by Joshua Kummins
The first installment of a weekly look at the top five teams of the week in college hockey around New England:
1. Yale: The Bulldogs headed west and knocked a pair of ranked opponents in Colorado this past weekend and jumped all the way into the USCHO.com national poll at No. 15. Eight different Bulldogs scored goals on the weekend, including one from ECAC Rookie of the Week Stu Wilson, who also netted a crucial assist on senior Josh Balch’s goal that lifted the ‘Dogs to a 6-5 win on Saturday at Colorado College. In Friday’s 2-1 triumph over the second-ranked Pioneers, junior Kenny Agostino netted the game-winner. Yale held a 8-6 scoring and 85-67 shooting advantage over the two games, while scoring twice on the power-play.
2. New Hampshire: With their tie and win in the Rocky Mountains against CC and Denver respectively, the Wildcats rose to second in each national poll and also received first-place votes in both over Boston College. UNH extended its unbeaten streak to 5-0-1 on the weekend and was named Hockey East Team of the Week for its efforts. Junior Kevin Goumas and sophomore Grayson Downing each posted a hat trick to account for all the offense in a 6-3 win over the then-No. 2 Pioneers at Magness Arena on Saturday. Goumas, the Hockey East Player of the Week, earned a natural trick with three consecutive goals in the third period for the victory and completing UNH’s first two hat-trick game since the 2008 Hockey East Quarterfinals. The ‘Cats were unable to open the weekend with a win as they led a comfortable lead slip away and had to settle for a 4-4 tie.
3. Boston College: Suffering its first scare in some time at the hands of No. 11 Dartmouth, the top-ranked Eagles rallied for a dominant third period in a 6-3 home win on Saturday. Sophomore Johnny Gaudreau posted a career-high five points in the contest, becoming BC’s first five-point scorer in a single game since Nathan Gerbe and Benn Ferriero turned that trick at Harvard on Dec. 12, 2007. The Eagles’ top line of Gaudreau and seniors Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) and Pat Mullane (Wallingford, Conn.) accounted for the only three goals of the third period, as well as 12 points in the game, to lead the offense in their tenth victory in as many games. Whitney posted a goal and three points in the contest and will enter the weekend just four shy of surpassing the hundred plateau for his career. With a win on Friday night over archrival Boston University at Agganis Arena, head coach Jerry York would tie Ron Mason’s NCAA Division I record for career victories, setting up a possible chance to clinch at home.
4. Massachusetts: In an annual pre-Thanksgiving game, the Minutemen bounced back with a 3-1 home win over Vermont and jumped right back into the thick of the Hockey East race, into a fifth-place tie with Merrimack. UMass also skated to a 2-2 draw with Quinnipiac on Saturday. Junior Conor Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) scored the second shorthanded goal of the campaign for the Minutemen against the Bobcats and extended his point streak to five games this week. Sophomore Kevin Boyle continues to shine as December approaches, sporting the sixth-lowest save percentage and goals-against average in all of Division I at .939 and 1.59, respectively. UMass faces Northeastern in a key league series this weekend with Friday’s game closing a four-game homestand at Mullins Center.
5. Connecticut: Despite some early struggles, the Hounds also represented New England well against the state of Colorado this weekend by sweeping Atlantic Hockey foe Air Force for the first time ever. The Huskies are undefeated at home with a 3-0-1 record thus far, including Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory at Hartford’s XL Center, the school’s future home when it joins Hockey East in 2014. Veteran Sean Ambrosie tallied a goal and two assists on the weekend, including the game-winning goal in overtime on Saturday and was one of five UConn skaters with goals on the weekend.