The Hockey East quarterfinals are in the books and our field is set for the 27th Hockey East Championship at the TD Garden. Three of the top four seeds advanced, the lone exception being Northeastern’s three-game win over No. 3 Boston University.
I wrote a blog about NU winning the opening game of the series on Thursday and a number of people commented that they didn’t see that win as an upset given how well the Huskies were playing heading into the series and the struggles that BU had down the stretch. I do agree with this and wasn’t overly surprised that the Huskies were able to rebound from Friday’s loss with a game three victory last night.
Outside of NU-BU. there wasn’t a ton of first round drama in the quarterfinals. Merrimack and Maine, which most considered the best series, had a great atmosphere, but in the end the Warriors crushed the Black Bears in game two.
Boston College and New Hampshire both had tight second games in their respective series. In the end, though, the better team prevailed.
Now, we’ll have an excellent final four this weekend upcoming with Northeastern and BC playing in Friday’s early game and UNH and Merrimack playing in the nightcap. We’ll have more previewing these games as the week goes on.
While those four teams will continue practicing and playing, two clubs that maybe shouldn’t put their equipment on moth balls for the offseason are BU and Maine.
Using USCHO.com’s PairWise Predictor, one of the most addictive toys on the internet this time of year, there are scenarios under which either Maine and BU (though not both) could make the NCAA tournament.
Both are predicated on two major components: Colorado College being eliminated in their first game in the WCHA tournament on Thursday night and Dartmouth losing both the semifinal and consolation games of the ECAC tournament. There may be instances where this might not be true (like you, I haven’t had the time to run every possible scenario), but every instance I’ve found that let either Maine or BU into the tournament need these two criteria to be met.
I always wonder if coaches in this era where computers can run hundreds of thousands of scenarios to determine their fate continue to practice if there is a glimmer of hope. For BU and Maine, the possibilities of their season continuing aren’t all too far fetched (some may remember New Hampshire was in a similar position last year and all of the stars aligned for the Wildcats). But we do know that neither team controls their own fate, which is probably the biggest frustration for any coach.