Hockey East: Thinking of Merrimack, BU and Vermont

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

1. Things are looking a lot better at Merrimack. 

The Warriors got off to a rocky start on the season with three losses: 2-1 to Sacred Heart, 4-0 to Clarkson, and 4-1 to St. Lawrence.

A look at the details made those losses look even more ominous. The loss to Sacred Heart came despite a 14-5 advantage in power play opportunities. At home. And the collective 8-1 loss to the North Country teams involved zero empty-net goals. The disparity really was that bad.

Ugly.

But all that changed with a sweep of Colgate this past weekend, 4-3 and 5-2.

2. The early “Mayday!” calls at BU weren’t warranted.

Much was expected of Boston University going into the season. The Terriers were picked to finish first in Hockey East, and one week into the season they were the number two team in the country in the USCHO poll.

But a week ago they traveled to Denver and got swept, 4-3 and 3-1. The Pioneers typically represent a tough road foe, but they had lost their first two games out of the gate, so getting swept by them did raise the BU blood pressure.

Defeating Sacred Heart on Friday, 7-0, was a good first step to calm any rattled nerves, but shutting out fourth-ranked Quinnipiac, 3-0, on Saturday is what did the trick.

All is well again at Agganis Arena.

3. Vermont might be better than I thought.

I’d pegged the Catamounts as a middle of the pack team and their opening weekend split with Clarkson affirmed that assessment. So I expected them to have a tough time at #20 Omaha this past weekend. Instead, they emerged with three out of four points.

Hockey East’s strength might well be deeper than I thought.

Kudos to the Catamounts.

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