Monday, November 12, 2012

Hockey East Weekend Recap

Boston College was the big winner in Hockey East this weekend. The Eagles defeated #7 Notre Dame Friday night and then downed arch rival and 11th ranked Boston University 4-2 Sunday. The top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Steven Whitney and Pat Mullane continue to dominate games with their speed and skill. The second line of Kevin Hayes,  Bill Arnold and Destry Straight bring more of a power game to the ice and have also contributed to Jerry York's squad. From everything we've seen this year and from past performances, there is every reason to believe that BC is the odds on favorite to win the Hockey East and NCAA Championship come March and April.

The big loser in Hockey East this weekend was Merrimack. The Warriors came in to the weekend on a high, taking 7 of a possible 8 points in their last four contests. Mark Dennehy's club played well, outshooting BU Friday night, but the skill of the Terriers top line prevailed in a 3-1 game. Saturday, Merrimack dominated on the shot charts through two periods, but couldn't capitalize against lowly UConn. The third period brought an utter disaster, with the Huskies winning 3-1. Merrimack was outworked and out-disciplined. Merrimack will need to get back to it's blue collar attitude to right the ship.

UNH continued their solid all around play, shutting out UVM 4-0. The offense looks good, with Austin Block leading the club in scoring while Casey DeSmith has been a brick wall in net. This team doesn't have the prototypical super talented top line that has been commonplace in Durham, but it has depth and consistency.

UMass-Amherst continued their strong play, shutting out Providence 4-0 on Friday night. Kevin Boyle continues to emerge as the go to man between the pipes for the Minutemen. Michael Pereira got on track with a goal and two assists. On the other side, PC has lost two in a row, being shutout in both games. The Friars are a young team and should progress through the year.

Northeastern took care of business against hapless Alabama-Huntsville, sweeping their weekend series. It was a weak opponent, but Chris Rawlings got the job done in net, stopping 43 of 44 shots on the weekend. Ludwig Karlsson had a good weekend, registering three goals for Jim Madigan's team.

UMass-Lowell and Maine split their weekend series. There are big time concerns for Lowell, a preseason second place pick, coming off a terrific year. The River Hawks are having trouble living up to expectations. Riley Wetmore has only two points on the season after 84 points in his first three seasons in the mill city. Even worse, one of the league's best rookies in 2011-12, Scott Wilson has struggled mightily in his sophomore campaign, only registering one goal so far. Wilson will have to break out of the sophomore slump or this could be a season of lost expectations for UML. For Maine, the Black Bears got their first conference win and only second win of the season on Saturday night. The freshmen played a key role, with Devin Shore, Ryan Lomberg and Ben Hutton playing well on the weekend. Martin Ouellette got both starts on the weekend, stopping 50 of 55 shots.