The Week Ahead: Hockey East

Posted by: Josh Seguin

After an interesting weekend of Hockey East action, we are again reminded that every game within Hockey East is going to be a battle.

Merrimack is the only undefeated team remaining in the country, but its the only Hockey East team off this weekend. In the lone non-conference game, Boston College heads out to South Bend, Ind., to play CCHA foe, and future Hockey East member, Notre Dame. This matchup will be crucial for Boston College, and the rest of the conference for that matter, in regards to the PairWise rankings and the future positioning thereof.

Friday, November 16

Maine at Massachusetts

Maine and Massachusetts are heading in opposite directions. Maine is coming into the weekend with a four-game conference losing streak, including last weekend’s home sweep at the hands of UMass-Lowell.

The Minutemen are riding a three-game winning streak.

Both teams are in the midst of goaltending battles. Maine is struggling as of late, but UMass has been getting great goaltending from freshmen Kevin Boyle and Stephen Mastalerz. The Minutemen are undefeated at home coming into the game with a record of 4-0-1 at the Mullins Center, and Maine is winless on the road.

Northeastern at Providence

Providence is one of the surprise teams in Hockey East as it is third in the conference with a record of 4-2-0. Northeastern is nearing the end of an 11-game stretch of Hockey East games to start the season, in which the Huskies have struggled mightily amassing only four points in 10 games.

Providence is riding a four-game winning streak, and Northeastern is winless in seven straight with its lone win on the season coming against New Hampshire on Oct. 14.

Chris Rawlings has been the Husky starter in all but one game and has posted more than respectable numbers, but Northeastern has scored only 22 goals to back him up.

Alex Beaudry has started nine games for the Friars and is 5-3-1 in those starts.

Umass-Lowell at New Hampshire

In one of the more intriguing games of the weekend, the River Hawks make the short trip north to face New Hampshire, at the Whittemore Center. UMass-Lowell enters the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the conference on a three-game winning streak, while UNH is on a six-game unbeaten streak.

The River Hawks enter the weekend as Hockey East’s top offense, averaging 3.88 goals a game, and UNH has one of the hottest offenses — averaging 4.75 goals in the past four games. Matt Di Girolamo should be the starter for the Wildcats and Doug Carr, who has been impressive as late, should start for UMass-Lowell.

Vermont at Boston University

Boston University is coming off a huge rebound game, dominating cross-town rival, Boston College, 5-0.

Vermont is coming off a great effort against New Hampshire, earning a, 4-4, tie. The question with Boston University is what team will actually show up to play?

After Sunday’s win against BC, one can assume the early season struggles are a thing of the past. Vermont has one win on the season, against Minnesota, but has struggled mightily since that win going 0-4-1.

BU will call upon senior Grant Rollheiser, who has seen action in just two games this season. Usual BU starter Kieran Millan, has been suspended one game for breaking team rules. Vermont will counter with the always capable — often struggling — Rob Madore.

Boston College at Notre Dame

Boston College will head to South Bend to take on Notre Dame in one of the biggest non-conference games in the country this weekend.

The matchup between the two schools will feature two of the most explosive offenses in the country and will feature arguably the two best lines in the country as well. Boston College will look to rebound after a loss to rival BU, and Notre Dame will look to continue its eight-game unbeaten streak. Parker Milner should start in net for BC while junior Mike Johnson should be in net for Notre Dame.

Saturday, November 17

UMass-Lowell at Massachusetts

The battle of the Massachusetts state schools will be one of the biggest games in the recent memory of the battle for the Alumni Cup. Both teams sit tied in sixth place in the conference with Maine — though Lowell has played fewer games than both. The question mark entering the season for both teams was goaltending as both teams were unproven in net.

UMass has received impressive performances from freshman Kevin Boyle in the past two weeks, and Doug Carr has stepped to the plate in Lowell, holding a 4-1-0 record and a 2.20 goals-against average but look for offense to take center stage.

Vermont at Northeastern

Both teams enter this weekend needing wins and points within the conference as the matchup pits the bottom two teams in the conference standings. Vermont enters the weekend with one point in five games and Northeastern has taken four from 10. The efforts have been there for both teams as Northeastern had a tough loss against a strong BC team last weekend, and Vermont had a tie against New Hampshire. As the games are played, both teams will need to take advantage of point opportunities or both teams may end up out of the playoffs come seasons end.

New Hampshire at Boston University

New Hampshire again travels to Boston University. On Oct. 8, BU outhustled and out-skilled New Hampshire to the tune of a 5-0 home win.

This win sent UNH reeling for four consecutive games, and Boston University has had a season mired in poor efforts and disappointing finishes. The top two lines of BU should be a mismatch for UNH, but the Wildcats counter that with its depth on offense especially in the bottom two forward lines. This game should be closer than the last meeting and has all the makings of being another classic UNH and BU shootout.

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