Trouble for Northeastern plus four teams going in different directions

These are three things I think I learned from this past weekend.

1. Northeastern is in trouble. 

The Huskies, who two weeks ago projected to be an NCAA tournament bubble team after running off eight straight wins, now sit in ninth place in Hockey East and 27th in the Pairwise.  Making matters worse, the teams immediately ahead of them in the race for the final playoff berth — New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Massachusetts-Lowell — all picked up at least two points on the weekend while the Huskies got swept.

Although all four of their recent losses have come to Top 10 teams in the PairWise, the Huskies’ performance at Lowell on Friday night was not encouraging. Actually, that’s a euphemism for: they got their hats handed to them. The River Hawks controlled pretty much all of the 60 minutes.

At the top of their game, the Huskies beat a lot of impressive teams, but they’re not at the top of their game now.

2. The Boston University – Providence home-and-home series featured two teams going in different directions.

BU ranks first in the PairWise for good reason.  The Terriers are now 12-2-0 in their last fourteen games.  But their total destruction of Providence last weekend took their recent impressive showings to a new level. They defeated PC, a team that entered the weekend 7-5-1 in Hockey East, by scores of 6-1 at home and 8-0 on the road.

As for the Friars, that makes them 1-5-1 over their last seven games with the only win coming over last-place Vermont. And with top goal-scorer  Tim Schaller out with mononucleosis, you have a team going decidedly in the wrong direction.

3. The Maine – Boston College series featured two more teams going in different directions.

Maine sweep of BC may have been whisker thin — Friday’s win came in overtime and Saturday’s came with an assist from an official who inadvertently turned a shorthanded break one way into a power-play goal the other — but wins are wins and the Black Bears now have a 9-2-1 record in their last dozen games.

Do I think that BU may have something to say about that next week? Absolutely. Am I sold on Dan Sullivan as an elite goaltender? No. The Maine games I’ve seen in person seem to have been his worst of the year.

But wins are wins.

Which is not what BC has been doing lately. The Eagles are 2-5-1 and 6-9-1 in recent play. Their goaltending is now comprised of three question marks and though they did score seven goals in Orono, they totaled only 10 in the previous six contests. 

Early this year the Eagles looked like national championship contenders. Now they do not.


  1. Maine has a decent record @ 12-8-3 but thats on paper the team is not that good…solid #1 line with a potent powerplay but very weak in the defensive end and the goaltending is nothing to brag about….weak. They are a streaky team…have agood run for six games then down they go for six games….there a middle of the pack Hockey East Team.

  2. Maine sweeps BC and still can’t get any respect, but BU sweeps a weak team like Providence and they are the best team in the world. What a biased hack article. BC’s s goaltending gives up 6 goals (4 unanswered) on Saturday and all you write about is how unimpressed you are with Maine’s goaltending, while readily admitting that you haven’t watched many of the games, so your comment loses all credibility. Then you essentially blame the official for BC losing the game which is pretty weak. Take your BU/BC blinders off and you may see that there are some other good teams in that conference besides your favorites.

    • Shoulda, coulda won against Merrimack in the second game by having a goal dis-allowed due to the refs being in the wrong position………….
      Would be nice to win against BU this WE………hoping Maine fans show up to “influence” the outcome………..

      • Read carefully Joseph, I never said Maine was an elite team. I’m not naive enough to think that. Not at this point anyway. They are still 4th in what my opinion is a weak Hockey East this season and still wouldn’t be eligible for the NCAA’s according to the newly released Pairwise.

        My point was that I think they deserve more recognition than they got for sweeping a supposed national power in BC. But the author instead wanted to make excuses for BC (the refs fault) and then discredits Maine’s goaltending even though he admits he never watches any of their games. This article reaks of homerism.  

        Regardless, Maine is on a role right now. and if they make a statement this weekend against BU, they may finally get some attention from people, this “journalist” notwithstanding

    • No need to lump BU and BC into the same bucket of getting too much/biased coverage. BC does deserve a lot less coverage/excuses based on its play against Merrimack, BU and UMaine. But, since BC was the preseason favorite, it is hard to stop talking about them, as much I would like to

      Maine getting four points against BC is enough credit. Providence is going the wrong way after a nice start to its season, but there is no way BU fans like me take too much stock in being #2 in the Polls or putting up a snowman against a struggling team.

      Having watched the BU/Maine game that was nationally covered on CBSSports, it sure looked like Maine has a goaltending issue. To date, in Hockey East play this year, BU deserves to get coverage, as they have the most points, they have played a lot of the top contenders in Hockey East and just had an offensively explosive weekend. This came after their season was written off by many writers (and fans) when the two biggest players to leave Hockey East during this season bolted from BU.

  3. Maine has just 2 quality wins this year – over BC.  The others are against teams deep in the pairwise, generally 30th or worst.  Not sure how you can say wins are wins when bad wins don’t get you into the NCAAs, which has to be this program’s goal every year.  Not gonna happen again this year, unless they win the HEA tournament.  Seems unlikely…

  4. Wow…so much negativity from the Maine ‘faithful’. What ever happened to supporting your team, as opposed to tearing them down on the Internet just because you can without showing your face.

    I agree that Maine is not yet an elite team and there is always room for improvement. But a 9-2-1 record in the last 12 games IS impressive. Maine is actually back in contention after being dead in the water at the half-way point of the season. Imagine that. The power play is clicking, the overall offense has picked up, Sullivan (Maine’s goalie) looked pretty sharp this weekend, and the defense is playing better (not great, but much better than before the winning streak began). I actually think that the article is pretty accurate. Both of the Maine-BC games could have gone either way, with Maine doing just enough to win each night. That is what good teams do, they find a way to win the close games.

    Lastly, all of this is a moot point if they don’t continue to play to their potential. Thankfully, there are enough games left in the season to sort out the HEast haves from the have nots, so why don’t we stop complaining and start supporting the Black Bears? Or maybe you’d just rather sit in front of your computers and pretend that you know how to coach this team better than the current coaching staff?

    Random thought…a split with BU this coming weekend would be nice.

    BBear94, you are up.

    • 18secondstosunrise…being in Afghanistan its difficult to follow the Black Bears or college hockey for that matter….it seems the Division 1 level has a nice parity to it…which makes for close and exciting games……….also following on the ineterner like we must here in Kandahar lets us for a short time not focus on the daily helo  medivac flights we handle…Yuri in Kandahar   

      • Yuri,

        First and foremost, be well and stay safe. My reading about your current situation/location certainly puts college hockey into perspective (i.e., it’s really just a game). I’m glad that it can be a healthy distraction for you.

        Yes, there is a great deal of parity this year in D1 hockey. For example (here are some mindless stats), out of the 24 games played on Friday night, 6 went into overtime, another 6 were 1-goal games, another 7 were 2-goal games. On Saturday, of the 26 games played, 8 went into overtime, another 10 were 1-goal games, another 2 were 2-goal games. I’m not even looking at the games that were very close until the final minutes, only to have a team score a couple of late goals (i.e., the Saturday night Maine-BC game was tied at 4-4 until the 2:59, and then Maine added 2 empty netters. Lastly, there were only 10 sweeps out of the 20 two-game series (not including the ECAC where teams rarely play the same team on back to back nights; only Rensselaer won both of their games this weekend). The ECAC always seems to have great parity…


    • Perhaps the average Maine fan is sophisticated enough to understand what they’re watching on the ice and how that translates into their team’s chances in any given year.  The, um, “authors” on this website have no such sophistication because they rarely see Maine play unless they travel to Orono, and as many posters here have pointed out quite correctly they do favor BC BU and to some extent, UNH.  No mention of Lowell – currently # 3 in the PWR – after winning just FIVE games all of last year.  I have seen Lowell many times this year, as I live nearby, and I think they are for real.

      Anyways, back to Maine.  This team has some serious deficiencies, goaltending being most obvious but D is poor, outside of top line not much scoring, and questionable ability of their coaching staff is probably what underlies all these issues.

      12 wins is nice.  Believe me I was thrilled with this weekend.  In fact, I am watching the tv replay right now.  However, as I pointed out early, only two quality wins, quality meaning teams in the top three in any given conference or top 16 in the PWR.  Unfortunately, beating UMass, Clarkson, Vermont and the like leaves a false impression that the team is progressing, yet they continue to give up soft goals, D cannot pass/carry the puck out of their own zone, giving up SHG, taking too many penalties, well I could go on, but the point being it is really these fundamental issues that keep occuring that are going to sink this team.

      Fact is you have to beat the team ahead of you in the PWR and with Maine’s remaining schedule that is going to be difficult to do even should they sweep BU this weekend. 

      • What BBear94, and the rest of Tim Whitehead’s “Internet Crazies” are saying is that we support this team 110%.  We are probably more excited than the average fan for wins, and more disappointed for losses.  I am absolutely ecstatic about sweeping BC at home, something that hasn’t happened in six years.  However, we will not strap on the rose colored glasses after two wins. 

        And 18secondstosunrise, we WERE an ELITE team under Shawn Walsh.  That is the bar that was set for this program.  That is our standard for excellence.  Saying we are not “yet” an elite team, hits the nail right on the head.  We never should have been out of that category.  Mr. Whiteheads record, look it up, is all the reason one needs to send him packing.

  5. Northeastern has a coaching probem. Anyone who belives his power play is fine when it is 56th out of 58th is not right. In addition he continues to reward inconsistant effort and does not  hold his players accountable for their effort. He is good PR but has lost the locker room.

  6. Solid weekend for the black bears as they beat up on my Eagles!  Orono is always a tough place to play for any HE team.  Glad that NESN picked up the game in HD Saturday but some of those ladies from Maine need grooming

  7. First off, the Monday morning blog shouldn’t be the measure of how much attention ANY team is getting. The format is “three things I learned” and it’s typically around 500 words so it’s a quick but limited look at the weekend. MOST of the teams are going to get ignored. I had to bend that “three things” theme to get five teams mentioned. The mid-week column is where there’s room for more in-depth discussion.

    Second, the idea that I never write favorably about Maine is absurd.  I was born in Augusta, lived in Sanford until I was 12, and spent some of my favorite teenage summer moments on Long Lake. I didn’t need to move to the gritty streets of Lynn, Mass, to love the state of Maine.

    As for the writing, check out my last column. Or go back a few years to when I’d write three or four features per issue for the Friends of Maine Hockey Newsletter. (I was paid, but I loved writing those features.  They were some of my all-time favorites.) Black Bear fans sure thought I was writing nice things about their team then.

    (Bad Dave is telling me to ask why my critics don’t know about my writing for the newsletter. Were all of them too young back then? Or is it perhaps because they’re too cheap to support their team? Fortunately, Good Dave is convincing Bad Dave to shut up.)     :)

    Finally, there’s good reason for me to be skeptical about Maine’s goaltending. Dan Sullivan’s save percentage is .896. Can anyone call that elite?  Is there anyone who thinks that’s going to get it done for the Black Bears? How many championship teams have sub-.900 goaltending?

    I watched Sullivan give up five goals and get yanked against Merrimack a couple weeks ago.  I saw him give up four goals on 12 shots and get yanked against BC earlier this year. I saw him give up five goals and get yanked in the game that ended Maine’s season last year. It seems like every game I see him in person, he gets yanked!  Sorry if I’m not impressed, limited sample size or not.

    Hey, I love all the passion that fans bring to USCHO in general and this blog in particular.  I hope you all maintain that passion. But to contend that I’m anti-Maine or anti- any team is just dead wrong.

  8. I love listening to this broadcast. The powers that be really need to do something about this attendance thing. Absolutely ridiculous that ANY bball tourney game draws tens of thousands, but hockey you can hear a pin drop. This is so pathetic and something can be done about it. We need a complete overhaul of decision makers.

    • I totally agree, have the hockey games where the hockey fans are already or in close proximity. You will not get a good draw of fans in some of those larger venues and besides that the ticket prices for these events aren’t all that cheap either.

    • I mean where can you hope or guarantee tens of thousands?

      North Dakota, Minnesota, and maybe Boston?

      Chicago is a fair weather pro market with what, Notre Dame as the closest option? Don’t buy it.

      Detroit doesn’t care as much about college hockey to show up in person.

      Not sure if another regional in like Philly or NYC would do much and draw as well as Boston.

      • As a school teacher how can I afford to bring my family to a game, let alone two which would include a hotel. Ticket prices are as important as location.


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