Monday, November 19, 2012

Hockey East Power Rankings, Week of November 19, 2012

1. Boston College: The Eagles roared back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat upset minded Merrimack Friday night in Chestnut Hill. The top six forwards continue to dazzle opponents with their skills. Jerry York is now two wins away from Ron Mason's all-times win mark, three from holding the title all by himself.

2. New Hampshire: Sophomore goaltender Casey DeSmith picked up his third consecutive shutout Friday night at UMass-Lowell. The Rochester, NH native is the catalyst of the Wildcats turnaround this season, but credit also senior Austin Block who has emerged from a roleplayer to be the team's leading goal scorer. Two impressive road wins this weekend show that Dick Umile's team is for real.

3. Boston University: The Terriers took care of business rather easily Friday night in Burlington before falling victim to UNH at home on Sunday. BU is a very talented team, but young, so there will definitely be ups and downs. Jack Parker's squad should be ready to turn on the after burners come February.

4. Providence: The Friars downed Northeastern in convincing fashion Friday night. The key for Nate Leaman's team this year will be to take care of business against the lesser teams in the standings. PC has more talent than they have had in years, but still not the depth or experience needed to compete against the big boys of Hockey East on a nightly basis.

5. UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks were shutout Friday night at home by UNH, continuing their offensive woes. However, Sunday night, UML exploded for eight goals against rival UMass-Amherst. Leading the way was Riley Wetmore with a hattrick, as well as sophomore Scott Wilson who chimed in with three points. This is just what was needed to get Norm Bazin's team back on track. Expect an improved UML team from here on out.

6. UMass-Amherst: Only one point on the weekend and an embarrassing home loss to rival UMass-Lowell dropped the Minutemen in these rankings. There is some talent, but depth is lacking and goaltending inconsistent. With a first year head coach, these next few weeks will be pivotal to see if John Micheletto can keep his team believing.

7. Merrimack: There is no place for moral victories in Hockey East, but the Warriors played well in it's game at top ranked Boston College Friday night, having a three goal lead midway through the second period, but BC roared back. The Warriors have more depth than they have had in a while. Surprisingly, the defense, which I thought would be a strength has let up some timely turnovers. If the defense can be shored up, the Warriors should be in the mix for home ice, but will most likely fall short.

8. Maine: Martin Ouellete has played real well the last three games, possibly overtaking Dan Sullivan as the number one goaltender in Orono. The Blue Jackets draft pick has played well enough to win, but defensive breakdowns and inability to score prevented more than three points in those three games. Still, if the goaltending can remain solid, once healthy up front, Maine's chances of creeping up the standings look promising.

9. Vermont: UVM was blown out Friday by BU, but bounced back with a hard fought victory over Northeastern. The Catamounts don't have the offense, but freshman goaltender Brody Hoffman has played well.

10. Northeastern: The Huskies lost road contests to Providence and UVM over the weekend. The top two forward lines are certainly solid, but there are huge questions about the depth up front and the defense. NU won't finish last in Hockey East, but for now, they have hit a skid in league games and deserve the last spot.