Hockey East Power Rankings: 10/17/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

Every Hockey East team has played at least one game, which means it’s time for the first power rankings of the season. The biggest theme here is this — don’t overreact. It’s only been a week, and for some teams only a game. I will say this, though — the pack is closer together now than it was before the season. Vermont tying Lowell and Northeastern beating BC pretty much guaranteed it.

1. Massachusetts-Lowell (0-0-1, 0-0-1 HE) — Preseason: 1
The River Hawks would’ve dropped to second had BC won Saturday, but that didn’t happen. Dropping them behind anyone else after just one game would be an overreaction, even if that one game was an unimpressive 1-1 tie against Vermont. Lowell managed to draw just two penalties while giving the Catamounts 13 minutes of power-play time. Josh Holmstrom scored the River Hawks’ lone goal.

2. Boston College (0-1-0, 0-1-0 HE) — Preseason: 2
The defending national champs opened the season with a disappointing 3-1 loss at Northeastern. But as is the case with Lowell, I’m not ready to drop the Eagles after one game. There was a gap between the top two and the rest of the pack entering the season, and that gap hasn’t disappeared yet. Steven Whitney scored BC’s only goal and led all players with five shots on net.

3. Boston University (1-0-0, 1-0-0 HE) — Preseason: 3
The Terriers got off to a good start with a 4-2 win over Providence on Saturday. Cason Hohmann, who registered just eight points last season, had a breakout game with a goal and two assists. Matt O’Connor stopped 26 of 28 shots to pick up his first collegiate win. The top defense pairing of Garrett Noonan and Ryan Ruikka combined for two goals and a plus-5 rating.

4. New Hampshire (2-0-0, 0-0-0 HE) — Preseason: 5
After starting last season 0-4-0, the Wildcats opened this year with a welcome sweep of St. Cloud State, winning 5-3 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. Dalton Speelman, who missed all but 11 games last season, led the way with two goals and two assists. Connor Hardowa contributed four assists, while Trevor van Riemsdyk, Nick Sorkin and Grayson Downing added three points apiece.

5. Providence (1-1-0, 0-1-0 HE) — Preseason: 4
The Friars annihilated Sacred Heart 8-2 on Friday, but then lost at BU on Saturday. Freshman Jon Gillies stopped 44 of the 47 shots he faced on the weekend for a stellar .936 save percentage. Classmates Mark Jankowski and Paul de Jersey both tallied their first two collegiate goals, while Ross Mauermann — the team’s leading scorer last year — posted four points on two goals and two assists. Stefan Demopoulos also had two goals, but he suffered a broken finger against BU and will miss 4-6 weeks.

6. Northeastern (2-0-0, 2-0-0 HE) — Preseason: 8
The Huskies made the biggest first-week splash, beating Merrimack 4-2 on Wednesday and BC 3-1 on Saturday. Northeastern got plenty of contributions from freshmen — Kevin Roy started his college career with a goal and an assist against Merrimack and another goal against BC, while classmates Colton Saucerman, Ryan Belonger and Cam Darcy all had multi-point weeks as well. Chris Rawlings stopped 63 of the 66 shots he faced.

7. Massachusetts (1-0-0, 0-0-0 HE) — Preseason: 7
The Minutemen opened their season with a 4-1 win over future Hockey East foe Connecticut, which is pretty much what should’ve been expected. Branden Gracel and Steven Guzzo led the way with a goal and an assist each, while Kevin Boyle turned aside 24 of 25 shots. The Minutemen went 2-for-10 on the power play, but also gave UConn eight man advantages, which is really the only concern from the game.

8. Maine (1-2-0, 0-0-0 HE) — Preseason: 6
The Black Bears lost 2-1 to Quinnipiac in their season opener, then lost 1-0 to Notre Dame in the first round of the IceBreaker before breaking through with a 4-3 win over Army in the third-place game. Obviously scoring just one goal in two games against tougher competition is the biggest concern here. The defense has been good, though, and Dan Sullivan has a .942 save percentage despite taking two losses.

9. Merrimack (1-1-0, 0-1-0 HE) — Preseason: 9
The Warriors opened the season with a big 4-1 win at Union, but then they lost to Northeastern. Sam Marotta stopped 33 of 34 to get the win against Union, while Rasmus Tirronen gave up three goals on 33 shots against the Huskies. Merrimack’s penalty kill is 10-for-11 to start the season, but its power play is just 1-for-11 with a shorthanded goal against. Josh Myers and John Heffernan each have three points so far.

10. Vermont (0-0-1, 0-0-1 HE) — Preseason: 10
It doesn’t really seem fair to keep the Catamounts 10th after earning a tie on the road against the top team in these rankings. But just like I’m not overreacting to one game at the top of the rankings, I’m not overreacting at the bottom either. If Vermont strings together a few good games in a row, it will obviously move up. Brody Hoffman was excellent in his college debut, stopping 38 of 39 Lowell shots.

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