Monday, February 4, 2013

Hockey East Power Rankings - February 4, 2013

With the standings so close and some top teams losing, there is more movement in this week's College Hockey Rink Report Power Rankings.

1. Boston College: I was harsh on the Eagles in the power rankings last week in part to the high expectations Jerry York has set for the program. Once healthy, BC is still the top team in the league and come March, they'll be there. Johnny Gaudreau and company will get on track.

2. New Hampshire: Despite a 4-1 loss to Merrimack in Durham Saturday night, UNH is still in position to get home ice for the post-season and make the NCAAs. The Wildcats did beat Northeastern Friday night and are plenty capable of creating offense. The goaltending situation is still in limbo, which would have been unthinkable back in the fall with Casey DeSmith  stopping virtually everything he saw during that time

3. Boston University: The Terriers were trounced 5-1 by UMass-Amherst at the Mullins Center Friday night in a pre-Beanpot tune-up. Jack Parker's squad has been about as inconsistent as any team in the league this season.

4. Merrimack: Mark Dennehy's club is now four games over .500 thanks to a two-win weekend against Lowell and UNH. Junior goaltender Sam Marotta stopped 76 of 77 on the weekend. Since the calendar turned, the Warriors are 6-2-1. Merrimack still has to play BU this weekend and then BC twice, but the other seven games are all against teams 5th-7th in the standings.

5. Providence: The Friars skated to a 2-2 draw with Maine Friday night in Orono, nothing to be ashamed of with how the Black Bears have been playing the last few weekends. Considering  how close the standings are with the top teams, this is a big weekend for PC in  a home-and-home contest against UNH.

6. UMass-Lowell: Entering the weekend on an 11 game unbeaten streak, UML fell back to the ground hard. UML was shutout 1-0 at Merrimack Friday before losing to Maine 4-3 in overtime Sunday. UML certainly will have a chance to right the ship, but the defense has been turnover prone and Doug Carr hasn't been as solid in net as he was a year ago.

7. UMass-Amherst: Kevin Boyle had a chance to redeem himself in net after losing the starting job to Steve Mastalerz. The sophomore goaltender came up big, stopping 19 of 20 in a 5-1 win over BU Friday night. Michael Pereira had the best game of his season with two goals and two assists.

8. Maine: Joey Diamond has six goals in his last five games, including four this weekend. The senior from Long Beach, NY had the game-winner in overtime against Lowell on Sunday. Since Christmas, the Black Bears are 6-3-2. Undefeated over the last four, Martin Ouellette has been another big reason. The junior goaltender has posted a .947 save percentage during that span.

9. Northeastern: The Huskies lost to UNH Friday night in their only game of the weekend. Jim Madigan's team is in deep trouble with the goaltending issues and lack of depth. The two-game series at Alfond Arena in a few weeks could determine who gets the last playoff spot.

10. Vermont: The Catamounts were held in check by BC Friday night, losing 4-1. UVM hosts Maine this weekend and travels to Northeastern for a pair next weekend before finishing the season with six games against BU, UNH and BC. Ouch!