette got both starts in net, performing well. The offense has struggled, which has been well documented here and other places, but once the team recovers from the injury bug, things should get better. The next three games provide a huge opportunity for Maine, three home games against teams that should end up in the lower half of the standings, UMass and UVM twice.