I’ll admit it’s a little strange to say any player in any league is especially hot or cold after fewer than two weeks of college hockey. This first installment of Three Up, Three Down for 2012-13 won’t quite as stat-heavy most. In these first few games, though, some players showed the potential they’ll need to help their teams this season. Others struggled or experienced injuries in their limited action. Needless to say, the first full weekend of college hockey was an eventful one.
Chris Rawlings, Senior, Goaltender, Northeastern
Not a bad start for Rawlings in season that will define his legacy as the player to follow Brad Thiessen. In first three years in Northeastern, Rawlings’ reputation as an inconsistent goaltender has proven difficult to shake. Forgettable performances follow plainly dominant performances against teams Northeastern should struggle to beat. In his first two games of the 2012-13 season, Rawlings stopped 63 of 66 shots in Northeastern wins over Merrimack and defending champion of everything Boston College. Saturday, NU defeated BC, 3-1, and Rawlings stopped 31 of 32 shots, including 15 in the third period. Needless to say, the first week of games provided a good start for the player most important to his team’s fate this season.
Ross Mauermann, Sophomore, Forward, Providence
Two goals and two assists in two games to start the season pleased both Mauermann and PC coach Nate Leaman. Saturday’s loss to Boston University undoubtably soured a strong performance. Still, his first-period goal gave and consistent play put PC in position to win a game at BU to start their league season. Mauermann led the Friars with 25 points last season — a number he needs to improve. The encouraging thing is that it looked like an inevitably for him to eclipse that mark. He’s hardly the only PC player that needs to advance his game continually this season. But, if his first weekend is any indication, he may be the one player most certain to.
Josh Myers, Sophomore, Forward, Merrimack
Merrimack was off last weekend, but Myers’ performances in a win at Union and a loss at Merrimack nearly helped the Warriors start their season 2-0. He scored twice in a 4-1 over the Dutchmen on Oct. 6. Four nights later, his second period sparked a rally that nearly saw MC recover from an early 3-0 deficit. Much of the questions for Merrimack this season relate to its ability to score goals. His three goals this season put him two behind his five from a season ago. Whether he keeps the pace for the Warriors remains to be seen. Still, MC coach Mark Dennehy knows a succesful season means contributions from his entire lineup, and three goals in two games from Myers is quite the start.
Stefan Demopoulos, Sophomore, Forward, Providence
Demopoulos’ first two gams of the season went well until a broken finger against Boston University on Saturday shelved him for the next month at least. His eight goals and nine assists last season suggested his sophomore campaign would mean even more success. The Friars are a deeper team this year than they were previously. Without Demopoulos, though, Leaman loses one more option on a club still trying to master winning in Hockey East.
Rasmus Tirronen, Sophomore, Goaltender, Merrimack
Ultimately, Tirronen is going to be fine. The sophomore struggled his first NCAA appearance last Wednesday against Northeastern. The first shot he saw beat him over his left shoulder, and the Huskies quickly piled two more on to Merrimack. The big Finn showed his ability in recovering from the difficult first period to keep his team in the game. Regardless, the disappointment of a tough first outing can be difficult for players to overcome. Merrimack is a team with leadership, though, and the club’s upperclassmen, including fellow goaltender Sam Marotta, should keep Tirronen from remembering last week for too long.
Joey Diamond, Senior, Forward, Maine
Through three games, Diamond has a goal and an assist for a 1-2-0 Maine team. These numbers are hardly bad for the Black Bears, but a game misconduct in a season opener against Qunnipiac led many to wonder if Diamond’s discipline issues had returned. Playing alongside Bryan Flynn and Spencer Abbott last season, Diamond led the Black Bears and goals and added the bit of sandpaper any lineup needs to win in Hockey East. However, a majority of his success came after he overcame problems with ill-advised penalties early in the season. With the exception of picking up 22 minutes due to a scuffle against Merrimack last February, Diamond eliminated his plainly dumb play for the most part. Maine took off as a result, advancing to the Hockey East championship game and earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Diamond is key component of Maine’s success again this season, and the Black Bears need him on the ice.