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Hockey East Power Rankings: October 20, 2014

Matt Dewkett

Now that we've seen each team in Hockey East play a few games, it's time to start a weekly tradition during the college hockey season. The Hockey East Power Rankings will be unveiled each Monday. As this point in the season, these rankings are not an indication of where this writer believes the teams will finish. Rather it is a statement on where each team stands currently.

This writer's ballot for the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association Preseason Poll can be found here.

1. Boston University (1-0-0)

The Terriers have won just one game that counts, a lopsided victory over a UMass team predicted to finish 11th in Hockey East, but including the two exhibition games, there is plenty to be excited about if you're a BU fan. The offense is clicking led by freshman sensation Jack Eichel. This weekend presents another opportunity for David Quinn's team to prove it is much improved. Saturday night's tilt against Michigan matches Eichel against Wolverines freshman defender Zach Werenski, another high-end prospect for next June's 2015 NHL Draft.

Last Week: W 6-4 vs. USA Under-18 Team

This Week: Michigan State (10/24), Michigan (10/25)

2. Boston College (1-1-0)

The Eagles bounced back nicely from an opening night loss at Lowell with a 6-2 win at a sold-out Blue Cross Arena against RIT. Without having been at the game, it's always tough to make a statement based just on statistics alone, but it's a big surprise to see the .880 save percentage next to goaltender Thatcher Demko after two games. This team is just too talented, especially on the back end to not be one of the top three teams in the league come March.

Last Week: W 6-2 at Rochester Institute of Technology

This Week: Colorado College (10/24), Massachusetts (10/25)

3. Providence (1-1-0)

There is still plenty of reason to be excited about the Friars' season, but squeaking out a split at Ohio State on opening weekend wasn't exactly the result many were expecting. Providence has some injuries to contend with and this upcoming weekend will pose a significant challenge with a two-game road series at North Dakota. This writer is still extremely high on Nate Leaman's squad, but this weekend's games in Grand Forks will go a long way in showing if PC is ready for prime time.

Last Week: W 4-3 vs. USA Under-18 Team (Exhibition)

This Week: at North Dakota (10/24, 10/25)

4. Vermont (3-0-0)

The Catamounts swept Clarkson in a home-and-home series over the weekend. UVM shut out the Golden Knights, 3-0, on Saturday in Potsdam despite not getting one shot on goal in the third period. Chicago Blackhawks prospect Michael Paliotta is off to an incredibly hot start and leads all NCAA defensemen in scoring.

Last Week: W 2-1 vs. Clarkson, W 3-0 at Clarkson

This Week: Connecticut (10/25)

5. UMass Lowell (2-0-1)

The River Hawks have exceeded expectations so far this season after a win and tie against Quinnipiac over the weekend in the home-and-home series. The freshmen, sophomores and juniors leading the charge, but no one more so than sophomore and Edmonton Oilers prospect Evan Campbell. The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia native has two goals and three assists already after registering just 11 points as a rookie. In a surprising development, junior transfer Kevin Boyle has started all three games over freshman Jeff Smith.

Last Week: W 6-3 vs. Quinnipiac, T 3-3 at Quinnipiac

This Week: Michigan (10/24), Michigan State (10/25)

6. Merrimack (3-0-0)

The Warriors gave their homecoming crowd plenty of excitement as the cardiac kids waited to the final minute to force the game into overtime before a Hampus Gustafsson goal gave Mark Dennehy's squad a win. Merrimack is playing with a renewed energy and intensity this season and according to players and coaches there is a different feel around the team this season.

Last Week: W vs. UConn 2-1 (OT)

This Week: at Mercyhurst (10/24, 10/25)

7. Notre Dame (2-2-0)

The Fighting Irish bounced back from a tough opening weekend hosting the IceBreaker with a home sweep over Lake Superior State. Junior sharpshooter Mario Lucia has five goals in four games while juniors Steven Fogarty and Thomas DiPauli both seem primed for a breakout campaign. A wait and see approach is in order for South Bend to see how the Irish fare against more stout competition.

Last Week: W 5-3 vs. Lake Superior, W 5-1 vs. Lake Superior

This Week: Niagara (10/24, 10/25)

8. New Hampshire (1-2-0)

The Wildcats split their weekend series at Michigan's Yost Arena. Dick Umile's team jumped on a young Wolverines team Friday to the tune of 5-1. There is certainly talent in Durham and the offense is bound to get better as the season progresses as it gains experience. Freshman Adam Clark has certainly proved capable in net.

Last Week: W 5-1 at Michigan, L 1-2 at Michigan

This Week: Colorado College (10/25)

9. Northeastern (0-3-0)

This certainly wasn't the start Jim Madigan envisioned for his most-hyped squad since taking over the helm at St. Botolph Street. The Huskies were swept at Colgate, losing 3-0 both nights. The offense, the expected strength of the team, had just two goals in three games. Expect the offense to come alive, but will the defense be able to withstand the pressure from opposing offenses? Time will tell, but it appears the Huskies could have been overrated in the preseason.

Last Week: L 0-3 at Colgate, L 0-3 at Colgate

This Week: Massachusetts (10/25)

10. Massachusetts (1-2-0)

The Minutemen went out to East Lansing and split with Michigan State, a not-so-shameful result, but there are certainly plenty of concerns that need to be addressed. UMass allowed five goals on just 25 shots Friday night. A positive for John Micheletto's team is the continued strong play of its rookie class. Freshman Henry Dill picked up the win in net Saturday and Patrick Lee, Keith Burchett and Jake Horton have all gotten off to strong starts. Dennis Kravchenko, the expected star of the rookie class, has just one assist.

Last Week: L 4-5 at Michigan State, W 4-3 at Michigan State

This Week: at Northeastern (10/24), at Boston College (10/25)

11. Maine (0-4-0)

Maine looked totally lost on home ice as it fell twice to Union over the weekend. As Red Gendron said after the game Friday, the effort was there out of his defensemen, but there were too many mistakes being made. Outside of Matt Morris allowing an incredibly fluke goal from center ice on Friday, it is hard to blame the goaltending. However, the numbers just aren't what they need to be to win at the Division I level. Shockingly, returning All-Americans Devin Shore and Ben Hutton have combined for just one point on the season.

Last Week: L vs. Union 0-3, L vs. Union 2-5

This Week: Alaska-Anchorage (10/24, 10/25)

12. Connecticut (0-2-1)

For a period against Merrimack, the Huskies were very solid. Mike Cavanaugh's team held a 1-0 lead and were up on the Warriors in both shots on goal and faceoffs. Over the last two periods and the overtime session, the Huskies were thoroughly dominated. UConn was outshot 35-9 including 5-0 in the extra session before falling to a Hampus Gustafsson overtime tally. Rob Nichols was outstanding and there were signs of promise. The Huskies will get better as the season progresses, but there will be growing pains in the first year of Hockey East.

Last Week: L at Merrimack 1-2 (OT)

This Week: at Vermont (10/25)


Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.