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Hockey East Power Rankings: Terriers Keep Top Spot, Minutemen in Free Fall

Mario Puskarich and his UVM teammates put up 11 goals at UMass Saturday.
Mario Puskarich and his UVM teammates put up 11 goals at UMass Saturday.
Matt Dewkett

As Boston University keeps the top spot in this week's Hockey East Power Rankings, there is much to talk about at the bottom of the rankings where two teams are making a serious push for futility. UMass fell to Boston College, 5-3, Friday night before getting pounded by Vermont, 11-1, on Saturday. The pair of home losses dropped UMass to 1-6 in league play, but perhaps more concerning is the Minutemen have been outscored 24-5 in three home Hockey East contests.

Most observers thought Maine would struggle defensively and in goal, but the lack of offensive production has been a serious issue through the first 13 games of the season. Red Gendron's team found the back of the net just five times over the last four games. The Black Bears headed back to Orono with two losses after their trip to Beantown to face BU and BC.

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, which the Terriers claimed the top spot in once again.

1. Boston University (8-1-1, 6-1-1 HE)

Freshman Jack Eichel has certainly led the Terriers' resurgence on Commonwealth Ave in more ways than one. His ability to come through in the clutch has carried over to his teammates. 14 of Eichel's 19 points have come in the third period or overtime. Out of the 33 goals BU has scored in conference play, 22 of them have occurred after the second period.

Last Week: W 3-2 (OT) vs Maine, W 5-2 at UConn

This Week: vs. Harvard (11/25), vs. Colgate (11/29), vs. Dartmouth (11/30)

2. UMass Lowell (8-2-3, 5-0-2 HE)

It's been said over and over again, but another week, another set of games where UMass Lowell received a total team effort for three points. Norm Bazin has consistently proven that he can plug in difference pieces to fit different roles and have success. He's now 49 games over 500 at his alma mater with a record of 86-37-10. Simply amazing. Lowell doesn't always play the sexiest style, but more credit needs to be given to Bazin.

Last Week: W 3-1, T 2-2 (OT) at Notre Dame

This Week: vs. Harvard (11/28)

3. Vermont (8-3-1, 6-3-1 HE)

The Catamounts, not usually known for their offensive explosions, took out their frustration on UMass Saturday night. A night after losing to UConn, Kevin Sneddon's club walloped the Minutemen to tie the school record for largest margin of victory in the Division I era and also the mark for most goals in a game. There were nine different goal scorers and 16 of the 18 skaters dressed recorded at least a point.

Last Week: L 1-2 at UConn, W 11-1 at UMass

This Week: vs. Massachusetts (11/25), at Maine (11/28, 11/29)

4. Boston College (5-5-0, 3-3-0 HE)

Jerry York's team has bounced back from its four game losing streak with three consecutive wins. One of the feel good stories of the young season has to be that of Teddy Doherty's rise to an everyday role on the Eagles' blue line. After playing sparingly as a freshman and sophomore, the Hopkinton, Mass. native has two goals and eight assists to lead BC in scoring. His +13 plus/minus rating is second in Hockey East only to Jack Eichel.

Last Week: W 5-3 at UMass, W 4-1 vs. Maine

This Week: vs. Minnesota (11/28), at Providence (11/29)

5. Providence (5-5-1, 4-3-0 HE)

The bizarre start to the Friars season continued over the weekend. Friday's date at UNH was postponed at the last minute due to a malfunction in the ice. Jon Gillies was a late scratch on Saturday, but sophomore backup goaltender Nick Ellis came through with a shutout to preserve a 1-0 win over the Wildcats. Trevor Mingoia's third period goal gave Ellis the victory and his first collegiate shutout.

Last Week: W 1-0 at New Hampshire

This Week: vs. Army (11/25), vs. Boston College (11/29)

6. Notre Dame (6-6-2, 2-2-2 HE)

The Fighting Irish received all kinds of bad news last week with star recruit Matthew Tkachuk de-committing from Jeff Jackson's program. Then Notre Dame only took one of four possible points on home ice against UML. It might have been two if not for a controversial decision by Hockey East referees to nullify an Irish goal in the series finale.

Last Week: L 1-3, T 2-2 (OT) vs. UMass Lowell

This Week: vs. Union (11/28), vs. Ohio State/Western Michigan (11/29)

7. Merrimack (8-4-1, 4-3-0 HE)

Star senior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen was knocked out of Friday's game just 20 seconds in which seemed to throw the Warriors off for the rest of their series against Northeastern. Merrimack pulled it together for the win Friday, but gave a lackluster performance in a 3-1 loss at Matthews Arena a night later. The road woes are something that could spell doom to Merrimack's hot start if it can't find a way to win away from Lawler Arena.

Last Week: W 4-2 vs. Northeastern, L 1-3 at Northeastern

This Week: vs. Clarkson (11/28, 11/29)

8. Connecticut (3-6-4, 2-3-1 HE)

Mike Cavanaugh's team once again proved it is capable of beating any team in Hockey East on any given night. The Huskies upended Vermont, 2-1, Friday night before keeping it close with BU on Saturday before ultimately falling short. A driving force behind UConn's success continues to be sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols whose .932 save percentage ranks second in Hockey East, only behind BU's Matt O'Connor.

Last Week: T 1-1 (OT) vs. Rensselaer, W 2-1 vs. Vermont, L 2-5 vs. Boston University

This Week: at Brown (11/29)

9. New Hampshire (4-7-0, 1-4-0 HE)

When Casey DeSmith found himself in legal trouble and his future on the team became in doubt, most observers worried about the Wildcats keeping the puck out of their own net. The real problem for Dick Umile's team has been its inability to light the lamp at the opposition's end. In four Hockey East losses, UNH has scored just three goals and been blanked twice.

Last Week: L 0-1 vs. Providence

This Week: vs. Rensselaer (11/25)

10. Northeastern (2-9-1, 2-5-1 HE)

The Huskies have won two consecutive home games and are playing with some much needed urgency, according to head coach Jim Madigan. Northeastern is starting to do some of the little things well such as faceoffs. It also appears that Madigan's directive to his team to show better discipline paid off Saturday. The Huskies have a big test Saturday with a visit from the Gophers.

Last Week: L 2-4 at Merrimack, W 3-1 vs. Merrimack

This Week: vs. Minnesota (11/28)

11. Maine (3-9-1, 2-5-0 HE)

The Black Bears were so close to pulling off the upset on Friday at BU, but fell to a late rally from the Scarlet and White. A lack of depth is a serious problem in Orono as fatigue was certainly a factor due to a short bench through the first two periods. A lack of discipline, mental errors and an inability to execute properly in the defensive zone will continue to hamper Maine's success. Gendron's team is 0-9-1 in its last 10 true road games away from the Alfond.

Last Week: L 2-3 (OT) at Boston University, L 1-4 at Boston College

This Week: vs. Vermont (11/28, 11/29)

12. Massachusetts (3-7-0, 1-5-0 HE)

As was mentioned in the lead of this article, the Minutemen have been absolutely atrocious on home ice in league play this season. UMass goaltenders have combined for a .852 save percentage this season. Statistics don't always tell the full story as the defense isn't exactly stout. It's only reasonable to start questioning some of John Micheletto's decisions on some of the cuts he's made since taking over.

Last Week: L 3-5 vs. Boston College, L 1-11 vs. Vermont

This Week: at Vermont (11/25), at Quinnipiac (11/28), vs. Quinnipiac (11/29)


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