DETROIT - APRIL 08: The Boston College Eagles bench celebrates teammate Ben Smith's goal in the first period against the Miami Redhawks on April 8, 2010 during the semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
After a month and a half of the 2010-11 college hockey season, it's time to step back and offer an initial New England College Hockey Power Rankings, where the Terriers rule.
The college hockey season has been underway for a little over a month now, so let's take a step back and see just where New England's college hockey programs stack up after the first few games of the season.
It's the New England NCAA Hockey Power Rankings after the first few games of the 2010-11 season.
1. Boston University Terriers (6-0-4, 4-0-4 Hockey East)
The Terriers are the country's last unbeaten team. Even though BU lost a good deal of its offensive production from last season, Coach Parker has the Terriers off to another fast start. Their season-opening wins over Wisconsin and Notre Dame in the Ice Breaker were impressive, but BU has since taken care of teams in the bottom half of the Hockey East standings. The Terriers have tied their last three opponents, including two head-scratching ties against Merrimack last weekend. A good test of just how good this BU team comes this weekend in a home-and-home against No. 3 New Hampshire.
2. Maine Black Bears (6-1-3, 4-0-1 Hockey East)
After getting off to a slow 1-2-1 start to the season, including a curious tie to hapless UConn, the Black Bears have rattled off five wins and are unbeaten in their last 6 games. Maine blasted a good North Dakota team in a weekend series back on Oct. 22-23, outscoring NoDak by a combined score of 11-5. The Black Bears tallied a weekend sweep of Northeastern last weekend, and will face a much tougher test this weekend as they travel to Chestnut Hill for two games against the Eagles.
3. New Hampshire Wildcats (5-1-3, 3-0-2 Hockey East)
Since losing at Miami (OH) in the season opener, the Wildcats have won five games and are unbeaten in their last eight. Along with BU and Maine, UNH is the only other unbeaten team in Hockey East play. That will likely change this weekend when the Wildcats take on the Terriers in a home-and-home. Wildcat goaltender Matt DiGirolamo recorded his first career shutout over the weekend, and appears to have won the starting job from Brian Foster.
4. Boston College Eagles (6-4-0, 4-3-0 Hockey East)
Something's not quite right with the defending national champs. Backup goaltender Parker Milner is already 0-2-0 in relief of starter John Muse, and Milner has given up 4.07 goals per game and is saving just 86.7 percent of shots. Forwards Cam Atkinson, Brian Gibbons and Joe Whitney picked up where they left off last season, but the Eagles curiously already have three conference losses in the early season and haven't hit their championship form just yet. The talent is there to win, though, and BC can make a statement this weekend when it hosts Maine for two games.
5. Yale Bulldogs (5-1-0, 2-0-0 ECAC)
Yale is off to a fast 5-1-0 start, including two conference wins and two "non-conference" wins over fellow ECAC conference members in the Ivy Shootout. Still, I'm not convinced that Yale is currently living up to its No. 5 national ranking. Yale's five wins have all come against unranked teams who have a combined 17-17-4 record, and just lost to a 3-6 Air Force team on the road. The Bulldogs have the offensive firepower to hang with anyone in the country, but they'll need more consistent goaltending if they want to make another deep run in this year's NCAA Tournament.
Maybe next week: Merrimack Warriors, Dartmouth Big Green