Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend In Review: Why Can't We Beat Witt?

Player of the Week
Garrett Noonan
Even though he hit the post on a five
on three win the final minutes of
Saturday's 5-4 loss, he still had a
four point (3g, 1a) weekend. For that,
he is my Player of the
(photo by Matt Dresens)
For the second year in a row, BU failed to finish second in Hockey East on the last day of the regular season. Last year, BU lost to Northeastern 4-3 at home. If the Terriers had won, they would have finished second. Not a big deal, right? Turns out it was. Finishing third paired BU and NU together, meaning that the teams played each other five games in a row. NU won the Quarterfinal series two games to one. One can only wonder if BU were the two seed and had played Vermont (the seven seed) if things would have been different.

This year, BU had a chance to finish second, as well. Again they played Northeastern on the final day of the regular season, again losing. This time though, it was in overtime and Vinny Saponari, the former Terrier, picked up the winning goal in OT. Now, unlike last year, NU had already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs prior to this game, so the two teams will not play five games straight. 

Instead, BU will take on a surging New Hampshire for only the second time ever in the quarterfinal round. If the Terriers had won Saturday, they would have played Providence in the Quarterfinals who have been struggling as of late.

The common denominator in the two BU losses to NU in the final game of the regular season: Clay Witt. Yes, backup goalie Clay Witt. Witt has three career wins; two have come against BU, denying the Terriers of much easier first round opponents in the Hockey East Tournament. 

At The Polls
BU fell from fourth in the USCHO poll to sixth. Boston College was the unanimous number one receiving all 50 first place votes. Ferris State was second and Minnesota Duluth, Michigan, and Minnesota rounded out the top five.

In the PairWise, BU ended up right back where they started the weekend, in 6th. They had jumped up to 4th after Friday's win, but after the loss Saturday, fell back down to 6th. The current top six looks like this: (1) Boston College (2t) Michigan (2t) Lowell (2t) Minnesota Duluth (5) Ferris State (6t) Boston University (6t) Minnesota.

Around Hockey East
Friday: UMass throttled Merrimack 5-1 at home... Lowell took out Providence 5-1 at Schneider Rink... Boston College skated past Vermont 5-1 at home... BU upended Northeastern 5-2 at Agganis Arena.

Saturday: Maine shutout New Hampshire 1-0 in Durham NH... Lowell completed the sweep of Providence with a 4-2 home win... Merrimack topped UMass 5-3 at home... Boston College captured the league championship with 4-0 shutout of Vermont... Northeastern bucked BU 5-4 in overtime. 

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