October 7, 2011

College power ratings: Yale starts as No. 1

Staff Report

Yale coach Keith Allain (photo: Yale Athletics)

Every Friday during the season, New England Hockey Journal will present its power ratings of the region's 20 Division 1 men's teams. The inaugural ratings appeared in the October 2011 issue of NEHJ.

1. YALE

Keith Allain (Worcester, Mass.) has built a program that doesn’t hope to get to the NCAAs every year; it expects to. Significant losses, but no reason for that optimism to change in 2011-12.

2. BOSTON UNIVERSITY

The Terriers will take the ice with their best version since the 2009 national championship team. Can the execution at Agganis live up to the expectation?

3. MAINE

The Black Bears think they have their goalie, in Dan Sullivan, and their relevance back after too many years (four) sitting out come NCAA tournament time.

4. BOSTON COLLEGE

Recruiting so much talent year in and year out is illegal in some states. BC may step back with their personnel losses but not too far back as the reloading continues.

5. QUINNIPIAC

Lots of talent and optimism back. We’ll see if anyone outside of Cornell and Yale in ECAC Hockey can keep up with the Jones boys.

6. NEW HAMPSHIRE

Another van Riemsdyk (Trevor, a defenseman) arrives in Durham. We’re more concerned about who’s going to replace the production of Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.), Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone up front.

7. DARTMOUTH

Lots to potentially like about this team, from the net on out. If goalie James Mello (Rehoboth, Mass.) can match what he did a year ago, the NCAAs could be the landing spot for the Big Green.

8. HOLY CROSS

Streaky Crusaders climbed to third place in Atlantic Hockey last season behind a 12-game unbeaten streak. They have enough back to think about at least matching that effort.

9. NORTHEASTERN

Prodigal son Jim Madigan (Milton, Mass.) returns to Huntington Ave. His biggest problem? Tyler McNeely, Wade MacLeod and Jamie Oleksiak aren’t.

10. MERRIMACK

Warriors rose to dizzying heights last season, but with players such as forward Ryan Flanigan, defenseman Karl Stollery and goalie Joe Cannata (Wakefield, Mass.), the drop shouldn’t be too great.

11. CONNECTICUT

The Huskies showed a pulse offensively last season, a nice one. The next step is keeping the puck out of their own net, starting with more protection around goalie Garrett Bartus.

12. BROWN

Now in their third year under Brendan Whittet (East Providence, R.I.), the Bears are looking for some tangible advancement after finishing 11th and ninth his first two years.

13. MASSACHUSETTS

It’s been a gray past few years for the Minutemen, who with the departure of Paul Dainton add goaltending questions to their laundry list of annual concerns.

14. VERMONT

Hard to believe the Catamounts won’t at least improve on last year’s eight wins, with good young talent like Conner Brickley (Everett, Mass.), Michael Paliotta (Westport, Conn.) and Nick Luukko.

15. HARVARD

The Crimson have managed 9, 9 and 12 wins the past three years and haven’t sniffed a league semifinal. Is coach Ted Donato’s (Dedham, Mass.) seat getting hot?

16. UMASS-LOWELL

Former assistant Norm Bazin takes over a team that hit rock bottom last season, just two years after its spirited charge to the Hockey East championship game.

17. PROVIDENCE

Nate Leaman ultimately worked wonders at Union. PC fans are hoping he can work his magic in a more timely fashion with their team, which owns the longest league playoff drought, three years now.

18. BENTLEY

The Falcons need to find the net more to avoid a third straight losing season. Forward Brett Gensler and goalie Kyle Rank are two building blocks.

19. SACRED HEART

One year after charging to the Atlantic Hockey title game, the defense collapsed for the Pioneers, who allowed a whopping 4.68 goals a game. That’s the first area to address.

20. AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL

The Yellow Jackets have won 5, 5 and 8 games the past three years but do have their top four scorers back and could move out of Atlantic Hockey purgatory if they can show any semblance of defense.