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Hockey East Power Rankings: Despite Losses, BU Stays on Top

Providence senior Ross Mauermann's first goal of the season stood up as the game winner on Saturday against Boston College.
Providence senior Ross Mauermann's first goal of the season stood up as the game winner on Saturday against Boston College.
Matt Dewkett

Good thing for Hockey East's top teams that the Harvard Crimson are an ECAC Hockey member as Ted Donato's team has now tripped up three of the top five teams in Hockey East. Vermont picked up three wins last week, but it wasn't enough to supplant Boston University as the top team in this week's power rankings, despite the Terriers losing twice.

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 (9-3-1, 6-1-1 HE)

The Terriers lost two of three last week against ECAC Hockey foes. Sunday's blanking at the hands of Dartmouth has to be more concerning to the BU coaching staff than Tuesday's overtime loss to a very strong Harvard team. As David Quinn said after the Providence loss earlier in the season, BU wasn't going to go undefeated. Losses happen. How BU will bounce back from a tough week against a better than expected Merrimack squad will be telling.

Last Week: L 2-3 (OT) vs. Harvard, W 5-2 vs. Colgate, L 0-2 at Dartmouth

This Week: at Merrimack (12/5), vs. Merrimack (12/6)

2. Vermont (11-3-1, 7-3-1 HE)

The Catamounts keep on winning, but the naysayers will still be out in full force until Kevin Sneddon's team faces some stiffer competition. UVM is idle this week, but then faces a home-and-home series against ECAC Hockey upstart St. Lawrence. Joe Meloni wrote a very fair piece on College Hockey News about a few key statistics where UVM is likely to fall back to Earth, but this is a very balanced team that appears to be strong defensively and in goal. Until proven otherwise, this writer will hold to his preseason prognostication that UVM will be better than most others expect. Are the Catamounts likely a top two in the league come March? No, but no one else has done enough to deserve a higher ranking UVM outside of BU.

Last Week: W 3-1 vs. Vermont, W 6-3, W 4-1 at Maine

This Week: Idle

3. UMass Lowell (8-3-3, 5-0-2 HE)

The River Hawks fell to Harvard in their only game over the Thanksgiving week, but Norm Bazin's team has two home games this week that, on paper, it should win. Junior Kevin Boyle might be winning the starting job over freshman Jeff Smith after the rookie has faltered in his last two starts.

Last Week: L 2-4 vs. Harvard

This Week: vs. UConn (12/3), vs. Maine (12/6)

4. Providence (7-5-1, 5-3-0 HE)

Three consecutive shutout wins, three total goals allowed in the last six games. That's progress for the defensive minded Friars who struggled in their own end for much of the first month. The only problem is, despite the defensive dominance, Providence is just 4-2 during that six game stretch. Nate Leaman's team has only found the back of its opponent's net nine times in those six games. Senior Ross Mauermann finally got off the schneid with the game winner in PC's 1-0 win over Boston College Saturday. The rest of the offense will pick up and the Friars will be where they want to be come March.

Last Week: W 3-0 vs. Army, W 1-0 vs. Boston College

This Week: at Northeastern (12/3), vs. Northeastern (12/6)

5. Boston College (5-7-0, 3-4-0 HE)

Jerry York's club continues its horrible start with a blowout home loss against Minnesota and a shutout loss at Providence, but something tells me that, despite reports to the contrary, the Eagles won't be too horrible come February. The offense has major issues, due to a lack of secondary scoring and the absence of a true difference maker up front. However, when everyone is healthy, this defense combined with the goaltending of Thatcher Demko has the potential to be downright lethal.

Last Week: L 2-6 vs. Minnesota, L 0-1 vs. Providence

This Week: at New Hampshire (12/5), vs. New Hampshire (12/6)

6. Merrimack (10-4-1, 4-3-0 HE)

The Warriors managed two victories in ugly, defensive battles with Clarkson over the weekend to become the second Hockey East team to hit the 10-win plateau this season. That equaled an appearance in this week's USCHO Division I Poll at No. 18. The ranking is a nice acknowledgement of a solid start, but Mark Dennehy's team still needs to prove its worth on the road and against better competition. It's pretty obvious that Merrimack will be better than 10th where they were picked in the preseason, but road wins need to come for its current position in the standings to stick.

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

This Week: vs. Boston University (12/5), at Boston University (12/6)

7. Notre Dame (6-8-2, 2-2-2 HE)

The Fighting Irish finished dead last in their our tournament over the weekend despite holding a 2-0 lead over Union in the semifinal. It's hard to believe a team with as much talent and firepower, on paper, as Notre Dame has to be two games below .500. Maybe a trip to Amherst this weekend to face last place UMass is just what the doctor ordered.

Last Week: L 2-3 (OT) vs. Union, L 1-5 vs. Ohio State

This Week: at Massachusetts (12/5, 12/6)

8. Northeastern (3-9-1, 2-5-1 HE)

The Huskies' season is starting to turn around, having gone 3-1 over their last four games and improving their possession numbers. Northeastern is doing a much better job in the shots on goal category as well as in the faceoff circle. Another real promising development over the past few games is the dramatic improvement in Boston Bruins prospect Matt Benning on the blue line. His skating ability will never be his strong point, but he's been very responsible in his own end and has done a good job shutting down opposing forwards.

Last Week: W 3-2 vs. Minnesota

This Week: vs. Providence (12/3), at Providence (12/6)

9. Connecticut (3-7-4, 2-3-1 HE)

When this season started most observers including this one expected very little out of UConn in its first season in Hockey East. There have been up and downs, but there have been more highs than lows. The Huskies have put the rest of the league on notice that they can beat any team on any given night. Mike Cavanaugh's team will have a chance to prove it can win on the road on league against a very strong Lowell team on Wednesday night, its final game of the semester.

Last Week: L 0-1 at Brown

This Week: at UMass Lowell (12/3)

10. New Hampshire (4-8-0, 1-4-0 HE)

In four wins this season the Wildcats have scored 21 goals. However, in eight losses, UNH has lit the lamp a total of just nine times. In other words the young offense has been hit or miss. Dick Umile's team will be without the services of star defenseman Brett Pesce for the remainder of the first half, and possibly longer.

Last Week: L 1-2 vs. Rensselaer

This Week: vs. Boston College (12/5), at Boston College (12/6)

11. Maine (3-11-1, 2-5-0 HE)

Seven straight losses for the Black Bears including four against UVM certainly isn't what second year head coach Red Gendron had in mind. There have been noteworthy yet contradicting quotes from Gendron, some accepting blame and others pointing fingers at players for not giving a full effort. It's painfully obvious that a lack of depth, a poor defensive nucleus and inconsistent goaltending is the reason for Maine's demise. It doesn't help that the Black Bears' top two players, Devin Shore and Ben Hutton, aren't playing as well as they are capable.

Last Week: L 3-6, L 1-4 vs. Vermont

This Week: at UMass Lowell (12/6)

12. Massachusetts (4-9-0, 1-7-0 HE)

The Minutemen pulled off a nice upset win at Quinnipiac Friday, but suffered setbacks at Vermont earlier in the week and a home loss to the same Bobcats a night after the win. Three sophomores and two freshmen lead the way offensively which is certainly a positive and a bright spot for the potential future success of the program.

Last Week: L 1-3 at Vermont, W 3-2 at Quinnipiac, L 1-3 vs. Quinnipiac

This Week: vs. Notre Dame (12/5, 12/6)


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