Monday, March 9, 2009

Headlines: The Situation - Hockey

Brian: The Eagles earned a much needed split with Northeastern this weekend, losing the first game at Matthews Arena in heartbreaking fashion, and rebounding strong at home on senior night, dispatching the Huskies 4-1. Senior Brock Bradford scored the game winner and added two assists. The win on Saturday prevented Northeastern from winning their first Hockey East regular season title, as Boston University took the regular season title with a pair of wins over Providence in the final weekend.

The Hockey East tournament field is now set. The sixth-seeded Eagles will face the 3rd seeded New Hampshire Wildcats. The complete tournament is below:

(1) Boston University (27-5-4, 18-5-4 HEA)
(8) Maine (12-20-4, 7-17-3 HEA)

(2) Northeastern (23-9-4, 18-6-3 HEA)
(7) Massachusetts (15-18-3, 10-14-3 HEA)

(3) New Hampshire (19-10-5, 15-8-4 HEA)
(6) Boston College (16-13-5, 11-11-5 HEA)

(4) Vermont (20-9-5, 15-8-4 HEA)
(5) UMass-Lowell (17-15-2, 14-11-2 HEA)

Out: Merrimack, Providence

Jeff, do you think the 2 points were some sort of "moral" victory for the Eagles, and can they capitalize on this W as they go into the Hockey East tournament quarterfinals this weekend.

Jeff: A victory against a good team certainly can't hurt anything. The Eagles have a winable first round matchup in the tournament against UNH and might have some life left for NCAA tournament hopes.

Brian: While the win against Northeastern was much needed, we finished the season against the wrong opponent. Splitting the weekend against a very good Northeastern team may have been a moral victory, however, BC lost ground in the Division I Pairwise rankings. The Eagles go into the Hockey East tournament tied for 19th in the PWR rankings. Air Force - idle last week - jumped BC in the standings and is currently tied for 17th (however, BC still holds the head-to-head comparison over Air Force). It looks like it is Hockey East tournament champions or bust this year for the NCAAs. Would you agree?

Jeff: I'd still be interested to see what happens if the Eagles make it to the finals of the tournament and lose. They might squeak in in that scenario.

Brian: Also, while we don't give nearly enough attention to the women's ice hockey team, the Eagles beat BU 3-2 in the Hockey East semis this weekend but fell short in the championship game, losing 2-1 to New Hampshire. Both New Hampshire and BC will represent Hockey East in this upcoming weekend's NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 Minnesota on Saturday, March 14. It is only the Eagles' second appearance in the women's NCAA ice hockey tournament. Can the women's team pull off the upset?

Jeff: Anything's possible and you have to give our women's team a lot of credit since their program had losing seasons all 4 years that we were students there. Hopefully the Eagles can get the victory and play in the women's Frozen Four which is held in Boston this year.


BC Bills Fan said...

Of all the draws, I like the UNH one best. Even though they swept BC last month, I still think they are the weakest of the top 4 teams. If BC can beat UNH, I like taking on Northeastern more than Vermont and BU. I don't know much about Vermont since I haven't seen them play, and BU is a juggernaut this year. I'm not saying NU is weak, but I do think BC can take them, especially after their showing against them this past weekend. IF BC can then get into the HE Championship game, I think it has to be against BU and it has to be an overtime or one-goal loss for BC to have any hope of an at-large berth. Losing to Vermont closely would prove nothing, and only the tightest loss possible to BU would warrant consideration. A ton has to fall into place, but Muse's play against NU this past weekend gives me hope that BC can ride him into the tournament. This team has the talent- can they put it together? We'll see. (The poster formerly known as Andrew.)

Brian said...

BC Bills Fan - Agree with everything you said here, especially UNH being the weakest of the top 4.

The only change I would say is that even if we make it to the HE final and lose, while we'll warrant consideration, I don't think even that gets us in. Reason is because while BC would be making a strong case, some of the other teams around BC in the PWR rankings will have a chance for easier wins in their conference tournaments.

Like you said, a LOT of things have to break BC's way.