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Hockey East and ECAC schools renewed some old rivalries this weekend in what turned out to be an excellent showing by the HEA teams. Hockey East went 4-2-1 against the more senior league, one in which many HEA school were once part of before the split or later expansion. However, UMass-Lowell dropped a pair of league games, to Providence and Maine, to precipitate their drop from third to eighth in the latest USCHO.com/CBS College Sports Division I Men’s Hockey poll. Miami maintained the top spot with 20 of 50 first place votes, but its lead is down to 11 (934-923) over Denver, which earned 11 first place votes. North Dakota is a close third with 900 points and seven first place votes. Also receiving seven first place votes is a more distant Quinnipiac in fourth while Bemidji State earned the final two first place votes and sits in fifth. UMass is up one spot to ninth with a split this weekend, while BC was up one spot to #15 and Vermont sank one spot to #19.
UMass was the one of the losers in HEA-ECAC crossover series, dropping a 6-5 OT game to #4 Quinnipiac, hardly a bad loss for the Minutemen, who also topped Vermont over the weekend. Vermont completed an otherwise successful weekend with wins over Northeastern and #10 Yale. Dartmouth was the ECAC’s other victor, gaining a win over Providence, but Maine made the statement of the weekend with a 10-1 victory over St. Lawrence, perhaps getting them, or at least their offense, on track. Boston University may have also found its footing with a win over Harvard and a tie with #7 Cornell. BC beat Clarkson to wrap up the series and New Hampshire beat Merrimack back in conference play.
This week is back to league play with two pairs of teams playing doubles. Northeastern and Merrimack will stage a home-and-home series while Providence visits Maine for two. UMass-Lowell hosts its sister school from Amherst and hits the road with a trip to UNH. UMass finishes its weekend at home against BC while UNH opens up at Vermont. Vermont will travel to BU, who will also be at home for a visit from Commonwealth Avenue rival Boston College.
Some teams have completed a third of the league schedule as the rest approach the mark and the teams are in a tight bunch. UNH sits at the top with 12 points through nine games, but UMass and BC are two points back, however the Minutemen have two games in hand. UMass-Lowell (eight games), Maine, and Vermont each have nine points and Northeastern has seven points, good for seventh place. Merrimack, with six points in seven games, is in eighth and Providence and BU are tied for ninth with five points, but the Friars have played a league low six games.