|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||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Boston College was two for two this weekend and remains the top rated Hockey East representative in the latest USCHO.com Division I Men’s Hockey Poll. However, at 11, the conference still lacks a Top 10 team, but, like last week, the league is dominating the bottom half of the poll. After BC at 11, UMass is 15, New Hampshire is 16, Vermont is 17, UMass-Lowell is 19, and Maine is 20. Six of the league’s teams are ranked, an impressive feat, and all are in the second half of the Top 20. Back at the top of the poll, Denver, Miami, and Wisconsin kept the first three the same. Denver got 39 of the first place votes with Miami getting the other 11. Minnesota-Duluth shot up from 10 to four and North Dakota stayed in the top five, dropping one spot from fourth.
Most of the institutions in the league played at least two games and only one team, UNH which beat Dartmouth, stepped out of the conference. BC beat Providence and Maine and Providence rebounded to beat BU and Maine while BU came back to beat Merrimack. UMass swept sister school UMass-Lowell and Northeastern split with host Vermont. Most teams have passed the halfway mark on their conference schedules at this point and the top four have opened up a small gap on those below. UNH leads with 21 points, BC is one back, UMass is three off UNH, and Maine has 17 points. UMass-Lowell leads the next wave with 14 points while Vermont and BU have 12 apiece. Northeastern has 11 points, Merrimack nine, and Providence has eight.
For the Terriers, this could be a make or break week in terms of elevating their conference standing as they host New Hampshire and travel to BC for the rubber match in their season series. The Wildcats will also visit Providence while the Friars will have another three game week with visits to Northeastern and Merrimack. The Eagles, meanwhile, travel to UMass-Lowell and Merrimack will do the same. Vermont travels to UMass for a pair in another big weekend series.