If parity is supposed to be a good thing,
then everyone around Hockey East should be happy with
the results over the first month of the new season.
But since only three teams in the 10-team conference
have an overall record above the .500 mark, this parity
philosophy may need a bit of tweaking.
It’s been no secret that Maine
and Vermont have gotten off to tremendous starts,
with the Black Bears boasting a 7-1-0 record, only
being topped by UVM’s string of seven consecutive
victories to launch its inaugural Hockey East campaign.
Even still, Maine (2-0-0 in league play) and the Catamounts
(1-0-0) are the only two schools without a conference
loss in the young season.
And in Hockey East’s marquee matchup
to this point, a game between New Hampshire and Boston
College – the third team with an overall winning
record – at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester,
sloppy play on both sides resulted in anything but
an exhilarating early-season slugfest. If the play
between these two high-profile teams is a sign of
things to come, Hockey East may be in trouble if it
plans on regaining some of its thunder that the WCHA
stole last spring.
Another team that has gotten off to
a hot start has been Providence, which is 3-1-0 in
HEA play and was briefly tied with the Eagles in the
third period before surrendering the game-winning
goal in the Friars’ only loss. But PC tripped
up during its weekend getaway to the North Country
and was swept by Clarkson and St. Lawrence on Oct.
14-15, leaving the Friars’ overall record at
So with the conference’s overall
record standing at 29-27-3 through the early portion
of the schedule and with half the teams giving up
more goals than they are scoring, there is definitely
some room for improvement. But as any coach would
proclaim, it’s not where you start but where
you finish, leaving optimism that the league can shed
its “Hockey Least” tag for that of a more
desirable “Hockey Beast” one.
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Capital punishment – In
terms of scoring, skating and, in general, making
opposing defensemen look bad, things have always come
pretty easily for former Boston University freshman
stud Chris Bourque.
But after leaving the Terriers at the
end of last season to ultimately join the Washington
Capitals’ organization, pro life has been anything
but easy. The son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque,
Chris has realized that his fortunate hockey upbringing
has transformed into an unfortunate string of events
as a member of the Caps’ American Hockey League
affiliate Hershey Bears.
Despite his small stature, he has been
easy for his opposition to spot on the ice, and he
has been on the wrong end of several cheap shots during
the early portion of the AHL season. On Sunday night,
he was drilled from behind by a member of the Hamilton
Bulldogs and hit his head off one of the goal posts,
resulting in a concussion. Originally, after being
carried off the ice on a stretcher, there was speculation
that he may have suffered a neck injury, but he is
expected to be fine.
Bourque was a high school freshman
at Cushing Academy when UMass defenseman Marvin Degon
and UNH defenseman Brian Yandle were both senior teammates.
Here is Degon’s take on the situation:
“I never really noticed [people
going after him in high school], but I know that he
is about 165 pounds playing in the AHL, so that is
going to happen. It’s going to happen because
he is a rookie, and it’s going to happen because
he is 165 pounds. There might be a bull’s eye
on his head, but that sort of stuff happens.”
Degon noted that Bourque organized the underclassmen
at Cushing to honor the seniors by putting their numbers
on the bottom of their skates for a game on a night
that the seniors were supposed to do something special
for the underclassmen.
“I can’t say enough good
things about him,” Degon said. “He has
got leadership qualities that, if he was at BU for
four years, he would be a leader on that team. Wherever
he is, he is going to be a leader eventually. It’s
disappointing that other players would try to take
advantage of the fact that his name is ‘Bourque’.
They have got to regulate these penalties better.”
Great Weekend Getaway
at Boston University (Fri.)
If the third time really is
a charm, then it’s a sure bet you can
be a part of history on Friday night at Boston
University’s beautiful new Agganis Arena.
BU coach Jack Parker will take his third shot
at winning his 300th Hockey East contest, but
don’t look to Vermont to just roll over
for sentimental reasons. The Catamounts are
riding a 7-0-0 start, their best in program
history, and will take the ice for their second
Hockey East game of the season after knocking
off Northeastern 5-3 on Tuesday night.
While You’re There:
In town for the night? Head to Abe & Louie’s
on Boylston Street across from the Prudential
Center for the best steak in the Bay State.
Or call in sick to work on Monday and stick
around for an extra few days to see the New
England Patriots welcome old friend Peyton Manning
as they take on the undefeated Indianapolis
Colts at Gillette Stadium.
It’s kind of like celebrating
a newborn baby’s first steps, first words
or first – well, anything. Vermont’s
first period of Hockey East action
was somewhat successful after dropping five
goals on 15 shots against Northeastern Tuesday
night in Boston. With a .333 shooting percentage
in the opening frame, the Catamounts may qualify
to give Shaquille O’Neal some tips on
his charity stripe woes.
is 0-4-1 to start the season, has only scored
two power-play goals in 25 chances, has spent
188 minutes in the penalty box (an average of
37.6 minutes per game) and tied the U.S. Under-18
National Team 1-1 in an exhibition matchup on
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Boston College rookie Brock
Bradford came down with a case of déjà
vu over the last week. In a span of four days, Bradford
has scored his first two career goals, both game-winners,
both in the third period, both in 3-2 games. On Saturday,
the Eagles defeated Providence and then took down
UNH at Manchester’s Verizon Wireless Arena.
• Vermont seems to be adjusting
to its new surroundings pretty well. Besides its 7-0-0
start, Brady Leisenring was named Hockey East’s
Player of the Month after posting four goals and seven
assists for 11 points, tying him with teammate Torrey
Mitchell for the most points in the conference in
October. Mitchell was named runner-up for his efforts.
• Sticking with the monthly accolades,
Maine freshman Ben Bishop picked up a couple of them.
On top of being the conference’s Rookie of the
Month, he was named Goaltender of the Month, too.
His 4-1-0 record included two wins over two-time defending
national champion Denver, and he also boasted a 1.59
goals-against average and .943 save percentage.
• In the professional ranks, former BC standout
Ryan Shannon was named American Hockey League Rookie
of the Month after recording seven goals and five
assists in eight games for the first-place Portland
• Providence’s 3-0-0 start
in the league before losing its 2-1 third-period lead
over BC on Saturday was the team’s first unblemished
three-game start since 1998-99. The loss to the Eagles
also ended the PC's six-game conference winning streak.
The Friars get a chance to kick off a new streak with
a home-and-home series against UMass this weekend.
• Speaking of the Minutemen,
their offense has sputtered a la the British army
during the days of the American Revolution. UMass
lost 4-1 to UNH on Friday night and 4-0 to Maine on
Saturday, meaning the Maroon and White have only scored
just one goal in its last 126:36 of action and a mere
two goals in the last 173:17 of ice time. And the
power play has failed to convert in 18 consecutive
• UMass Lowell found its offense
against Boston University this weekend after it disappeared
for a stretch 180:39 of which the River Hawks failed
to score a single goal. Andrew Martin’s goal
10:38 into the first period started an avalanche of
scoring, as UML was able to light the lamp seven times
in the 7-4 victory.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.