By: Marisa Ingemi
Last Week in Review
This past week has been rather active in Hockey East as the 2015 portion of the schedule wrapped up. Two major upsets occurred so we no longer have any undefeated teams in the nation, causing a potential shift in the standings.
To start off the week this Monday night, the Florida College Classic began when Ohio State defeated Boston College, 3-2. BC was without rookie Colin White, who is playing at the World Junior Championships.
In the same tournament, the Providence Friars fell for the first time this season with a 2-1 loss to Cornell.
Providence went on to defeat the Boston College Eagles 3-2 in the second day of the Florida tournament in the consolation game. It was the second straight loss for the Eagles. To make matters worse for BC, a potential tying goal was waved off and, due to limitation of the arena, was unable to be reviewed. Moments later, a light fixture above the BC bench caught fire, delaying the final 8.2 seconds for a whopping 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, UMass Lowell picked up a 3-0 win against Clarkson but then were upset by Robert Morris with a 5-3 loss the next day at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh. The Riverhawks have slowed down of late with a 1-3-1 record in their last five games.
New Hampshire swept Maine on the week, including a 7-0 victory on Wednesday.
What to Watch For
Notre Dame vs Denver: Notre Dame was playing well before the break. The Fighting Irish won four games in a row and they had two games in hand on the conference leader UMass Lowell going into the break. These two games against the Pioneers are a good opportunity for the Irish to move up in the standings as the conference is looking less top heavy than it had before.
Quinnipiac vs Northeastern: Quinnipiac is coming off of its first loss of the year when the Bobcats fell to Boston University. They will be facing a Northeastern team that has been the biggest disappointment in Hockey East this season. The Huskies stormed back after struggling in the first half last season as well, but this is a tough start to its second half.
New Hampshire vs Vermont: New Hampshire has had itself a nice little week with two wins against Maine, including a seven goal output just a few days ago. Andrew Poturalski is arguably the best player in the conference right now and he started off the second half well. Vermont is also coming off of two straight victories.
Mariucchi Classic: The tournament opens up with UConn facing Minnesota, and that is the only Hockey East contest in the tournament. Connecticut went into the break with two straight wins and Max Letunov has been an excellent addition to its lineup.
Merrimack vs Union: Merrimack had been on a bit of a roll a little over a month ago the last time they faced Union and fell 4-0.
Providence vs Brown: Providence may have lost once this week, but they went on to defeat a good Boston College team (albeit, they were without some of their top players such as Colin White). The Friars are a much better team than Brown.
Notre Dame vs Denver: On home ice, against a hit-or-miss Denver team, the Irish are the team to pick. Anders Bjork being out of the lineup makes it difficult for them to be a lock for a sweep, however.
Quinnipiac vs Northeastern: Notheastern has struggled all season, and Quinnipiac is coming out ready to get back on track. The Bobcats are one of the best teams in the league and it would take something like a miracle for the Huskies to defeat them.
New Hampshire vs Vermont: New Hampshire is on a bit of a roll, and with the struggles of late from UMass Lowell, the Wild Cats have a chance to rise up a bit from the middle of the pack of the conference. Vermont has 12 losses and has struggled in conference play at 3-5-2.
Prediction: New Hampshire
Mariucchi Classic: Minnesota is almost a sure bet against a struggling UConn team. The Huskies will face Harvard or Ferris State after the Minnesota game. UConn has played well of late. Minnesota has struggled somewhat outside of its own conference, the Big Ten.
Merrimack vs Union: Union defeated Merrimack once already this season, and that sent the Warriors into somewhat of a tailspin. The Warriors have just one victory since November 14th, and its hard to see them getting back on track any time soon.
Providence vs Brown: Just because they lost once this week doesn’t mean they are detered in any way. The Friars are still the team to beat in the conference and in the nation.