Hockey East Power Rankings: 2/15/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

With the Beanpot over, everyone is now focused on the last three weekends of the regular season. Only four teams are on the move in this week’s power rankings, and there is still very little separating the one through five spots. There is, however, a little bit more separation between the seven and eight spots.

1. Massachusetts-Lowell (19-8-0, 14-7-0 HE) — Last week: 1

The River Hawks extended their winning streak to five with a 3-0 win over Merrimack on Friday, but then had it snapped with a 2-1 loss to Maine on Saturday. The two points on the weekend were enough to move them into sole possession of first place in Hockey East. The line of Scott Wilson, Riley Wetmore and Derek Arnold has combined for nine goals and 17 assists in six games since being put together.

2. Boston College (19-10-1, 13-7-1 HE) — Last week: 4

The Eagles beat Vermont 6-1 on Friday and then won the Beanpot championship when Bill Arnold scored with 6.4 seconds left in overtime to give them a 3-2 win over BU. Chris Kreider notched three goals and two assists in the two games this week, while Pat Mullane and Beanpot MVP Johnny Gaudreau contributed four points apiece. Parker Milner is 5-0-0 with a .928 save percentage since reclaiming the starting job.

3. Maine (17-9-3, 12-8-2 HE) — Last week: 3

The Black Bears had their six-game winning streak snapped with a disappointing 4-3 loss at Providence on Friday, but they rebounded nicely with a 2-1 win at Lowell on Saturday. They’re now tied with Merrimack for fourth in the standings, but because of how tight this top five is, they’re just two points out of first. Matt Mangene registered two goals on the weekend and now has nine in his last eight games.

4. Boston University (17-10-1, 13-7-1 HE) — Last week: 2

The Terriers got upset by UMass in a 3-2 loss on Friday, then suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to BC in the Beanpot title game. They’ve now lost four of their last six, and all four have been either a one-goal game or a two-goal game that included an empty-netter. Alex Chiasson continued his great second half with a goal and three assists in the pair of losses, giving him six goals and 11 assists in his last 11 games.

5. Merrimack (15-7-6, 11-6-4 HE) — Last week: 5

The Warriors lost 3-0 to Lowell on Friday and tied UNH 1-1 on Saturday. They recorded 66 shots on the weekend, but managed to score just once and now rank eighth in the conference in offense. They’re also 0 for their last 17 on the power play and are now seventh in the league there. Merrimack still ranks first in team defense, though, and Joe Cannata is still third in save percentage at .928.

6. New Hampshire (12-14-3, 9-11-2 HE) — Last week: 6

The Wildcats now have a four-game unbeaten streak after defeating Northeastern 3-2 on Friday and tying Merrimack 1-1 on Saturday. Casey DeSmith had another great weekend in net, stopping 58 of the 61 shots he faced. He now ranks second in the league with a .932 save percentage and has emerged as a serious contender for Hockey East Rookie of the Year.

7. Providence (12-14-2, 10-10-1 HE) — Last week: 9

The Friars picked up a big four points this weekend, upsetting Maine 4-3 on Friday before hanging on for a 5-4 win at UMass on Saturday. They entered the weekend on a 2-8-1 skid and had been averaging 1.73 goals per game during that stretch, so the offensive outburst was especially encouraging. Tim Schaller led the way with two goals and two assists, giving him five points in four games since returning from a bout with mono.

8. Massachusetts (10-13-5, 6-11-4 HE) — Last week: 8

The Minutemen snapped a four-game losing streak by upsetting BU 3-2 on Friday, but they followed that up with a disappointing 5-4 loss to Providence on Saturday. Michael Pereira tallied four goals on the weekend, including a hat trick Saturday, and now has six in his last four games. T.J. Syner, who was held without a point just three times in his first 23 games, has now been held off the scoresheet in three of his last five games.

9. Northeastern (11-14-3, 7-12-2 HE) — Last week: 7

The Huskies suffered a pair of 3-2 losses this week, first to UNH on Friday and then to Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game. They’ve now lost three in a row and have scored just five goals in that stretch. Chris Rawlings gave up two soft goals against UNH one start after allowing five against BC and getting pulled. Clay Witt stopped 36 of 39 shots against Harvard, opening the door for a potential goaltender controversy.

10. Vermont (5-22-1, 2-18-1 HE) — Last week: 10

The Catamounts are now riding a season-long seven-game losing streak after falling to BC 6-1 on Friday. On a positive note, Kyle Reynolds has six goals and seven assists in 12 second-half games and is now tied for fourth among Hockey East rookies with 22 points on the season.

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