Hockey East picks – Feb. 27-28

I’d have bet the ranch that I was picking up a game on Jim when he took Massachusetts over Providence.

And I’d have lost the ranch.

But I got that one back with Boston University’s overtime win in the Beanpot, so I remain six games up.

Dave last week: 7-3-3
Jim last week: 7-3-3
Dave’s record-to-date: 149-73-24
Jim’s record-to-date: 143-79-24

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Feb. 27

Maine at Providence
Dave’s pick:  The Friars should sweep with this series being entirely in their own barn, but their inability to take four points in hardly any weekend does concern me.
PC 4, Maine 3
Jim’s pick: I have concerns too, but I’m not betting against Providence at this point.
PC 4, Maine 2

Massachusetts at Connecticut
Dave’s pick: You’d think that home ice would dictate a UConn win, but the Huskies have struggled mightily the last few weeks while UMass has played well.
UMass 2, UConn 1
Jim’s pick: I fell like UConn has to right the ship at some point and the last home game of the season – a place that has been kind – is the only place to start.
UConn 2, UMass 1

Vermont at Massachusetts-Lowell
Dave’s pick: I’m feeling better about Lowell’s chances after the big win over UMass and, even more significantly, the tie at BC.
UML 3, UVM 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: This will be one of the ultimate grinder series with both teams fighting to earn a bye and home ice in the quarterfinals.
UML 3, UVM 2.

Northeastern at Boston University
Dave’s pick: I can’t believe that the Terriers will fritter away another opportunity to clinch sole ownership of the regular season title.
BU 4, NU 3
Jim’s pick: These teams played an emotion-filled game on Monday. But part of me believes that loss might start a tailspin for these Huskies.
BU 4, NU 2

Merrimack at New Hampshire 
Dave’s pick: As noted in this week’s column, I see UNH sweeping this weekend to gain the last home ice berth.
UNH 4, MC 2
Jim’s pick: I like UNH at home. But as you will see later, no sweep pick for me.
UNH 2, MC 1

Boston College at Notre Dame
Dave’s pick: Notre Dame’s impressive performance last weekend at BU has me concerned, but I’m going with the Eagles.
BC 3, UND 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: At least on night one, I think the Eagles will prevail.
BC 3, UND 1

Saturday, Feb. 28

Merrimack at New Hampshire 
Dave’s pick: The Warriors, whose overall record got them nationally ranked, slide into the cellar.
UNH 3, MC 1
Jim’s pick: I feel like senior night will provide the spark to get this team going.
MC 2, UNH 1 

Boston University at Northeastern
Dave’s pick: The Huskies salvage a split in the series, though after their loss on Monday in overtime it’ll hardly feel that way. It could even be a blowout, if BU ignores the Pairwise implications and just sits on their first-place laurels.
NU 4, BU 1
Jim’s pick: I think that BU takes this sweep and glides into the playoffs red hot.
BU 3, NU 2

Maine at Providence
Dave’s pick: Although I suspect one of the two games in this series ends in a tie, I’m certainly not going to start picking ties now.
PC 3, Maine 2
Jim’s pick: As much as I want to agree with Dave that this series will probably yield points to Maine, I think I am compelled to pick Providence at home.
PC 3, Maine 2

Vermont at Massachusetts-Lowell
Dave’s pick: A split in this series feels like by far the most logical outcome, but I’m not going to open myself up to Jim gaining two games on me if I pick the split the wrong way. Besides, I think the River Hawks’ shaky confidence got a huge boost in the last two games.
UML 2, UVM 1
Jim’s pick: As much as Dave talks about confidence, I think more about Lowell being a team that is generally built for the postseason and that postseason begins this weekend locking up a bye.
UML 4, UVM 2

Boston College at Notre Dame 
Dave’s pick: Here’s another probable split in which I’m going to use Tigran Petrosian chess tactics to stymie Jim. I also think the Eagles are the better team even if they’ve had a tough time with Notre Dame and it’s in South Bend.
BC 4, UND 3 (OT)
Jim’s pick: I will go against Dave here. Notre Dame is playing too well to tank the final weekend, even to BC. They salvage the split.
UND 3, BC 2

42 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not one for downplaying the efforts of good players, but this post exists in a bubble. Sure, Yale hasn’t played as many games as most other teams, but the top 10 scoring leaders generally play in strong conferences against reputable teams. With the competition Yale plays, they should have no trouble putting up a 7 spot nightly if everyone out east says they’re as good as they really are. While Atkinson and Camper have proven themselves year after year, these Yale boys are just a flash in the pan – Yale needs to start playing games against real teams at least two-to-three times a year.

    As for the Brown players – forget about it. They may be on an ECAC Hobey list, but no one has heard of them.

    Enough bashing – that’s not my scene. I don’t understand why the ECAC doesn’t schedule games against teams outside of it’s conference. That would put an end to all this mindless arguing about which conference is better, which teams are over/underrated, etc. I read somewhere that ECAC teams are something like 3-4-1 against the WCHA this year. That’s great, but it was also against the bottom-tier teams. Lengthen Yale’s schedule to conform with the rest of the country, throw in a trip to UND, Wisconsin, UMD, Denver (big, fast, physical hockey) etc. every now and then, and if Yale is running the show I will respect them.

    • Well said. And what if you put a Duluth or Denver or UND in the ECAC? They would pile up the points. No one wants to take that angle. Anyway, it will all sort itself out come late Febuary, and if you’re like me, I would love to see a UND-Yale re-match. Hopefully the Sioux won’t have to travel 1500 miles for their regional.

      • i agree with the prior two posts, its hard for me to feel that the numbers of some of the ecac players would be what they are if they played a schedule that included wcha, ccha, and hockey east teams and not the bottom feeders from each league but teams like north dakota, notre dame, boston college, wisconsin, miami and other teams like them. then the ecac players numbers would have merit in my book. i think the author of this blog is a little off when he stated that atkinson of b.c. is leading the nation in goals with 16. the last i checked the stats matt frattin from und had 17 to lead the nation.(he had 16 when article was posted) paul zannette (niagra) has 16 and atkinson(b.c.) has 14. as of sundays games. go sioux!

  2. Being an alum, and of course a fan of a WCHA school and the league as a whole, I have to admit that I was worried about the WCHA’s future a few years ago. Last year, I saw a high level of play amongst the schools (Well, most of them) and was happy to see old rivalries re-ignited, as well as new one’s forming. This year, I see a league that reminds me of this year’s B1G football… Ignored initially by the “experts”, treated inferior by many fans of other leagues, and yet, often kicking the butts of other leagues in non-conference play. It was fun to watch both Bemidji and Mankato own the Xcel this weekend. Congrats to the most underrated team in college hockey, the Bemidji State Beavers, and congrats to the WCHA as a whole for so quickly proving the critics wrong about your future place in the college hockey landscape.

      • Yes, the Gophs have stunk this year but the Gopher jealously is great by other team’s fans in the state. Where were you clowns when they were winning titles and in the championship last year?

        Bottom line, the NCAA is all about money and the difference besides the Gophers winning titles is that the UM put more fans in the seats than all the other MN schools combined.

        • We were watching… And honestly, being from Minnesota, I was rooting for them too. When they are good, they deserve the high ranking, but when they are not, they don’t. Yes, we are all aware that the student population at the U of M is 10 times that of some of the other schools. 10 times the grads = 10 times the fans. 10 times the money, and all of that is important. But the final 16 are supposed to be the best reps from each conference, followed by the best teams in all of hockey. If the NCAA wanted to be honest and say we need 6 big revenue schools in the tournament each year, followed by the next ten best schools, so be it. But they don’t, and that is why the rest of us complain when big revenue schools are over-rated in the polls and pairwise.

        • Honestly I always got the impression that if the NCAA could it would drop every sport except D1 FBS Football and D1 Men’s Basketball.

    • I am a Tech alum, however watching Bemidji SMOKE (arrogant) Cornell in the NCAA semis a few years ago in Grand Rapids, they have become my adopted second favorite team. I have a soft spot in my heart for small schools in remote freeze-your-a$$ off locations, I guess.

    • I wouldn’t call Bemidji underrated this year. They have earned their unranked position so far. This tourney just showed how much they have wasted their season up to this point. I wouldn’t want to play them in the first round of the conference tournament, though. Heck, my Falcons play them next weekend! Should hopefully be a good series.

      • I agree they have lost too many close games this year. I am referring not to this year so much in general, but year after year. For example, the Gophers have been in a free fall since November, losing to everyone under the sun, yet they were still #17 coming into the North Star Cup? If Bowling Green or BSU were in the same boat, #47 would be more realistic. Getting back to this year, Bemidji started slow, but also played nothing but ranked opponents through November. Now they have won 9 of their last 11, including two decisive wins against top ten teams, and I am sure there will be no considerations in the polls. Happens all the time. Truthfully, I am fine with it. Polls mean very little and it is much more fun to be the underdog when you are clicking!

        • I disagree. The WCHA has three teams in the top 10 and Minnesota State is still #1 in Pairwise despite the loss to an unranked Bemidji team. The league is legit and everyone knows it by now. If Bemidji keeps winning like this they could very quickly move up the ranks. Just so long as they do it after the BG series this weekend. ;)

          • .
            “The league is legit and everyone knows it by now.” I beg to differ… I think other folks are still in denial. And hey, let’s keep it that way…. :)

            .

    • Being from the East, I’m psyched to see the WCHA doing so well. You guys really took it on the chin when the Big10 and the NCHA (and I’m being nice here) formed. With 3 teams in the top 10 (both Poll and Pairwise), I’d say more people are paying attention to the WCHA than some of you think. KUDOS to the league for rising from the ashes to shake things up big time this year… And making it a real battle to get to the sweet 16.

  3. Instead of the goophs getting to be in this tournament every year, which is complete crap, who ever loses two games during the tourney should sit out the next year. Seems a bit more fair that way.

      • I’m just sick of all this goopher BS, they need to be in this every year crap. Was the same at the final five. No matter what place they were in, they always got the night game. I have to take the day off of work to see my team, so you can as well.

        • I was actually really impressed with how well Minnesota State and Bemidji State traveled. Honestly I think that everyone over estimates how important Minnesota is, eventually unless the Big Ten gets better you will start to see people in Minnesota remember that we have 4 other division 1 college hockey programs.

      • Seems stupid that, for example, Bemidji wins it this year, but what if next year is “their year” to sit out? They dont even get a chance to defend their title?

          • Yeah, put SCSU, MSU Mankato, BSU and UMD and you might as well play the Northstar Cup at a high school rink. Without fans in the stands, this tourney wouldn’t exist. Without the Gophers, this tourney wouldn’t exist.

            However, I do agree that the winner should be automatically back to defend the title the following year.

          • But, you know what? If you based entry into this event on merit and returning champs, after losing fans for a bit, eventually fans would turn out to see the best competition. Wouldn’t it be cool for the state of MN to stand for integrity and take a stand on the matter?

    • Dude, you’re trying to be fair and true to the spirit of great hockey. You know better than that.

      It’s about money, and that’s what MN brings.
      Fact is, without MN, the NSCC would not sell enough tickets.

      I agree, it’s not right that MN is automatically in every year. In a better world, every team would sit out equally or the tourney would have five teams.
      But in this world, they need to sell tickets, so there’s not much else they can do.

  4. Okay, anybody else super pumped for the WCHA this year?

    I think it would be awesome for a WCHA school to win the NC!
    I’d love to see Tech get back to the glory days, or Mankato win their first one (any other WCHA school would be fine, too, but that doesn’t seem as likely).

    So since it’s pretty clear MN won’t be in the tourney this year, that’s what I’m pulling for (barring some miracle, of course).

    • It really wouldn’t be a miracle if the Gophers won three games, possibly only two in the Big 10 tourney to get into the national tournament.

  5. There is a reason Minnesota state was number 1, it’s because they are in the cast off league. when 4 of your 11 teams are severely under .500 it makes it pretty easy for mediocre teams to rise to the top. if min st, bgsu, mtech, and ferris state were consistently playing teams from ncho, they would all have under .500 records.

    • Ridiculous statement. Look at SOS for BSU, MSU and WCHA in general. SOS is objective, with no bias or politics. Unlike the bias that you are showing. Also, check last year’s SOS for the WCHA.

      • I’m merely looking at who they beat when they beat them and where the teams they beat are ranked now. It’s the exact same reason ferris state was so highly ranked last year. Wcha is a non competitive league. Bgsu, mtech, ferris state, and min state would all struggle in a different conference. I don’t care what the sos is. It’s a statistic based on if you played every other team once. ONCE! Sincerely a statistician who isn’t a pound moron

  6. a little advance guess at the next bracket. Assuming he still uses winning % and HC sneaks in ahead of RoMo, then HC is #16 and must be at home. Sounds like a good place to put #1 QU. Swapping #10 Yale and #9 BC avoids an ECAC head-to-head with #7 Cornell, so send the 7/9 to worcester and send the #8 Michigan / #10 Yale match out to Cincinatti or St Paul with #2 St. Cloud / whoever the WCHA rep is at #15. Providence to Albany, NoDak to whereever St Cloud doesn’t end up. #13 Lowell and #14 Denver need to be swapped to avoid intraconference 1st rounds, creating a Denver/ PC pair in Albany and a Lowell / NoDak pair. Gonna guess #6 Harvard and #11 ND end up in Cinci, and #5 UNO / #12 BU end up in Albany. Gives Albany PC, UNO, BU, Denver. Maybe NoDak, Harvard, Notre Dame, Lowell in Cinci and St Cloud, Michigan, Yale, and WCHA in St Paul?

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