Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hockey East Quarterfinal Pairings and Predictions

Series Diference maker:
Cam Atkinson. He is a threat to score
from any where on the ice.
photo by John Quackenbos of
ESPN Boston. 
1. Boston College vs. 8. Umass
Last weekend BC rapped up the number one seed by sweeping New Hampshire in a home and home series. UMass, on the other hand, was able to take one point from Maine, enough to lock up the 8th and final seed. This series is a repeat of last year's. BC was the 2 seed and UMass the 7. BC won in a sweep and went on to win the Hockey East Championship with a 6-5 overtime win over Maine.
Prediction: BC wins in two. 

Series Diference maker: Rob Madore. He must
play well if Vermont wants to have any shot at
Photo credit to Dennis Pause of In Goal Magazine
2. New Hampshire vs 7. Vermont 
Another repeat of last year's matchup, Vermont was the 8 seed and pulled off the huge upset with an overtime win in the third game. The Catamounts were the first team since the '04 BU squad to knock off the #1 seed in the quarterfinals. Vermont punched their ticket to the playoffs by defeating Lowell 4-2 on Friday night. UNH had already clinched home ice coming into last weekend and could have fallen to third if BU had beaten Northeastern Saturday night.
Prediction: UNH wins in three 

3. Boston University vs 6. Northeastern. 
Series Difference Maker: David Warsofsky.
He will be back in the Terrier lineup after
missing the past four games with a
concussion. BU will be without Garret
Noonan for game one due to a suspension.
(Photo By Matt Dresens) 
Well, here are a couple of familiar foes. There is a possibility that these two teams could face each other for five games straight. That would happen if the first two games result in a split. This series, unlike the others will start Thursday at Agganis Arena. BU won the season series 2-1, but both wins were by just one goal. In NU's case, to make the National Tournament they must win Hockey East. For the Terriers it would be huge if they swept, but can still make it even if they don't. The road would just be a little tougher. The Huskies will be getting their Head Coach Greg Cronin back this weekend from a suspension for recruiting violations.
Prediction: BU in Three

4, Merrimack vs 5. Maine
Series Difference Maker: Stephan
DaCasta. DaCasta was injured
during the two Maine games in
which his team was swept. With him
back I gave MC the nod. 
(Photo from Merrimack Athletics)
The final series features one team playing their best hockey of the season and the other, not so much. Merrimack limped into the playoffs after winning just one of their last four to end the regular season. The lone win was a 6-1 rout of Providence College last Friday. PC won the second game 5-3 but failed to make it to the tournament. Oh yeah, and the other two losses both came against Maine in Orono. Maine has been playing well as of late. As said before, they swept MC and they took 3 of 4 points from UMass last weekend. 
Prediction: Merrimack in 3 (final game in ot) MC does not lose at home. 

I know I really didn't  go out on a limb with these picks but I truly see all the higher seeds getting it done and moving on to the Garden. 

Bracketology Take Two, Somethings Missing
After Losing to Northeastern BU fell out of the top 15 and into a tie with RPI at the 16 spot in the Pairwise. So they are not in my bracket this week.  The one thing going for the Terriers is that RPI lost to Colgate  in the ECAC Quarterfinals. All that means is RPI is basically out of contention for the NCAA tourney. So with a win this weekend BU should pass the Engineers. 

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