The Weekend is upon us and that means another weekend of Hockey East action. There are three conference match-ups, the University of Vermont and the University of New Hampshire travel to Minnesota to face the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State respectfully. Providence College hosts the defending National Champions Minnesota-Duluth.
Lets look at the match-ups.
All rankings in parentheses are based on the USCHO.com Top 20 poll.
Massachusetts at (2) Boston College
Edwin Shea plays for Boston College and Colin Shea plays for Massachusetts. For those who were wondering they are indeed brothers. Edwin is a senior and Colin is a sophomore and they were having some fun on Twitter this week.
@Sheazy8: @Cshea8 im gonna need a little incentive if you wanna keep ur pt streak alive Fri…what u got for me?
Colin Shea has a three point streak going. Maybe Edwin lets his brother keeps his point streak going, but I see Boston College taking the game as talent and depth prevails.
Northeastern at Merrimack
I can see this match-up will tell us a lot on the second tier teams behind Boston College and Boston University. Both teams are trying to build their programs where they are major factors in Hockey East year in and year out. This should be the defensive match up as the weekend as both teams have veteran goalies. Scoring will be at a premium and I see Merrimack taking this one because they have more offensive depth.
Boston College (2) at Northeastern
Northeastern will be in a tough position because either way if they win or lose on Friday, it will be a mentally draining game. To follow that up a game against the number two ranked team in the nation the next night, it’s not going to be easy. Goaltender Chris Rawlings will be overworked and may keep the Huskies in it for a period but I see the Eagles running away with this one.
Connecticut at Merrimack
This may be a trap game game for Merrimack, but I think they will escape with the victory. This will be a perfect game for the Warriors to give Sam Marotta or Nick Drew a chance in between the pipes. Connecticut is coming off a 3-2 victory over UMass-Lowell on Tuesday, but also have a game Thursday against fellow Atlantic Hockey opponent Sacred Heart on Thursday. With three games this week and the traveling involved, I can’t see the Huskies pulling off the upset.
Holy Cross at (6) Boston University
It would be easy to say that the Terriers should have no problem against the Crusaders, but just ask the Minnesota Golden Gophers about Holy Cross. Holy Cross upset Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2006 when Minnesota was the number one seed. As I mentioned Monday with inconsistencies with Boston University, Saturday night could get them over the hump. I think this game could get freshman forward Cason Hohmann going in the college hockey game. Only a small sample size, but he only has one assist on the season.
Minnesota Duluth (15) at Providence
Providence will run into Minnesota-Duluth at the wrong time. Last weekend the Bulldogs lost to their in-state rival Minnesota twice. I think Duluth gets back on track on Friday night and take game one but I will go with Providence Saturday night because I like their stock this season. Providence will rely on their depth as only three players who have played at least one game so far this season haven’t recorded a point yet which I find astonishing.
Vermont at Minnesota (8)
This isn’t an easy way to start to their season for Vermont. They have only played exhibition games to this point and they are traveling to play the red hot 4-0 Golden Gophers. If they have had some regular season games under their belt, I say Vermont takes a split, but Minnesota is just that good right now and getting production from freshmen to seniors. I take Minnesota to move to 6-0 The one good thing for Vermont game two of this series is on Sunday, so they will have a day in-between to make adjustments.
New Hampshire at St. Cloud State
Maybe a trip halfway across the county will jump start the Wildcats. I noted their deficiencies on Monday as they have only scored a goal in three games. They need to look at their leaders like Stevie Moses and John Henrion to get the offense going. The defense needs to limit the shots to get Matt Di Girolamo some confidence in net. Good news for UNH is St. Cloud State hasn’t produced much offense either.
Well there you have it for this week. Both Maine and UMass-Lowell have the weekend off.
You can follow Nathan on Twitter @jrhockeywriter