Is Northeastern ready for a second-half run?

A sweep of St. Lawrence puts Northeastern back into the conversation of the relevant teams in Hockey East and leads the three things I learned this weekend.

1. Northeastern may be poised for a big second half

The Huskies swept St. Lawrence on the road this weekend, which one might have believed would be improbable given the team’s 3-12-4 record entering the weekend. But add in the fact that the Huskies also tied Quinnipiac to open 2016, you might want to keep an eye on this Northeastern team in the second half. It’s not likely they can make a run at a title seeing as they are halfway through the Hockey East schedule with a 0-8-3 mark. But remember this team hasn’t had Kevin Roy since mid-November.

2. Boyle’s shutout numbers in perspective

UMass-Lowell goaltender Kevin Boyle posted his ninth career shutout on Friday, a 1-0 decision at New Hampshire. It was his eighth as a member of the River Hawks, having played his first two seasons at sister school Massachusetts. What makes Boyle’s shutout numbers impressive is the fact that his eight shutouts at Lowell have come in just 54 games played. Thus, nearly 15 percent of Boyle’s starts at Lowell have resulted in shutouts. Pretty impressive numbers.

3. A good weekend vs. ECAC will help come March

Hockey East teams posted a collective 5-3-0 mark against ECAC teams this past week/weekend, including wins by Boston University over Harvard, the aforementioned sweep of St. Lawrence by Northeastern, Maine’s split with Colgate and Vermont’s 1-0 win over Dartmouth. Sure, a 5-3-0 mark may not sound like something to write home about but given that the ECAC entered the weekend with the best non-conference winning percentage (the NCHC has since past them), those five victories could become a bit larger in March. Currently five Hockey East teams are in the top 13 of the USCHO PairWise Rankings, with Boston College, Boston University and Notre Dame all taking steps forward to move away from the NCAA bubble over the weekend.

21 COMMENTS

  1. And, I’ll be the first to point it out.

    Ryan Walters is the leading scorer in the nation, on the top offensive line in the nation, playing with the #2 offense in the NCAA, which is the #1 offense in the WCHA, all playing for and leading UNO to first place, currently, in the WCHA.

    If those things are all still true at season’s end, it won’t matter what Gaudreau does.

    Fittingly, even after the WJC, CBS Sports move Walters up to #1 on their watch list, anyway.

    Because right now, he is.

    • Then I guess it would be only fair to point out that Walters has played 8 more games than Gaudreau and that Gaudreau is ahead in PPG 1.64 to 1.50. Also on the first place team, but in HE and #1 in the PWR (although there is obviously a ton of time for that to change) and the #3 team in the country.

      The fact that he scores more PPG and is NOT on the top scoring line in the country is even more impressive than a guy who gets more help from his linemates. If it’s all about scoring, go ahead and give it to Brett Gensler from Bentley.

      I think if he keeps up his scoring, it won’t matter what Walters does.

      CBS Sports changes their mind every week and Gaudreau dropped because he didn’t play an NCAA game during that period of time.

      Wow, UNO is relevant and now they want the Hobey too.

    • No offense but Walters has nothing on Corban Knight who is by far the best forward in the WCHA. Averaging 1.53 PPG, 29 points in 19 games, only 4 less then Walters who has played 3 more games. Also Knight is on a 15 game point streak right now, only a game away from doubling Walter’s longest streak of 8. Knight to me is the clear cut hobey front runner with Gaudreau. Walter would be a mere number 5 in my eyes.

  2. Since the author is a Hobey expert, can you explain why the 1981 Hobey Baker winner was Neal Broten, and younger brother Aaron was not even a finalist when he scored 106 points on the season

  3. Gaudreau doesn’t need the help. He just went off again tonight on UNH. He’s far ahead in the Hobey race right now. Tonight’s game also showed significant value that he brings to his team after they got stuck in neutral without him and played some terrible hockey and he comes back and the whole dynamic of their team changes.

    I think Gaudreau had a huge leg up on competition from the get go after the ridiculous performance in last season’s postseason and especially his goal against Ferris State. Does last season technically matter? No. But it is still impossible to discount what you already know about a guy. He has prior validation that can help differentiate. That will certainly help his cause as will his WJC performance. Can you throw away the foolishness of the small BC forward “system performance” garbage since he just played for Team USA and also led that team in scoring.

    Everyone else is playing for runner up unless Gaudreau gets hurt or has some major, major slump.

    • Good to see UNH bounce back and play a very good defensive game, especially against Gaudreau. The kid is just everywhere and hard to follow, nevermind actually stay with on D.

  4. First, I want to say that there are many great players having great seasons, and it is always tough to single one player out. I did want to point out however, that you stated that “someone may point out that Gaudreau is not even the leading scorer in the nation”. It seems you didn’t do your homework. Gaudreau has 1.62 points per game, better by a lot than any other player. I don’t think your article is doing him any favors. Even without the buzz from the World Junior Hockey Cjampionships, at which the coaches voted him one of the top three players for the USA team, at this point he is arguably the best player in college hockey, and the stats back it up. Just leave well enough alone and the best player will win the Hobey.

    • Steve, this article was posted on Friday, before this past weekend’s games. Gaudreau was behind Gensler at that point (and possibly Walters as well, I don’t recall).

  5. While I’m not going to dispute that Boyle has been very good to excellent at times at UML, he has also had the benefit of playing for a team that’s been top 5 in D-1 defensively, in his tenure. I will say that he looks like a different guy this year as opposed to last, though. He’s playing with much more confidence. He squares to shooters earlier, doesn’t seem to lose his bearings in net, and none (or very little) of the flopping around in the crease during scrums that we saw last year. Of late however, more specifically, just prior to the break, he was looking a little tired to me. He’s right at the top of the heap nationally in terms of mins played. Bazin is riding him almost exclusively. Hopefully the break gives him the rest he needed to keep his focus down the stretch.

    • What do you guys do over there at UML, breed NHL goalies? First Helleybuck, now this brickwall, shutout machine, Boyle. Rule change proposal: make the nets bigger when Lowell plays.

    • I still think that the jury is out on him as Lowell still has to play PC, BC and BU 6 times. Boyle was really bad against BU in the HE Championship game last year. The ‘Chiefs’ need more offense out of all those returning players from last year. Sorry that I am missing the home game against PC on the 23rd…

  6. I know everybody has their team and BC gets plenty of attention, but how can it be ignored that BC took 3 points from Providence this past weekend, including an impressive comeback on the road to tie and all of it with a brand new goalie and the loss of the best goalie in college hockey?

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