A 2-1 loss to Rensselaer on Sunday by Boston College gave college hockey its first major upset of the season, but it also brings forth the question: Did BC deserve to be the preseason No. 1? That leads the three things in Hockey East that I learned this week:
1. Just how good will this Boston College team be?
The sample size is incredibly small, but after two games you can rest assured that Boston College will no longer be the nation’s top team. After routing Army to open the year on Friday, BC lost, 2-1, on Sunday to Rensselaer, a team battling injuries early in the season that looked hapless against UMass-Lowell on Friday in a 3-0 River Hawks win. Does this mean BC was way overrated to begin the year? It’s hard to tell. For one, 10 different teams received first-place votes in the preseason USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll. That means that, despite being rated No. 1, BC was hardly a consensus pick. At the same time, BC is looking for a lot of youth to lead this team, something that generally takes time to mature. My advice: wait and see.
2. If BC is overrated, is Maine underrated?
Many, including yours truly, picked Maine to struggle throughout this entire season. But this weekend, two ties against Michigan State and North Dakota that were each followed by shootout wins were a good showing for the Black Bears at the annual Ice Breaker Tournament. I’m not ready to crown Maine anything as neither night translated to a victory. But this team certainly seems better than the 11th-place finish I predicted in last Tuesday’s Hockey East season preview.
3. Might Max Letunov or Austin Plevy be the next Jack Eichel?
Yes, that headline is bit sensational. But Letunov, a highly-touted rookie at Connecticut, recorded a hat trick in his first career game, a 5-2 win at Alabama-Huntsville. Letunov added an assist in a 5-2 loss against the Chargers the next night. Pretty impressive. All that said, Letunov wasn’t even the most impressive rookie in Hockey East this weekend. Massachusetts forward Austin Plevy also posted a hat trick and an assist in his first collegiate game, a 6-3 win at Colorado College on Friday. A night later, Plevy scored the game-winning goal to cap a four-goal third period rally for the Minutemen in a 4-3 win against CC. It seems like we may have another season where the most notable players in Hockey East could be freshmen.