Hockey East picks – Nov. 14-20

Okay, it’s time to stop the bleeding. Over the last three week’s Dave has begun a run of domination that needs to be stopped right now. I’m only three games back, but if the bleeding doesn’t get  stopped soon it could be a disaster.

Jim last week: 7-5-2
Jim to-date: 47-24-7
Dave last week: 9-3-2
Dave to-date: 50-21-7

Friday, November 14

Notre Dame at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: The Warriors are proving that Lawler continues to be a difficult place to play. But that’s still not enough for me to pick against Notre Dame, particularly with the Irish hungry after being swept at Minnesota.
UND 4, MC 2
Dave’s pick: I, too, am going with the Irish. They win their first road game.
UND 3, MC 2

Vermont at Providence
Jim’s pick: This might be the toughest series of the weekend to pick. My gut says it is going to be a split, but knowing which team will win each night is difficult. No particularly reason, but I’ll go with the home team on night one.
PC 3, UVM 2
Dave’s pick: I’ve belatedly become a believer in the Catamounts, but I started the season believing in the Friars. It’s time for their record to better reflect their play.
PC 3, UVM 2

Boston University at Maine
Jim’s pick: Similar to Merrimack, Maine has defended home ice well. But I still think BU is a step above the Black Bears.
BU 5, Maine 3
Dave’s pick: Home ice isn’t enough to slow down the 5-1-1 Terriers.
BU 4, Maine 2

Northeastern at New Hampshire
Jim’s pick: Neither team has played to well at this point, but at least New Hampshire has found the win column a few times.
UNH 3, NU 1
Dave’s pick: In the preseason, I thought both of these teams would finish at least in the middle of the pack. Instead, they have a single league point between them. When teams struggle, go with home ice.
UNH 2, NU 1

Boston College at Michigan State
Jim’s pick: At lot of this matchup depends on the health of goaltender Thatcher Demko. With him, BC wins. Without him, I’m not so sure. I’m going to bet on him getting back to health after battling a viral infection.
BC 2, MSU 1
Dave’s pick: Could the Eagles actually lose a fifth straight game? I just can’t believe it.
BC 2, MSU 1

Sacred Heart at Connecticut (at Watertown, Conn.)
Jim’s pick: I get nervous picking against Sacred Heart sometimes when they play Hockey East teams. But I think UConn will beat this in-state rival.
UC 4, SHU 2
Dave’s pick: UConn’s win over BC and tie with BU opened my eyes. Wide. Very wide.
UC 4, SHU 1

Penn State at Massachusetts-Lowell
Jim’s pick: Penn State is hot out of the gate, but Lowell is hotter. And at home.
UML 4, PSU 1
Dave’s pick: Even if Penn State is 5-1-2, Lowell will be 7-1-2.
UML 3, PSU 1

Saturday, November 15

Notre Dame at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: May pay for picking against Merrimack at home, but I have to take that chance.
UND 3, MC 2
Dave’s pick: This is a very tough call, but I’m going with Notre Dame and a road sweep.
UND 2, MC 1

New Hampshire at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: Northeastern will get in the win column eventually. But I can’t pick that happening this weekend.
UNH 4, NU 3
Dave’s pick: I’m not sure what to make of the Huskies, but they’re going to have to win at least one game before I pick them.
UNH 3, NU 2

Vermont at Providence
Jim’s pick: Here is the split pick that I know I will regret.
UVM 3, PC 2
Dave’s pick:  This isn’t an intentional Four Corners Offense to protect my lead. I’m sooo tempted to go with a Providence sweep, but I’ve doubted Vermont too much this year.
UVM 2, PC 1

Penn State at Massachusetts-Lowell
Jim’s pick: It will be closer in the second game of this series, but I think Lowell can sweep.
UML 3, PSU 2
Dave’s pick: I don’t even think it will be close.
UML 4, PSU 1

Tuesday, November 18

Rensselaer at Connecticut
Jim’s pick: I can’t figure out RPI this season. And thus, I’m going with the Huskies at home.
UC 3, RPI 2
Dave’s pick: UConn can’t really be this good, can it?
UC 2, RPI 1

Thursday, November 20

Massachusetts-Lowell at Notre Dame
Jim’s pick: Another really tough series that I feel may be a split. I have an entire week to think about how I’m going to pick the second game of the series. But for game one, I’m going with the River Hawks.
UML 3, UND 2
Dave’s pick: I suppose the percentages say to go with Notre Dame at home, but the River Hawks have looked too good and the Irish have been too inconsistent.
UML 4, UND 3 (OT)

186 COMMENTS

  1. Jason, is there no longer the “6 teams from a conference” provision that basically allows first round matchups within a conference?

    • This rule is still in effect and it’s for five or more teams from one conference. The WCHA has frequently had 5 teams in the tournament for his blog posts, but I don’t think Jayson has mentioned this rule even once. The rule states that bracket integrity takes precedence over avoiding matchups, but for some reason, Jayson continues to say that we need to avoid intraconference matchups in the first round. However, with 6 WCHA teams in, it’s simply not true if the matchup involves two WCHA schools.

      • Cant imagine Gops fans would be thrilled to see Wisconisin in first round…although I think they would be more likely to keep UND and Denver (8v9) and put them in with Minn and Yale.

        • The way the Badgers are playing right now, I’d be less than thrilled with that opening round matchup. I could definitely see the committee using/abusing the 5-team rule to put Minn, UND, and Denver all in Grand Rapids, which would be a travesty in my opinion.

          • Denver is a pretty poor team in my opinion though…probably one of the bottom 4 teams in the field. I have seen them like 3 times this year and they are just very unimpressive. Gophs, Huskies and Wisconsin are the cream of the crop in the WCHA this year. UND is good…but for there standards not as strong as normal. Just an opinion…so UND fans dont jump all up in my business.

          • I will point out that I saw Bemidji State in a Frozen Four with my own eyes and that my RIT friends saw them at a Frozen Four with their own eyes, too.

            One hot goaltender for four games.

          • Nobody wants to play Wisconsin right now. I will just be happy if the Gophers show up and play the game that they are capable of playing. Sometimes I am more worried about that than the opposition!

  2. One could say that BC can beat all the other three in its bracket. But they can lose to any of those three just as easily. The Eagles ought to be happy they’re boarding a bus rather than a plane. Also, some seem to be saying, “Let’s put Michigan in there for ‘old-time’s sake.'” Yes…and we’ll deal with BU’s demand for the same treatment sometime later…

    • Exactly. Hard to feel sorry for a team with a losing record. They’ve had there share of NCAA good fortune over the years.

    • Those that say “Let’s put Michigan in there” know nothing about the way the selections must be made. It is the one concrete thing the committee has no choice.

    • BU and its fans expressed nothing of the kind in these threads. We BU alumni know that the price for a terrible January/February stretch against Harvard and Northeastern was being outside the top sixteen.

      Seeing Merrimack in the Hockey East quarter finals, we knew that the TUC cliff was in play. The rules were clear and we all knew we had to beat Lowell in the finals. We did not and we are watching other teams play.

  3. Toledo is a very tough bracket if it lines up this way. ND, Miami and SCSU are all very legit teams…and Mankato can play with anyone. No easy games there. Manchester is also tough as Lowell would be my tourny favorite but might have to beat the hottest team in hockey (wisconsin) and then beat NH at home. being a WCHA snob…Denver is the weakest of the WCHA teams in my opinion.

  4. – No WCHA teams in the East region
    – Union and Quinny in the same region
    – Miami and ND in the same region
    – UM-L and UNH in the same region

    All major lame-ness.

    The fun of the NCAAs is playing teams you don’t play much.

    No one wants conference re-matches in the second round.

    • Every year is the same old garbage. The NCAA committee goes by no criteria, and certainly doesn’t care about conference re-matches. The only standard they use is that the #1 seeds get “home” sites. The other quadrants (5-8. 9-12, 13-16) they put where they want in the excuse of ATTENDANCE.

      • Yes, and as long as attendance is a large factor then we will have this discussion every year. Of course they could just have the games at neutral sites that have shown the propensity to drawn a good crowd in the past, but that would be too easy.

        • Is there such thing as a “neutral site”? Unless you are thinking the Forum, the Pond, or Jobing.Com arena? Only those sites in the far west could be considered neutral.

          • Well, not in that sense, no. But if they are not on campus and no in some location where attendance is an overriding concern, that would at least remove the issue from the selection committee. For DU the Pepsi Center would be a good option. Is that neutral, it is in the fact that it is not on campus. But places like the Pond, I remember when the Frozen Four was there and there were like 8 people in the crowd. What purpose does that serve?

          • next years regional sites: west: Denver, Midwest Grand Forks, East: Excel center Northeast: Green Bay, Hell why not 4 sites west of lake Michigan

          • Would have to find another arena in Grand Forks. The Ralph is Olympic size ice surface, NCAA never uses anything but NHL ice in Regionals and FF.

          • You are correct, held there 3 times. In 2000 it was scheduled for new XCEL but arena was not ready. Normally they keep away from larger ice.

          • Last time it was at Mariucci was 2005. I agree that they keep away from the larger ice, although I am not sure why.

          • Yes, the west got screwed. Expanding the base never seems to do so. I am in NH, but didn’t understand 2 regionals near each other ( Michigan and Ohio ) and nothing west of Chicago. Stupid.

      • if Eastern fans loved hockey as much as western fans we wouldn’t have to worry about attendance, WCHA dominates in attendance figures

          • Around here, Minnesota, the media doesn’t cover it enough for average sports fans to be interested. We have 5 DI programs, 3 likely in the tournament, and we’re saturated in basketball coverage. Get better coverage and the sport would grow.

          • Same in New England. College Hockey is more popular than Basketball, but the local TV stations cover BB more. I don’t get it.

          • Andy, that is the main problem. The NCAA only cares about butts in the seats, not expanding the fan base. I would love to see a couple of regionals in an “expansion” area but there would be too many empty seats for NCAA’s liking.

          • wouldn’t even need to be in an expansion area. I’m a Gopher fan, but I’d love to see a regional in Duluth or St Cloud. There’s hockey in Iowa. Set up a regional there.

          • Iowa? Ugh. Putting one in Chicago makes more sense than that. At least the fans wouldn’t want to commit ritual suicide in a corn field after the games.

          • No regionals in Duluth or st cloud or iowa.. We need more regionals in Grand Forks or Denver.. Trust me.. look at the past attendance #’s

        • Much bigger schools. Hockey East has pretty good attendance numbers. ECAC and AHC do not. The CCHA does not have great numbers outside the 2 huge Michigan schools.

          • It has little to do with school size and a lot to do with local interest. CC is a small private college that averages 6000+ fans per game. That is about double their enrollment! Denver is another modest-sized institution that averages 6000 or so per game. Same with St. Cloud and Duluth. Then there’s UND, a school roughly comparable to BU in terms of enrollment – and they lead the nation in attendance.

            Yes, MN and WI are up there in attendance and are big schools to be sure, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    • FYI- Here’s the current committee. Make of it what you will.
      • Tom Nevala, Notre Dame associate athletic director (chair)
      • Col. William Walker, Air Force deputy athletic director
      • Rand Pecknold, Quinnipiac coach
      • Kevin Sneddon, Vermont coach
      • Rick Goeb, Bemidji State athletic director

    • 6 WCHA teams in and you are still whining??? Give me a break. For Lowell to win it they probably need to beat UW, Denver, Minnesota ( or UND ) just to get into the final. They keep some teams in the same region to (try) get better attendance. No more WCHA whining please. I hate to say it, but BC will play Minnesota in the final. There are 3 tough Regionals then there is BC cruising in the East Region. Lowell got screwed, but the WCHA did not. Last time they had 6 teams, they went 3-6 and had 1 team in the Frozen Four.

      • Please explain Lowell getting “screwed.” No. 3 vs. No. 14 is true bracket integrity. Who would you like to play, Canisius? Don’t be so sure about playing Denver either, UNH has beaten them this year already. Not saying it will happen again, but could. Two ill advised penalties kept UNH from Boston. Hopefully they can both pull the first one out, would love to see another UNH/UML game.

      • Stop repeating yourself. At least you finally realized the WCHA sent a team to the frozen four in the six-team year, so there is SOME hope for you, albeit very little.

  5. Brackets are better with a Notre Dame with rather than Michigan, but I don’t get how you can put 2 WCHA teams in each bracket, but somehow put none in the East regional?

    • That’s lame. Just cause there was an all wcha final four once in a hundred years? Are you really that worried the wcha will win every region?

      • I think the committee wants to avoid any conference getting the majority of frozen four teams. However, it turns out yearly that the WCHA gets 4-5 in while others have about 3, so you often find at least 1 or if they can 2 regions without WCHA teams, even if it messes with bracket integrity

        • well next year that will change. No WCHA I think it will be interesting to see how the Big 10 fairs next year. They will have a chance to schedule a lot of non-conference games. NCHC should be a very good league

      • And how many times has there been an all HE, or all ECAC FF?? That would be NOT ONCE in a hundred years. If you can read, take a look at all Regionals since 2005 and you will never see a WCHA team in every regional. You would probably call that a coincidence, right?

        • If you can read, you’d know that there was a wcha team in every regional in 2008.
          West regional had CC
          Midwest had UND, DU, and UW
          East had SCSU
          Northeast had MN

  6. Obviously I am a UND hockey fan. Everyone will rag on UND-MN being in the same region. Obviously both fan bases dont want this, but lets instead look at Quinnipiac. How unfair is it they have the 6 team in their region. So much for “bracket intergrity” to protect the #1 seed. Quinnipiac fans should be upset they got BC instead of UND.

  7. Step 1: Determine the field.
    Step 2: Assign seeds.
    Step 3: Place 1 seed in regions based on geography / host teams.
    Step 4: Attendance! Attendance! Attendance!
    Step 5: Eat some pizza
    Step 6: Take a nap
    Step 1950103: Bracket Integrity.

    • Well done. HEA fan here loving your humor. We true East Coast Hockey Fans are big Dakota fans. The UMaine fans will never forget in 2001 when UND came to Alfond and skated onto the ice and every (After Coach Walsh passed away) player uniform had Walsh for the name on the back of Jersey. It was classiest move I have seen in sports. Your fan base is awesome and mostly classy and truly love the sport. So a public thank you and letting you know that the”Sioux” have a big fan base in the east. I go to the Frozen Four every year I hang out with Dakota fans out of respect. (The Dakota Jerseys were auctioned off and raised $50K for cancer research). Lets have a great tourney!!

      • I didn’t know of this. I like to believe my fellow fans and Sioux team are a classy bunch. North Dakota often gets criticized for their rough style of play and boozing. People forget that most of these young kids are Canadians and or considered gods on campus. I’ve always been told a hockey game up in Maine is one of the best to see, with the some of the loudest fans in college hockey.

        • Alfond rocks, even when the Black Bears are down. This BU alum appreciates all schools and all leagues. I even appreciate everything BC has done, although I am not personally happy with any BC success.

          • Great Post. The BU / UMaine rivalry is awesome on the Ice. There has been bad blood but the games are just intense and I love them and have great respect. Jack even grew on us. New Blood will be good. Miss Walter Brown even tho Agannis is best overall arena in Conf. Till next year.

          • I have never seen a game at Agganis as I. Moved to Northern Virginia. I LOVED Walter Brown Arena for games. Section Eight was awesome. Glad that it is now the home for the Women’s program.

            I will see a game there soon, just not sure when.

        • Every good Hockey Program that is not in the city has athletes that are a little rough and party a bit too much. City schools have issues as well. I am a Boston kid who played hoops @ UMaine. I was no Angel but reading about other Athletes at city schools I am comfortable with what we did. UND plays a different style than your conference. Dean Blais liked a few players with an edge. Nothing wrong with that. UMaine and BU do as well. Hockey has many nuances and that is the beauty of it!

          • J, I have to make the trip to Engall. I have heard it is a true hockey experience. Alfond is definitely worth a trip someday as well. It has an Old School Hockey Barn feel to it. It’s newer and bigger than the older arenas but it was built to mix the old with new. Good time. I also know who the coach is at UND. I was just saying Dean seemed to set the tone for the program and it has continued. Kind of like it.

    • Never happen.. The committee can do a lot of stupid things but they HAVE to take the top 16 PWR, minus autobids. Thank goodness they at least have to go by that criteria, or they would make it a lot worse and screw it up beyond repair.

  8. So guys. This whole “anti-WCHA conspiracy” motivated by some vague “fear” of an all-WCHA frozen four is total bogus. Now let’s talk about why.

    Basically, it doesn’t make much sense. If you look at the results from the NCAA tournaments of the past ten years or so, you will notice a couple of things:

    For one, look at (i) the number of WCHA teams in the tournament; (ii) the number of potential frozen four berths claimable by WCHA teams; and (iii) the number of frozen four berths ACTUALLY claimed by WCHA teams. You will see that relatively rarely have WCHA teams claimed all the potential frozen four berths available to them: 2005 (4) and 2006 (2). Most of the time, that does not happen. Average number of WCHA participants since 2000 is just under 5, average potential WCHA FF berths is just over 3, and average ACTUAL berths claimed is about 1.4. And this is even WITH the fact that when there’s two WCHA teams in one regional, it should make it MORE likely that at least one WCHA team moves on, which is what happened in 06, when they made up 50% of each regional that they moved on from. Even so, you just don’t see it happening.

    So what does this mean? It means it doesn’t make any sense to totally screw up brackets out of fear that something that is unlikely to happen, has only happened once, and has shown no real signs of ever happening again, somehow might happen. WCHA teams just don’t claim all the potential spots often enough for someone to look at it and say to themselves, “This is a problem that requires affirmative intervention, so we’re going to screw over MN & UND.”

    Second, in 2008, six WCHA teams WERE put in four regions. So why would this conspiracy not care in 08, but then care every other year? Why would they not care in 08, but then five years later, people are like “oh wait! remember 2005? That thing that’s not really shown much likelihood of happening again? That we didn’t care about in 2008 for some reason? We should be AFRAID of that!”

    Finally, there’s an alternative explanation. They care about attendance, and because of that they seem to look at geography, and if geography is correlated with conference affiliation then placing teams with attendance in mind will bring about a concentration of conferences in regionals.

    Now granted, I agree with everyone who thinks this is dumb. I think they should just seed the teams and then place according to seeds. Avoiding first round interconference matchups makes sense to me, but everything else should just be according to the seeding. That said though, it’s time to give it a rest with the conspiracy stuff.

  9. So much for “bracket integrity” and protecting the number one overall by putting the 8 seed in their bracket. Love how they try and move boston college closer to home so their fans will maybe show up. Bet they still have a half full arena in providence

  10. This is the time of year Gopher fans cry foul about a potential regional game against The Mighty Sioux.
    Each bracket will have a possible conference matchup so grab a tissue and just play the game .

  11. So…BU and Michigan are out. Couldn’t be happier. Thought for sure the refs would tilt the ice for Scandal Jack and BU. And that Mich would be given a break to keep their streak alive; good PR, U know? ( well, it WAS Notre Dame).
    It’s a brave new world.
    Go Dutchmen!!!

    • about the entire year…not just this weekend or one series. IN the end my SCSU huskies almost won the WCHA and missed the tourney. This is because they were terrible in non-conference. You have to look at everything. Trust me SCSU was 3-1 against Denver and 2-0 against Minnesota State Mankato…but they are a lower seed.

  12. the east bracket is a joke and wouldnt pay to see these games. The only way ill go is if North Dakota comes. I live in RI and would rather drive to NH to see the better games

  13. Disappointed BU didn’t make it in but very excited for our 3 representative teams. With HE getting assigned high seeds, hopefully UM-L or UNH can win it all. I wouldn’t mind BC doing well, but I’d rather see a different team win it to give more validity to our conference.

  14. Hey, would everyone stop with the bracket complaining….it gets so annoying and it is totally senseless. It’s not perfect and it never will be under the current set up. I’m a Sioux fan and I think we do not have one thing to complain about. There are other teams in the NT that were mistreated…in a manner of speaking….far worse than the Sioux were. Listen, the Sioux are like many teams in the NT……good team but did not win when they needed (not enough wins anyway). When you are not a #1 seed all bets are off. This is just the way it has been and it’s how things will be until a new format is brought forth. For now, let’s just be happy “our” respective teams are in the NT and let’s hope everybody plays their best. Besides, I don’t think there is truly a home ice advantage with any of these locations. If BC had to play at The Ralph, for example, that would be unfair. But, these regionals are not that well attended so I just don’t think there is much advantage other than the #1 seeds (and host teams) don’t have to travel as far. Is this some kind of huge advantage? I don’t know…I suppose a slight advantage…??
    As it stands the NT is set so maybe we can start talking about pairings instead of complaining about the brackets. With this being said, can somebody from Niagara tell me about your team? I have not seen Niagara play this year…..appreciate some insight with your team…TIA.

    • Niagara U lost to Michigan by one and tied them. Beat and Tied Clarkson. Tied and lost to Bowling Green. Lost to Colgate at the start of the season. Lost only 5 in conference games all season (6 if you include the AHA tourney).(www.purpleeagles.com) Currently, the Purple Eagles are on a 22 game unbeaten streak on home ice. That is tied for 5th all time. Historically NU has played in the big show three times: 2000 (at large bid: went to the elite 8, lost to North Dakota – they won the national champ. that year ), 2004(auto bid for CHA: Lost first round to BC), and 2008(auto bid for CHA: Lost first round to Michigan).

  15. Can someone tell me who the brain child is that scheduled the Maine/BU game on a Friday night when neither team is playing on Saturday? Sometimes I just shake my head at the way these games are scheduled.

  16. Jimmy – you are missing an opportunity to catch up with Dave. Penn State’s goalie, Skoff can steal a game if necessary. Penn State has size, skill and speed. I watched them dismantle UConn 7-1 in October. Think about it.

    • I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to Lowell but no one steals from us. We pulled them apart in their barn last year but tonight they are visiting us. That Christmas miracle is a little too early to grant.

      • Well, it’s not Skoff and it’s not over, but that Christmas miracle may indeed happen. Must be ugly at Tsongas right now…

          • Not a fan of either and don’t really care. Don’t need to know your life story either. I was just making a comment. How quickly the “no one steals from us” turned into “Wouldn’t know.”

          • Wrong again and I very much enjoy life. I see it didn’t take you long to write back last night or this morning for someone who seems not to care much. Enjoy your Sunday and don’t be so bitter, it’s only college hockey.

          • Me neither and that’s a different board anyways. I just enjoy the “friendly” banter on here, no harm meant.

    • There is an obvious class difference between UConn and UML. Despite being the first series of the year, UConn has received more glances from all of us with the recent two games against BC and BU. I think Penn State will have to do more than have Skoff steal a game to attempt getting a point this weekend.

      • I believe Lowell has an excellent team and has the horses and system to perhaps win Hockey East. They literally crushed a very skilled Northeastern team last week. Ordinarily, had I not had a chance to see Penn State play UConn at Penn State last month, (yes they have a beautiful arena , perfect for college hockey) I would agree with you. Once you see how skilled and fast a game Penn State plays, all bets are off. I didn’t see either Penn State / Lowell games this weekend. All I know is they split which didn’t surprise me.
        With today’s technology, every college hockey game should be televised. In high definition.

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