Hockey East wins this round

There were seven games between Hockey East and ECAC Hockey teams over the weekend, and the final decision went decisively to Hockey East, as the conference went 5-1-1 against ECAC Hockey teams.

To be fair, all the games were on the road, but from a league perspective, it would have been nice to see ECAC Hockey make more of a statement in the early going.

Clarkson was the only league team to return home with points against Hockey East opponents. The Golden Knights tied Providence Friday and then scored late in the third period to defeat Massachusetts-Lowell on Saturday.

The change in the way the game is called by the officials was also notable this weekend.

Niagara and Rensselaer each had nine power plays on Friday; Providence had ten against Clarkson Friday, scoring on three, while Colgate was just one-for-eleven on the man advantage in a loss to Merrimack Friday night.

On Saturday, Niagara and Union both went 0-for-8 on the power play, while Quinnipiac’s power play didn’t score on any of its twelve chances in a 3-0 loss to No.8 Boston University.

“It’s a work in progress,” QU coach Rand Pecknold told USCHO of the Bobcat’s power play struggles against the Terriers. “We got cleaned out, lost a lot of good players, and we’re trying to figure it out now. Our power play struggled tonight, and I thought BU’s kill was really good.”

Quinnipiac’s power play was fourth in the country last season, but the Bobcats have since lost Travis St. Denis and Sam Anas, who combined for 20 of the teams 47 power-play goals last year.

Rensselaer breaks through

Heading home after a pair of tough road trips to Maine and defending national champion North Dakota appeared to be just what RPI needed.

The Engineers tied Niagara 3-3 Friday and then erupted for a season-high six goals in its first win of the season Saturday against RIT. That outburst came after RPI scored eight combined goals in its previous four games.

Sophomore Evan Tironese leads the team with three goals and six assists through the first five games. He got off to a strong start last season, scoring seven points in his first six collegiate games before missing the rest of the year with an injury.

It’s early, but a healthy Tironese should be a boost to a Rensselaer team that lacked scoring depth last season.

Vecchione leading Union

It’s unfair to call last season a disappointment for Union senior Mike Vecchione. The Dutchmen captain had 29 points in 34 games, a dropoff from his 50-point sophomore year, but also played a solid two-way game as well. That translated in plenty of NHL interest in the offseason, but Vecchione chose to return for his last year of college.

It looks like he made the right decision. Vecchuine tied a career high with five points, including four goals, in a 5-2 win over Niagara Saturday. He has seven goals and four assists in his last four games, and leads all of Division I with eight goals and 13 points on the year.

Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Dutchmen through the first few weeks of the season, as Union is averaging just under four goals per game. However, its play in its own zone will need to pick up of the Dutchmen are to rebound after two disappointing seasons in a row.

Union showed signs last weekend, giving up two goals in each game, but for the season the goalies Alex Sakellaropoulos and  Jake Kupsky have combined for a 3.12 goals-against-average and a .876 save percentage.

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