Headlines: Catching Up on Hockey East

Brian: Back from my west coast weekend, a land devoid of college hockey. Speaking of college hockey, where was this all season? The Eagles swept the New Hampshire Wildcats right out of the Whittemore Center, 5-3 and 1-0, to advance to the Hockey East semifinals. The Eagles will face - guess who? - Boston University at 8pm Friday night at the TD Banknorth Garden.

The Hockey East semifinal schedule is now set, after top-seeded Boston University was pushed to 3 games by Maine. The (2) seed - Northeastern - was also pushed to three games and needed OT to get past Massachusetts. The (5) seed Lowell made quick work of Vermont to advance to the semis, the one series we predicted incorrectly.

(2) Northeastern vs. (5) UMass-Lowell - 5:00pm Friday
(1) Boston University vs. (6) Boston College - 8:00pm Friday

Here is the Hockey East tournament semifinal bracket.


So You're Saying There's a Chance? Collegehockeynews.com has once again produced their "You Are The Committee" feature this season, where you can predict the remaining college hockey playoff games and see how those games impact the final PairWise rankings. Unlike college basketball, the NCAA men's ice hockey selection committee uses the PWR rankings almost exclusively to determine the field of 16 Tournament teams.

If the Eagles don't win the Hockey East tournament (failing to receive the conference's autobid), they would presumably have to finish in the Top 14 of the PairWise rankings to make the NCAA tournament field. CHA champion Bemidji State and Atlantic Hockey champ Air Force will likely finish below the Top 16 in the final PWR rankings, but are in the field of 16 care of their conference's auto bid.

The good news? The Eagles moved up the PWR ever so slightly this past weekend and are currently ranked 17th in the PWR rankings. And two of the teams above BC - Miami (OH) and Ohio State - were eliminated from the CCHA conference tournament this past weekend. So BC has the benefit of playing an extra 1-2 games while Miami (OH) and Ohio State have to sit home and wait.

The bad news? I can only come up with one scenario to get the Eagles into the Top 13 of the PairWise rankings after predicting the rest of the conference tournament results. The best I can do is get the Eagles tied for 13th with Atlantic Hockey champion Air Force using the following pairings:
  • Hockey East Semifinal #2: Northeastern defeats Mass.-Lowell.
  • Hockey East Semifinal #1: Boston College defeats Boston University.
  • Hockey East Championship game: Northeastern defeats Boston College.
  • ECAC Semifinal #2: Cornell defeats Princeton.
  • ECAC Semifinal #1: Yale defeats St. Lawrence.
  • ECAC Championship game: Yale defeats Cornell.
  • ECAC Consolation game: Princeton and St. Lawrence tie.
  • Atlantic Hockey Semifinal #2: RIT defeats Mercyhurst.
  • Atlantic Hockey Semifinal #1: Air Force defeats Bentley.
  • Atlantic Hockey Championship game: Air Force defeats RIT.
  • CCHA Semifinal #2: Michigan defeats Alaska.
  • CCHA Semifinal #1: Notre Dame defeats Northern Michigan.
  • CCHA Championship game: Notre Dame defeats Michigan.
  • CCHA Consolation game: Alaska defeats Northern Michigan.
  • WCHA Play-in #1: Minnesota defeats Minnesota-Duluth.
  • WCHA Semifinal #2: Denver defeats Wisconsin.
  • WCHA Semifinal #1: North Dakota defeats Minnesota.
  • WCHA Championship game: North Dakota defeats Denver.
  • WCHA Consolation game: Wisconsin defeats Minnesota.
That is a lot of games that have to break the Eagles way for BC to have a chance of getting in. It is a slim chance, and the Eagles would likely be one of the last at-larges selected, but I'm saying there's a chance. If you can get the Eagles closer using CHN's "You Are The Committee" feature, leave your pairings in the comments section below.


Finally, congratulations to the women's ice hockey team on a successful 2008-2009 season. The women's team' season ended in Minnesota over the weekend, as the Eagles fell to the No. 2 seeded Minnesota Gophers 4-3. No shame in losing to Minnesota, who have won 2 women's National Championships, and are one of only three teams to win the title (Minnesota-Duluth and Wisconsin). This year's women's Frozen Four will take place on Friday and Sunday at BU's Agganis Arena. The usual suspects include Minnesota-Duluth facing off against (1) Wisconsin, and (2) Minnesota playing (3) Mercyhurst in the second semifinal.

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