While the Eagles certainly didn't ring in the new decade in style out in Denver, there is no denying that Hockey East was dominated by BC this past decade. What you probably didn't know was just how close the decade standings were in Hockey East. Along with BC, New Hampshire, Maine and BU dominated the decade. Programs like UMass-Lowell, Providence, Merrimack and Massachusetts struggled, while Vermont has more than held their own since joining the league in 2005-2006.
Here is a look at how the programs in Hockey East fared this decade. The below standings include all games starting with the 2000-2001 season through December 31, 2009.
Hockey East All-Decade Standings (sorted by Overall Winning Percentage)
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Boston College. BC made one less NCAA Tournament appearance than New Hampshire this decade, but made the most of their 7 trips to the National tournament. 5 Frozen Fours, 4 Championship games and 2 National Titles in the 2000s. No Hockey East team won more games this decade than the Eagles. Only Michigan won more hockey games in the 2000s in Division I.
Boston University. Before finally breaking through last season and winning the National Championship, the Terriers had a lot of success this past decade with not much to show for it. BU was the fourth best program in overall winning percentage in the 2000s (.601), behind only BC, New Hampshire and Maine. The Terriers also tallied the third highest point total in Hockey East. Boston University managed 6 NCAA Tournament appearances this decade but only 1 Frozen Four appearance (but making that one appearance count).
Maine. Much of Maine's dominance occurred in the first half of the decade, with the Black Bears making 7 straight NCAA tournament appearances between 2000-2001 and 2006-2007. The last two years the program took a step back, failing to win 10 games in Hockey East play in consecutive seasons. Maine reached the Frozen Four four times and reached the title game twice, but all four times were turned away by that year's eventual National Champion.
Massachusetts. UMass only had two seasons with a winning record in Hockey East (2003-2004 and 2006-2007), with only one NCAA Tournament appearance in the decade 2006-07. The Minutemen made the most of their lone Tournament trip, knocking off Clarkson 1-0 in overtime and eventually falling to Maine in the East Regional final.
Merrimack. It was a decade to forget for the Merrimack Warriors. Merrimack was the only team this decade to fail to record double-digit wins in Hockey East. In contrast, Vermont has won 10 or more games in Hockey East in every year since they've joined Hockey East. The bottom dropped out twice for Merrimack in the 2000s. In 2004-2005, the Warriors won just 1 Hockey East game (1-22-1). Two seasons later, Merrimack won just three games all year (3-27-4).
New Hampshire. In terms of converting NCAA Tournament appearances into Frozen Four berths, UNH wins the decade's futility award. A league best 8 NCAA Tournament appearances translated into only 2 Frozen Four appearance for the Wildcats. Their first Frozen Four appearance occurred back in 2002, when a second seeded UNH team needed only one win over Cornell to advance to the final four (back in 2002, the tournament was still a 12-team field). Their second appearance was the following year, when UNH made it all the way to the title game, falling to Minnesota. New Hampshire won more Hockey East games than any other program this past decade.
Northeastern. The Huskies capitalized on the outstanding goaltending of Hobey Baker finalize Brad Theissen (now with the Penguins organization) last year to make their only NCAA Tournament appearance of the decade. Northeastern tallied double digit wins in Hockey East only 4 of the 9 seasons. The low point of the decade came in 2005-2006, when the Huskies went 3-17-3 in Hockey East and 0-7-0 in non-conference play.
Providence. For a program that twice went to the Frozen Four in the 1980s, the Providence Friars have seen better days. PC got to the postseason once this past decade and that was quite some time ago (2000-2001). Since then, the Friars have only 3 winning seasons and haven't finished the season over .500 since 2005-2006 when they finished one game over .500 (17-16-3). The good news? After only winning a decade worst 7 games in 2008-2009, the Friars have already matched their win total from last season with wins over Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Lowell, Brown and Massachusetts, among others. The bad news? PC still sits in last place in the Hockey East standings and stands to miss out on the Hockey East tournament for the second straight season.
UMass Lowell. Lowell only has had four winning seasons in Hockey East this decade. The program is on the upswing though with a strong performance in 2008-2009 and an equally fast start this season. Lowell made only its second appearance in the Hockey East tournament championship last season (falling to Boston University).
Vermont. After joining the league in 2005-2006, Vermont has slowly built a strong Hockey East contender. The Catamounts have bested their Hockey East point total in each of their first four years in the league (26 in 2005-06, 29 in 2006-07, 31 in 2007-08, and 34 in 2008-209). Not bad for a program that went 3-26-2 in 2001-2002.