Hockey East picks – Feb. 20-23

Another atrocious week picking for me means I have pretty much handed Dave the title.

Jim last week: 5-6-1
Jim to date: 136-76-21
Dave last week: 7-4-1
Dave to date: 142-70-21

Friday, February 20

UMass Lowell at Boston College
Jim’s pick: This one will seem like I am going out on a limb right here, but the impressive offensive performance by Lowell last Saturday combined with BC’s defensive struggles last weekend make me believe in the River Hawks.
UML 5, BC 4
Dave’s pick: I’m still not convinced that the River Hawks are out of their funk. When going 1-1-1 against last-place UMass constitutes good news, that makes me stick with Old Reliable. (That’s a reference to BC having lost only three times since the end of November, not a quip about Jerry York’s age.)
BC 5, UML 3

Notre Dame at Boston University
Jim’s pick: Yes, both teams are coming off a loss, but I simply think BU is the better team.
BU 4, ND 2
Dave’s pick: Looking at the two teams’ records before that last loss shows why I’m going BU all the way.
BU 4, ND 2

Northeastern at Maine
Jim’s pick: With the Huskies offense clicking the way it is, can you really pick against them?
NU 5, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: Maine has been hot and cold; Northeastern, red-hot.
NU 4, Maine 2

Massachusetts at Providence
Jim’s pick: One thing we’ve learned about UMass is that it is a good team on home ice. This game is on the road, which makes the pick a bit easier.
PC 4, UMass 2
Dave’s pick: I’ll agree with Jim on the pick, but I’m not sure how 5-10-1 constitutes being a good team at home. PC picks up the first two points of a must-sweep weekend.
PC 5, UMass 1

New Hampshire at Connecticut
Jim’s pick: Even on home ice, I don’t feel sure picking UConn until it shores up its defense. Allowing 25 goals in four games (and one was a shutout) while scoring just three has me worried about this Huskies team.
UNH 3, UConn 1
Dave’s pick: UNH has been splitting weekends with some very good clubs; UConn has mostly been getting clobbered. I’m not sure if the Huskies can get back on track before the playoffs.
UNH 4, UConn 1

Merrimack at Vermont
Jim’s pick: The Catamounts may have only earned a split last weekend but I think they are playing better hockey.
UVM 3, MC 2
Dave’s pick: With five straight losses and only one win in its last nine, Merrimack has hit the skids in a serious way. Vermont hasn’t matched its first-half success, but still looks like a clear favorite.
UVM 3, MC 1

Saturday, February 21

Notre Dame at Boston University
Jim’s pick: The Terriers finish off the sweep and clinch the top overall seed in the playoffs.
BU 4, ND 2
Dave’s pick: The Terriers have been a model of consistency. They haven’t lost two straight all year.
BU 5, ND 2

Northeastern at Maine
Jim’s pick: It will be a close one but I still expect NU to come out on top.
NU 3, Maine 2 (OT)
Dave’s pick: I think the sweep will come easier than that. The Huskies have been playing as well as anyone.
NU 4, Maine 2

Providence at Massachusetts
Jim’s pick: This one in Amherst, I think I’m actually going to go against common wisdom and pick the Minutemen.
UM 3, PC 2
Dave’s pick: I don’t care what the venue is, Providence is simply a much, much better team. If the Friars can’t sweep the league’s last-place team, how far are they going to go?
PC 4, UMass 2

Connecticut at New Hampshire
Jim’s pick: UNH finishes a much-needed sweep to keep hopes alive for first-round home ice.
UNH 4, UConn 2
Dave’s pick: Agreed. In three of the Huskies’ last four games, they’ve been outscored 25-2.
UNH 5, UConn 1

Merrimack at Vermont
Jim’s pick: Another pick for a weekend sweep. And Vermont’s hopes for a first-round bye get a lot better.
UVM 2, MC 1
Dave’s pick: Agreed, once again, for all the reasons I mentioned above, plus this coming in Vermont’s barn.
UVM 3, MC 1

Monday, February 23

63rd Beanpot (Boston, Mass.)

Harvard vs. Boston College
Jim’s pick: Even a few weeks delayed, this is a huge game for the PairWise for both teams.
BC 4, HU 3
Dave’s pick: Two weeks ago, I was picking Harvard, but the Crimson have fallen on harder times. Yes, they took three of four points last weekend, but before that they lost four straight and six of seven.
BC 4, HU 2

Boston University vs. Northeastern
Jim’s pick: I picked the Huskies two weeks ago when the game was snowed out. Nothing that has happened since has changed my mind.
NU 3, BU 2
Dave’s pick: I’m sticking with BU, but readily acknowledge that this one could go multiple overtimes.
BU 3, NU 2 (2OT)


  1. I have faith in Lowell to pull themselves together but I don’t have faith in Boyle. His numbers aren’t there and they are finally catching up to him. I don’t seeing as finishing as strong if we had used one of the other goalies.

  2. Dave – don’t you think it’s about time for NU to win the Beanpot in double OT, especially against an excellent BU team? With both teams playing 3 games in 4 nights, it may come down to who is better prepared. NU’s Clay Witt can be a difference maker on Monday night.

  3. Jim. What do u and your college hockey writer colleagues think about having a play in game for conference champs that don’t rank in the top 16 of the pairwise rather than an automatic playoff spot, Wth a one game play-in spot a 16 ranked pair wise team plays a lower ranked team that’s a conference winner. Both participate in playoffs and all conferences get representation just not automatic first round play. For example robert Morris would play UML for the final spot in 16 team first round selection If seas on ended today.
    Basketball has such play in games and would get more colleges involved in playoffs.
    Terry s.

    • I asked Jim Connelly that same question about HE being SEC of hockey. Go to his blog with NCHC posing problems for committee. He never responded to my question.

        • For Regionals they have to band them 1-4, 5-8,-9-12, 13-16. That way the committee can send teams wherever they want, according to what band their in.

          • still even if the move some teams. they still should rate them 1-16. on a d3 note I wonder why they don’t have 16 teams?

          • Umm, they do. 1-4 are the top four ranked teams, 5-8 the next four ranked teams, and so on. Not sure why this is an issue with you.

  4. You want to believe that there is not conference favoritism going on. But then Qunnipiac and Yale get passed over for a game closer to home against a lower seed in favor of a Providence team that didn’t even play in the final weekend of its conference tournament and is the lowest ranked non-AHA team in the tourney. It’s pretty egregious.

    • The standard response from the committee would be for attendance reasons. But most followers of college hockey know that is a weak reason.

      • Agreed…it’s just hypocritical. If it were all about attendance, why prohibit first-round intraconference matchups, why didn’t the Minn-UMD and Harvard-UNO matchups get swapped, and why routinely ship teams cross-country? Too many competing interests leads to all three ECAC teams either getting shipped, playing a higher seed than their ranking calls for or – in the case of Qunnipiac – both.

    • I love the PC hate. You can’t just dismiss a team that loses an OT game 3 when they had a very solid year beating BC, BU and tying at N DAK. They finished 2nd in a very good conference after all.

      • No hate for PC here. Quite the opposite, in fact. They well deserved to make the tourney, and because they are a good team who will be facing a low #1 at home, they are very good upset candidate. And that is precisely the point. They shouldn’t be set up as well as they are as a low 4 seed. They should be facing NoDak in NoDak and because they ARE a tourney caliber team with good wins in their resume, getting some legit looks even for that upset. Unfortunately, no one is going to be surprised now if they win this game, and they’ll be getting less credit for it than they deserve because the selection committee unfairly advantaged them.

  5. Interesting to note that if the KRACH was used, Bowling Green and Lowell would have made it while Yale and Providence would not. Irrelevant, but interesting none the less.

  6. While Moy’s picks weren’t perfect, no one’s are, but Moy’s seem better than what panned out today, at least in the NE and E regionals.
    According to what I can find online, the first games of the NE regionals will be played on Friday at 2 (!) and 5:30EST. Let’s hope the Hockey East fans who traveled to the Garden on last Friday (and missed work to do so) have understanding bosses if they’re heading to ManchVegas…more missed workday, and less than copacetic unless you’re just coming up 93 North. I don’t recall the games being scheduled that early, ever.
    And as epic as the dueling MN battle will be, for attendance purposes–if that even matters anymore–a BU/BC battle would have drawn more bodies…as would the placement of UML, re. Brian’s post. I predict lots of empty seats in Manchester, and can’t blame the fans from out west who are budgeting time and money for the Frozen Four. Seems like even the local fans who want to travel to see live hockey are slowly being pushed out of the experience in favor of expanded TV coverage.

    • Did I miss something or was PC not already IN when the HEA tourney began. Lowell had to play themselves in and didn’t quite get there! Why is PC being IN a problem?

    • It almost smells like the committee tried to spite Moy’s perfect track record of logical selections. Seems to be some inconsistent and erratic placements, and the same swaps that keep coming up make sense to me. I think a lot of fans commenting here know the criteria better than the actual committee, and that’s not a joke. Also, how is the selection commitee selected? Two current/active head coaches? Seems strange

      • For the Record, Moy was never perfect when it comes to picking the actual brackets, he’s been wrong many times before. What he has been perfect at is picking the NCAA field, which basically means he can read the top 16 of the pairwise. It just gets worded in his bio like that’s something we should be impressed by.

        • If that’s the case then everyone would be perfect at picking the field. After Saturday’s games, it was clear cut who was in and who was out.

          • Yes, that’s exactly my point. Moy’s record of perfection is something that everyone can do. He and USCHO just a nice job of using it as a marketing tool, that does fool some people into incorrectly thinking that Moy has been perfect with his bracket predictions.

  7. Jason, your picks made more sense than the committee’s final picks. Many people who read your column appreciate your hard work and spot on analysis. Thank you.

  8. Thank you BU and the team that beat Colgate. 2 seasons ago it took the help of Notre Dame to get Eli in the dance. Can history be realigned by the hockey Gods? Dear Hockey Gods…we thank you for this opportunity, we humbly ask that we may have one more chance at the ugly redish colored team in the National Championship…thanks…and oh..for GOD, for country, and for Yale!

  9. Wonder if Ohio State’s attendance will be any better at Nationwide than it normally is at Value City? Hopefully more than 4,000 fans show up considering its an NHL sized arena.

  10. Gopher fans really believe this is the turning point for the U of M men’s hockey program. Mike and Don have been great – we really like them and appreciate them but the time has come to start a new chapter.

    If this were an nhl team, we would be saying the coaches have lost the room – the players have quit on their coaches — Div1 college hockey is not nhl – but there are some eerie similarities….

  11. That Oprah reference was a clever touch. Been exciting so far and I’m looking forward to more. I don’t get ESPNU, so hopefully I can figure out where to watch this next round.

  12. I find it telling that the USCHO poll has every single Big Ten team ranked lower than their Pairwise ranking. In some cases, the poll has teams 2-4 slots less than the Pairwise. So to summarize the poll: For the first three months it gives favoritism to the established powers, and gives current teams credit for what happened in previous years. Then late in January, the voters start to check the Pairwise before they vote, and sync up their vote with that number. Then at the very end, they make one last adjustment, to deviate from the Pairwise for all 5 ranked Big Ten teams…downward.


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