Hockey East picks – Jan. 16-21

Jim and I disagreed on only two picks last weekend and going into the third period, it looked like I’d widen my lead by two. As visions of a six-game lead danced in my head, one of those wins became a tie and the other a loss.  A pox on the Black Bears and Dartmouth!

I should have been a weenie and just duplicated every one of Jim’s picks. Next time…

Dave last week: 7-5-3
Jim last week: 8-4-3
Dave’s record-to-date: 112-51-16
Jim’s record-to-date: 109-54-16

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Jan. 16

Boston College at Boston University 
Dave’s pick: NESN sure picked a great game to telecast. Two highly ranked archrivals. Although BC’s undefeated streak is at seven (and BU’s at five), I think this comes down to more than home ice advantage. The BU power play decides this one.
BU 3, BC 2
Jim’s pick: This is a difficult game to pick because a part of me thinks that BC is playing the better hockey right now, but I don’t have a large enough sample size from BU to judge. That said, I need to gain some ground on Dave and there aren’t enough marginal games like this one to differ.
BC 4, BU 2

Massachusetts-Lowell at Maine
Dave’s pick: For a few years, Maine was Lowell’s kryptonite, but not anymore. Maine’s struggles continue; Lowell’s success does, too.
UML 4, UM 1
Jim’s pick: Lowell has struggled in Orono, but coming off a loss at UConn, I have to think Lowell will be very prepared for this test..
UML 3, UM 1

New Hampshire at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: I think the Wildcats are a lot better than their record. Their only loss in the last five games was to 12th-ranked Nebraska-Omaha. I see them making a significant move up the standings.
UNH 4, UMass 2
Jim’s pick: UNH is playing its best hockey of the season. UMass had a good comeback last Friday but I still think that UNH will be a goal better.
UNH 4, UMass 3

Northeastern at Vermont
Dave’s pick: Northeastern has impressed of late, but Vermont has gotten it done all year. With the Catamounts 7-1 at home, this looks like a tough weekend for the Huskies.
UVM 4, NU 2
Jim’s pick: If this was at NU, I’m picking the Huskies given the direction of both teams. But at Vermont, that Cats have played very well.
UVM 3, NU 2

Connecticut at Notre Dame 
Dave’s pick: I’m this close to picking a Huskies sweep of this long-distance home-and-home series. Especially with Notre Dame a game under .500 at home. But I have to think that with three straight losses the Irish play with an extra sense of desperation.
ND 2, UConn 1 (OT)
Jim’s pick: I agree with Dave. Notre Dame better be more desperate at home.
NU 3, UConn 1

Quinnipiac at Merrimack 
Dave’s pick: Quinnipiac may be 15-6-1, but Merrimack just recently toppled Minnesota on its own ice and tied BU. Plus, the Warriors are 7-1-1 at home. Go Warriors!
MC 3, QU 2
Jim’s pick: Home ice dictates this decision. Merrimack is just nasty at Lawler.
MC 4, QU 2

Saturday, Jan. 17

Massachusetts at New Hampshire
Dave’s pick: UNH makes it 5-1-1 over its last seven.
UNH 4, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: There are so many tough decisions this weekend yet somehow Dave and I are mostly in agreement.
UNH 3, UMass 1

Merrimack at Quinnipiac
Dave’s pick: I’d love to pick the Warriors to sweep, but I think this ends as a home-team-holds-serve split.
QU 3, MC 2
Jim’s pick: I never love splits, but this series certainly feels like one.
QU 4, MC 2

Northeastern at Vermont
Dave’s pick: Perhaps the Huskies can salvage a split, but I don’t think so. Vermont goes to 9-1 in its own barn.
UVM 3, NU 1
Jim’s pick: This is one tough stretch for NU. A win in one of the games against BC would give me hope, but I really think Vermont is better.
UVM 3, NU 2

Sunday, Jan. 18

Notre Dame at Connecticut 
Dave’s pick: It’s a shame that this matchup is at Bridgeport instead of the Civic Center, but either way the Huskies come out on top.
UConn 2, ND 1
Jim’s pick: I agree with Dave and for that reason, I’m actually picking the sweep that gets the Irish back on track (and keeps them very much in the Hockey East hunt with plenty of games in hand).
ND 3, UConn 2

Massachusetts-Lowell at Boston University
Dave’s pick: This one comes down to nothing more than the home ice edge.
BU 3, UML 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: I should honestly pick this one as a tie because I think both teams are evenly matched. But that would be just stupid. So as Dave says, home ice wins.
BU 3, UML 2

Boston College at Maine
Dave’s pick: The Black Bears are 10th in team offense and 11th in team defense. Even the Alfond crowd won’t make this one a W.
BC 4, Maine 1
Jim’s pick: I think BC is turning on the jets at the right time.
BC 4, Maine 2

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Merrimack at Boston College
Dave’s pick: This could be closer than many expect, but I still see the Eagles emerging with the win.
BC 3, MC 2
Jim’s pick: At home, this one should be BC’s.
BC 4, MC 2

98 COMMENTS

  1. Miami was at home last weekend against Providence and its important to note Miami also swept Michigan in Oxford last year in November

  2. Lake Superior State is notorious for playing half a weekend. This season is no different, with solid 4-2 and 2-0 wins on the first two Fridays, and then being absolutely manhandled 8-4 and 5-0. I think the Lakers come out and get the big win to open the weekend, but expect more of the same inconsistency from them on Saturday. I’m calling a split on this one.

  3. Tech and MSU are #1 and #2 in the pairwise. That will be a great matchup in Houghton next weekend. I’ll bet nobody saw the WCHA having a #1-#2 matchup in conference play.

  4. I share your hesitancy about BU. It is a talented team that makes the kind of mistakes young teams do: sluggish first periods, too many penalties and lapses in attention, especially on the power play. There is also a little pressing at home, in front of the fans,

    Having said that, BU is the better team this year, with an opportunity gain some ground at the top of Hockey East and the Pairwise rankings.

    Go BU!

    • BC is a much better team than they were the first time these teams met. BC was also in the middle of a funk. If this was a neutral site, I’d probably pick BU but BC OWNS Agganis.

      • Quinn has finally created a top moving Rodrigues with Eichel and O’Regan. They will start playing 20+ minutes a night. This is scary. This line is much better then the Neito, O.Regan, Rodrigues two years ago. Don’t be surprised when this line gets 6 plus points a night. This is the best line in Collage Hockey. All 3 will be playing Pro hockey somewhere next year (only Jack in the NHL).

  5. Maine has been better of late winning 4 of 6. This is mostly the same team as last year with exception of young goaltending. Do you recall BC coming into Alfond and getting smoked last year? Maine has also had Lowell’s number, even with the struggles over the past half decade, always play Lowell tough. Maine should have beaten Lowell this year and if not for yet another blown 3rd period lead on the road would have. This team seems to be playing with everyone and so close to puting it together. First half schedule was brutally tough and they were in position to bat BU twice, Lowell and Vermont in a couple games. I am holding optimism, albeit tiny pieces that this team is close and playing close games with highly ranked foes.

    • With that being said I realize it is hard to pick Maine, just saying I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Maine won or two this weekend or if they got hammered both nights. Nothing surprises me with this team except the 4-5 record when leading after two periods. Dreadful!

    • Maine entered the United States along with Missouri as part of the Missouri Compromise. Missouri is known as the “show me” state. Maine will also have to “show me” because I don’t have much faith they’ll do anything special. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  6. Massachusetts at New Hampshire 6:30 ET NBCSN

    What UNH or UMass Alum is working for NBC?? There will be more people in the stands than watching this one on TV across the country. There may be more people in the restroom at any given time than watching this one on TV.

  7. I’ll keep up my weekly rant on Bowling Green’s undeserving PWR rating. A loss and a tie to Bemidji St last weekend and they stay at #6 in the PWR.

  8. Northeast Regional (Manchester):
    13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha(1 Seed)
    11 Harvard vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth(2 Seed)

    Mass-Lowell to Manchester: 33 Miles

    Harvard to Manchester: 52 Miles

    NCAA saying no campus arenas because they want regionals to be played at neutral sites: PRICELESS

    • With intelligence limited to universities, this is the sort of rule-making one gets. The sooner the NCAA gets out of the business and pleasure of athletics, the better.

  9. Swapping Michigan with Robert Morris makes the Midwest regional attendance woes go away. I don’t understand why Jason Moy did not make that swap.

    • Making that swap would do a disservice to the #1 seed, “rewarding” them with a game against a #14 seed in a building full of Michigan fans. #1 should always play #16 if at all possible.

      • According to Moy, any team in a band is interchangeable if it serves the purpose of avoiding intra-conference match-ups, boosts attendance, etc. Remember, Michigan is #14 and would be traded with a #16. They are in the same band (13-16). Just because they are MICHIGAN should mean nothing. Anyway, the season didn’t end today so the bracket is like a Marshawn Lynch Second-and-1 run; doesn’t exist.

  10. Would this work
    Round 1: would have the top 8 teams at home playing a 3 game series, 16 would go to 1, 15 to 3 etc.
    Round 2: Now we are down to 8 teams, after a week off all 8 teams will play at the final site location. 4 games Thursday, 2 games Friday and the Finals on Sunday. This would make the host city and college hockey the location to be for that weekend.

  11. If the season ended today and these brackets were final, as a fan of Omaha, Tech or UMD, I would be very upset. #4,#5 and #6 rated in the nation and the NCAA sends you to play out East in the lion’s den.

    There’s no reason why the Gophers shouldn’t be out in the East if the season ends today. Let them claw their way out of Providence as a reward for losing to UMD three times and Mankato (3 losses in the Twin Cities)

    • I’m a Gophers fan and I agree with you. (Although playing NoDak in NoDak is not exactly a consolation prize. And quite frankly, if I want to take the easier route to the FF, I’ll take the East bracket over the West ANY day.) But sending Omaha to be the “host” school in Manchester, NH (with BC and Lowell) is a bummer.

    • Dumper, you really think the Gophers would rather play UND in Fargo than take their chances with BU in Providence? Yeah, Fargo is closer to the Twin Cities, but there’s no way the Gophers would have any kind of appreciable fan support in a sold-out, HEAVILY UND building. They might actually have more support out East since tickets would still be available and there’s little doubt in my mind that BU would not bring the same level of fan support and intensity as the UND fans would. Give me Providence any day.

      I will agree with you though that these brackets would be a brutal draw for Omaha, UMD, and Tech. However, as long as western teams continue to dominate the top of the PWR, it’s inevitable that at least 1-2 two of those teams will be out east playing HEA or ECAC teams.

      • Not really trying to say Fargo is any consolation to Providence, but there’s something to be said about playing a couple hundred miles away from home compared to a couple thousand miles away.
        There’s no argument that Gophers vs Sioux wouldn’t boost interest in the Fargo bracket, but do the Gophers even deserve that kind of attention at this point?
        I’m an MSU Maverick fan, and to be honest to UND, I wouldn’t be the least bit excited about playing the U of M in the first round. I’d be pulling for the NCAA to feed my team some small program from the east to get the tourney started.

        • I hear what you’re saying, Dumper. I was making the point that playing a couple hundred miles from home could actually be worse for the Gophers than going out East given the opponent and fan support UND would have in Fargo.

          I don’t think the Gophers deserve that kind of attention at this point based on the disappointing season. However, I’d be willing to bet that if Minnesota gets in as a 4-seed and UND is a 1-seed (other than overall #1), that’s going to be the matchup because the NCAA likely couldn’t resist making that happen.

          I also agree with you that most #1 seeds, while not fearing the Gophers, would likely rather play one of the other teams in the 4-seed band in the first round if this was the final bracket, which of course it isn’t. Good luck to you and the Mavs and I’ll be hoping the Gophers can manage to secure a berth down the stretch.

    • As a #4 seed, where else can they send Omaha when two other West teams are seeded #1 and #2? They need to pass one of those two in the PWR to be in a western regional. It sucks, but they are paying the price for their own success. As a #4 seed, they should be good enough that it doesn’t matter what regional they are placed in.

  12. Moy’s final bracket this week does look odd, especially if the intent is to bolster attendance. Moving Providence and Lowell east makes sense. With BU and Providence in Providence, how many more tickets will sell with Quinnipiac there? A couple hundred…..maybe? If that’s all it takes, then seeding means almost nothing to the committee.
    Moving Miami & Michigan to South Bend and Bowling Green & Denver to Fargo makes much more sense, and the committee would absolutely do that if the PairWise finishes as it is today.

  13. It’s a tough argument whether the Top 2 seeds in a regional should have to travel thousands of miles to play the 3rd and 4th best team less than an hour from their schools or whether the top seeds should have the advantage of playing at home. I think the higher seeds have earned the right to have an advantage. Just because the PWR says that you have a 3 vs. 14 matchup, doesn’t mean that one team is better than the other because they likely didn’t play each other.

    • Actually the PWR whole reason for being is to rank teams that haven’t played each other. The whole goal is to say that team A is better because of the like opponents, etc. Obviously the PWR can only do so much but it is a pretty good indication of the better teams overall. The true beauty of the NCAA tournament is that any of the teams in the top 16 and usually a few that are left out, are easily capable of beating anyone on any given night so it is about playing your best hockey going into the tourney.

      But overall the PWR strives to do exactly that the 3 team is better than 14.

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