A lot can and will change over the next few months, but it’s starting to look like Hockey East features a clear top three, and then a bunch of question marks. Lowell was in that top tier before the season, but didn’t hang around too long. Northeastern, Providence and Merrimack have all fumbled away chances to join the club. Now it looks like UMass might be the closest, but the Minutemen still have some work to do — getting over .500, for one.
1. Boston College (8-1-0, 7-1-0 HE) — Last week: 1
The Eagles extended their winning streak to eight by beating Notre Dame 3-1 on Friday and BU 4-2 on Sunday. Johnny Gaudreau scored three goals on the weekend and now has a 12-game point streak dating back to last season. Pat Mullane, Bill Arnold, Kevin Hayes and Patrick Wey all had two-point weekends. BC has now allowed just 10 goals in its last seven games. The only negative this weekend was that the power play, which came in at 40 percent, went 0-for-12.
2. New Hampshire (6-1-1, 4-1-1 HE) — Last week: 2
The Wildcats beat Vermont 4-0 on Saturday in their only game of the weekend, marking their second straight win by that score. Casey DeSmith stopped all 27 shots he faced to earn his third shutout in the last four games. He now leads Hockey East with a .953 save percentage and 1.36 goals against average. Austin Block scored twice on Saturday, and Kevin Goumas had three assists. Block is tied for the league lead in goals, while Goumas is first in assists.
3. Boston University (5-3-0, 4-2-0 HE) — Last week: 3
The Terriers beat Merrimack 3-1 on Friday before falling to BC on Sunday. Wade Megan and Matt Grzelcyk each had three points on the weekend, while Cason Hohmann had two. Each of those three has registered at least a point in six of eight games. Hohmann is tied for third in points, Megan is tied for third in goals, and Grzelcyk is tied for first in defenseman scoring. Sunday was Matt O’Connor’s first loss, but he still ranks third in the league with a .938 save percentage.
4. Massachusetts (3-4-0, 2-4-0 HE) — Last week: 7
The record isn’t what you’d expect for a team ranked fourth, but the Minutemen deserve this spot more than anyone behind them. They demolished Providence on Friday, outshooting the Friars 32-17 en route to a 4-0 victory. Michael Pereira tallied a goal and two assists, Troy Power recorded his second straight multi-point game, and Kevin Boyle earned his first career shutout. All four of UMass’ losses have come against BC or BU, and three of those were one-goal defeats.
5. Providence (4-4-1, 3-3-0 HE) — Last week: 4
The Friars fall one spot after being shut out for the second straight game. Since dropping an eight-spot on Sacred Heart to open the season, they’ve averaged just 1.88 goals per game. The power play is operating at 10.8 percent, the second worst mark in the league. The good news is that Jon Gillies is still playing well in goal, and the defense and penalty kill both rank in the top four in the conference.
6. Merrimack (4-5-1, 3-2-1 HE) — Last week: 5
The loss to BU on Friday is understandable, but the Warriors also lost 3-1 to an unimpressive Connecticut team on Saturday. Merrimack’s offense, which led the league going into the weekend, came to a screeching halt with two goals in two games. Both goals came on the power play, which continues to click at 21.3 percent, good for third in the league. Mike Collins extended his point streak to seven games on Friday before having it snapped on Saturday.
7. Northeastern (4-4-1, 2-4-1 HE) — Last week: 9
The Huskies beat Alabama-Huntsville 3-0 on Saturday and 3-1 on Sunday to end a five-game winless streak. Normally sweeping the lowly Chargers wouldn’t be enough to move up two spots, but the two teams they jump did nothing to warrant staying ahead of them. Ludwig Karlsson scored three goals on the weekend, while Vinny Saponari and Kevin Roy each had three points as well. Chris Rawlings started both games and stopped 43 of 44 shots. Freshman forward Cam Darcy chose to leave school on Tuesday.
8. Massachusetts-Lowell (2-4-1, 1-3-1 HE) — Last week: 6
The River Hawks had a great opportunity to get back on track. Instead they split at home against last-place Maine, winning 2-1 on Friday and losing 4-3 on Saturday. Joseph Pendenza notched three points on the weekend, while the line of A.J. White, Riley Wetmore and Derek Arnold combined for three goals and three assists. Other key forwards continue to struggle, though, as Scott Wilson and Terrence Wallin remain stuck at a point apiece on the season.
9. Vermont (1-3-2, 1-3-2 HE) — Last week: 8
The Catamounts got pummeled by UNH in their only game of the weekend. They rank ninth in Hockey East with 1.67 goals per game, and they’ve scored more than two goals in a game just once. No Catamount has scored more than one goal on the season.
10. Maine (2-9-0, 1-5-0 HE) — Last week: 10
The Black Bears finally ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Lowell 4-3 on Saturday, but it’s going to take more than that for them to climb out of this hole. Connor Leen, Devin Shore and Ben Hutton each had a goal and an assist on the weekend.