Hockey East musings: top three, UNH, and Maine

These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. Providence, Boston College, and Massachusetts-Lowell are separating themselves from the rest of the league.

These three teams continued their undefeated play within Hockey East. Providence swept Northeastern, Lowell took three of four points from Notre Dame and BC defeated New Hampshire.

While several other teams rank highly in the standings right now — although no one is even close to Lowell’s 13 points — that’s because of radically different numbers of league games played.

There are three teams with only a single Hockey East loss (Notre Dame, Merrimack, and UNH), but the way the top three clubs are playing, they’re making that gap larger than it appears.

2. The third period is not New Hampshire’s friend.

UNH has gone five games without a win in November, in part because of third-period struggles. On Friday night, the Wildcats once again held a third-period lead over Massachusetts but had to settle for a tie.

This one wasn’t as bad as the previous time. On Friday night, they only led 2-1. A month ago, they led UMass, 6-1, but couldn’t hold onto the lead and and had to settle for a single point.

On Saturday, BC outscored them in the third 3-2 plus an empty-netter, but we’ll give a free pass on that point. BC is going to do that to a lot of teams.

However, no Hockey East team has given up more goals in any period than UNH in the third.

A short-term statistical fluke? We shall see.

3. How ’bout them Black Bears?

I guess we can’t refer to winless Maine anymore, can we?

The Black Bears collected not one but two huge wins over Vermont last weekend, getting off the schneid and out of the league cellar.

Four different players scored their first goals of the year, Dan Renouf scored his first two on Friday and added assists both nights, and senior goaltender Matt Morris reinserted himself into the netminding rotation.

Quite the weekend.

Maine’s next two league games, two weeks from now against New Hampshire, should tell a lot about both teams.