Hockey East: Northeastern earns Team of the Week, soars into Top 20 nationally

After opening the season with wins over Merrimack and Boston College, the Northeastern Huskies advanced back into the national rankings for the first time in over a full season. The victories pushed NU to 2-0 on the season for the first time since taking down Bowling Green and UMass to open the 1999-00 season.

Previously ranked as the nation's No. 1 team, the Eagles dipped to third but still received three total combined first-place votes between the two rankings. In the 3-1 loss at Matthews Arena on Saturday, BC's 19-game winning streak was snapped as it fell for the first time since Jan. 21 at Maine.

The Huskies - also named Hockey East's second Team of the Week for the young season - were voted 14th in the USCHO.com Poll, while being slotted in the unofficial 16th position in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ranking.

Boston University joins the Huskies as the only team to have won a conference game this season, while UMass-Lowell and Vermont split points with a tie on Friday. The last time Northeastern had been ranked among the 20 best teams in the nation was Oct. 12, 2009 after it split a pair of games at Colorado College.

Northeastern owns the most home victories over Boston College since the start of the 2008-09 season, having beaten the Eagles on five previous occasions. The 2-1 decision on Feb. 19, 2011 also marked the most previous instance NU had topped the nation's top-ranked team.

Quebec native Kevin Roy was rewarded with the Hockey East Rookie of the Week award on Monday after scoring the game-winning goal in both games. He scored on the power play and added an assist in Wednesday's 4-2 win over No. 19 Merrimack, while recording seven shots and a +2 rating.

The Eagles still lead all Hockey East schools with their No. 3 ranking, while UML fell to No. 9/10 despite the tie to Vermont, which sat deep in the cellar of the league last season. BU checks in at No. 11 as it opened the season with a 4-2 win over Providence, thanks in large part to a three-point effort from sophomore Cason Hohmann, which included the winner.

After two wins over St. Cloud State at Whittemore Center, New Hampshire lifted itself to No. 15 as junior Dalton Speelman returned to the line-up with two goals and four total points to earn Player of the Week honors. Both goals scored by the San Jose, Calif. native came in the third period of Friday's 4-2 win over the visiting Huskies, who were returning the favor from a season ago.

A pair of freshmen shared Defensive Player of the Week honors as Providence's Jon Gillies and Vermont's Brody Hoffman each played strong in their first starts. Gillies, a South Portland, Maine native, made 14 saves in his first-career victory over Sacred Heart on Friday, while Hoffman's 38 saves helped the 'Cats in tying at Lowell.

Follow @JoshuaKummins on Twitter for Hockey East news and updates all season long.

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