Hockey East Power Rankings: 1/11/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

Last week’s power rankings saw no movement in the top four, but plenty in the bottom six. This week is the opposite. There are some changes near the top, but everything after that is the same.

1. Boston College (13-7-1, 9-4-1 HE) — Last week: 1

It’s hard to think of a team that’s 5-6-1 in its last 12 as the league’s best, but no one has done enough to dethrone BC yet. The Eagles tied Merrimack 2-2 on Sunday in their only game of the weekend. Brian Dumoulin assisted on both goals, moving him up to second among Hockey East defensemen with 17 points on the season. Freshman Brian Billett stopped 22 of 24 shots and hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of his six starts.

2. Boston University (11-6-1, 9-4-1 HE) — Last week: 4

Like BC, BU’s only non-exhibition game of the weekend was against Merrimack. Led by a 42-save performance from Kieran Millan, the Terriers beat the Warriors 4-2 on Friday night. They’ve now won eight of their last 10, beaten BC twice during that stretch, and moved into a first-place tie with BC in the standings. So it’s safe to say they’re knocking on the Eagles’ door. Senior captain Chris Connolly still hasn’t scored a goal this season.

3. Massachusetts-Lowell (12-5-0, 7-4-0 HE) — Last week: 3

The River Hawks didn’t play any non-exhibition games this week, so they stay where they were last week. They rank first in the conference in offense and third in defense, and they’ve won seven of their last eight games. Doug Carr is second with a .930 save percentage, while Chad Ruhwedel’s 0.94 points per game are good for second among Hockey East defensemen.

4. Merrimack (11-4-4, 7-3-2 HE) — Last week: 2

After losing to BU on Friday and tying BC on Sunday, the Warriors are now just 2-4-3 since the start of December. The offense continues to struggle, as Merrimack has recorded two goals or fewer in six of those nine games, falling to ninth in the league in scoring in the process. The Warriors still lead Hockey East in defense and Joe Cannata still ranks third in save percentage at .926.

5. Northeastern (8-7-3, 4-7-2 HE) — Last week: 5

Like Lowell, the Huskies didn’t play a non-exhibition game this week, so they also stay where they were. Northeastern is 7-0-1 in its last eight as it enters a crucial four-game stretch that consists of games against BU and BC this weekend and a two-game set against Lowell next weekend. Led by Chris Rawlings’ conference-best .931 save percentage, the Huskies rank fourth in defense.

6. Maine (10-7-2, 7-6-1 HE) — Last week: 6

The Black Bears beat Vermont 3-1 on Wednesday and then topped archrival UNH 5-4 in overtime at Frozen Fenway on Saturday. They’ve now won seven of their last eight and they’ve scored four or more goals in six of those games, bringing them up to second in the league in offense. Top-line forwards Spencer Abbott, Brian Flynn and Joey Diamond now rank first, second and third, respectively, in points per game.

7. Providence (8-8-2, 6-4-1 HE) — Last week: 7

The Friars tied UMass 4-4 on Thursday in their only game of the week. They’re now 2-5-1 in their last eight and they rank in the bottom half of the conference in both offense and defense. They still rank first in special teams net at plus-10, though. Since starting the season with nine points in his first nine games, Damian Cross has just two in his last nine.

8. Massachusetts (7-8-5, 3-6-4 HE) — Last week: 8

The Minutemen tied Providence on Thursday and then beat Vermont 3-2 in overtime at Fenway on Saturday. They’re now 3-1-1 in their last five. Since scoring just five goals in a four-game stretch to close out November, UMass has averaged 3.50 over its last six contests. T.J. Syner and Conor Sheary rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in points per game.

9. New Hampshire (6-11-2, 4-8-1 HE) — Last week: 9

The Wildcats’ only game last week was their overtime loss to Maine at Fenway. They’ve now lost five in a row and seven of their last eight. Defense and goaltending continue to be their biggest problem, as they now rank ninth in Hockey East with 3.58 goals against per game. Freshman Casey DeSmith got his second start in net Saturday, but wound up allowing five goals on 33 shots.

10. Vermont (4-15-1, 1-11-1 HE) — Last week: 10

The Catamounts lost to Maine and UMass last week, and they’ve now dropped seven of their last eight. They’re still last in the league in both offense and defense. If you’re looking for a positive, though, Sebastian Stalberg has been very good. He has 10 points in his last six games and now ranks seventh in the conference with 22 points.

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