Hockey East Power Rankings: 1/18/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

For the first time since the start of December, there’s a new No. 1 in my power rankings. There’s plenty of movement after that, too, as only the bottom two teams are in the same spot as last week.

1. Boston University (13-6-1, 10-4-1 HE) — Last week: 2

The Terriers trailed by two goals in both of their games this weekend, but managed to come away with a pair of 4-3 wins over Northeastern on Friday and Harvard on Saturday. They’ve won three straight and 10 of their last 12 to move into first in Hockey East and third in the PairWise. Wade Megan tallied two goals Friday and now leads the team with 10, while Chris Connolly registered his first two goals of the season Saturday.

2. Boston College (14-8-1, 10-5-1 HE) — Last week: 1

BC suffered a shocking 4-0 loss at UMass on Friday before rebounding with a 2-1 win over Northeastern at Fenway Park on Saturday. Freshman Brian Billett gave up three goals on 13 shots before being pulled Friday, while rarely used senior Chris Venti picked up his first career win Saturday. The Eagles are 6-7-1 in their last 14, and the offense has been the biggest problem of late. They’ve scored just 10 goals in their last six games.

3. Merrimack (12-4-5, 8-3-3 HE) — Last week: 4

The Warriors smoked Maine 6-2 on Friday and tied them 2-2 on Saturday. That was just what they needed given that they entered the series with a 2-4-3 record in their last nine and had scored more than two goals just three times during that stretch. Ryan Flanigan, Jesse Todd and Karl Stollery led the offensive revival, as all three of them recorded four points on the weekend.

4. Massachusetts-Lowell (12-6-0, 7-5-0 HE) — Last week: 3

The River Hawks lost for just the third time since the start of November, but it was a bad loss, as they fell 3-2 in overtime to last-place Vermont on Friday. The third period was particularly awful, as Lowell blew a 2-0 lead and got outshot 16-5 in the frame. The River Hawks are still in pretty good position in the standings, though. They’re technically in sixth, but they have games in hand on everyone in front of them.

5. Maine (10-8-3, 7-7-2 HE) — Last week: 6

You might be wondering how the Black Bears move up a spot after a one-point weekend, but that’s how close I had them and Northeastern last week. The fact remains that Maine is 7-2-1 in its last 10 and currently in fourth place in the conference. So although Northeastern is still one spot ahead of them in the PairWise, the Black Bears are in much better position in the league standings.

6. Northeastern (8-9-3, 4-9-2 HE) — Last week: 5

The Huskies are good enough to compete with anyone in the country. They’ve beaten Michigan, Notre Dame and Minnesota on the road, and they’ve played six one-goal games against the top three teams in these power rankings. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t won any of those one-goal games, most recently losing 4-3 to BU and 2-1 to BC this weekend. They’re ninth in the standings and desperately need league wins.

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

Led by freshman Steve Mastalerz’s 35 saves, the Minutemen shut out BC for the first time ever Friday, taking the season series from the Eagles in the process. T.J. Syner had two goals in the win and now has points in all but three games this season. UMass is now 4-1-1 in its last six. Special teams remain a concern, though, as the Minutemen rank ninth in Hockey East on both the power play and penalty kill.

8. Providence (9-9-2, 7-5-1 HE) — Last week: 7

It’s not often that a loss to UNH qualifies as a bad loss, but right now it does. The Friars fell 1-0 to the Wildcats on Wednesday before bouncing back with a 5-2 win over Vermont on Sunday. They’re in good position in the standings — one point out of fourth with games in hand — but it’s hard to get excited about their 3-6-1 record in their last 10. Leading goal scorer Tim Schaller is out indefinitely with mono.

9. New Hampshire (8-11-2, 5-8-1 HE) — Last week: 9

The Wildcats picked up two much-needed wins, beating Providence 1-0 on Wednesday and Dartmouth 4-1 on Saturday to snap a five-game losing streak. Stevie Moses scored all five goals in those two games, with Saturday marking his second four-goal game of the season and moving him into the conference lead for goals. UNH still has a steep climb ahead, though, as its next four games are against Merrimack and BC.

10. Vermont (5-16-1, 2-12-1 HE) — Last week: 10

Brett Bruneteau scored in overtime to give Vermont a big 3-2 win over Lowell on Friday, but it followed that up with a 5-2 loss to Providence. The Catamounts are just 2-9-0 in their last 11 and are now six points out of a Hockey East playoff spot. They still rank last in the league in offense, defense and penalty killing.

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