By: James Duffy
The opening weekend of Hockey East play was hardly decisive to say the least. Of the five Hockey East matchups this weekend, three ended in ties, and the other games were a home-and-home between Boston University and Connecticut, that they ended up splitting. Merrimack and UMass Lowell played to a pair of 1-1 draws. As a result, the two undefeated teams held losses off their record; Lowell stayed ranked 7th, and Merrimack moved up two spots to 17.
The Massachusetts Minutemen fought back hard against New Hampshire in the other Hockey East game, scoring the game’s final five goals to end tied at six a piece. Led by sophomore Dennis Kravchenko’s third multi-point game of the early season, Massachusetts stayed undefeated and picked up their first Hockey East point. Forward Tyler Kelleher put up four points for New Hampshire in the game, and added another three in their win over Union the next night, making him the leading scorer in the nation with 11 points in five games.
The conference standings after the first slate of games have BU, UConn, UMass Lowell and Merrimack all tied at the top with two points in as many games. With the six other teams yet to play in-conference games, things will shake up, but that’s the first look we get at the standings.
Beyond conference play, there were some great games this weekend. Notre Dame sophomore goalie Cal Peterson turned away 78 shots in two games against #6 Minnesota-Duluth to carry the Irish to a pair of ties against an elite team. Providence managed to keep their loss column empty, improving to 4-0-1 on the season after sweeping Ohio State at home. Thatcher Demko was stellar in goal for Boston College, shutting out Colorado College twice and extending his personal shutout streak to 195:38 straight minutes.
Friday, October 23
New Hampshire 6-6 Massachusetts
UMass Lowell 1-1 Merrimack
Minnesota Duluth 3-3 Notre Dame
Ohio State 1-2 Providence
New Brunswick 5-1 Maine
North Dakota 2-0 Vermont
Northeastern 0-4 Minnesota
Boston College 3-0 Colorado College
Saturday, October 24
Connecticut 2-4 Boston University
Merrimack 1-1 UMass Lowell
Minnesota Duluth 3-3 Notre Dame
Ohio State 4-6 Providence
North Dakota 5-2 Vermont
New Hampshire 5-2 Union
Northeastern 3-4 Minnesota
Boston College 5-0 Colorado College
Tuesday, October 27
Boston University 2-5 Connecticut
The Week Ahead
Conference play continues this weekend, and four more teams will play their first game for Hockey East points, leaving just Providence and Maine out of the picture. Northeastern and Vermont matchup for a home-and-home, and Notre Dame will head out to Connecticut for a pair of road games against Max Letunov and the up-and-coming Huskies. The most interesting conference game might come on Tuesday night, when Massachusetts takes on BC. Both teams have come out of the gate on fire, and the red hot Minutemen might be Demko’s toughest test to date.
#7 Umass Lowell will be up north for two games against #6 Minnesota-Duluth, which should end up being an interesting matchup to watch. Other ranked contests feature #5 Denver in town to take on BC and BU, ranked #4 and #8 respectively. Merrimack will play three games over the next week, hosting BU and New Hampshire over the weekend, and then taking on Bentley on Wednesday.
Providence – #3 (3)
Boston College – #4 (4)
UMass Lowell – #7 (7)
Boston University #8 (8)
Merrimack – #17 (19)
Others receiving votes:
Notre Dame: 20