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UMass-Lowell is still the highest rated Hockey East team despite falling one spot to ninth in the latest USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Division I Men’s Hockey Poll. Boston College made a big move, jumping five spots to #10. The Eagles have been mired in the lower half of the poll all season until this week’s breakout. UMass fell six spots to 15 and UNH returned to the poll, checking in at #19, as they are the new leader in the conference standings. Vermont continued to scuffle and fell out of the poll after trending downward in recent weeks. Miami with 36 of 50 first place votes, solidified its hold on the top spot over Denver who captured 11 first place votes. North Dakota, without a top vote, keeps the top three unchanged. Bemidji State earned two top votes and took over fourth, formerly occupied by Quinnipiac, which fell to seventh. Cornell grabbed the final first and moved up two spots to fifth, leapfrogging Colorado College.
New Hampshire went two-for-two this weekend, with wins over UMass-Lowell and Vermont to take over the top spot in Hockey East with 16 points (7-2-2). BC beat former leader UMass and their rival down the street, Boston University, to move up to second with 14 points (6-3-2). Maine swept Providence to continue to defy preseason expectations and take over third in the league with 13 points (6-4-1). The River Hawks are fourth with 11 points (5-4-1) after beating UMass, who is tied for fifth with 10 points (5-4-0). Vermont, the team tied with UMass at 4-5-2 in league play, tied BU in its other game of the week. Northeastern is seventh with nine points (4-6-1) after a weekend split with Merrimack, who is eighth with eight points (4-5-0). BU is ninth with six points (2-7-2) and Providence is last with five points (2-5-1).
This week is the final full week of play before what is essentially a two week break. Teams will get back in action mainly in post-Christmas Holiday Tournaments. Providence has a chance to make up some ground this week as they host UNH and BC this weekend as the only HEA team to play two conference games. BC also goes out of conference to play Harvard. In the only other conference games, Northeastern goes to Maine as the Black Bears try to remain hot and Merrimack travels to UMass. UMass-Lowell will play a pair of games at Princeton, St. Lawrence visits former conference rival Vermont, and Renssalaer will visit BU. Vermont will also host Dartmouth in the only game on the schedule next week before the break.