December 2, 2011

College power ratings: BU showing upward mobility

Boston University goalie Kieran Millan (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. Merrimack (9-0-1, 6-0-1 Hockey East)

Two weeks ago, the Warriors became the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in the program’s history. After a 6-0 stomping of Alabama-Huntsville to run their season-opening unbeaten streak to 10 games, the Warriors got an even louder endorsement, earning all 34 first-place votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

2. Boston College (10-4-0, 7-2-0 Hockey East)

It’s sort of hard to believe, but at the moment the Eagles might be struggling more than almost any Hockey East team, with three losses in their last five games. A 3-2 win over Yale on Nov. 26, anchored by a sterling 31-save debut effort by freshman goaltender Brian Billett (Kennebunk, Maine), calmed the waves a little bit, but with two games against suddenly surging BU this weekend, BC needs to batten down the hatches and get things straightened out quickly.

3. Yale (5-3-1, 3-1-0 ECAC Hockey)

Bulldogs haven’t exactly stormed out of the gate, and last week’s results are particularly troubling. A 3-2 loss to BC is one thing, but a 7-6 loss at Sacred Heart?

4. Boston University (7-4-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East)

The Terriers might just be the hottest team in the league after Merrimack, with four straight wins pulling them into contention for home ice and the No. 13 ranking in the nation. Goaltender Kieran Millan, in particular, has sparkled with just two goals allowed in his last three starts, including the Nov. 13 shutout of BC.

5. UMass-Lowell (7-4-0, 4-3-0 Hockey East)

The River Hawks are on a tear of late, with five wins in their last six games – four out of five against Hockey East teams. It doesn’t get any easier, though, with a home-and-home this weekend against New Hampshire, the team that handed them their only loss in that six-game stretch.

6. Providence (6-6-1, 4-3-0 Hockey East)

The Friars have come back to earth with three straight losses, including a 5-2 defeat to Northeastern. They’ve been outscored 14-5 in those three losses, after outscoring their first 10 opponents 37-27.

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

It’s been feast or famine for the Wildcats over the last few weeks, with a pair of runaway wins over UMass-Lowell (5-0) and Alabama-Huntsville (9-1) bookending a pair of ugly losses to BU (4-1) and Harvard (7-6) – the former because of the score, the latter because of the caliber of opponent, which is currently seventh in ECAC.

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

The Crimson have wins over Colgate, Clarkson and UNH. Last year, they didn’t get their fifth win until mid-February. By beating UMass tonight, they could achieve it as early as next weekend.

9. Quinnipiac (8-6-2, 1-4-2 ECAC Hockey)

Few teams were more thankful for their result last week. Bobcats beat UMass, 4-2, snapping a six-game winless streak.

10. Northeastern (4-7-2, 3-7-2 Hockey East)

It’s amazing what can happen in three games. With a 5-2 win over Providence and 4-1 victories over Vermont and Michigan (highlighted by Essex, Mass., native Cody Ferriero’s first-ever two-goal game), the Huskies have themselves a season all of a sudden, after starting with just one win in their first 10 games.

11. Maine (4-6-2, 3-5-1 Hockey East)

Maine snapped a five-game winless streak with last week’s win over Clarkson, but they still don’t have a victory over a Hockey East team since Oct. 29 against Providence, and have to be looking at this weekend’s two-game set at last-place Vermont as a chance to get back in the hunt.

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

After a 5-3 loss at UVM Sunday, Dartmouth can be considered the region’s most disappointing team of the opening two months, based on the preseason buzz. 13. Bentley (4-7-2, 4-2-1 Atlantic Hockey)
No Place Like Home, Part 1: Falcons are 1-0 at home in league games and host Niagara for two this weekend.

14. UConn (4-7-2, 3-4-1) Atlantic Hockey)

No Place Like Home, Part 2: Huskies, 2-0 in Storrs, are home for their next seven.

15. Brown (3-5-1, 2-2-0 ECAC Hockey)

Losses at American International and Holy Cross knocked Brown down a notch, but in terms of overall record and probably the Bears’ confidence as well.

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

The Minutemen started November with such promise, winning three out of the first four games of the month, including a huge victory over then-No. 1 Boston College on Nov. 5, but it’s gone pretty sideways since, with no wins in their last four games.

17. Holy Cross (5-7-0, 3-4-0 Atlantic Hockey)

Crusaders have fallen on hard times. Canisius comes in for two on Friday and Saturday.

18. Vermont (3-8-1, 1-6-1 Hockey East)

The Catamounts played three games in five days last week, but made the most of the schedule crunch with a pair of wins, including the Nov. 22 victory over UMass in an annual Thanksgiving appetizer game. Freshman Kyle Reynolds earned league rookie of the week honors after scoring two in that game, including the winning goal, as well as an assist in the 5-3 win over Dartmouth on Sunday.

19. AIC (3-10-2, 2-5-2 Atlantic Hockey)

Tough luck for Yellow Jackets last weekend. They have two at home with Air Force after pair of 2-1 losses to Canisius.

20. Sacred Heart (1-12-1, 0-8-1 Atlantic Hockey)

It’s a start, and a good start at that, if overdue. Pioneers get first win against Yale, first league point against Niagara.

Hockeyjournal.com’s weekly Division 1 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.