Hockey East picks – Dec. 4-10

Dave and I had equally as impressive weeks last week, thus my lead stands at five games. (Did I hit “bold” there?)

Jim last week: 12-2-1
Jim to-date: 79-26-19
Dave last week: 12-2-1
Dave to-date: 74-31-19

Friday, December 4

Vermont at Boston University
Jim’s pick: I feel like Vermont is better than it is playing right now, but the reality is you can’t pick them right now, especially against BU.
BU 4, UVM 2
Dave’s pick: Since that season-opening upset of Minnesota, Vermont has managed only two wins and those have come against Connecticut and Northeastern, a collective 1-14-2 in Hockey East. As Jim says, you can’t pick the Catamounts.
BU 4, UVM 1

Providence at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: Though I love picking Merrimack at home, I don’t like the way the Warriors played against Union and Providence has the tools necessary to win this.
PC 3, MC 1
Dave’s pick: Merrimack has actually posted a better record on the road (3-0-1) than at home (3-2-3), but the Friars have excelled wherever they’ve played.
PC 4, MC 2

New Hampshire at Maine
Jim’s pick: I know Maine is playing well and UNH has been inconsistent. I see this weekend as a split so I’ll go with a home split.
Maine 3, UNH 2
Dave’s pick: Maine is 4-0-1 at home, but 0-5-1 on the road. With this contest at Alfond, I really should just go with the odds. But I can’t keep agreeing with Jim, and I’m going to believe in UNH one more week. Yes, I’ve said that before, but this time, I really, really mean it.
UNH 3, Maine 2 (OT)

Massachusetts at Notre Dame
Jim’s pick: Good news folks. This game can only go one (five-minute) overtime. Hosts win.
ND 4, UMass 2
Dave’s pick: I’ve really struggled with my Notre Dame picks, but I can’t go against them with this contest in the Irish barn.
ND 4, UMass 3

Saturday, December 5

Northeastern at Boston College
Jim’s pick: Northeastern may have put up 7 against Colgate but BC is hardly Colgate.
BC 4, NU 2
Dave’s pick: I hope Northeastern turns things around, but 12-1-0 loses to 2-11-2? Nope.
BC 4, NU 1

Vermont at Boston University
Jim’s pick: The Terriers complete the sweep at home.
BU 4, UVM 3
Dave’s pick: Tough times for the Catamounts.
BU 4, UVM 2

Massachusetts at Notre Dame
Jim’s pick: The Irish complete the home sweep while UMass hits the skids for the first time this season.
ND 3, UMass 1
Dave’s pick: Good grief, Jim is giving me no opportunities to catch up. Maybe there will be some openings next week.
ND 3, UMass 2

Merrimack at Providence
Jim’s pick: There should be a good number of sweeps this weekend. This is another.
PC 4, MC 1
Dave’s pick: Agreed. The Friars go to 11-0-3.
PC 3, MC 1

UMass-Lowell at Connecticut
Jim’s pick: The River Hawks keep the unbeaten streak alive, but it’s not easy.
UML 2, UConn 1
Dave’s pick: I think the results will be more lopsided than Jim thinks. The Huskies continue to struggle.
UML 4, UConn 2

Maine at New Hampshire
Jim’s pick: These picks could easily kill me. But UNH gets the split.
UNH 4, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: The Wildcats get the “easy” half of the sweep.
UNH 3, Maine 2

Sunday, December 6

Boston College at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: Eagles extend the winning streak to 13.
BC 4, NU 2
Dave’s pick: The Eagles are the wrong opponent for Northeastern to start its turnaround against.
BC 4, NU 1

Connecticut at UMass-Lowell
Jim’s pick: I am so uncomfortable picking this many sweeps in a weekend, but here is another.
UML 4, UConn 2
Dave’s pick: I’m uncomfortable matching so many of Jim’s picks, but I can’t see a different outcome.
UML 4. UConn 2

Thursday, December 10

Notre Dame at Boston College
Jim’s pick: This will be a test for BC, but I’m not picking against the Eagles right now.
BC 3, ND 1
Dave’s pick: I think the test is for the Irish and I think they’ll fail it.
BC 3, ND 1

Brown at Providence (Mayor’s Cup)
Jim’s pick: This is typically a tough game for Providence and having watched Brown play last weekend, I believe it could be. But I’m not picking against the Friars on home ice.
PC 4, Brown 2
Dave’s pick: I’m not picking against the Friars here, I’m not picking against them there, I’m not picking against them anywhere.
PC 4, Brown 1

154 COMMENTS

  1. That’s because the best teams are in the east.
    That’s what this country needs, more looking to the “right” and less to the “left”.
    ;-)

  2. An article about goaltenders and no mention of Niagara’s Chris Noonan who is 2nd in the nation in gaa (1.71) and tied for 1st in the nation in save percentage (.940). If there is to be 4 goalies in the Hobey conversation then he is certainly one of them.

  3. There needs to be a Vezina like award given to NCAA D1 goalies….they always get overlooked when their position is clearly the most difficult on the ice

  4. What about Kent Patterson of UMN? He has 7 shutouts and 21 wins this year.  The team also appears to live and die by him, based on the swing from last week in Denver and this weekend against Bemidji State.

  5. No mention of Patterson? Are we being serious right now? He has 7 shutouts, 2.09 GAA, 21 wins, and plays in the best league in the country. You have got to be kidding me USCHO, this is a load of sh*t.

  6. After reading a few of these Hobey Watch columns, I have to say that they show a large amount of East bias. I’ll be upfront, I’m a Golden Gopher, so of course I want to hear you mention Patterson in this article.  However, I’d say he deserves to be in this article as well. 

    7 shutouts? 21 wins? A team that like averman said often lives and dies by patterson’s momentum?   sure, he has a great scoring line in front of him, but he counters that argument with 7 shutouts. Not to mention you’re looking at a defensive corps that doesn’t have very many vets.

    I admit I’m biased. as a column writer could you at least make your bias a bit less obvious?

  7. Patterson does need recognition, but how many goalies have won the Hobey. So few that for any ‘Tender to get mentioned means they are doing something well. The WCHA has more than one goalie that should get mentioned. Worst part is 60% of the voters are East coast. I grew up as a huge fan of Robb Stauber, he never won a National Championship, but he was consistent. I really believe they need to recognize goalies on their own, and if they are worthy The Hobey Baker as well.

  8. Semi’s on Saturday would be nice so I wouldn’t have to leave work early on Thursday to catch the early semi game on TV. For the people that actually travel to the FF, I’m not sure it really matters.

  9. With regards to the 18,000 seat minimum and Boston’s TD Garden, I am sure there is a waiver process, especially for a city that has hosted many Frozen Fours since the very earliest NCAA championships.

    I am sure that such a waiver would be granted for Detroit, Minneapolis and Denver for the same reason, if the building size was close to the requirement. It might exclude some newer venues that did have successful Frozen Fours.

    • Pepsi Center in Denver lists 18,007 as capacity for hockey, so that isn’t a problem. Detroit will be interesting depending on how the new arena is configured, but they clearly should host at some point.

      • I figured it was but thanks for the update.

        I am not sure the NCAA will say no to Boston selling 17,500 tickets opposed to Denver selling 18,000 tickets. I think this rule, frankly, was to get former hosts like Providence and Albany out of the rotation, because the buildings are smaller and without NHL/NBA caliber amenities.

  10. I hope that this change might also move the regionals a week later and have all first round games played on Saturday and all second round games played on Sunday.

  11. How about Friday / Sunday? That seems a lot better than Saturday / Monday. Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Detroit should host every 5 years and fill in other cities for the 2 other years. Having it away from Boston for so long is just plain stupid. There are more D1 teams within 50 miles of Boston than any other city. As for the size ( 18,000 seats ), unfortunately Boston is very expensive and ticket prices could be higher there to make back some revenue. Not that I want high prices as I am sick of the gauging here for all the pro teams. just a fact.

  12. I’d like to see the first round back on campus. I don’t think it will make much difference to play Saturday semi’s – Monday night finals. I’d love to see Gary Thorne announce the semi’s and final game on television as in years past. That alone will boost viewership.

  13. That leaves the host of the 1993, 1997 and 2006 Frozen Four out as well. The Bradley Center in Milwaukee has a hockey capacity of 17,800.

    • This Hockey East fan would support a waiver for the Bradley Center for the 200 “missing” seats.

      If the NCAA counts luxury boxes (which is probably what they want to do for the high-rollers) then Bradley Center/TD Garden are safe.

  14. I will take whatever days off I need no matter which days the games are played if I’m attending. Although Monday night is probably a better night for the championship with regards to tv, which I’m sure is why they are proposing this.

  15. Providence was a great host city. It’s a real shame the capacity spec knocked them out. Regionals will only be well attended when they’re on campus – should be at the No. 1 Seeds’ barns.

  16. I do not know why you deleted my comment from early Friday, but UVM showed great resolve tonight by beating BU on the road. Now if NU can at least take two points vs. BC this weekend, that would make things interesting….

  17. This is about as straightforward and Simple as the Committee could hope for:

    1 Denver @ Fargo
    16 Mich Tech
    8 Union
    10 NoDak

    2 UMD @ Cinci
    15 Ohio St.
    6 Western Michigan
    9 Penn St

    3 Harvard @ Providence
    14 Providence
    7 BU
    11 Cornell

    4 MN @ Manchester
    13 Notre Dame
    5 Mass Lowell
    12 Air Force

    • I am hoping the committee has more respect to protect the top seed than to send them to Fargo, where no team is going to beat North Dakota what is essentially their home game.

          • Thought he was but he changed his mind. If you are Denver, do you prefer playing OSU in Cincy, or NoDak in Fargo?

          • UND and DU would both have to win to meet…..both could lose and it doesnt matter anyway.

      • If you send Denver to Cinci then Michigan Tech has to go with them, sending Ohio State to Fargo or out east. I’d bet the committee would rather keep OSU in Cinci than be worried about Denver possibly facing NoDak in the 2nd round.

      • Usually the #1 team gets to stay close to home. The #4 #1 travels the farthest. I’m guessing Denver, Union, UND and Mich Tech in Fargo.

        • There is no ‘close to home’ for Denver. It’s too far for any Denver fans to drive to any of the regional sites. They have to fly anyway. The committee should reward the top seed with the best seeding path, and that is not Fargo this year.

    • Just tried this on paper before I read your post and found the first, third and fourth band slot in nicely. A little juggling on the second band to keep BU in the east and WMU in the midwest and it looks good with very little manipulation.

  18. looks like it will be Duluth, Western Mich, Penn St, and Ohio St. in Cinci for the regional. Just guessing on the way the NCAA places for attendance.

  19. Having to potentially play North Dakota as a road team to get to the frozen four seems like a punishment for the number oe seed.

  20. I would like to see any league with 4 teams have them in 4 different regionals with the possibility of an all league frozen four if that league was that good. I would swap Ohio Sayers and Norte Dame for that reason.

  21. In looking at the Manchester quartet of teams, I’d have to say that they might win the attendance battle. IF Lowell gets enough people to make the 25 mile drive north.

    • AND, as a team squeaking in by the narrowest of margins, getting what amounts to a home game. I wonder if they will bring that big tarp that covers empty seats at home games with them to Cincy?

  22. My money is on Jayson being correct (per usual) No matter what happens a couple of teams will be unhappy. In a perfect world we just ignore attendance and do 1 vs 16, 2 vs 15 etc

  23. Jayson, I would love to hear your rationale for placing Denver in Cincy as step 1A in constructing your bracket. I know that you get them to Fargo later. Why didn’t they start at Fargo since it’s closer geographically than Cincy?

    • I’d love to know that too – especially since Moy has been starting with Denver in Fargo for the past several weeks, even with UND making the field.

  24. I’d wager you’d have as many fans from Michigan (WMU and Tech) driving down 75 to Cincinnati than you would have local OSU fans show up.

    • Correct. WMU will travel big in Cincinnati as will Mich Tech. OSU I hope brings fans but season was up & down for them.

  25. Happy to see Minnesota out east. Denver in Cincy makes more sense since they are flying, regardless. UMD in Fargo makes sense. I wouldn’t bet against Jayson but this might his first incorrect prediction in quite some time (ever?).

  26. You might be correct on the brackets, but having the #1 overall seed setup to play ND in Fargo in the 2nd round is a travesty. DU has seen this before.

  27. The pairwise is a very precise calculation and objective way to select teams for the tournament. We should do the same for placement and stop at step 4. Beyond that is it subjective and biased.

  28. I think ppl are forgetting one big factor regarding UND. They lost Tucker Poolman to injury, one that I think will end his season (given the type and apparent severity). Tucker is UND’s most important player….and it’s not even close.

    Congrats to UMD. That is one rugged team, UMD reminds me of the DU teams from the 70’s and 80’s. DU is more talented than UMD, but UND has a hard time matching UMD’s physical play….this year anyway. So, if you have to pick your poison, I would rather play DU. I think this is jumping the gun though, BU is uber talented and if UND goes into this game sans Poolman, I would not put my money on UND getting past BU.

    • BU has underachieved all year. 4 #1 NHL picks and 4#2 picks, should be killing everyone. I wouldn’t bet on them coming out of the regional…….

  29. Fully 1/3 of UND’s losses this year are to 1 team – UMD. 5 losses in a lackluster 15-loss season. Yet, they are playing really great right now.

  30. If DU has to go to Fargo, the entire process is broken. Why even ‘earn’ a #1 seed if you have to play the home team and their fans. DU should be in Cincy, plain and simple. Denver has been hosed big time in the past – time to make it right and keep them out of Fargo.

  31. Moving DU to ND is BS.

    Fargo is “closer” to DU? Well, sure, technically yes, but that’s a silly statement that has no practical truth to it. You’re talking about driving 16 hours vs 13 hours. Big whoop. Which means DU (& fans) get on a plane regardless. So basing that decision on geography (in this instance) is silly.

    And so…instead of protecting the overall number 1 seed by placing them in Cincy, you’re going to move them to what will amount to a home game for the #10 seed (UND) in a sold out arena that will (w/o a doubt) be a sea of green…for attendance? To entice OSU fans to drive 1.5 hrs when they can hardly be bothered to drive across town to fill their own arena?

    Infallible logic.

  32. Enough of this regional garbage. Top four seeds should host the regionals. They earned it, they should be rewarded for it.

    • How do you plan for that? Say to all of the properly sized local Arenas “Hey, just in case, don’t book out your venue during the NCAA hockey tournament, we might need it”? Havard’s arena on campus only seats 3,000, and UMD only 6700 and change.

      • I completely understand your argument, but in many cases sending the regionals to the top 4 seed’s home rinks would result in higher attendance numbers, even at the small venues…

      • 3,000 is better than what we’ve seen in attendance at some regionals. Logistical nightmare for some schools but better than empty arenas and home games for schools that haven’t earned it

    • Three problems: 1. Logistically impossible. Imagine trying to get 4 teams to someplace like Houghton or Fairbanks on less than a weeks notice.
      2. You’ve got a lot of arenas that seat under 2500 people, including schools like Union and Ferris who have been in position to host.
      3. The one Badger Fans should be most familiar with: arena booking issues. You think UW is going to leave the Kohl Center empty all March just because the Badgers might have to host a regional (on top of the 3 weekends they need to keep it open for the new B1G tournament)? Top seeds hosting sounds good, but it just won’t work.

  33. I’ve long thought that a simple solution for some of these issues would be to institute a rule that if you end up as a 3 or 4 seed, you can’t be placed at a regional if you are hosting, or even if you aren’t hosting but it’s your hometown. It’s bogus that Providence gets home ice as a four seed for the second time in three years. Likewise, Denver shouldn’t have to go through a 3 seed North Dakota on NoDak’s home ice, so NoDak as a three seed shouldn’t get the benefit of playing at home.

  34. Hey Everyone – I know just like in College Football, all everyone seems to look at and talk about are the “Power Conferences” and those teams, but how about giving some love to the Air Force Falcons, who could go into the tournament as the #12 seed, and they do it with a team filled with all American kids, no Canadians and no Europeans!!!

    GO FALCONS!!!!

  35. I really hate this kind of selection process!!!! The top 8 teams should play near home if possible. Minnesota going to Manchester to possibly play two Hockey East teams, practically a home game for Lowell bringing 5000 fans is no reward. The computer selections should be a starting point then a committee should man-up and make tough decisions that they are willing to defend. The same with the bottom 4 teams that make the tournament………

    • So in your mind, Minnesota having to go and play Lowell in New Hampshire is worse than say “rewarding” them by sending them to Fargo to play UND and UMD? Or would you fly them to Cincinnati so they would have to play Denver before the Frozen Four?

      • Actually, having #3 or #4 seeds with home ice is ridiculous and not fair to the teams that did better over the course of the season. I wouldn’t mind having each team select where they want to play, starting with the #1 overall seed and prevent any team in the bottom 8 from playing at home. Once you get to a regional, the seed becomes meaningless.

        • That almost had something to do with the original comment. Congrats. You said it’s not fair that MN is being sent out east where they might face Lowell and their whopping 5,000 fans in the second round. The only alternative that would get them “near home” would result in them having to play either UMD or Denver. You think that’s a better “reward” for being the #4 overall? All that would do is reward Lowell and other eastern schools who wouldn’t have to then worry about playing higher ranked western teams.

  36. Looks like Jayson is wrong. NCAA tweeted DU to Cincinnati, Minnesota to Manchester, UMD to Fargo and Harvard to Providence

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