We had nothing but conference play for the Hockey East teams this past weekend. Yes, the stretch run has come to the league. Of the six weekend series, four ended up being sweeps. The weekend helped cement the gap between the four or five teams with a chance at the league title and everyone else.
Northeastern won their first game of the season opening night and then proceed to go winless in their next 13 before defeating Colgate in Belfast at the Friendship Four. Starting with that win overseas the Huskies have gone 6-1-2, including this weekend’s sweep of New Hampshire. They now have 7 points in Hockey East play. This puts them just one point behind UMass, who is currently tied for 8th place after getting swept by Lowell this weekend. UMass and Northeastern meet for the first time this season in a mid-February home and home.
After struggling for the first half of the season it appeared that Vermont had turned things around, winning four straight since the holidays. But the hopes of a resurgence were thwarted this past weekend when they got swept at home by Providence by a combined score of 9-4. Notre Dame continues to play well while Merrimack’s freefall continues as the Irish swept the Warriors at home with a 7-2 decision Friday and 5-1 on Saturday.
Probably the marquee matchup of the weekend was between Comm Ave foes Boston College and Boston University. An Eagle sweep would’ve given Jerry York 1,000 career wins. BC won Friday night at home but the teams ended up tying 1-1 the next night at Agganis Arena, meaning York will try again for the milestone this Friday in Amherst. In the last weekend series UConn, which is also playing better lately, went up to Maine and got a win and a tie despite only giving up two goals on the weekend.
With all those results, here are how the current Hockey East standings look. With New Hampshire and Vermont both getting swept they stay in the three way tie with UMass. However UConn has now leapfrogged the three to drop them to 8th place and Northeastern is now right behind. Lowell remains on top with the four points they got over UMass.
The Hockey East Player of the Week was Providence defenseman Trevor Mingoia who had two goals and two assists in the wins over Vermont. Notre Dame’s Bobby Nardella was the Rookie of the Week while goaltender Rob Nichols of UConn was the Defensive Player of the Week after giving up a lone goal to Maine.
We have a new #1 in the USCHO rankings as Quinnipiac took over the top ranking with their 19-1-3 record after North Dakota dropped a game in overtime to Omaha. Providence stays at #3 while Friday’s opponent, Boston College, remains at #4. Lowell rose from #11 to #8 with their dominant sweep of UMass. Boston University dropped a spot after getting just one point against BC. Notre Dame remained #13 despite sweeping Merrimack.
USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll
January 18, 2016
|Team||(First Place Votes)||Record||Points||Last Poll|
|2||North Dakota||( 8)||19- 3-2||941||1|
|3||Providence||( 1)||15- 3-4||889||3|
|4||Boston College||15- 4-3||820||4|
|5||St. Cloud State||18- 5-1||785||5|
|11||Boston University||11- 7-4||496||10|
|13||Notre Dame||12- 4-7||448||13|
|14||Penn State||15- 4-3||352||15|
|17||Michigan Tech||13- 7-4||141||NR|
|18||Bowling Green||13- 7-5||140||16|
|20||Minnesota State||11- 8-5||84||19|
|Others receiving votes: Robert Morris 58, Minnesota 46, Holy Cross 18, St. Lawrence 17, Dartmouth 4, Union 4, Rochester Institute of Technology 1.|
In this week’s Pairwise rankings Quinnipiac, St Cloud, North Dakota, and Providence are all on track for one seeds. Hockey East would get 5 teams into the tournament currently.
|Rk||Team||PCWs||RPI||Rk||QWB-†||W-L-T||Win %||Wgtd Win % – ‡|
|2||St. Cloud State||58||.6036||2||.0066||18-5-1||.7708||.7667|
The NHL Central Scouting rankings came out today and defenseman Callum Fryer, who has been one of UMass’ best players in the past few months, is ranked 190th among North American skaters. He is projected to be a potential late round draft pick. Recruit John Leonard had previously been listed by Central Scouting in their rankings, but dropped off in the most recent update. Leonard has struggled adjusting to the higher level of play in the USHL this season compared to high school. Leonard has three goals and three assists in 29 games this season.
The Collegian’s Jason Kates has this article on former Minutemen playing in the NHL.
Like most everyone else, the USHL are not big fans of the Big Ten’s age limit proposal.