Hockey East Power Rankings: 12/12/12

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

Given that only two teams play again before Christmas, this will be the last power rankings until after the holiday tournaments. The toughest call was at the top, where UNH and BC are about as close as you can get. Elsewhere, one of the biggest questions of the second half will be whether or not Lowell can finally get it together and make a run at home ice and NCAAs. The River Hawks move up this week, but they still have a lot of work to do.

1. New Hampshire (11-2-2, 8-2-1 HE) — Last week: 1
The Wildcats barely hang onto the top spot despite losing to BU 3-2 on Thursday. Had BC won on Friday, UNH would’ve dropped back to second, but that didn’t happen. The Wildcats go into break leading Hockey East in offense (3.60 goals per game), defense (1.80 goals allowed per game) and special teams net (+11). Kevin Goumas, who scored a goal against BU, leads the league in points with 24, while Casey DeSmith ranks first in save percentage at .939.

2. Boston College (11-2-1, 9-2-1 HE) — Last week: 2
The Eagles were 10.5 seconds away from reclaiming the top spot and giving Jerry York his record-breaking win, but they were forced to settle for a 3-3 tie against Providence. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist and goes into break ranking first in the league in goals (11) and second in points (23). Michael Matheson scored the other two goals and now ranks second among freshman defensemen with 10 points. Pat Mullane had two assists and is now third in points with 19.

3. Boston University (10-5-0, 8-4-0 HE) — Last week: 3
The Terriers head into break on a 4-1-0 run after beating UNH 3-2 on Thursday and Maine 1-0 on Saturday. Sean Maguire stopped all 28 shots he faced on Saturday to become the first BU goalie to earn back-to-back shutouts since John Curry in Feb. 2007. Wade Megan scored on Thursday and is now tied for second in the league with nine goals on the season. Garrett Noonan scored the lone goal Saturday and now has a five-game point streak.

4. Providence (7-6-2, 5-4-1 HE) — Last week: 4
Nick Saracino spoiled York’s bid for 925 by scoring with 10.5 seconds left in regulation and forcing a 3-3 tie against the Eagles. The Friars held a 28-12 shots advantage after two periods, but still trailed for most of the game. Noel Acciari assisted on the winner and also scored a goal. He, Mark Jankowski (who missed Friday’s game), Paul de Jersey and John Gilmour all rank in the top 10 in freshman scoring. Classmate Jon Gillies is third in the league in save percentage at .928.

5. Merrimack (6-7-3, 4-4-1 HE) — Last week: 5
The Warriors tied Harvard 2-2 on Friday, then beat Army 4-2 on Tuesday. Sam Marotta and Rasmus Tirronen each stopped 22 of 24 shots in their respective starts, and they continue to have nearly identical numbers on the season. Mike Collins scored in both games and now has at least a point in 13 of the last 14 games. He is tied for third in the conference with 19 points, and he has more than twice as many points as any other Warrior.

6. Massachusetts-Lowell (6-7-1, 3-6-1 HE) — Last week: 8
The up-and-down River Hawks definitely had an up week, as they beat Northeastern 2-0 on Saturday and smoked a depleted Harvard team 5-0 on Monday. Doug Carr got a week of rest, and Connor Hellebuyck filled in with the first two shutouts of his career. He now has a .977 save percentage over his last four appearances. Ryan McGrath and Derek Arnold each had three points on the week. Scott Wilson enters break on a six-game point streak.

7. Massachusetts (5-9-2, 4-6-1 HE) — Last week: 6
Winter break couldn’t come at a better time for the Minutemen. They got swept by Colgate over the weekend, then lost to Yale 4-2 on Tuesday. The only reason they aren’t dropping more than one spot is because everyone below them lost, too. Kevin Boyle surrendered four or more goals in all three losses, something he hadn’t done once all season prior. Adam Phillips had two goals and three assists in the Colgate series.

8. Vermont (3-8-3, 3-5-3 HE) — Last week: 7
The Catamounts lost 4-2 to Dartmouth last Wednesday, although they did outshoot the Big Green 32-17. Yvan Pattyn scored both UVM goals, giving him three in the last three games. The Catamounts rank ninth in the league in offense (1.71 goals per game), defense (3.00 goals allowed per game) and special teams net (-5). They still have two games left before Christmas — at St. Lawrence on Saturday and at Providence next Thursday.

9. Northeastern (5-9-1, 3-8-1 HE) — Last week: 9
The Huskies lost to Lowell on Saturday and now find themselves tied with the River Hawks for eighth in the standings, with the River Hawks holding two games in hand. Northeastern also saw Joseph Manno leave the program on Friday, marking its second departure of the semester. Despite some of his inconsistency, Chris Rawlings enters break with a .924 save percentage, good for fourth in the league. Kevin Roy is first in freshman scoring with 13 points.

10. Maine (2-11-2, 1-7-2 HE) — Last week: 10
The Black Bears played BU tough on Saturday, but walked away with a 1-0 loss. They’ve showed some signs of improvement over the last few weeks, especially on defense and in goal. Martin Ouellette has yet to allow more than three goals since taking over the starting job and currently sports a solid .915 save percentage. Offense continues to be a huge problem, though, as Maine ranks dead last nationally with just 1.33 goals per game.

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