Monday, November 19, 2012

Hockey East Weekend Analysis

New Hampshire continued their stellar early season play, picking up wins over UMass-Lowell and Boston University, both away from Durham. Sophomore goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped all 23 shots against UML Friday night, giving him three consecutive shutouts. The Rochester, NH native now has a 1.19 GAA and a .961 save percentage.

Boston College has now won eight in a row, after dropping it's season opener. The Eagles stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Merrimack 4-3 Friday night. The first two lines continue to provide the majority of the scoring. BC's skill was on prime display, as all four goals were absolute highlight reel material. Jerry York is now just two wins away from tying Ron Mason for the winningest coach in college hockey history. If the Eagles win their next three, the record breaker will come at home against arch-rival BU.

Merrimack thought they had the upset of the top ranked team in the country, but the Eagles skill proved to be too much once the ball got rolling. Mark Dennehy's program has come far enough that there are no longer moral victories, but the Warriors played well and showed they have depth. If Merrimack can play like it did against BC, the Warriors will win more than their share of games in the second half.

UMass-Lowell broke out of their offensive slump, unloading eight goals on Sunday at UMass-Amherst. The River Hawks received a hattrick from Riley Wetmore while Scott Wilson picked up a goal and two assists. UML was shutout Friday night, so this big win could be the momentum spark that Norm Bazin's club needs.

It was an ugly weekend for Northeastern, as the Huskies continue their struggled within the conference. Jim Madigan's team lost 6-2 at PC Friday and 3-2 at UVM Sunday. NU has some talent on the first two lines, but no depth and defense and goaltending are issues, as well. The winless weekend comes after heralded freshman forward Cam Darcy left the program.

Vermont's victory over NU Sunday brought the Catamounts one point away from matching their point total of a season ago. Kevin Sneddon's team will struggle this season, but freshman Brody Hoffman has shown promise in net.

Maine blew a late lead, having to settle for a 2-2 tie with visiting UMass-Amherst. Martin Ouellette has now started three games in a row, and appears to be gaining confident, playing well enough to win in all three contests. The Black Bears still need to find a way to score goals with the injuries and the holes left from last year's departures.