It was yet another weekend of unpredictable results in Hockey East, with UMass-Lowell’s sweep of Maine and BU’s beatdown of BC standing out as the most surprising results. Meanwhile, Merrimack remained unbeaten with a victory at BU. There is a little more separation this week than last, but teams three through eight are all still packed together pretty tightly.
1. Merrimack (8-0-1, 6-0-1 HE) — Last week: 1
The still-undefeated Warriors hold onto the top spot after notching a come-from-behind overtime win against BU on Friday. Merrimack has now gone to overtime in three straight games, having picked up a win and tie against Northeastern two weekends ago. While the defense continues to be great — it hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game yet this season — the offense has tallied just seven goals total in those last three games.
2. Boston College (9-3-0, 7-2-0 HE) — Last week: 2
The Eagles squeaked out a 2-1 win over Northeastern on Friday when Tommy Cross scored with 2.8 seconds remaining, but then they suffered a sobering 5-0 thrashing at the hands of BU on Sunday. Not that anyone on Chestnut Hill should be panicking, but BC has now lost two of its last three. Special teams, which had been a strength all season, were a big problem Sunday, as BU scored two power-play goals and a shorthanded goal.
3. Providence (6-3-1, 4-2-0 HE) — Last week: 3
The Friars have now won four in a row after sweeping Alabama-Huntsville this weekend. Of course, those four wins have come against a pair of teams that have combined for a grand total of one win this season (the first two came against Vermont). Tim Schaller has been on fire lately, as he has registered seven goals during the four-game winning streak. The defense has stepped up, too, allowing just five goals during that span.
4. Massachusetts-Lowell (5-3-0, 3-2-0 HE) — Last week: 6
The River Hawks move up two spots after sweeping Maine in Orono to extend their winning streak to three games. With 16 goals in the last three games, Lowell now owns the top offense in the conference with 3.88 goals per game. Matt Ferreira and Scott Wilson have led the way, as they have both collected six points during those three games. The power play has scored seven times in that stretch and is now tied for first in the league at 23.5 percent.
5. Boston University (4-4-1, 3-3-1 HE) — Last week: 7
The Terriers also climb two spots after finally playing up to their potential. They played well in a 3-2 loss to Merrimack on Friday, but gave up the tying goal late and lost in overtime. Then they played their best game of the season in Sunday’s big win over BC. After missing Friday’s game with an ankle injury, Corey Trivino recorded a goal and an assist in his return to give him five points in his last three games.
6. New Hampshire (4-4-2, 3-3-1 HE) — Last week: 4
If the Wildcats had beaten Vermont on Saturday, they probably would’ve stayed ahead of at least BU, and possibly Lowell as well. Instead they gave up an extra-attacker goal with 1:20 to go and wound up with a 4-4 tie, opening the door for Lowell and BU to pass them. Saturday ended UNH’s four-game winning streak and marked the first time it had allowed more than three goals since Oct. 21. Nick Sorkin is riding an eight-game point streak.
7. Massachusetts (4-4-2, 2-4-2 HE) — Last week: 8
The Minutemen extended their winning streak to three games by smoking Holy Cross 7-2 on Friday and then beating Northeastern 4-2 on Saturday. UMass has scored four goals or more in four of its last five games and now ranks second in the league in offense with 3.80 per game. T.J. Syner leads Hockey East with 1.50 points per game and has notched at least a point in all but one game this season. He had a goal and three assists over the weekend.
8. Maine (3-6-1, 3-5-0 HE) — Last week: 5
The Black Bears take the biggest tumble this week after getting swept at home by Lowell. Saturday’s loss was particularly devastating, as Maine led 2-0 entering the third, only to give up four goals and lose 4-3. The Black Bears have now lost four in a row and have been outscored 17-9 during that span. Goaltending continues to be a major problem, as Dan Sullivan and Martin Ouellette have save percentages of .875 and .873, respectively.
9. Northeastern (1-7-2, 1-7-2 HE) — Last week: 9
Two more close games for the Huskies, but two more losses. BC scored the game-winner with 2.8 seconds left on Friday, then UMass took the lead for good with 5:56 to go on Saturday. Both of those goals came on the power play, making it three games in a row Northeastern has surrendered the tying or winning goal while trying to kill a late penalty. The Huskies are averaging just 1.71 goals per game during their current seven-game winless streak.
10. Vermont (1-5-1, 0-4-1 HE) — Last week: 10
The Catamounts ended their four-game losing streak by forcing a tie against UNH on Saturday, but that wasn’t enough to get them out of the basement. Vermont still ranks last in the league in offense (2.14 goals per game), defense (4.57 goals against per game) and penalty kill (64.7 percent). Vermont got more bad news last week when Chris McCarthy — the team’s second-leading scorer — was lost for the season to a shoulder injury.