A sense of where teams are in Hockey East is beginning to form after another week of action, but there is still plenty of uncertainty. Preseason favorites to win Hockey East and receive a bye in the first round, Providence and Northeastern, respectively, have just one combined win through four games.
Last week's Hockey East Power Rankings can be found here. Here's a look at this week's SB Nation Hockey East Power Rankings:
1. Boston University (3-0-0)
The Terriers eked out two wins over Big Ten foes Michigan State and Michigan over the weekend. Saturday's third period comeback against the Wolverines was as exciting as a hockey game as you'll find in October. The talent is hard to ignore, but will the youth hold up through the grind of an entire Hockey East schedule? The first real big test comes this weekend with a home-and-home against Providence.
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. Michigan State, W 3-2 vs. Michigan
This Week: at Providence (10/31), Providence (11/1)
2. Boston College (3-1-0)
The Eagles have rattled off three consecutive wins after a season opening loss at UMass Lowell. Jerry York's team allowed five goals in that game at UML, but has allowed just five over the past three games. The defense will certainly be the strength of BC's team all season. BC is the better team than this weekend's opponent Denver, but will the altitude be an issue?
Last Week: W 6-2 vs. Colorado College, W 4-1 vs. Massachusetts
This Week: at Denver (10/31, 11/1)
3. Vermont (4-0-0)
The Catamounts stingy defense surely won't keep up the pace of allowing only a goal per game, but it's certainly impressive and shows how tough an out UVM will be all season long. An added element to Kevin Sneddon's team this season will be the ability of its defense to break the puck out of the zone. Michael Paliotta and Alexx Privitera both have great puck-moving capabilities.
Last Week: W 2-1 vs. Connecticut
This Week: at Notre Dame (10/31, 11/1)
4. Providence (1-2-1)
Nate Leaman's team likely won't stay this low in the power rankings for long, but it's hard to put them any higher currently. Injuries, defensive struggles and Jon Gillies not performing quite as well as accustomed are reasons for PC's 1-2-1 start. This weekend's home-and-home with BU could spark the Friars especially if some of their key players return from injury.
Last Week: L 1-6, T 2-2 vs. North Dakota
This Week: Boston University (10/31), at Boston University (11/1)
5. UMass Lowell (3-1-1)
The usually stout UML defense allowed eight goals to the Wolverines on Friday, but thanks to freshman Jeff Smith's heroics in net Saturday the River Hawks returned to form with a 2-1 win over the Spartans. The top four scorers, two of whom are defensemen, are all sophomores. It certainly bodes well for the future.
Last Week: L 4-8 vs. Michigan, W 2-1 vs. Michigan State
This Week: at New Hampshire (10/31), vs. New Hampshire (11/1)
6. Notre Dame (4-2-0)
Think Notre Dame didn't miss defenseman Robbie Russo down the stretch last season? Think again, the senior, back from the academic doghouse, is an astounding +11 through six games. His eight points is tied for most on the team with sharp shooter Mario Lucia who has six goals and two assists. Freshman Cal Peterson is emerging as the number one starter in net ahead of sophomore Chad Katunar.
Last Week: W 6-3, 7-0 vs. Niagara
This Week: vs. Vermont (10/31, 11/1)
7. Merrimack (4-1-0)
The Warriors split with Mercyhurst in Erie, a feat not to be taken lightly, considering the Lakers' preseason prognosis in Atlantic Hockey. Some of Mark Dennehy's young players are really stepping up. The schedule will get tougher after this weekend's Liberty Invitational in Newark, but the first seven games should give confidence to a team in desperate need of such emotions following last season.
Last Week: W 5-4 (OT), L 2-3 at Mercyhurst
This Week: vs. UConn (10/31), vs. Yale/Princeton (11/2)
8. New Hampshire (2-2-0)
The Wildcats are 2-2 but it's better than a lot of people predicted following the September suspension of star goaltender Casey DeSmith. Youth is being served especially up front where Andrew Poturalski, Warren Foegele, Shane Eiserman and Tyler Kelleher are stepping up. This weekend will be a good test to see where Dick Umile's team stands. UNH will be the underdogs on paper, but don't be at all shocked to see the Wildcats pull off a win or better.
Last Week: W 6-2 vs. Colorado College
This Week: UMass Lowell (10/31), at UMass Lowell (11/1)
9. Maine (1-4-1)
After starting out 0-4 the Black Bears earned a hard fought win and tie against its opponent from the Last Frontier. Junior defenseman Ben Hutton scored his first goal (and point) of the season on Saturday night. Similarly, returning All-American Devin Shore snapped a three-game scoreless streak the same night. What Black Bear fans should take solace in is that these two players are too good to stay down for too long. This weekend's two-game home series against UMass is crucial for Red Gendron's team to fully get back on track.
Last Week: W 3-1, T 3-3 vs. Alaska-Anchorage
This Week: Massachusetts (10/31, 11/1)
10. Massachusetts (2-3-0)
The Minutemen upset Northeastern on the road Friday night before succumbing to BC on Saturday. John Micheletto's team has shown signs of promise. Senior Zack LaRue has been a pleasant surprise to start the season. After registering just 10 points in 69 career games over his first three seasons in a UMass jersey the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has four points this year in five games. Another bright spot for UMass has been the play of freshman goaltender Henry Dill who is 2-1 as a starter since taking over for senior Steve Mastalerz.
Last Week: W 3-2 at Northeastern, L 1-4 at Boston College
This Week: at Northeastern (10/24), at Boston College (10/25)
11. Northeastern (0-4-0)
No one saw Jim Madigan's squad starting off 0-4, but that is exactly what has happened. An unexpected power outage from offensive stars Kevin Roy and Mike Szmatula has been a major downfall, but so has a combined goaltending save percentage of .882. Clay Witt sat out the UMass game with an injury, but the redshirt senior from Brandon, Fla. has a .848 save percentage, down from .932 last season.
Last Week: L 2-3 vs. Massachusetts
This Week: at Quinnipiac (11/1, 11/2)
12. Connecticut (1-3-1)
Outside of a lopsided second game at Penn State, Mike Cavanaugh's Huskies have performed admirably through five games as the newest member to Hockey East. Tough one-goal road losses at Merrimack and Vermont are nothing to sneeze at. The Huskies picked up their first win of the season last Tuesday over Quinnipiac, 4-1, thanks to a complete 60-minute effort and another great goaltending performance from sophomore Rob Nichols. As Kevin Sneddon pointed out in the postgame after UVM's 2-1 win Saturday, the Huskies have some big defensemen and a solid goaltender who will make it tough all season for UConn's opponents.
Last Week: W 4-1 at Quinnipiac, L 1-2 at Vermont
This Week: vs. Merrimack (10/31), vs. Princeton/Yale (11/2)
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.