By: Brian DeAlmeida
Last Week In Review:
Last weekend was a unique period in this year’s Hockey East schedule. Only one official conference matchup took place. There was a second, however, but it was in a tournament consolation round so the game didn’t count for standings purposes. Despite the low amount of conference action, a lot of hockey was played over the holiday weekend so lets breakdown what happened last weekend:
In the lone Hockey East game of the weekend, #2 Boston College absolutely dismantled #8 Northeastern 6-1 after a close matchup just a week before. The Eagles scored early and often, lighting the lamp two times in the opening period with the goals coming only 40 seconds apart. BC would tack on three in the middle frame before allowing a Northeastern power play goal in the third period. But Alex Carpenter would make sure the Eagles lead stayed at five with a goal late in the final period.
Despite six goals, the Eagles only managed 23 shots on goal but when you find the back of the net on nearly one fourth of your shots, it is a great day at the office. To most people’s surprise, Carpenter only tallied three points off a goal and two assists despite the offensive explosion. Kendall Coyne had the helper on the lone Huskies’ goal. After picking Northeastern to win both games, maybe I should start to trust Boston College because, well, they’re a very good team.
Boston University hit the road as they traveled up to Vermont for the Windjammer Classic. The Terriers would split the weekend, playing two out-of-conference foes that they haven’t faced in a very long time. In the opening game, the Terriers lost a very winnable contest to Cornell 4-2. After conceding the first goal, BU scored twice in the opening frame on tallies from Sarah Lefort and Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga before the Big Red would tie the game up going into the first intermission. The Terriers’ starting goalie would be knocked out after the second period for allowing another two goals and the Terrier offense couldn’t put together a goal late in the game despite putting on 10 shots in the third period.
In game two, the Terriers would take on Ohio State and beat them 5-3 despite a late surge by the Buckeyes. The Terriers would score the first three before the Buckeyes could find the back of the net. Victoria Bach would go on to have a four point night with two goals and two assists to help the Terriers survive a late surge by Ohio State. Even though you never want to split a series, if the Terriers needed to lose it is a good thing it came in out-of-conference play because you can’t afford to lose points in a tight Hockey East race.
In another interesting match up, Providence defeated Brown 6-1 to bring the Mayor’s Cup to their side of Providence. The Friar’s offensive explosion was helped by going 3-for-6 on the power play as well as launching 39 shots on net. Cassidy Carels would score twice and add another two assists to join teammate Brooke Boquist on her four point night (1g, 3a). Goaltender Madison Myers barely faced any pressure while scooping up 20 saves in her 3rd win of the season. The Friars have been playing some very good hockey as of late and if they can translate it into points in Hockey East, they could be a very scary team down the road.
In the unofficial conference game of the weekend, UConn knocked off Merrimack 4-1 in the consolation game of the Nutmeg Classic. The Huskies would be lead by sophomore Theresa Knutson who scored twice. The UConn defense also came to play allowing only 19 shots to get back to Annie Belanger, who would save 18 of them.
Overall, Hockey East would go 4-7-1 against out-of-conference foes, continuing their struggles against teams that they don’t see every weekend. Surprisingly, Providence would lead the conference with two straight out-of-conference wins against Brown and Union. Boston University and New Hampshire would grab the other two victories.
On the hardware end, no surprise here as Boston College would take two of the three awards. Alex Carpenter would be named Warrior Hockey Player of the Week thanks to a seven point week off of two goals and five assists. The Friars’ Christina Putigna would grab her second straight Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week award thanks to her four point weekend. The Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week award would go to BC’s Megan Keller for her four assists and eight shot blocks while also helping the defense allow only 1.00 goals per game.
What To Watch For:
COYNE WATCH!!! With only one conference game coming for Northeastern this week, there was very little movement towards the record books for Coyne. With only one point on the week, she moves herself to 131 career points which is just 2 behind tying Kelli Stack’s record. With two Hockey East games this weekend at Vermont, look for Coyne to etch herself into the record books once again.
After a slow weekend of action thanks to the holiday, Hockey East play is back with eight games over the weekend with another one on Wednesday. We have four weekend series so some teams will become very close before Monday rolls around.
Merrimack (2-14-0)(1-7-0 WHEA) will play a home and home series with New Hampshire (4-13-0)(3-8-0 WHEA) this weekend. Despite three Hockey East wins, UNH and Merrimack are probably the two weakest teams in the conference this season. Both teams struggle on defense, allowing twice as many goals as they score. The Warriors are still getting their feet wet in DI hockey and playing with a team full of freshman against experienced rosters is never an easy task. They are also coming off eight straight losses and UNH is one of the two teams they have beat so far this season. On the other hand, the Wildcats are started to play well with a win and tie against Rensselaer last weekend who is 4-8-2 on the season. With two wins, Merrimack can crawl back into playoff contention and could prove to be a huge boost with a long season still looming.
#8 Northeastern (11-4-1)(7-2-0 WHEA) will take the long bus ride up to Vermont (3-13-0)(3-5-0 WHEA) for the weekend series. The Huskies are coming off of two disappointing losses to #2 Boston College and #7 Harvard in which they scored just one goal in two hours of ice time. However, taking on a lesser Vermont team that has holes in its defense is a welcome change. The Catamounts will enter on a four game skid including a 5-2 loss to Northeastern. The Vermont offense has struggled to earn goals and have been shut out six times in only sixteen games. This weekend couldn’t have came any sooner for the Huskies who are in desperate need for some wins.
Boston University (11-7-0)(8-3-0 WHEA) will take on Connecticut (7-7-2)(3-4-0 WHEA) in a home-and-home series. UConn is playing some good hockey with three wins in six games, but the three losses coming to teams ranked in the top 5 in #5 Clarkson and #4 Quinnipiac. Despite having a 1.99 goals against average, Elaine Chuli is 3-6-1 for the Huskies which could be attributed to the offensive end where their lead scorer only had 10 points off 1 goal and 9 assists. With tallies like that, you can put a brick wall in net and it still may not do the job. On the other end of the ice, the Terriers are coming off a disappointing weekend in which they split a series with Cornell and Ohio State. Despite the record, there was a lot of positives as Victoria Bach has continued her hot streak and Sarah Lefort is starting to settle in after her trip to the Four Nations Cup for Team Canada. With the Terriers barely holding onto to 2nd in the conference, they need to pick up sweeps like this to stay towards the top of the standings.
In the final weekend series, #2 Boston College (17-0-0)(11-0-0 WHEA) will travel up to Orono to take on Maine (6-11-0)(3-7-0 WHEA). Let’s be honest, the Eagles have looked untouchable in all but two games this season and it may continue that way until the Beanpot in February. Their offense has put up a gaudy 92 goals in just 17 games (5.4 goals per game) while allowing only 20 (1.2 goals per game). With margins like that and players that can score at will, this team is extremely good and may continue its tear until postseason time rolls around where they have historically struggled. For awhile, I had Maine as one of the teams in mind to take the fourth spot in Hockey East and to host the opening round but after dropping five straight and the schedule not getting any easier, it may be a long uphill climb for them. They have a great keeper in Meghann Treacy but it’s another story if the offense does not support her, as only two Black Bears have double-digit point totals. The Eagles are good and the Black Bears will be lucky to keep the game close.
Brian’s Red Hot Pick of the Week [Week 8 (2-2) Overall (32-11)]:
So I learned one thing last weeken; don’t pick against BC because it’ll always come back to bite you in the behind, even though I’ll probably pick against them again. Hockey East also went 2-1 in games I picked so that was a welcome change, but let’s see what I think about this exciting Week 9 in Hockey East play:
The Series: Merrimack vs New Hampshire
I’ve been very high on the Warriors in their first season, but they’ve hit the wall of having no experience on their bench which hurts them in conference play. On the other hand, the Wildcats haven’t been all to impressive either and its a key reason both teams sit towards the bottom of the standings. With both team’s defenses conceding twice as many goals as they can score, this will be a fun little matchup and could play in the playoff picture at the end of the season to see who is the only team left out of the post season.
I have to say this is one of the more difficult games I have ever had to pick. They are both evenly matched (not in a good way) and either team can walk away with the win if they come out hot. I keep doing this to myself but I’m going to have to say each team will win their game at home, though it wouldn’t surprise me if UNH swept.
The Series: #8 Northeastern @ Vermont
The Huskies are looking to right the ship after dropping two in a row to top ranked teams and there’s no better time than now to do that. The Catamounts have already dropped a game to Northeastern at Matthews Arena even though they came scratching back a couple of times. While it could be an interesting weekend, the experienced upperclassmen of the Huskies aren’t going to let the skid continue.
While the Huskies have been knocked back to reality, they are still a fantastic all-around team and are leaps and bounds better than most of the other teams in Hockey East including Vermont. So the Huskies should take both of the games and we should see the rebirth of their offense as well.
The Series: Boston University vs Connecticut
These two teams have faced off once this season in the opening game of the year, and boy was that a thriller. Rebecca Russo knocked in the game winner with .3 seconds left on the clock as the Terriers would score twice in the third period to win. The Huskies haven’t forgotten the sting of that game and will look for revenge in this series. Both games should be hotly contested and emotions should be flying high which should all equal some great hockey.
I’m very tempted to split this series but I think the Terriers know they need both wins with a game against Boston College and two against Northeastern left on the schedule. I don’t want to say these are must wins, but they will be huge if the Terriers will take both which I think they will do despite both contests being tight.
The Series: #2 Boston College @ Maine
There’s something in the water up on Chestnut Hill because head coach Katie Crowley sure knows how to create top tier teams. Maine is in desperate need for a win to stay in the Hockey East hunt but unfortunately for them it wont be coming this weekend because they get to run into the buzzsaw that is Boston College.
Ill make this one short and sweet, Boston College in a blood bath in both.
The Game: Boston University @ Providence
The Friars have slowly but surely been creeping up my list of teams to watch as the season continues on. Sure they’re 5-10-0 on the year but they have started to play great hockey despite having 3 games left against BU, 2 against BC and 2 against Northeastern left in conference play. But the Terriers are a pretty good hockey team as well and they have started to heat up as of lately.
The temptation is there to pick the Friars but I don’t think they’re there quite yet and the Terriers should escape Rhode Island with a win on Wednesday night.
This Week’s Hockey East Schedule:
- Friday December 4
Merrimack @ New Hampshire 7:00pm
#7 Northeastern @ Vermont 7:00pm
- Saturday December 5
#2 Boston College @ Maine 2:00pm
Boston University @ Connecticut 3:00pm
New Hampshire @ Merrimack 4:00pm
#7 Northeastern @ Vermont 4:00pm
- Sunday December 6
#2 Boston College @ Maine 2:00pm
Connecticut @ Boston University 3:00pm
- Tuesday December 8
Dartmouth @ New Hampshire 7:00pm
- Wednesday December 9
Boston University @ Providence 7:00pm