|Here We Go Again: Rondo Trade Rumors Have Begun||Patriots and Jets: Two Teams Heading in Oppositte Directions||Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team|
The River Hawks went out of conference to and paid a visit to Huntsville, Alabama and took advantage of the Southern hospitality, sweeping their hosts to help them move up one spot to fourth in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Division I Men’s Hockey Poll. UMass-Lowell is the top rated Hockey East program and seems to be gaining momentum as they rose to 7-2-1 and collected three first place votes. Miami remained the top dogs (or Red Hawks, in their case) with 42 of 50 top ballot nods. North Dakota and Denver are sandwiched between Miami and UML, each earning two first place votes. Cornell is fifth, but Michigan State, at sixth, grabbed the final first place tally. The Spartans swept arch-rival Michigan over the weekend to improve to 9-2-1, their nine wins being tops in the nation and one fewer than all of last season.
UMass, the early leader in the conference with a 4-2 record in league play (7-2 overall), also rose, to #11 from #14 after splitting a series at home with New Hampshire. However, the other ranked teams all fell. BC and Vermont split a series in Chestnut Hill and the voters apparently could not decide either, leaving them deadlocked at #17. That is a two spot drop for the Catamounts and a single spot fall for the Eagles. BU and Merrimack each won on their own ice in a home and home, dropping the Terriers to 3-6 on the season and 2-5 in HEA play. The leaves BU last in the league, by winning percentage, and the pollsters dropped the preseason number two out of the poll. In a battle of two unranked teams, Maine and Northeastern split a pair in Boston.
UMass leads the conference with eight points, with UMass-Lowell, UNH, BC, and Vermont one point off the lead. Merrimack and Maine, two teams picked to be near the bottom of the conference are 3-2 and 3-3, respectively, just two points behind the Minutemen. Northeastern and BU, last season’s two two finishers are tied for eighth with four points and Providence, with only two points, is last, however, they have only played three games, half of most everyone else.
Providence will drop the puck on this week early with a Tuesday home game against Brown for the Mayor’s Cup. The Friars were victorious in last season’s edition for the second consecutive time and have a 13-8-2 lead on Brown in the Cup’s history. PC will then play a weekend home-and-home against Northeastern in a busy week for the Friars. Massachusetts will also head out of conference for the short trip to ninth ranked Yale in a measuring stick game for both teams. The rest of the league plays in conference, higlighted by Merrimack’s trip to Lowell. BC will travel to Orono for two games with Maine and BU and Northeastern will meet up in Agganis and Matthews Arenas.