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BU Drops BC as Beanpot Looms

Mike Sislo and UNH have opened up a solid lead in Hockey East. (USCHO.com/Melissa Wade)

The seasons of the Terriers and Eagles are on opposite trajectories now. BU had a very tough start, but is rebounding lately and has now beaten their arch-rival in the last two meetings. They won the Fenway Classic and took out the Eagles in Chestnut Hill in a 5-4 overtime game. Meanwhile, BC seems to have peakedin December when they ripped off their big win streak. The Beanpot semifinals are Monday, February 1 with BU taking on Northeastern and BC taking on Harvard. With the Terriers hitting their stride now, is another Beanpot Championship in the offing?

Meanwhile, in the latest USCHO.com Division I Men’s Hockey Poll, Hockey East continues to place a number of teams in the second half of the top 20. This week, New Hampshire is the league’s top cat at 13 with BC, UMass, UMass-Lowell, and Vermont filing in line right behind them at 14 through 17 while Maine is at 19. Miami reclaimed the top spot overall with 37 of 50 first place votes and Wisconsin earned eight top votes to inch up one spot as well to second. Denver, the former number one, took the other five first place votes while dropping two spots to third. North Dakota moved up one spot to fifth and St. Cloud State was up seven spots to fifth. Bemidji State, at number seven, was also up seven spots.

UNH Beginning to Separate From Pack

The Wildcats have quietly been playing well, having now won four in a row, to take a five point lead in Hockey East. They won both games this week, over BU and Providence, as part of that streak. The Friars had a dreadful week, losing all three contests, including two in overtime, to UNH, Northeastern, and Merrimack. UMass and Vermont split their series in Amherst and UMass-Lowell swept its weekend, beating Merrimack and Boston College.

Looking at the standings, UNH is leading with 25 points with UMass and BC sitting on 20. UMass-Lowell has 18 points and Maine has 17 points to round out the top half of the league. Vermont and BU have 14 points each and Northeastern 13 to complete the playoff picture (if the playoffs began today). Merrimack at 10 points and Providence at nine are on the outside looking in at the moment.

This week in Hockey East, aside from the Beanpot games on Monday, UNH and Merrimack play a home-and-home series. Providence and BC will each try to get back on winning streaks as they face off. The Friars will then play host to UMass, who also visits BU. Maine travels to Vermont for two games and UMass-Lowell and Northeastern will do battle.

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