From the home office in Wakefield, Massachusetts, here are the top 10 surprises in Hockey East this year. 

(Full disclosure: the original post of this blog contained a different item for number six that was based on an incorrect statistic.)

10. Massachusetts freshman Michael Pereira leads the Minutemen in scoring.

Hey, we all knew there would be new names atop the UMass stat sheets after the departures of James Marcou, Casey Wellman, Justin Braun, Will Ortiz, and Matthew Irwin.  Even so, you had to figure T.J. Syner would be the new top dog.  Instead, Pereira has taken that title in the early going.

9. Massachusetts-Lowell’s Riley Wetmore leads his team in scoring with a 7-6-13 scoring line. 

Wetmore totaled six goals and nine assists in all of last year, his freshman campaign.  This season he got off to a good start and with three goals in his last three games, is keeping it going.

8. Boston University rose to number one in the country a month into the season.

I thought the Terriers would be good, but not as good as their record indicated prior to last weekend’s sweep at the hands of Boston College.  A 6-0-2 start earned them the top billing as recently as Nov. 8 despite a very young team.

7. Spencer Abbott leads Maine scoring instead of Gustav Nyquist 

Surprise number seven is no knock on Abbott; it’s a tribute to Nyquist’s offensive wizardry.  Last year, Nyquist finished with 61 points to Abbott’s 28.  This year, the positions are flip-flopped with Abbott leading, 21-17.

6. Massachusetts-Lowell simultaneously leads Hockey East with a 92.7 penalty kill percentage in conference games while also ranking last in team defense (3.75 goals against per game).

Where’s the logic in that?  Doesn’t a strong PK and team defense go hand in hand?  What’s the last team that has had these two statistics so out of whack? 

Clearly, it’s time for coach Blaise MacDonald to skate only four players while at full strength.

 5. New Hampshire goaltender Matt DiGirolamo has filled the hole left behind by Brian Foster more than ably, posting a  .924 save percentage.

I admit it, when a goalie sits almost every game of his freshman and sophomore seasons, I become a skeptic.  Even if he’s behind someone like Brian Foster, I assume that if he were really good, he’d have forced some partial rotation.

So much for that prejudicial idea.  With a save percentage like that, the junior is making Wildcat fans smile.

4. Vermont has only a single win in its opening 12 games (and that win, ironically enough, came over Boston College). 

Most observers had the Catamounts somewhere in the middle of the pack.  But only one win in 12 games?

What’s going on there?

What isn’t going on is much offense. Wah Stacey leads the team with seven points.

3. Providence playing .500 hockey

After taking it on the chin the last couple years, the Friars are landing a few haymakers of their own.  They’re at .500 overall and just a single game below that water mark within Hockey East.

Can you spell P-L-A-Y-O-F-F-S?

2. Boston College’s see-saw results

Coming into this year, you expected nine teams to have their ups and downs.  Based on the supporting cast, however, the Eagles were not afforded that luxury.

So now we’re left scratching our heads when they split with Vermont, giving the Catamounts their only win of the season.  The scratching stops when BC sweeps Maine and then again when it sweeps BU.  But it returns anytime there’s a loss.

Yes, the expectations were that high for this team.

1. Northeastern goes 0-for-3 against Atlantic Hockey

I hate to end on a downer, but hearing those three scores caused the most number of jaws to drop. 

And yet, the Huskies are 3-6-3, in seventh place and just two points out of sixth.  All is not lost.

  • Kjcoon_ak

    “Nanook fans, take heart: I’m often wrong.”

    Don’t worry, we often overlook much of what you write. :)

  • bjw

    Watch for UAF defense to come out early and control the pace with hard nosed D. If Miami scores early on and goes up by 1 or 2 goals- UAF loses. If UAF can get the 1st goal and play pesky D like last Fri PM- we win. Bottom line, if we play like we did last Fri- we win. If we play like we did Sat against MI- we lose big.

  • Rrhoades1

    Wildcats look terrible Friday against BG! However, give credit to BG for moving the puck and out working the Cats all night.

  • rattymcrat99

    i am really disappointed in Northeastern this year. The one game I’ve been able to make it too, 5-0 win hosting providence, was a great game and made me wonder what was going on in all the other games, especially against Atlantic Hockey.

    I figure it must be injuries again, from what I understand there are already a few players who will miss the rest of the season, and how heavily we are having to rely on freshman due to injuries and early departures.

  • Kdryden27

    Two 5-0 blowouts and a 3rd period collapse against Brown means no goaltending and no playoffs for Providence, again.

  • anonymous

    Who is Todd Barton? I think you combined Jesse Todd and Chris Barton.

  • Salvuccim

    lol the errors here are quite simply inexcusable for an organization on the forefront of delivering college hockey news.

    Da Costa leads the warriors in scoring with 7 goals and 9 assists in 15 games totaling 16 points.

    That Todd Barton on the other hand…he’s been doing great!!!

    The funny part is that it wasn’t just a statement made in passing but it was the basis for your entire point.

  • Lameo

    Nice job Dave…glad to see you deleted all your mistakes to make yourself look better. Aweful article….especially with the screw ups of “Todd Barton” and DaCosta being 5th on Merrimack in scoring….sounds like you have no idea what you’re talking about and you cover HE…..maybe it’s time to move on?

  • Salvuccim

    lol, and now there’s not even mention of Merrimack…is winning the season series against Boston College and having only 1 loss amongst 3 games against BC and 2 games against BU not surprising?

    I mean I suppose Merrimack fans should be taking that as a complement….Awful article for a news outlet that I see as going downhill while Collegehockeynews is going up up up.