The playoffs are officially upon us for four out the five conferences. Every league outside of the NCHA has a one and done format. However, the NCHA plays a unique two-game series format that is a race to three points. You get two points for a win and one for a tie. If two teams split the series whether it be a win and a loss or two ties, they play a 20-minute min-game for the final point. If there is no score in the mini-game, the two teams play sudden death overtime until a winner is decided.
Adrian is the hottest team in the country right now that no one is talking about. The Bulldogs have won nine straight games, which ties the nation’s longest winning streak along with top-ranked RIT. Adrian won both regular season meetings by scores of 7-3 and 6-4. I don’t see anything changing this time around, especially with Adrian hosting both of the games. I’ll take Adrian in a sweep.
Wis.-River Falls enters the postseason coming off a bit of a let down with a 3-1 non-conference loss to St. Thomas. The Falcons had gone unbeaten in their previous eight, but six of those games came against the bottom three teams in the NCHA so UWRF might have fallen into a bit of a trap getting away with some thing they won’t against the upper echelon teams. Still, UWRF won and tied in the regular season meetings by a score of 5-3 and 2-2. I think the Falcons roll again in this one with a sweep
Wis.-Superior boasts the NCHA Player of the Year with freshman Dani Schulz who has scored some timely goals this year for the Yellowjackets. She’ll need to stay on her game to UW-Superior try and fend off a feisty St. Norbert squad that can present problems if taken lightly. I’ll go with Wis.-Superior moving on thanks to three points with a win and a tie in the series.
St. Scholastica/Lake Forest
St. Scholastica and Lake Forest split the two games and then the Saints win it in the mini-game to advance to the NCHA final four for the first time in just their second year as a varsity program.
Southern Maine/New England College
Kristin Conners has been playing tough in between the pipes for NEC lately after Teraysa White left earlier this season. I’ll take the Pilgrims in a tight one…3-2.
Manhattanville too strong for the Beacons even though the Valiants had a tough start to the season. They are starting to play some strong hockey and last year they went on a similar run all the way to the ECAC East title. Manhattanville wins 4-2.
Norwich has never lost to Nichols and has outscore the Bison 53-2 in the six all-time meetings between the two schools. Nothing changes today and the Cadets cruise into the semifinals with a 8-1 win.
Here is the most interesting matchup to me in the ECAC East. Castleton started off the season very hot and looked like they may host a first round game and push towards the top of the league. However, the Spartans have hit a rough patch in the second half. Salve Regina is extremely tough to beat at home and they take this one 3-1.
Oswego hosts its first ever postseason game today and the Lakers ride the momentum of the hometown crowd to a 2-1 win over Neumann to advance to the ECAC West final four weekend for the first time in the program’s six-year history.
Elmira doesn’t have a repeat of last year’s disappointing ECAC West Play-In round loss and the Soaring Eagles stop Potsdam 7-0.
Bowdoin starting to play pretty well in the second half of the season and that continues today as the Polar Bears roll to a 5-1 victory.
Defending NESCAC champions start off their title defense with a romp and break two-game winless streak with a 6-0 win over Colby.
Conn. College has improved this year and has been playing some teams tight, but Amherst has way too much firepower and depth to keep up with for 60 minutes. Lord Jeffs win going away 5-0.
Trinity doesn’t get cursed by the This Week in D-III column spotlight and the Bantams take down Hamilton 3-1 to advance to the NESCAC semifinals.