Monday, January 14, 2013

Hockey East Power Rankings, January 14, 2013

1. Boston College: Missing their head coach, the Eagles came out soaring Friday night, winning 5-2 on home ice. Johnny Gaudreau continued his dynamite play, with a goal and two assists. The first two lines continue to provide almost all of the offensive output. A weekend split with a top five team is nothing to frown upon. The next five games are all against the bottom four teams in the standings.

2. New Hampshire: The Wildcats fell victim to BC Friday night, but came back Saturday to rebound with a 2-1 win. A John Henrion goal with less than five minutes remaining in the third was the difference. The most concerning development for Dick Umile's squad is the less than stellar play since December by sophomore goaltender Casey DeSmith.

3. Boston University: The Terriers downed Merrimack 4-1 in North Andover Friday night, led by senior Wade Megan and speedy sophomore Cason Hohmann. Both had a goal and an assist. BU continues their conference dominance against any team not named BC or UNH. All four of BU's league losses are against those two teams.

4. UMass-Lowell: Sophomore Scott Wilson had three goals and two assists on the weekend to propel UML to a weekend sweep of Vermont in Burlington. The River Hawks converted on six of 18 power play attempts. Now, winners of seven in a row, Norm Bazin's club looks to finally have turned the corner. Obviously, teams cannot pick and choose who they play, but if you eliminate the BC and UNH games, UML is 11-2-1 overall and 5-1-1 in league action.

5. Providence: The Friars rebounded from a five game winless streak that dated back to a 2-1 loss to Merrimack on December 1st. PC swept UMass-Amherst 5-4 and 2-0 to maintain their current spot as the last home ice team. The Friars start a brutal stretch that sees them playing five of seven against BU or UNH. The other two are road games at UMass-Lowell and Maine. Nate Leaman is making tremendous progress with this program, but I believe they are still a year away from hosting a quarterfinal series.

6. Merrimack: Mark Dennehy won his 100th game Saturday night when the Warriors pounded Maine 6-0 at Lawler Arena. That was a night after a rough outing, losing 4-1 on home ice to BU. Merrimack will need to play more consistently if Dennehy's squad expects to finish higher than sixth. Their schedule gets considerably more difficult after this weekend's two game trip to Orono to play Maine.

7. UMass-Amherst: Following an uplifting tournament championship at Dartmouth, the Minutemen got swept at the hands of Providence. Sophomore goaltender Kevin Boyle's poor play has continued after a hot start. In order for UMass to make up ground, goaltending will need to improve, and Conor Sheary and Michael Pereira must start scoring.

8. Vermont: Also following a win at their own Christmas tournament, UVM has now lost three in a row. The Catamounts were swept at home by visiting UMass-Lowell this weekend. UVM got the services of Connor Brickley and Colin Markison back this past weekend. Five of the next six games are against other teams in the bottom four of the standings. The only problem, seven of the final 12 and the final six are all against BC, BU and UNH.

9. Northeastern: The Huskies only played once over the weekend, tying last place Maine 1-1. It's been said over and over, but the Huskies just don't have the talent after their first line to generate enough offense. A porous defense along with inconsistent goaltending just isn't a recipe for success. This weekend doesn't get easier with a game at BU before hosting BC.

10. Maine: After a 1-1 tie at NU Friday night, the Black Bears got manhandled 6-0 at Merrimack Saturday. One must wonder about the morale in Orono, amidst one of the worst seasons in school history and with continued rumors of a coach on his way out. This weekend, Maine faces Merrimack twice, both in Orono. Alfond Arena has not been a friendly place for the home team this year, as Tim Whitehead's team is winless there. To say the least, Maine must start picking up points and do so often to gain ground to avoid missing the playoffs.