Hockey East Power Rankings: 1/23/13

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

For the first time in a month and a half, we have a new No. 1 (or, more accurately, an old No. 1 that has returned to the top). We also have a new No. 3 — a team that’s so hot it could climb even higher in the near future.

1. Boston College (14-5-2, 11-4-1 HE) — Last week: 2
The Eagles suffered a 5-2 upset loss to UMass on Friday, but bounced back with a 9-3 thrashing of Northeastern on Saturday. That rebound is just enough to move the Eagles ahead of UNH, which lost its only game of the weekend. On Saturday, the Johnny Gaudreau-Pat Mullane-Steven Whitney line exploded for four goals and eight assists, including a hat trick for Whitney. Gaudreau leads the country with 1.72 points per game, .22 more than anyone else.

2. New Hampshire (14-5-2, 9-4-1 HE) — Last week: 1
After a five-week run at the top, the Wildcats slip to second after losing 6-5 to Providence on Saturday. It was another rough game for Casey DeSmith, who got pulled for the second time in three games after allowing four goals on 15 shots. With the loss, UNH is now under .500 (3-4-0) since Dec. 6. Justin Agosta registered three points in the loss, while Kevin Goumas, John Henrion and Casey Thrush each had two.

3. Massachusetts-Lowell (13-7-1, 7-6-1 HE) — Last week: 4
The River Hawks extended their winning streak to eight games with a 2-1 win over Providence on Thursday, then tied a program record with their ninth straight win on Saturday, a 4-3 triumph over BU. Connor Hellebuyck earned his sixth straight win on Friday, while Doug Carr picked up his fourth straight on Saturday. With the two wins, Lowell moved up to seventh in the Pairwise.

4. Boston University (12-9-0, 9-6-0 HE) — Last week: 3
For the first time since Oct. 24, I have the Terriers somewhere other than third. They lost a pair of home games against Northeastern and Lowell, dropping them to 2-4-0 in the second half. They fell behind by three goals in both games — they came back to tie Friday’s game only to give up a late winner, then came up short in Saturday’s comeback bid. Garrett Noonan is suspended for both games this weekend after spearing Lowell goalie Doug Carr on Saturday.

5. Providence (10-9-3, 8-5-2 HE) — Last week: 5
The Friars bounced back from Thursday’s loss to Lowell by beating UNH 6-5 on Saturday. Jon Gillies made a career-high 48 saves on Thursday, while the Brandon Tanev-Kyle Murphy-Derek Army line accounted for four goals on Saturday. Defense continues to be a concern, as the Friars have now given up at least 42 shots in each of their last three games.

6. Merrimack (9-9-5, 7-5-2 HE) — Last week: 6
The Warriors took three of four points from Maine over the weekend, tying 1-1 on Friday and winning 3-2 on Saturday. It marked the first time they’ve ever taken three or more points in a series at Maine. Sam Marotta got both starts and saved 53 of the 56 shots he faced, so it appears he has won the starting job for the time being. He is unbeaten in his last six starts. Mike Collins assisted on all three goals Saturday.

7. Massachusetts (8-11-2, 5-8-1 HE) — Last week: 7
The Minutemen beat BC 5-2 on Friday to capture their first win at Conte Forum since November 2007. The win was even sweeter because UMass had already seen two third-period leads against BC turn into losses earlier this season. The top line of Michael Pereira, Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary led the way, as they combined for three goals and three assists.

8. Northeastern (7-11-2, 4-9-2 HE) — Last week: 9
The Huskies picked up a big 6-5 win at BU on Friday, but couldn’t carry that momentum into their tilt with BC on Saturday. Still, the win over BU is enough to move them into the top eight. Vinny Saponari played the role of hero in his old stomping grounds Friday, as he scored the game-winner with 2:03 left in regulation. Kevin Roy had three points in the game.

9. Vermont (6-12-4, 3-8-4 HE) — Last week: 8
The Catamounts took on Penn State in Philadelphia on Saturday in front of 19,529 spectators, but they came away with a 4-2 loss. Vermont has now lost four in a row, and Brody Hoffman has surrendered four goals in each of those four games.

10. Maine (5-14-4, 1-9-4 HE) — Last week: 10
The Black Bears mustered just one point against Merrimack over the weekend. Amazingly, they have still not won a game at Alfond Arena this season. An arena notorious for being everyone else’s house of horrors has somehow become their own.

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