The trio to beat, 11 goals and Eichel

We’re about a third of the way through the league slate for most of the teams in Hockey East and it appears that there is a trio of teams to beat a top the Hockey East standings. That leads my three things I learned this weekend:

1. UML, BU and UVM: The alphabet soup trio at the top

Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University have gotten off to fast starts in the first third of their seasons enough so that they are an obvious pair that should be in the running come season’s end for the Hockey East title. Vermont also can be thrown into that mix, though with a little bit more caution. Lowell has played seven games in league play without a loss (5-0-2). BU has played one more game and sits a point ahead at 6-1-1. Tied with BU is Vermont, though the Catamounts are the only team in the league to have already played 10 league contests or nearly half of the 22 league games. But their 6-3-1 record warrants them to be placed in this trio at the top that everyone is chasing.

And speaking of Vermont… 11 goals?

It is rare that you see a team reach double digits in goals, but that’s exactly what Vermont did on Saturday night, embarrassing their western New England rival Massachusetts, 11-1. Surprisingly, no one recorded a hat trick. If fact, only two players – Brady Shaw and Malcolm McKinney – had multi-goal game. But the UVM offense simply exploded scoring four times on the power play (though three came in the third when the game was out of reach). The loss was so bad that UMass coach John Micheletto apologized to his fans in the post-game press conference. These two faceoff again on Tuesday night in their traditional pre-Thanksgiving midweek game.

Eichel being Eichel

By now, I’m sure many of you have seen Jack Eichel’s game-winning goal from Friday’s 3-2 overtime win against Maine. If not, you only have to watch the first 15 or so seconds of this Youtube video:

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We all know by now that Eichel will be the most talked about rookie (and possibly player) in Hockey East this season. His 19 points in 10 games leads the nation in points per game (1.90). But where does he rank among some of the other great forwards to go through Hockey East in recent years? Some players who posted impressive rookie years include Brian Gionta (1.55 points per game), Darren Haydar (1.48 PPG), Marty Reasoner (1.32 PPG) and Stephane DaCosta (1.32 PPG). Last year’s Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau averaged only a point a game as a rookie while another Hobey winner, Jason Krog, put up just .58 points per game his freshman year. And then there is probably the best rookie comparison for Eichel right now, Paul Kariya. In his legendary rookie campaign Kariya, the last person to score 100 points in a season, averaged 2.56 points per game. Those stats came in a totally different era for offense in college hockey. More on this on Thursday.