The top teams in college hockey all have similar characteristics. When looking at UMass, Providence, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud, Denver and Minnesota Duluth, they all have a great defensive corp that can move the puck up ice.
While taking care of your side of the puck and transitioning up ice and holding possession are keys in the modern era of hockey, the top two Hockey East teams in the all-important Pairwise Rankings have another key piece to the puzzle.
Both UMass and Providence play a heavy game and have an agitator or two that will get under the skin of their opponents.
As the Minutemen reach unprecedented heights during the first half of the season, including a number one ranking in both major college hockey polls, a lot of the attention focused on superstar defenseman Cale Makar. The Hobey Baker frontrunner and 2017 fourth overall pick of the Colorado Avalanche certainly deserves the spotlight. His six goals and 14 assists has catapulted UMass to a 15-3-0 record.