Merrimack College grabbed four points this weekend, while ending UMass-Lowell’s unbeaten streak at 11. Maine recorded their first victory of the season at Alfond Arena. New Hampshire fired 52 shots at Merrimack on Saturday night, but ended up with a loss. The fight for home ice advantage and a playoff spot is heating up in Hockey East. How will the season pan out?
1. University of New Hampshire (16-7-2, 11-6-1 HEA) – Last Week: 1
New Hampshire skated to a 3-1 victory, Friday night, in front of an outstanding goaltending performance from Casey DeSmith. Northeastern managed to get off 48 shots on DeSmith, giving him a season high 47 saves. The following night, New Hampshire fell in a 4-1 loss to Merrimack College. UNH was given a taste of their own medicine when, Merrimack goaltender, stopped 51-of-52 shots. New Hampshire went 1-1-0 on the weekend, but in their loss against Merrimack, they put up one heck of a fight.
2. Boston College (16-7-2, 12-6-1 HEA) – Last Week: 3
The Eagles of Boston College looked better this weekend, after a being upset by Maine last weekend. A win over the 7-14-4, Vermont Catamounts, isn’t a big win, but getting back to the winning ways is why the Eagles moved up a spot this week. In addition to Friday night’s win, Boston College was victorious over the Harvard Crimson (ECAC) on Monday night during the first round of the Beanpot tournament. The Eagles will face-off against Northeastern next Monday.
3. Merrimack College (12-10-5, 10-6-2 HEA) – Last Week: 5
Merrimack College and UMass-Lowell fought a well fought battle on Friday night, ending UML’s unbeaten streak at 11 games. Merrimack goaltender, Sam Marotta, stopped all 25 shots for the shutout win. The Warriors have not surrendered a goal on the penalty kill at home in 2013, going 21-for-21. Marotta continued his weekend with a 51-for-52 save performance in Durham, N.H. on Saturday night. Merrimack skated away with the victory of New Hampshire, 4-1. Merrimack has taken points in teams last 6-of-7 games and moved into sole position of third in the Hockey East standings.
4. Massachusetts-Lowell (14-9-2, 8-8-2 HEA) – Last Week: 2
Back-to-back losses this weekend against Merrimack and Maine ended the teams unbeaten streak at 11. A well fought road game against Merrimack is nothing to be ashamed of, but a 0-for-8 game on the power play is. Having Saturday off to rest up for Maine on Sunday brought the teams scoring ability back, but was no match for Joey Diamond. UMass-Lowell handed Maine their first victory of the season Alfond Arena. UML is on a two game losing streak heading into a weekend where they face Boston College.
5. Boston University (13-11-1, 10-7-1 HEA) – Last Week: 4
Massachusetts beat down Boston University on Friday night, 5-1. To add insult to injury, the Terriers lost Monday night to Northeastern in the Beanpot tournament. BU’s Senior class went all four years without a Beanpot Title. The Terriers are 1-4-1 over the teams past six games. Boston University will be tested once again on Friday night, when they square off against Merrimack College.
6. Providence College (10-10-5, 8-6-4 HEA) – Last Week: 6
Providence hasn’t lost in two games, but hasn’t won in two games either. After taking the lead in the first, on a Mark Jankowski goal, and Derek Army adding to the lead in the third, the Friars looked poised to leave Maine with a victory. Maine’s senior forward, Joey Diamond, netted back-to-back goals, five minutes apart to send the game into overtime and forcing the teams to skate to a 2-2 tie. This Providence team looked outstanding, on paper, during the preseason, but has not lived up to those expectations. The Friars will be lucky to get home ice advantage in the playoffs.
7. University of Massachusetts (10-12-2, 7-9-1 HEA) – Last Week: 7
Massachusetts big win over Boston University Friday night was big for the teams momentum on the final stretch of the season. The line of Michael Pereira, Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary accounted for eight of the teams 14 points against BU. In fact, when those three are paired together, they have tallied 31 points in nine games. UMass currently sits in seventh in the Hockey East standings, only one point ahead of Maine. The Minutemen have gone 5-3-0 in the teams past eight games and will be fighting for the last playoff spot with Maine and Vermont.
8. University of Maine (8-14-5, 4-9-5 HEA) – Last Week: 8
Every point counts for the Maine Black Bears. Sitting in the cellar for most of the 2012-13 season, the Black Bears are finally starting to see light. Maine is currently on a four game point streak and have managed to take points in the last 6-of-8 games, putting them in sole possession of eight place. Back-to-back wins over Boston College, a comeback tie against Providence and a victory of UMass-Lowell, the teams first win at Alfond this season, Maine is looking stronger than ever and ready to compete. Maine senior forward, Joey Diamond, had five-point weekend and has tallied points in five of the last six games. Maine travels to Vermont on Saturday and will be fighting to stay in a playoff position.
9. University of Vermont (7-14-4, 4-10-4 HEA) – Last Week: 9
Of course no one expected Vermont to head into Conte Forum and take two points from Boston College this weekend. They started the game off with Anders Franzon’s first goal of his career and outshot BC, 11-1. Vermont had a chance to at least take a point from Boston College, but four unanswered goals by BC sealed the deal and sent Vermont home without any points. Brody Hoffman started his 25th consecutive game, against BC, it’s hard to say if that will effect him heading into the home stretch.
10. Northeastern University (8-13-3, 4-11-3 HEA) – Last Week: 10
Northeastern hadn’t won a game in four games (0-3-1) until Monday night’s victory over Boston University in the Beanpot tournament. Northeastern have really been inconsistent. One of the only bright spots on their roster is, freshman, Kevin Roy. The 5-foot-10, 170 lbs, forward has 30 points (15g, 15a) on the season, including his first career hat-trick in the Beanpot win over BU. Roy currently has a four game point streak and has tallied points in eight of the teams last nine games. Other team members will have to start contributing more for the Huskies to sneak into the playoffs.