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College Hockey:
Streaking Eagles, sweeps and a PairWise party

Seeing as I don’t care about Bruno Mars, I’ll take this opportunity at halftime of the Super Bowl to tell you about three things I do care about that I learned this past weekend:

1. Eagles, Gaudreau streaking towards a title

I was a tad bit concerned on Friday night that two of the nation’s longest streaks might end. But both Boston College and forward/Hobey favorite Johnny Gaudreau both kept streaks alive. BC eked out a 2-0 win at Providence to stretch its unbeaten streak to 12 games. And a late third-period insurance goal by Johnny Gaudreau extended the forward’s point streak to a nation’s best 21 games. Both look like they are closing in on hardware as BC has created measurable distance over second-place Northeastern and Massachusetts-Lowell for the regular-season crown (eight point lead, six games remaining). And Gaudreau continues to shine, each day closing in on an easy-vote Hobey Baker.

2. Sweeps follow splits

A week after five different Hockey East series ended in splits, both two-game series played this weekend were sweeps. UMass Lowell beat Merrimack back-to-back nights in a home-and-home series while New Hampshire took two from Notre Dame at home. Both teams that came out on top (both hampered by significant injuries) took major steps forward. The River Hawks are now tied with Northeastern for second place in Hockey East with a game in hand (and they’ll need to come out ahead as NU owns the tie breaker). New Hampshire, meanwhile, moved into fourth place, a key spot that could translate not only into a first-round bye in the Hockey East playoffs, but also a home ice spot in the quarterfinals.

3. Pairwise still looking positive

When the Pairwise premiered this season and six Hockey East teams were above college hockey’s version of the Mendoza Line, we all knew it would be far-fetched to see all six make the NCAA field. Personally, I felt that the remaining league play would likely mean at least half of the eight Hockey East teams in contention for NCAA bids would fall out quickly. But three weeks later, I’m still very optimistic that Hockey East will be extremely well represented in the NCAA field. BC and Lowell are quickly working towards becoming NCAA locks, while Northeastern and Providence are still in the top 11. Even though Notre Dame fell out of the top 15, New Hampshire jumped into the 14th spot. Plenty of hockey to play, but I really like the way the Pairwise is trending.

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