By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
1) No. 2 Boston College (3-1-0, 1-0-0 HE)
The Eagles lost 2-1 at No. 11/13 Notre Dame on Saturday, but they still have to be considered the top team in Hockey East. Two weekends ago, they embarrassed No. 12 Denver on its home ice, outscoring the Pioneers 9-2 in a weekend sweep. BC is allowing just one goal per game this season, putting its defense a full goal ahead of anyone else in the league. Leading the way is senior goalie John Muse, who has the best goals-against average (1.34) and best save percentage (.959) in the conference. BC’s plus-2 average goal differential is also tied for first.
2) No. 6/7 University of Maine (3-1-2, 1-0-0 HE)
The Black Bears had a tough series two weeks ago when they lost and tied at No. 11/14 Michigan State, but they rebounded with an impressive sweep of No. 8 North Dakota last weekend, outscoring the Fighting Sioux 11-5 in the series. As expected, Maine is all about offense. Its 4.67 goals per game are best in the conference and it possesses the league’s top five scorers in junior Spencer Abbott (5-6-11), senior Robby Dee (4-5-9), junior Gustav Nyquist (2-7-9), sophomore Joey Diamond (4-4-8) and senior Tanner House (4-3-7).
3) No. 5/6 Boston University (4-0-1, 2-0-1 HE)
The Terriers are one of two undefeated teams left in Hockey East and they have notable wins over No. 18 Wisconsin and Notre Dame, but it would be inaccurate to say they’ve been dominant. All of their wins have come by one goal and they’re coming off a game in which they were doubled up in shots by a Providence team you’ll find at the bottom of this page. Two pleasant surprises for BU have been freshman Sahir Gill, who leads the team in points with six, and senior Joe Pereira, whose four goals are already just one shy of his career high.
4) No. 10 University of New Hampshire (1-1-2, 0-0-1 HE)
The Wildcats’ schedule has been anything but easy. They opened the season with a series split at No. 1 Miami, then they tied No. 4 Michigan at home and then they tied Northeastern at Matthews Arena. It’s not going to get any easier, either — their next two games are at No. 14/15 Cornell and at BC. UNH ranks third in the conference with 3.50 goals per game, but it’s also giving up 3.50 goals per game, which is surprising given the fact it has six returning defensemen and junior goalie Matt DiGirolamo has a respectable .912 save percentage.
5) Merrimack College (1-0-2, 0-0-1 HE)
The Warriors, believe it or not, are the other undefeated team. But they hadn’t faced a quality opponent until Saturday when they tied Vermont on the road. They opened the season with a disappointing tie against winless Niagara before responding with a 7-1 spanking of UConn. Merrimack ranks second in the conference in offense (4.33 GPG) and third in defense (2.33 GAA), tying them with BC for first in average goal differential. Sophomore Stephane Da Costa leads the league with two points per game.
6) University of Vermont (0-1-2, 0-0-1 HE)
The Catamounts have solid defense and goaltending — they currently rank fifth in Hockey East with a 2.67 GAA — but they need to start scoring more. Their two goals per game place them ninth in the league and half of their six goals have come off the stick of senior Wahsontiio Stacey. Needless to say, other guys need to step up. Of course, Vermont hasn’t had any cupcakes on its schedule. It opened the season with a loss and tie against Denver and then tied Merrimack on Saturday.
7) Northeastern University (1-2-2, 1-2-1 HE)
Scoring just 1.80 goals per game, the Huskies are the only team more inept on offense than Vermont. On defense, though, they rank second behind only BC with just two goals against per game. Similarly, sophomore goalie Chris Rawlings ranks second behind only Muse in both GAA (1.75) and save percentage (.950). Besides not being able to score, the biggest problem for the Huskies is injuries — they’ve already lost junior forward Alex Tuckerman and junior defensemen J.P. Maley and Drew Muench for the season, and sophomore forward Robbie Vrolyk is likely out for at least a month.
8) University of Massachusetts-Lowell (1-2-2, 1-2-0 HE)
After getting obliterated 8-2 by Maine on opening night, the River Hawks have played much better in their last four games. Their only loss during that span came Saturday against Northeastern in a game in which they outshot the Huskies 40-26. Freshman defenseman Chad Ruhwedel is quickly making a name for himself, as he leads the team and all Hockey East blue-liners in points with six. UML will need better goaltending going forward, though — freshmen Doug Carr and Marc Boulanger rank ninth and 10th, respectively, in save percentage.
9) University of Massachusetts (0-3-1, 0-1-1 HE)
The Minutemen are the antithesis of BU. Instead of winning a bunch of one-goal games, they’ve collected essentially three one-goal losses (No. 20 Minnesota tacked on an empty-netter on opening night). They actually outshot Minnesota in a pair of games in Minneapolis, but came away with nothing to show for it. Then they rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie BU on the road before suffering another narrow defeat in their home opener against the Terriers. Sophomore Darren Rowe has turned some heads with four goals already after not netting any last year.
10) Providence College (1-4-0, 1-2-0 HE)
Since beating Northeastern 3-2 on opening night, the Friars have lost four straight. They got outscored 12-4 two weekends ago in a pair of losses at No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth and then suffered back-to-back one-goal losses at the hands of UML and BU last weekend. The biggest disappointment for PC has been its defense and goaltending. The defense is tied for last in Hockey East with a 4.20 GAA after ranking fourth last year and junior netminder Alex Beaudry is 11th in save percentage (.880) after ranking third last year.