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Weekend in review: Undefeated in Hockey East, baby

October 27, 2008

Hell of a start to the Hockey East season for Lowell.

Nearly 6,200 fans through the door, another three-goal margin of victory (how rare those have been for Lowell the last few years!) and two big points. Right now the boys are on pace for 54 league points! Score!

So too is Northeastern, which outscored Maine 7-1 in Orono this weekend. They opened the series with a 5-0 pounding in which five different players struck for the Huskies and Brad Thiessen made 29 saves for the shutout. The next night, Maine led 1-0 headed into the third period and ended up with a 2-1 loss. The Huskies seem to be a scarily good team this year, and it built on its early-season experience in the top 10 last year to get to where it is today. Granted, they’ve not exactly played the toughest of schedules yet (really, only the 4-3 win over BC was a particularly tough game) but they’ve allowed six goals in five games and scored less than four in just one game. That’s crazy, but we like the Huskies just fine now that we’ve put the unpleasantness of the early 2000s behind us. Good team, fun to watch, let Lowell sweep them one weekend last year. What’s not to like?

What an odd weekend for UNH. A home draw with lowly UMass (only one goal on 31 shots? Come on!) and then a 4-1 road beating at the hands of St. Lawrence. Are the Saints that good this year? Is UNH that iffy? They already beat Wisco big and won by narrow margins over BU and RPI (of all teams) so that has to count for something, but this team seems inscrutable early on here.

But let’s talk about UMass for a second here. Dan Meyers made 56 saves this week, shutting out RPI in a 6-0 win and then making 37 stops against UNH. Tough to get a read on this team too. Playing well against UNH at the Whitt is never easy for UMass, which we think is 0-5-2 in their last seven there so this result came as a bit of a surprise. Turn of the corner or fluke result against a team that struggled this weekend. We’ll air on the better side of caution and lean toward the latter for now.

Poor Merrimack, too. The Warriors allowed two goals this weekend on a swing through Buffalo and came out with almost nothing to show for it: a 1-0 loss to Niagara and a 1-1 draw with Canisius. Poor Andrew Braithwaite and Joe Cannata. Where’s the offense to help these guys out?

Then how ’bout BU hanging a Mike Ayers Special on Michigan? Would you have bet on a 7-2 win for the Terriers? Didn’t hurt that BU scored on five of its nine power plays, but cripes, that’s a good team right there.

Oh, and BC and Vermont played this weekend. BC won 3-2. In other who-cares results: PC beat Holy Cross 6-4. Grand.

Our weekly awards
Player of the Week
Zach Harrison, Minnesota State (junior forward) — This kid’s weekend LAST weekend was so good we simply had to go outside of Hockey East and into the past to give the award out. Harrison scored a natural hat trick against North Dakota on Friday night, Oct. 17, and ALL THREE GOALS WERE SHORTHANDED. How is that even possible!? It’s the first such feat in the recorded history of hockey and as such, that got him put into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, so the least we can do is throw his name in here. Look at those goals, too. Pure class wrister, great hustle and breakaway move, 185-foot backhand shoveller into an empty net. You will never see that again in your life. Never. How did we miss this?
(Honorable mention: Carter Hutton, Lowell; Dan Meyers, UMass)

Rookie of the Week
David Vallorani, Lowell (freshman forward) — Two more assists for the kid and he’s got five in four games. He’s pretty alright, eh?
(Honorable mention: Alex Tuckerman, Northeastern)

Ham-n-Eggers of the Weak
The Will O’Neill/Jeff Dimmen pairing, Maine — A combined -7 for the night on Friday earned O’Neill a seat in the press box for Game 2 of the series. They and the rest of the Maine defense allowed seven goals on just 34 shots this weekend.
(Dishonorable mention: Scott Darling and Dave Wilson, Maine)

National poll

Team (FPV) Record Points Last Poll
1 Colorado College (37) 4-0-2 976 1
2 Boston College* ( 7) 3-1-0 914 3
3 Boston University* ( 1) 4-1-0 872 6
4 Denver ( 3) 4-1-0 860 2
5 Minnesota ( 2) 3-0-1 808 7
6 New Hampshire* 3-1-1 694 4
7 Miami 3-1-2 693 10
8 Michigan 4-2-0 634 5
9 Northeastern* 5-0-1 550 14
10 Princeton 0-0-0 510 9
11 Michigan State* 3-2-1 432 12
12 Minnesota State 3-1-0 391 13
13 Notre Dame* 2-3-0 385 8
14 Vermont* 2-1-1 330 11
15 Clarkson 1-1-2 283 19
16 Cornell 0-0-0 161 17
17 Air Force 6-0-0 154 NR
18 North Dakota 1-3-0 143 16
19 St. Cloud State 3-3-0 138 15
20 Harvard 0-0-0 109 20
Others Receiving Votes: Northern Michigan 85, Alaska-Anchorage 73, St. Lawrence 64, Nebraska-Omaha 62, Massachusetts* 56, Minnesota-Duluth 42, Colgate 29, Mass.-Lowell 25, Union 9, Wisconsin 7, Niagara 4, Bemidji State 3, Dartmouth 2, Ohio State 2

*2008-09 Lowell opponent

Hockey East Weekly Awards
Player of the Week: Jason Lawrence, BU
Rookie of the Week: Alex Tuckerman, NU
Defensive Player of the Week: Dan Meyers, UMass
Honor Roll: Spencer Abbot, Maine; Joe Cannata, Merrimack; John Cavanagh, PC; Chris Connolly, BU; Brian Foster, UNH; Carter Hutton, Lowell; Chase Langeraap, UMass; Brian Roloff, UVM; Brad Thiessen, NU; David Vallorani, Lowell; James van Riemsdyk, UNH; Colin Wilson, BU

Weekend results (home team bolded)
UMass 6, RPI 0

UML 4, Providence 1
UNH 1, UMass 1 (ot)
Northeastern 5, Maine 0
BC 3, UVM 2

BU 7, Michigan 2
Northeastern 2, Maine 1
Providence 6, Holy Cross 4
Niagara 1, Merrimack 0

St.Lawrence 4 , UNH 1
Merrimack 1, Canisius 1 (ot)

How we voted
Last year, voting for the Player of the Game was very, umm, lax. Let’s not have that happen this year, eh? Go vote right now. What we’ll do is post our votes each week and then you can have something to copy because you know we know what we’re talking about.

This week’s POTG:
1) Carter Hutton
2) David Vallorani
3) Nick Schaus

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