Hockey East Random Thoughts of the Week (10/13/16)

Posted by: Mike McMahon

— Clayton Keller has been the name almost everyone is talking about when it comes to BU, and for good reason. You’re not the No. 7 overall pick in the NHL Draft by accident. Keller could be in the NHL next season. To some extend, Patrick Harper’s incredible start to the season has been lost in the shuffle, what with him only being a fifth-round draft pick, and not a first-round pick like most of the other players on his team. Harper had two goals at Colgate on Saturday night, and three more in the exhibition. This isn’t a newfound skill for him, either. He had 20 goals in 27 prep games last season and 19 goals in 13 midget games. Between Avon Old Farms and the Neponset Valley River Rats U18 team, he’s been averaging almost one goal per game the last two seasons combined.

— I wouldn’t over-analyze some of Hockey East’s non-conference games last weekend, good or bad. It’s too early in the season analyze anything, really. Sacred Heart beat Merrimack, and remember, Sacred Heart beat a Lowell team three years ago that was celebrating a league championship, and would go on to win a second. Merrimack was one of the hottest teams in the country at the start of last season before losing 10 straight in January.What we’re seeing now isn’t likely what we’ll be seeing come the holidays, let alone March.

— Adam Huska arrives at UConn this fall with a lot of excitement, but Rob Nichols posted back-to-back shutouts last weekend for the Huskies against Huntsville. Obviously that’s not the strongest of opponents, but a good Ron Nichols has meant good things for UConn over the past few seasons. With a constantly improving roster in front of him, the better he is, the more UConn should solidify itself as a home-ice team in the first round.

— Maine! Everyone’s counting the Black Bears out before the season even began. That includes me, by the way. It has to feel good up in Orono to get two wins over RPI last weekend. Now, there are still some reasons to be concerned. Maine relied heavily on freshmen to provide its offense last weekend (7 of 9 goals) and that’s not always a sustainable way of doing business, but for now, there is some excitement in Orono and it’s good to see that area excited about hockey again. … I still think Nolan Vesey could be the x-factor there. He’s a junior, and he’s the one that has to stir the drink and really be a go-to- player for that young core to lean on.

— The sentiment of people I’ve spoken to who saw Lowell-Duluth on Friday night was that the River Hawks didn’t deserve to win, so while they were screwed out of a goal in overtime, it would appear, it’s not as if they dominated the play against the Bulldogs. … I saw a video clip late Friday night, and it seemed pretty clear to me that there was contact with the goaltender, but it was well after the puck cross the line. You have to wonder why the officials never even considered looking at the play? My only guess is that they were confused on the rule, perhaps believing they couldn’t review the play due to a pending penalty, but it cost Lowell a win, no question.

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