The Boston College Eagles (3-0-0 in Hockey East; 5-1-0 overall) is the team to beat in Hockey East as they took both games this weekend against the University of Massachusetts (4-2) and Northeastern (4-3, OT). They have answered the bell early on winning the Ice Breakers challenge a few weeks ago and taking care of all three Hockey East opponents they faced so far this season.
In six games this season, they have scored 26 goals and only allowing 14. The power play has been serviceable at 18.5 percent and the penalty kill at 90.6 percent.
Their only imperfection is they lost against Denver University another national power.
One thing when I read message boards about a team’s college hockey prospect that’s a freshman and don’t put up “numbers” their first year, people panic. I am here to say don’t panic because I give you Boston College Eagles sophomore forward Bill Arnold. Last year as a freshman, the Calgary Flames prospect he had 10 goals and 10 assists in 36 games. He’s already halfway to his last years’ totals through six games (5 goals, 5 assists). I am sure Flames fans are keeping an eye on the Eagles this season with Arnold and freshman John Gaudreau, who off to a hot start (3 goals, 4 assists).
Merrimack College (2-0-0 in Hockey East; 4-0-0 overall): As expected Merrimack took both games this weekend. I thought they would have had a tougher time with Northeastern, but they pulled away with the 4-1 victory. On Saturday, they didn’t have that let down game against Connecticut as they sent the Huskies back to Storrs, Connecticut with a 5-0 loss.
Providence College (2-0-0 in Hockey East; 2-1-1 overall): Providence couldn’t follow up the big in conference victory against Boston University last weekend to any wins this weekend. Minnesota-Duluth came into Providence Friday night and won 5-2. The Friars salvaged a 2-2 tie on Saturday with a late goal in the third period. Coaches hate moral victories, but this weekend shows Providence will be competing to host a Hockey East playoff series later on this season.
Northeastern (1-3-1 in Hockey East; 1-3-1 overall): The only team in the conference to play all their games against Hockey East teams. They went into overtime with Boston College on Saturday which I didn’t think would be the case after playing Merrimack Friday night. They will continue their Hockey East tour next week.
Boston University (1-1-0 in Hockey East; 2-2-0 overall): I thought they would get back on track this weekend against Holy Cross, but that wasn’t the case as they lost 5-4 in overtime on Saturday. Out of the two Commonwealth Avenue teams, (the other being Boston College), the Terriers would be the one to the hot start because of their goaltending. Obviously their goaltending hasn’t come around just yet.
Maine (1-1-0 in Hockey East; 1-2-1 overall): Idle
Massachusetts (0-2-1 in Hockey East; 1-2-1 overall): In their lone game this weekend, they may have lost only 4-2 to BC, but the stats say it could have been a blowout. Boston College out shot them 35-20 and had majority of the scoring chances.
Massachusetts-Lowell (0-0-0 in Hockey East; 0-2-1 overall): Idle
Vermont (0-0-0 in Hockey East; 1-1-0 overall): I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty on Friday night against Minnesota and it wasn’t. The Golden Gophers defeated the Catamounts 6-0. As I said in the weekend preview, the thing that was in Vermont’s favor was the off-day Saturday, and it showed Sunday in the 5-3 come from behind victory. Earning a split in Minnesota is good momentum to start the Hockey East schedule next weekend.
New Hampshire (0-3-1 in Hockey East; 0-4-1 overall): The good news for the Wildcats, they scored eight goals while in St. Could, Minnesota. The bad news is they allowed ten goals in two games against the Huskies. They did earn a tie Saturday night, but they needed all four points to get the season going. These games didn’t affect the Hockey East standings, but when March comes it could come back and haunt them if they don’t get into the NCAA Tournament..
Predictions: I picked all the games in my weekend preview and I went 7-2-2.Where I went wrong: I had BU winning over Holy Cross and Minnesota sweeping Vermont. I had Providence winning Saturday but tied and New Hampshire earned a tie Saturday night.
The Four Stars
Freshman of the Week: Michael Paliotta (Vemont): The 2011 3rd round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks had two assists Sunday in Vermont’s upset of Minnesota Sunday.
Sophomore of the Week: Sam Marotta (Merrimack): He earned a 5-0 shutout in his first game of the season Saturday against Connecticut. He made 25 saves.
Junior of the Week: Brian Dumoulin (Boston College): The Carolina Hurricanes prospect had a goal and three assists in two games.
Senior of the Week: Ryan Flanigan (Merrimack: He had 2 goals and an assist in two games this weekend. He leads the team in scoring so far this season.
USCHO Top 20 Poll: 1. Boston College (32 1st place votes) 9. Merrimack 13. Boston University. Maine, UMass Lowell, and Vermont also received votes, but didn’t crack the top 20.