Beanpot looking strong; UMass and Merrimack, not so much; Maine in middle

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

1. All four Beanpot schools are going into Monday night’s games on high notes.

Boston College and Boston University polished off Notre Dame and Merrimack, respectively, by identical 4-0 scores.  The Eagles get the extra tip of the fedora considering that Notre Dame was at home and in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten streak. BC now has a seven-game unbeaten streak itself.

Northeastern was inactive on the weekend, but it goes into Monday night with six straight wins.

And for the record, that other Beanpot school, Harvard, also won on Friday night, 4-1, over Princeton, giving it three straight wins.

2. UMass and Merrimack are having a really tough time.

Let’s forget about Merrimack’s 10-0 feel-good demolition of Arizona State on Sunday. ASU came out here, a new Division-I hockey program, and got outscored by a total of 22-2 in two games against Massachusetts-Lowell and the one against Merrimack.

It’s the games against established teams that count.

And Merrimack lost 4-0 to BU on Friday to make it only a single win (against Canisius) since Nov. 13. And that win on Nov. 13th was against…

UMass, which got swept at home by Maine, a team that hadn’t won a single road game all year. I’m not sure it gets any worse than that.  Other than, of course, having lost every game since Thanksgiving (not even any ties) except a 2-1 win over Army West Point.

But you know, we really shouldn’t be surprised by these two teams’ struggles. Merrimack and UMass were picked to finish together at the bottom of the league before the season started.  Some surprising early season success for both of them heightened expectations, but we’re back to where we started.

Rebuilding years for both teams.

3. Maine gets four huge points.

Getting four points on the road vaulted the Black Bears into a tie for ninth place, just two points out of sixth. It wasn’t more than a few weeks ago that the Black Bears were in the cellar.

Granted, those two wins came against a UMass team that is really struggling, and the Black Bears’ next four games come against Providence and Notre Dame. But four points is four points.