The Boston College football team came up just short from notching the upset of the college football season, allowing the third-ranked Florida State Seminoles to kick a 27-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal with three seconds left for a 20-17 victory.

A BC win would have marked the first time since 1993 that the Eagles beat a 10-0 team, having topped Notre Dame on its own field that year.

The final Florida State drive started at its own 26 yard-line, with 4:37 left. The Seminoles got the ball back for the decisive march after Boston College missed a potential go-ahead, 42-yard field goal.

For a complete box score, click here.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Andrew Fischer caught at 35-yard pass from Conner Hempel with 55 seconds remaining, giving Harvard a 31-24 win over Yale along with the Ivy League title for the Crimson, Saturday at Harvard Stadium.

Harvard had held a 24-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but two touchdowns from Tyler Varga and a 33-yard field goal by Kyle Cazzetta with 3:44 left helped the visitors draw even heading into the final minutes.

Fischer had a huge day receiving for the Crimson, catching eight passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Paul Stanton Jr. led the hosts’€™ rushing attack, compiling 109 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

The game-winning score was a culmination of an eight-play, 78-yard drive for Harvard. Yale’€™s last chance was thwarted with 44 seconds remaining after Scott Peters intercepted Morgan Roberts (25-for-38, 305 yards).

The win caps the undefeated season for Harvard head coach Tim Murphy, preventing Yale from clinching a share of their first Ivy League title since 2006.

It was the teams’€™ 131st meeting, handed Harvard it’€™s eighth straight win over Yale, who has also dropped 13 of their last 14 clashes with the Crimson.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Boston College coach Steve Addazio joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss the Eagles‘ upcoming game against top-ranked Florida State.

Steve Addazio

Steve Addazio

Boston College coach Steve Addazio joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss the Eagles‘ upcoming game against top-ranked Florida State. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Seminoles have not lost at all this season and are vying for their second consecutive national title. Some experts, though, have said this Florida State team is not the same as the one that took the championship last year. Addazio said the Seminoles still can win any game they play.

Said Addazio: “Well, they’re different. But they’re talented and they’re good. They’re just a different team. The level that they play with in the second half of these games is pretty remarkable, to tell you the truth. Some of the slow starting, it’s hard to tell what that’s all about. But the reality is they really raise their level of play. There’s no good fortune for them, they’re really playing hard at the end of these games.”

The Eagles already have knocked off a top-10 team this year as they beat USC at home early in the season. The hosts asked if the talk Addazio gave his team before that upset win applies to this week’s game against the Seminoles.

“The same things I’ve been talking about all week, I talked about the week going into that game, that no one gives us a chance,” Addazio said. “Except the guys in this room, us, our team. We’ve got to count on each other, we’ve got to depend on each other. That’s what being a team is all about, and there’s no pressure on us. We’ll go down there, play hard as you can play and make your plays when we have an opportunity. Win your one-on-one matchups. I think our guys go down there and play really hard. Like anything else, you’re going on the road, you’ve got to combine playing really hard with a good plan, making your plays and having some good fortune. And that’s the way it goes.”

Addazio said for the team to win, the Eagles must establish a certain tempo on both sides of the ball from the start of the game.

Said Addazio: “I think two things have to happen. We need to get off the field on defense. I mean, getting a three-and-out would be pretty significant so we can keep the field position in our favor. And then being able to establish the run. We are that team, so you’ve got to be able to establish what you do best. And then we’€™re going to take our shots in this game. We’€™re going to take our shots, we’€™ve got some stuff wired together and we’€™ve got to connect on them. Whatever we deem are the shots, let’€™s call them, that we’€™re going take whether it be a play, whether it be whatever. And then you’€™ve got to make your plays. It’€™s not for the faint of heart. There’€™s no risk, no reward. So we’€™ve got to have some risky fields that we’€™re going to roll on and hopefully we put them together.”

While BC plans to play with an aggressive style, if the Eagles have a lead at some point in the game, Addazio said the way they play could change.

“I would say honestly that would depend on when the game was,” Addazio said of holding a lead. “And what’€™s going on on the other side of the ball. If you’€™re playing great defense and it’€™s late in the game, and you’€™re running the ball, you’€™re going to keep running the ball and being pretty conservative and try to let your defense win the game for you. But those are all of the little things, the game within the game, that’€™s hard for me to say. If you’€™re struggling on defense, and you’€™re hanging onto a lead, you’€™ve got to stay aggressive. You’€™ve got no choice. The problem with this team is you’€™ve got to be really careful with them. Because you flip it around the wrong way and they’€™ll take it the distance on you. You don’€™t want to give it away. You want to make them earn it.”

Following are more highlights from the interview.

On if Jameis Winston is an NFL Quarterback: “He certainly has the skill set to be that. Obviously, there’€™s other factors that come into these things, but that guy is a very, very talented quarterback. And he’€™s got a tremendous arm, anticipates throws, he’€™s big and strong and physical in the pocket. He’€™s got a good enough athleticism to get himself out of trouble. I can’€™t see a weakness in terms of his skill set.”

On if Tyler Murphy could make it in the NFL at another position: “He’€™s a really great athlete. He’€™s got great ball skills, he’€™s a tremendous athlete with his feet. He really has a good arm. He’€™s a guy that has high, high character. I believe there’€™s a spot for a guy like Tyler Murphy at the next level.”

On possibly getting more get graduate students for the team: “It certainly can help you, no doubt. And in the situation we were in when I got here, we didn’€™t have any choice — we had to. We were down scholarships, we are right now, we’€™re playing at 71 scholarships. We’€™re closer to I-AA level scholarships than I-A. We lost 26 guys in the last year and a half. This has been vital, it’€™s been a lifeline for us. These are guys based on previous relationships. As I pull away, I’€™m a head coach longer and longer, I don’€™t have those guys that I recruited at another place or saw. Yes, the answer is we would love to have more of those guys when they are the right guys. And the right guys at BC are really high character guys, guys that really value getting a master’€™s degree. Those kind of guys, they’€™re home runs. Certainly we’€™d be open to more of that.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

CHESTNUT HILL — This Sunday marks the anniversary of the most famous college play in Boston history and one of the most famous in football history.

“Hail Flutie” turns 30 on Sunday, and the Doug Flute-to-Gerard Phelan miracle that gave Boston College a 47-45 win over Miami is being commemorated by a company that is trying to not just stir up great memories but give something back to those in need.

Lenovo (@lenovoUS) will kick off what they’re calling the “World’€™s Largest Anniversary Message” with help from Vello, an app that allows users to individually add well-wishes to a larger group message. The brand is encouraging fans to send their messages to Flutie through Nov. 22 at 12 midnight at velloapp.com/HailFlutie. The video will then be released on Nov. 23.

For every 30 messages recorded with the Vello app, Lenovo will donate one brand-new computer to the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism (@flutiefdn) up to 30 in total. Those wishing to post a message of congratulations to Flutie can do so at the Vello site by midnight EST Saturday in order for it to count. The Vello Code for posting is: HAILFLUTIE

A total of 900 messages would be the most ever recorded through Vello. The company is attempting a record-breaking anniversary message to help families living with autism. The foundation is named after Flutie’s 19-year-old son, Doug Flutie, Jr., who was diagnosed with autism.

Flutie currently has a role in Lenovo’€™s fantasy football mockumentary, “Tough Season 2,” which can be viewed at www.lenovo.com/nfl. “Tough Season 2″ also features many other current NFL players, such as Andrew Luck, Matt Forte, Wes Welker, Mason Crosby and A.J. Green.

The Flutie Foundation itself is commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the famous play by raising $30,000 to help people with autism. In a “30-for-30″ effort, the foundation is asking people to donate $30 and encouraging 30 friends to do the same.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Boston University star freshman Jack Eichel joined WEEI’s College Puckcast on Wednesday to talk about the fast start for both himself and his team. To hear the full interview, as well as a discussion with Ryan Lambert of Yahoo! Sports and College Hockey News, visit the WEEI Podcast Center.

A year after going 10-21-4 and finishing ninth in Hockey East, the Terriers are off to a 5-1-1 start this year and are currently ranked third in the country. Eichel isn’t surprised by the team’s turnaround, and he said they expect a lot from themselves moving forward.

“I think we have high expectations for ourselves,” Eichel said. “I don’€™t think we’re satisfied at all yet. I think we have a lot more to prove. I think every game we play, we’re proving something to not only the league, but to the country. We want to prove that BU’s back and we’re ready to go. We want to compete for a national championship.”

Eichel, a North Chelmsford native who is expected to be one of the top two picks in next summer’s NHL draft, has been a big reason for BU’s early success. Through seven games, he leads Hockey East in points (13), assists (8), points per game (1.86), plus/minus (+13) and shots on goal per game (5.57).

Eichel said that so far he hasn’t been too surprised by anything at this level.

“I think this is pretty much what I expected,” he said. “I had a little bit of a taste of it last year, playing with the [U.S.] under-18 team. We played a handful of Division I teams, so I got a little bit of a taste of it last season. It is what it is to be expected. There’s a lot of hitting and a lot of big, strong players. That’s kind of one of the reasons that I really wanted to go to college, was to play against the bigger, older, stronger competition and challenge myself on a nightly basis.”

Eichel got his first taste of the BU-BC rivalry on Friday night at Boston College‘s Conte Forum. He scored the game-tying goal midway through the third and the Terriers went on to beat their archrivals 5-3.

“I think it started in warmups when you skate out there and there’s a couple thousand BC fans there that much time before the puck even dropped,” Eichel said. “It was a lot of fun. It was such an exciting game with a great atmosphere. I had a lot of family and friends there. It was a lot of fun because we were able to come from behind in the third and put a couple big goals past their goalie and come out with two points.”

Here are a few more highlights from the interview:

On his patient, puck possession style of play: “I think it just comes with getting comfortable with your linemates and getting comfortable with the guys you’re on the ice with, and just waiting for things to open up and having confidence with the puck to maybe hold it for that extra second to make a better play. I think that’s probably one of the strengths of my game. I try to work on that, holding the puck and being patient to make the right play.”

On Pierre McGuire comparing him to Jaromir Jagr on WEEI’s Middays with MFB: “That’s the first time I’ve heard that one. Definitely a huge compliment. Jaromir Jagr’s one of the best players to play hockey of all-time. That’s a huge comparison. I don’t really know how much I play like him, but he’s definitely a heck of a player.”

On Jagr not knowing who he is: “Why would he? ‘€¦ I’m sure he has his mind on a lot of other things.”

On how much he follows Connor McDavid, his competition for the first overall pick who recently broke his hand in a fight: “Yeah, I think anybody would. I’m a fan of hockey and I have social media and Twitter and things like that. You’re gonna see his name here and there and you’re gonna see how he’s doing. It is what it is. I just try to control what I can control and kind of worry about myself.”

On whether or not he’s ever fought: “I played in the USHL for a few years [with the U.S. National Team Development Program]. I never really dropped the gloves. I think I got somewhat jumped a few times. I don’t know how much of a fighter I was, especially my first year. There are a lot of intimidating players in that league. The second year we got more confidence, but there were a lot of rules against the NTDP fighting against the other teams with half shields because we had full shields.”

On BU captain and Bruins draft pick Matt Grzelcyk: “He’s a real focused guy. He’s one of the more competitive players I’ve ever been around. No matter what it is, if it’s a drill in practice or if you’re playing post with him or ping pong or games, he doesn’t like to lose in anything. That’s the type of guy you want to lead your team because you know he’s going to do anything he can to help win.”

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

CHESTNUT HILL — Pro prospects Gerod Holliman and DeVante Parker were too much for Boston College Saturday night.

Boston College could not keep up with Louisville Saturday night. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Boston College could not keep up with Louisville Saturday night. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

CHESTNUT HILL — Pro prospects Gerod Holliman and DeVante Parker were too much for Boston College Saturday night.

Holliman, a free safety, intercepted three passes while Parker caught eight passes for 144 yards to lead the visiting Louisville Cardinals past the Eagles, 38-19, Saturday night at a cold Alumni Stadium. For Holliman, it was his second straight game of at least two interceptions and he leads the nation with 13 picks.

Jon Hilliman had two touchdown runs for the Eagles, who fell to 6-4 and 3-3 in the ACC Atlantic. Brandon Radcliff had a pair of touchdown runs for the Cardinals (7-3, 4-2).

It was miserable night for BC quarterback Tyler Murphy, who was intercepted four times and finished 7-of-15 for 149 yards and a touchdown pass before being pulled for Darius Wade with three minutes left in the game.

With a game-time temperature of 51 degrees and winds up to 10 MPH that made it feel like 40, the Eagles got off to a good start when their goal line defense came up big on Louisville’s first three chances inside the BC 10.

Murphy’s first snap of the day resulted in a poor pass and an interception by Holliman, his 11th of the season for Louisville, a new school record. The Cards marched down to the BC 1 but a false start pushed them back to the 6. Louisville settle for a 23-yard field goal from John Wallace.

Murphy responded by directing the Eagles on a 12-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard run into the end zone that gave BC a 7-3 lead after the first quarter.

Then Louisville started to self destruct. On the ensuing drive, Louisville drove down to the BC 2. On first and goal, running back Brandon Radcliff fumbled at the 1 as he tried to dance into the end zone. Steven Daniels recovered but BC couldn’t move the ball and was forced to punt. The Cardinals took over at their 49 but could only manage one first down.

BC took over at their own 29. Murphy marched the team 71 yards, featuring runs of 28 yards from Murphy and an end-around run from true freshman Sherman Alston of 36 yards down to the Louisville 1. Hilliman ran it in for his second 1-yard TD run but the Joey Launceford point after hit the left upright, putting BC up, 13-3, with just over 14 minutes left in the first half.

On the next drive, the Cardinals marched down to the BC 6 when option quarterback Reggie Bonnafon ran around to his left. He sprinted for the pylon and appeared to throw the ball at the pylon in an effort to score. The play was not ruled a fumble and touchback but rather an illegal forward pass. The Cardinals were eventually stopped on 4th-and-goal at the 1.

But BC couldn’t move the ball and had to punt from deep in its own end zone. Louisville took advantage of the short field with a 44-yard drive, ending in a Radcliff run from five yards for a touchdown. A key turning point came just before half, when the Eagles couldn’t kill the clock and were forced to punt. Alex Howell had his punt blocked at the BC 20 and Louisville took over at the 19. After a holding call, Bonnafon found Parker wide open from 29 yards out to give Louisville the 17-13 lead with 15 seconds left before half.

The Cardinals open the second half with a 75-yard drive taking up over half the quarter. It was finished off with a 12-yard pass from Bonnafon from to Rogers, putting Louisville up, 24-13. BC answered with a 71-yard drive, capped off with a Murphy pass to a wide-open Bobby Wolford from three yards out. The two-point conversion failed and BC trailed, 24-19.

But two more Holliman interceptions in the fourth quarter led to touchdowns and the Cardinals pulled away. Boston College is off next week before returning to action in two weeks at No. 2 Florida State. They finish the regular season with a home game on Nov. 29 against Syracuse.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The first meeting of the season between Boston University and Boston College always provides something of a measuring stick for the two rivals. Friday night’€™s game at Conte Forum confirmed that BU and BC are pretty even right now, but in the end it was the Terriers who came away with a 5-3 win.

The Eagles held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but the Terriers kept coming back. With 7:45 left in the third, freshman sensation Jack Eichel tied the game with a redirect of Brandon Hickey’€™s shot from the point. Two minutes later, senior forward Evan Rodrigues scored his second goal of the game and gave BU a 4-3 lead on a wraparound attempt that ricocheted off a BC skate and in. Nikolas Olsson tacked on an empty netter in the final minute.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

BC is going to be fine

Even though the Eagles have now lost three in a row, dropping them to 4-4-0 on the season, there is no reason to panic. The first of those three losses was an overtime contest on the road against a very good Denver team. No biggie. The second was a major upset at the hands of UConn in the Huskies’€™ first ever Hockey East home game. It’€™s a bad result, and it’€™s a game they absolutely should’€™ve won. But they weren’€™t horrific. They outshot UConn 35-22 (and 26-9 over the final two periods), but they ran into a hot goalie in Rob Nichols and just couldn’€™t finish. Upsets happen all the time in college hockey, and this time it happened to BC.

That brings us to Friday night. Losing three in a row and losing on your home ice against your archrival doesn’€™t feel good. But again, the Eagles didn’€™t play all that poorly, and BU is a very good team. They controlled stretches of play, they generated some sustained offense, and they were outshooting BU 22-14 through two periods. The third period and power plays were problems. They got outscored 4-1 in the third (3-1 if you take out the empty netter) and they went 0-for-4 on the power play. Those two areas definitely need to be better than they were Friday night, but they’€™re not enough to abandon ship. The Eagles have very good defensemen, a very good goalie and enough talent up front to at least be competitive with anyone they play.

Jack Eichel was very good, Noah Hanifin was OK

There was a ton of hype surrounding this game, and not just because it was BU vs. BC. It was also the first college matchup between BU forward Jack Eichel and BC defenseman Noah Hanifin, both of whom could be top-three NHL picks next summer. Eichel wasn’€™t as dominant as he could have been through the first two periods — there were a couple instances when it looked like he got caught floating a bit — but even then he still had some great chances. He had three shots on goal through the first 40 minutes and they were all really good looks, including a breakaway early in the second.

The third period, however, featured the Eichel everyone expects to see. He made a great pass to Rodrigues on a 2-on-1, but Rodrigues whiffed on the shot. He made a great steal at the offensive blue line and then drew a penalty driving to the net. He took a big hit to move the puck to Danny O’€™Regan and create a quality scoring chance. And then he finally found the score sheet when he went to the front and tipped in a Hickey shot, extending his career-opening point streak to six games in the process.

Hanifin finished with a minus-4, but he didn’€™t make any glaring mistakes on any of the goals he was on the ice for, at least not that this reporter noticed. He really only had one noticeable shaky moment, and that was when Mike Moran nearly beat him 1-on-1 late in the first. Moran got Hanifin turned the wrong way and appeared to get by him, but Hanifin recovered just enough to force a rushed shot that went wide. He looked solid on breakouts and comfortable jumping into rushes, two areas of his game that have always been strengths.

Evan Rodrigues is underrated

With all the attention given to Eichel and the rest of BU’€™s freshmen — all of it deserved — some of BU’€™s upperclassmen have kind of gotten overlooked. Rodrigues is one of those guys, but it was impossible to overlook him on Friday. The senior forward scored two goals, including the game-winner, and both came on great individual efforts. Rodrigues got to play with Eichel for the first time this season after Eichel’€™s usual left wing, Ahti Oksanen, left with an injury (coach David Quinn had no update after the game), but his goals weren’€™t just the result of playing with Eichel. They were the result of Rodrigues making plays and being completely in control with the puck on his stick.

The undrafted Rodrigues had just 14 points in 31 games last season after posting 34 points in 38 games as a sophomore. With three goals and five assists through six games this season, it appears he, like so many others at BU, has already put last year behind him. After the game, Quinn said he thought Rodrigues actually played well last season even though he didn’€™t have the points to show for it. He also pointed out that Rodrigues does everything — he’€™s a very good two-way players, he kills penalties, and Quinn said sometimes he even plays defense in practice and holds his own there.

Ryan Fitzgerald is piling up goals

The Bruins’€™ 2013 fourth-round pick scored twice on Friday, bringing him up to seven goals in eight games this season. The first came on a 2-on-1, as he led the rush and held the puck before firing a shot past Matt O’€™Connor. The second was a remarkable shorthanded tally. Fitzgerald cleanly intercepted a breakout pass by Hickey, walked in alone and beat O’€™Connor with a nifty move to the forehand. Fitzgerald’€™s 29 points last season — a perfectly good season for a freshman — were largely overlooked thanks to the record-setting performances from the Johnny Gaudreau-Bill Arnold-Kevin Hayes line, but now Fitzgerald has a chance to shine as the Eagles’€™ first-line center, and so far he has done just that.

BU has been great in third periods

The Terriers are now outscoring their opponents 14-1 in third periods this season, and they’€™ve outshot their opponents 42-17 over their last three third periods, including 12-8 on Friday. They’€™ve shown an ability to close out teams when they have a third-period lead, and they’€™ve shown that they should never be counted out if they trail in the third. Quinn credited the team’€™s conditioning for the third-period success.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

With the calendar flipping to November, now is a good time to take a look at how Hockey East is shaping up. Before we get to the rankings, consider this your reminder that Boston University and Boston College play this Friday night at 8 p.m., and it’€™s probably going to be a good one. If you’€™re not going, you can watch on NBCSN.

1. Boston University (4-1-0, 2-1-0 HEA)
The Terriers got a bit of a wakeup call Saturday against Providence, as they were caught on their heels early on and ultimately couldn’€™t overcome a 2-0 deficit despite outshooting the Friars 18-6 in the third. Still, the Terriers have been the most impressive team in Hockey East so far. Their excellent freshman class has provided a noticeable talent upgrade at both ends of the ice, led of course by Jack Eichel. The potential No. 1 pick in next year’€™s NHL draft has a five-game point streak to start his college career, and he leads Hockey East in points per game (1.80) and shots on goal per game (6.20). After getting outshot by nearly 10 shots per game last year, the Terriers have outshot opponents by eight shots per game so far this year. Junior goalie Matt O’€™Connor has a .958 save percentage in four starts.

2. Boston College (4-2-0, 1-1-0 HEA)
The Eagles rebounded from a tough opening night at Lowell to win four in a row before having that streak snapped with an overtime loss on the road against a good Denver team on Saturday. Sophomore goalie Thatcher Demko has a .945 save percentage since giving up four goals on opening night, confirming what we all suspected — that everything is fine and opening night was just a blip on the radar. His strong play will continue to be important as the Eagles get used to life without defenseman Steve Santini, who is out until at least January after undergoing wrist surgery. Bruins draft pick Ryan Fitzgerald has embraced his move into the role of first-line center after playing wing last year, as he has five goals in six games and has won 51.6 percent of his faceoffs.

3. UMass-Lowell (5-1-1, 3-0-0 HEA)
The River Hawks are off to their best start of the Norm Bazin era, most recently sweeping UNH over the weekend. The sophomore trio of Evan Campbell, Chris Maniccia (who had a hat trick Saturday) and Joe Gambardella has provided a great 1-2-3 punch at center, as all three are averaging at least a point per game and winning at least 53.7 percent of their faceoffs. The River Hawks lead Hockey East in scoring with 4.29 goals per game, but don’€™t expect that pace to continue. They’€™ve scored on 18.3 percent of their shots on goal, which is not sustainable (the best shooting teams in the country usually finish between 11 and 13 percent). Goaltending remains a bit of a question mark, although freshman Jeff Smith has a .946 save percentage in his two starts and junior Kevin Boyle posted a 33-save shutout on Friday.

4. Vermont (4-1-1, 2-1-1 HEA)
The Catamounts managed just one point during a two-game set at Notre Dame over the weekend, but there’€™s still a lot to like about this team. Team defense was expected to be a strength, and so far it has been just that. Led by the top pairing of Mike Paliotta and Alexx Privitera, the Catamounts have allowed just 24.33 shots on goal per game (tied for second fewest in Hockey East) and are a perfect 19-for-19 on the penalty kill. On top of that, they’€™ve gotten great goaltending from junior Brody Hoffman (.937 save percentage in four starts) and sophomore Mike Santaguida (.941 in two starts).

5. Notre Dame (5-2-1, 1-0-1 HEA)
Even though they’€™ve played more games than most Hockey East teams, it’€™s still a little tough to get a good read on the Fighting Irish. Getting swept by Rensselaer and Minnesota-Duluth on opening weekend was bad, but taking three of four points from Vermont this past weekend was pretty good. However, the Irish haven’€™t played a road game yet, and the four wins between opening weekend and this past weekend came against two teams that are a combined 1-17-0 (Lake Superior State and Niagara). Junior forward Mario Lucia has eight goals in eight games, senior defenseman Robbie Russo has nine points and a team-high 3.88 shots on goal per game, and freshman goalie Cal Petersen, who appears to have won the starting job, has a .950 save percentage in five starts.

6. Providence (2-3-1, 1-1-0 HEA)
It certainly hasn’€™t been the start the Friars were hoping for after being picked to finish first in both the media and coaches’€™ preseason polls, but there’€™s no reason to abandon ship just yet. Perhaps Saturday night’€™s win at BU will get them going. Jon Gillies finally looked like Jon Gillies, as the junior goalie stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced. His season save percentage still sits at just .906, though, as he has allowed four or more goals three times already. The Friars need their offense to get going, too. They returned more goals than any other Hockey East team, yet they’€™re averaging just two goals per game so far. Ross Mauermann’€™s two points in six games (he had 36 points in 39 games last year) are particularly disappointing. A league-worst 72-percent penalty kill is a problem as well.

7. Merrimack (5-1-1, 1-0-0 HEA)
Like Notre Dame, it’€™s hard to get a really good read on the Warriors due to their soft schedule. Four of their games have been against teams from the always-weak Atlantic Hockey, two have been against UConn (see No. 10 here) and one was against Princeton (expected to be a cellar dweller in the ECAC). So we at least know they’€™re better than those kinds of teams — not only have they gone 5-1-1 against them, but they’€™ve also outshot them by 12.29 shots per game. Now we’€™ll see if they can keep it going against tougher competition, starting with a series against Providence this weekend. Senior goalie Rasmus Tirronen has a .926 save percentage so far, and it will be important for him to keep that up after finishing with a subpar .908 mark last season.

8. Maine (3-4-1, 2-0-0 HEA)
After starting the season 0-4-0, the Black Bears have now gone 3-0-1 in their last four, most recently sweeping UMass over the weekend. They’€™ve scored three goals or more in each of the last four games after scoring two or fewer in each of the first four. Sophomores Cam Brown and Blaine Byron have led the way with seven points apiece, while Devin Shore, who had 43 points last year, has four points in his last three games after a very slow start (one point in five games). Goaltending remains a question mark, as neither Matt Morris (.901 save percentage) nor Sean Romeo (.883) has stepped up.

9. New Hampshire (2-4-0, 0-2-0 HEA)
The good news is that the Wildcats are allowing just 24.17 shots on goal per game (fewest in Hockey East) and are outshooting their opponents by 8.67 shots per game. The bad news is that they’€™ve scored two goals or fewer in four of their six games and currently have an .876 team save percentage. Goaltending became a major question mark the moment Casey DeSmith got arrested and then suspended indefinitely, and so far it’€™s been even worse than anyone could’€™ve anticipated. Adam Clark had a good series at Michigan a couple weeks ago, but that’€™s been the lone bright spot at the position.

10. UConn (1-4-2, 0-2-0 HEA)
The Huskies don’€™t have much, but they have goaltending. After posting a .939 save percentage in 13 games as a freshman last year, Rob Nichols is at .928 through seven games this season. He’€™ll at least give them a chance in a lot of games, but if they want to do any real damage, they’€™re going to have to figure out a way to possess the puck and create some sustained offense. The Huskies are getting outshot by a league-worst 10.14 shots per game, and their 1.71 goals per game are the second-fewest in Hockey East.

11. UMass (2-5-0, 1-4-0 HEA)
The Minutemen had a chance in both of their games at Maine this weekend, but ultimately came away with two losses. They overcame a two-goal third-period deficit on Friday only to lose in overtime, then choked away their own two-goal lead and lost late in regulation on Saturday. Just as everyone feared, defense and goaltending are major concerns here. The Minutemen are giving up a league-worst 35.14 shots and 4.43 goals per game, and Henry Dill and Steve Mastalerz have combined for an abhorrent .874 save percentage.

12. Northeastern (0-6-0, 0-2-0 HEA)
The Huskies rank last in Hockey East in offense (1.50 goals per game), 11th in defense (3.67 goals against per game), 11th on the penalty kill (75.0 percent) and ninth on the power play (6.9 percent). Derick Roy and Clay Witt have combined for an .883 save percentage, with Roy getting the last four starts over a banged-up Witt, and Mike Szmatula is the only player who has scored more than one goal. The Huskies have had to deal with a few injuries, and they’€™ll probably start to shoot better than 5.4 percent, but their problems are pretty significant regardless.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin