Hockey East Power Rankings: 12/6/11

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

After minimal movement in last week’s power rankings, this week’s look like a stock market with all the rising and falling. Last week’s top three teams all lost at least once over the weekend, while four of the next five teams all earned sweeps.

1. Boston College (11-5-0, 8-3-0 HE) — Last week: 2

Merrimack’s two losses opened the door for BC to claim the top spot after splitting a pair of quirky games with BU. The Eagles lost 5-3 on Friday despite outshooting BU 45-15, then won 6-1 on Saturday despite being outshot 41-31. Freshman goalie Brian Billett picked up his second straight win Saturday, while Chris Kreider and Bill Arnold each had two goals and an assist on the weekend. BC leads the league with 3.69 goals per game.

2. Merrimack (9-2-1, 6-2-1 HE) — Last week: 1

The Warriors suffered their first loss of the season Friday with a 2-1 overtime defeat at Providence. The next night was worse, though, as they got smoked 6-1 at home by the Friars. Although Merrimack still leads the conference in team defense, it has plummeted to eighth in offense after scoring more than three goals just once in its last six games. Outside of Ryan Flanigan, Jesse Todd and Mike Collins, no Warrior forward has more than five points.

3. Massachusetts-Lowell (9-4-0, 6-3-0 HE) — Last week: 4

The River Hawks swept UNH and have now won seven of their last eight, continuing their remarkable turnaround season. They have outscored their opponents 31-17 during that stretch and now rank second in Hockey East in both offense and defense. Led by Riley Wetmore and Matt Ferreira, Lowell has eight double-digit point scorers, second only to BC. Meanwhile, Doug Carr now leads the league in both goals-against average and save percentage.

4. Boston University (8-5-1, 6-4-1 HE) — Last week: 3

BU drops a spot more because of what Lowell did than anything. The Terriers extended their winning streak to five with Friday’s win over BC — taking the season series from their archrivals in the process — before having it snapped Saturday. Corey Trivino scored in both games and now has seven goals in his last eight games. Saturday’s 6-1 defeat marked the first time in seven games that BU had allowed more than three goals.

5. Providence (8-6-1, 6-3-0 HE) — Last week: 6

The Friars made quite the splash this weekend, as they ended a three-game losing streak by sweeping Merrimack. Ross Mauermann netted the overtime game-winner Friday and Matt Bergland paced the offense Saturday with a goal and three assists. After getting pulled from two of his previous three starts, Alex Beaudry stopped 49 of the 51 shots he faced this weekend. Providence leads the league with a plus-12 special teams net.

6. Northeastern (6-7-2, 3-7-2 HE) — Last week: 7

The Huskies made arguably an even bigger splash than Providence, as they swept Notre Dame in South Bend a week after beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. Northeastern has now won five in a row and hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of those games. Although the offense still ranks just ninth in the conference, Steve Quailer continues to light it up, as he has four goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak.

7. Maine (6-6-2, 5-5-1 HE) — Last week: 8

The Black Bears swept Vermont and now own a four-game unbeaten streak. Spencer Abbott had the weekend of his life, tallying five goals and four assists in the two games. He now leads Hockey East with 23 points, while linemate Brian Flynn is right behind him with 21. Coach Tim Whitehead appears to have settled on Dan Sullivan as his starting goalie. Sullivan has started five straight and is sporting a .907 save percentage in that span.

8. New Hampshire (6-8-2, 4-6-1 HE) — Last week: 5

The Wildcats take the biggest tumble this week after getting swept by Lowell. They’ve now lost four of their last five and have given up 4.00 goals per game in that stretch, dropping them to ninth in the conference in team defense. Matt Di Girolamo has posted a meager .868 save percentage during those five games and now stands at .885 for the season, putting him 10th in Hockey East out of 12 qualifying goalies.

9. Massachusetts (4-7-4, 2-6-3 HE) — Last week: 9

The Minutemen tied Harvard 4-4 in their only game of the week. Although they finally scored more than two goals for the first time in three weeks, they are still winless in their last five games. T.J. Syner, who ranks fourth in the league with 1.27 points per game, had an assist against Harvard and now has at least a point in all but two games this season.

10. Vermont (3-10-1, 1-8-1 HE) — Last week: 10

Just when it seemed like the Catamounts might be turning the corner — they entered the weekend having won two of their last three — they get swept at home by Maine. Connor Brickley was one of the few bright spots, as he recorded two goals and two assists on the weekend to extend his point streak to four games. Vermont has scored 0.71 goals per game fewer than anyone else in Hockey East and has allowed 0.71 more than anyone else.

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