Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hockey East Quarterfinal Preview and Predictions

1. Boston College vs 8. UMass
Site: Conte Forum 
Head to Head Record: UMass 2, BC 1
Chris Kreider leads the Eagles in both
goals scored and total points.
(photo from the Bleacher Report
BC has been on a tear as of late and are winners of their last 11 straight games. BC really turned it on following their 3-2 overtime win in the Beanpot final (you know who they played). UMass on the other hand, is not on the same hot streak as the Eagles, but are still playing good hockey. UMass has a tendency to be very inconsistent. For example, The Minutemen beat BU, who at the time were ranked number one in the country, but then lost their next game to Providence at home.
Prediction: BC is on a roll right now, but the games will be close. UMass has a knack for playing the top team in the Nation tough. BC in two. 

Doug Carr has the
lowest GAA in Hockey
(Photo from
GoRiverHawks .com)
2. UMass Lowell vs 7. Providence 
Site: Tsongas Center
Head To Head Record: Lowell 2, Providence 1
I know Providence is the seven seed and are "supposed" to better than UMass, but I would much rather play PC. Just last weekend, Lowell ran circles around the Friars in a weekend series. Lowell out scored PC 9-3 in two games. Like last year when BU and Northeastern played on the last weekend of the regular season and then faced off in the quarterfinals, it is hard to beat a team four times in two weekends. With that being said, I sill think Lowell rolls to the Garden
Prediction: Lowell in two. 

3. Boston University vs 6. New Hampshire
Site: Agganis Arena
Head To Head Record: BU 3, UNH 0
Alex Chiasson leads the
Terriers in total points with
38 (12g 26a)
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Here we go. The best series in the quarterfinals, by far. Yes BU is 3-0-0 against UNH this year, but the Terriers won all three games with Corey Trivino, Charlie Coyle and Max Nicastro still on the team. Trivino actually had three goals in those three games and Nicastro had the game winner in the second game the two teams played. UNH has had serious second half turn around, mainly due to the goaltending of Casey DeSmith. The freshman goalie took over the net from senior Matt Di Girolamo midway through the year and has not looked back. He has a .929 save percentage and a 2.21 GAA in 19 games played. UNH, like UMass can be rather inconsistent and somehow found a way to lose to Vermont at home. BU will need to play well, but I think if the Terriers get the lead, they win the game. UNH has one player to keep an eye on: Stevie Moses. Besides that, there is not much that worries me about the Wildcats. *Note* UNH is just 4-10-3 on the road.
Prediction: BU in Three, UNH wins the second game.

4. Maine vs 5. Merrimack
Site: Alfond Arena
Head To Head Record: MC 2-0-1
This series, Like the BU-UNH one, has the potential to be very close. Maine has played .500 hockey since sweeping Alabama Huntsville at home in the first weekend of February. Merrimack has also been up and down since losing their first game in November. This series will be a battle of two very strong goalies. Merrimack's Joe Cannata was a preseason nominee for the Hoby Backer award and Maine's Dan Sullivan has a 19-8-3 record. Maine plays very well at home and Alfond is the most hostile rink in the League.
Prediction: Maine in three

Yes, I know I did not pick a single "upset", but I truly believe that all the top seeds will advance to the Garden next weekend.

Comparing my Preseason picks to the end of the year league standings

My Preseason prediction:

10. Lowell
9. Northeastern
8. Providence
7. UMass
6. Vermont
5. Maine
4. Merrimack
3. New Hampshire
2. Boston College
1. Boston University

Actual end of year standings:
10. Vermont
9. Northeastern
8. UMass
7. Providence
6. New Hampshire
5. Merrimack
4. Maine
3. Boston University
2. Lowell
1. Boston College

Ok, a little off with Lowell and Vermont I guess, but besides that, not bad.

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