Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hockey East Quarterfinal Preview and Picks

1. UMass Lowell vs 8. Maine
Site: Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass
Lowell made an impressive second half, going 16-3-1 after starting the year 6-7-1 to become the first of the non "big four" to win the league. The Riverhawks have been backed by impressive goaltending from freshman Connor Hellebuyck, who holds a 14-2-0 record with a .945 save percentage. Maine, like Lowell made a second half push to make the playoffs. Maine may not have a record that is too eye popping, but then again, what 8 seed really ever does. The thing with the Black Bears is that they may not win every game, but they will hang around. Maine has 8 one goal losses and have played in 10 overtime games on the year. They have only lost one game in overtime. Joey Diamond (when he's not in the box) can and should be the best player in this series.
Pick: Maine in three

2. Boston College vs 8. Vermont
Site: Conte Forum, Newton, Mass
John Gaudreau was a played a
major roll on team USA in the
WJC this winter. Here he scores
against Canada
(Photo by Mark Blinch)
This marks the third year in a row that teams who have played the weekend of the regular season against each other will meet in the quarterfinals. BU and Northeastern did it in 2011 and Providence and Lowell last year. Interesting note: both lower seeded teams (NU and PC) won their quarterfinal series. Last weekend, Boston College took three points with a 4-4 tie Friday and a convincing 7-2 win Saturday. Chris MaCarthy is far and away the points leader on the Catamounts with 30 (13g, 17a) and leads second place Jacob Fallon by 8. For Boston College, the second half theme has been injuries which has held the Eagles back. After winning the Beanpot, they have gone 3-3-2 to finish the regular season. Johnny Gaudreau has been the one constant on the squad and his 46 points is good for 4th in the Nation.
Pick: Boston College in two 

3. Boston University vs 6. Merrimack
Site: Agganis Arena, Boston Mass
Sean Maguire stops a Justin Mayfield
shot in a game between BU and MC
earlier this year
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
For the fourth straight year, BU will be the three seed. In addition to that, BU will now have hosted the quarterfinals every year that the Terriers have called Agganis home. BU is the only team in the tournament to have swept their quarterfinal opponent in the regular season. They did that with  3-1, 4-1 and 5-2 wins against the Warriors. BU and MC met back in 2010 in the first round, with BU winning 3 games to one. Merrimack is led by Mike Collins, who has 37 points (16g, 21a). Sam Marotta has been strong in net with a .927 save percentage. BU will look to Sean Maguire to carry them as far as the freshman goalie can take them with a depleted roster.
Pick: BU in Three

4. Providence vs 5. New Hampshire
Site: Schneider Arena, Providence, Rohde Island
Schneider Arena will host it's first
quarterfinal series since 2003.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
The two teams actually tied for third with BU, the Terriers winning the tie breaker and PC winning the tie breaker vs UNH. So, they will host. Providence starts and ends with goalie John Gillies. He, like Guadreau was a member of the USA WJC team that won the Gold Medal over Sweden. Gillies is the owner of a .932 save percentage. PC has pretty much played .500 hockey since the break, but did come within a win of winning the league. A "W" over Lowell in the regular season's final game would have given the Friars the title. Despite starting the year 11-1-2 and at one point being ranked number one in the country, UNH will once again be on the road in the Quarterfinals. The last time they had home ice in round one was 2011. The Wildcats have not exactly rolled into the playoffs 2-3-5 in their last ten games. Providence is 5-2-3. There has been a lot of overtime played by both teams lately. Might be a great chance to see some free hockey in this series.
Pick: Providence in three. Gillies > DeSmith


  1. Have a great finish to the Super 8!!! This is waaaaaay off topic, but checkout this fun video of the 2013 Minnesota H.S. Tourney!