December 9, 2011

College power ratings: BC climbs, Merrimack slips

Staff Report

Boston College goaltender Brian Billett (photo: Dave Arnold Photography)

Every Friday during the season, New England Hockey Journal will present its power ratings of the region's 20 Division 1 men's teams.

1. Boston College (12-5-0, 9-3-0 Hockey East)

The Eagles have three wins in their last four games, including two against ranked teams (Yale, Boston University), and an unexpected goalie rotation as freshman Brian Billett (Kennebunk, Maine) has been in net for two of those victories.

2. Merrimack (10-2-1, 7-2-1 Hockey East)

The Warriors’ time on the national mountaintop, and their season-opening unbeaten streak, ended abruptly with two losses to Providence, including a penalty-marred 6-1 defeat at home – their first in 13 games at Lawler Arena.

3. Yale (6-4-1, 4-2-0 ECAC Hockey)

At the end of a home-and-home split with Brown last weekend, the Elis had scored nine goals to their opponent’s nine.

4. UMass-Lowell (9-4-0, 6-3-0 Hockey East)

Nobody seems terribly interested in slowing the River Hawks down, least of all struggling New Hampshire, and Lowell swept UNH in a home-and-home, including the program’s first win in Durham, N.H., since 2003. Lowell has won seven of its last eight games.

5. Boston University (9-5-1, 7-4-1 Hockey East)

Last Friday’s win was the third over a top-three team this year (BC twice, Denver). The Terriers’ five-game win streak ended Saturday against BC, but they started a new one by winning at New Hampshire Thursday night, 2-1.

6. Quinnipiac (9-6-3, 2-4-2 ECAC Hockey)

The streaky Bobcats have collected five points in their last three games, including a tie against Union. That comes on the heels of a six-game winless streak.

7. Providence (8-7-1, 6-4-0 Hockey East)

The Friars hadn’t beaten a top-ranked team since Jan. 3, 2003, before edging Merrimack in overtime Friday night, but had to wait just 24 hours to do it again, and they regained their footing with the sweep, moving into fourth place in Hockey East with UMass-Lowell.

8. Holy Cross (7-7-0, 5-4-0 Atlantic Hockey)

The Crusaders beat Canisius by scores of 3-2 and 4-0 for their first four-point weekend of the season, with senior forward Andrew Cox scoring the game-winner both nights.

9. Brown (4-6-1, 3-3-0 ECAC Hockey)

Brown's three ECAC Hockey wins were against Cornell, Union and Yale. Two of the losses came against Dartmouth and RPI. You try to rank this team.

10. Harvard (3-3-3, 2-3-2 ECAC Hockey)

In a 4-4 tie against UMass last weekend, the Crimson overcame a one-goal deficit four times and outshot the Minutemen by a 44-35 margin.

11. Dartmouth (4-5-1, 3-3-1 ECAC Hockey)

The Big Green need to cash in for a win against Sacred Heart after a disappointing start to the season.

12. Northeastern (6-7-2, 3-7-2 Hockey East)

The Huskies have just about exorcised their early-season demons with a five-game win streak, and while only two of those wins were over league opponents, the other three were against quality non-conference foes (Michigan, Notre Dame twice).

13. Maine (6-6-2, 5-5-1 Hockey East)

Like Northeastern, the Black Bears have pulled out of a losing streak into a winning one, reeling off three straight including the weekend’s sweep at Vermont that was sparked by senior Spencer Abbott’s nine-point effort over the two games, including his first career hat trick on Friday.

14. New Hampshire (6-9-2, 4-7-1 Hockey East)

Maybe it’s too early to call it an off year for the Wildcats, but it won’t be for much longer. They’re 1-5-0 in their last six and falling fast.

15. UConn (5-8-2, 4-5-1 Atlantic Hockey)

Forward Cole Schneider assisted on all four goals in a split with RIT last weekend, who pocketed two valuable league points.

16. Bentley (4-8-3, 4-3-2 Atlantic Hockey)

Freshman defenseman Matt Maher’s goal salvaged a 2-2 tie with Niagara.

17. UMass (5-7-4, 2-6-3 Hockey East)

The Minutemen are officially the hardest team to figure out in the league this year. They’ve got a losing record, yet two of their wins were against high-quality opponents: then-No. 1 Boston College and a Yale team earning votes in the current national poll. They’re off until Dec. 29, at which point we’d love to see the real UMass stand up.

18. Vermont (3-11-1, 1-9-1 Hockey East)

It’s clearly a down year for the Catamounts, but nobody told sophomore Connor Brickley (Everett, Mass.), who had at least a point in four straight games before being shut out of Wednesday’s loss at Merrimack.

19. AIC (3-12-2, 2-7-2 Atlantic Hockey)

The Yellow Jackets got outscored 15-6 in their last two games and it doesn’t get any easier, with a pair of games at RIT this weekend.

20. Sacred Heart (1-14-1, 0-10-1 Atlantic Hockey)

One reason the Pioneers are stuck on one win: They’re allowing 5.38 goals per game.

Hockeyjournal.com’s weekly Division I power ratings are comprised by college hockey writers Andrew Merritt, Dan Guttenplan, Allen Lessels and Mike Zhe. They can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.