These are the three things I think I learned this weekend (other than “triple overtime takes a long time!”).
1. Northeastern won its second Hockey East title and first since 1988.
Who’d a thunk it back when the Huskies were 1-11-2? Has there ever been a turnaround from an opening record like that to a 20-1-2 finish?
And the story isn’t over. The Huskies now travel to Cincinnati for the Midwest Regional where they will face North Dakota.
“Some poor team is going to be a number one seed tomorrow and find out they have to play Northeastern,” Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna said on Saturday night after Northeastern defeated Massachusetts-Lowell for the title. “That’s not going to be a very good reward for having a great year and finishing in the top four.”
Not that anyone in Hockey East will be feeling badly for North Dakota. The hope will be that the Huskies make that storied program feel even worse on Friday.
2. Six Hockey East teams made the NCAA tournament.
The NCHC got six teams in last year, but this is the first time Hockey East has pulled off the feat. Boston College, Providence, Boston University and Lowell had wrapped up their bids before the weekend started. Notre Dame went from a 93.1 percent favorite to a lock by the end of Friday night.
Northeastern still needed either to win the Hockey East tournament or see Michigan defeat Minnesota to keep one last at-large berth open for the Huskies. As it turned out, both happened, and the Huskies made for Hockey East’s perfect half dozen.
3. Six teams in ain’t enough.
No, I’m not talking about the possibility as of eight nights ago when Vermont was taking BC to overtime of game three in their series that Hockey East could have gotten seven teams in (adding Vermont if it won the league title).
We’ll let Joe Bertagna make this point.
“I don’t want to be a hypocrite because last year other people [the NCHC] got six in but when the smoke cleared they didn’t have anything to show for it,” Bertagna said. “So right now, we’re happy to have six in, but like a certain [BC] coach in our league says, ‘We’re about winning trophies.’
“We’ll be happiest when it’s over if we’ve got the last team standing. We have been spoiled. Last year we had the last two teams standing, and that’s what we hope for.
“It’s not just the number of teams but how many of them have a chance.”
Here’s hoping four Hockey East teams advance to the Frozen Four in Tampa and make it entirely a league affair. If that should happen, I promise to be even more insufferable than usual.