Hockey East Tournament 2012: Boston College Holds Off UMass, Other Quarterfinals Series Come Down To A Decisive Game Three

via Daniel Lee, Heights Editor

BC men's hockey had a tough act to follow after an epic comeback by the BC women's team earlier in the afternoon. Despite another tough UMass attack, the BC men were able to hold off the Minutemen and advance to the TD Garden and the Hockey East semifinals, 3-2.

UMass actually opened up the scoring after a tough non-call on what should have been a boarding penalty. Seconds after the BC player went down, UMass centered the puck in the slot and Conor Sheary threw the puck home into the gaping net.

After a Bill Arnold roughing penalty, UMass's Steven Guzzo threw in a dirty hit of his own that earned him a 5+game. BC scored twice during the 5 minute penalty to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room.

The second period was all UMass, though not to the extent that it was Friday night. After 18 minutes of UMass pressure, Joel Hanley put home the equalizer to put a scare into the Eagle faithful. But just a minute later, a hobbled Brian Dumoulin, who is playing on a bad knee, wristed the game winner on assists from Chris Kreider and Parker Milner of all people. The third period was scoreless and the Eagles took took the victory. UMass coach Toot Cahoon was not pleased with the turn of events leading to BC's game-winning goal:

I’ve never been more frustrated in all my life. I’ve got 28 kids in that locker room that are absolutely devastated, and don’t feel that they lost this series. We should still be playing out there right now. I don’t think there is any question in the world. If you get a chance to look at that third goal, you won’t believe what you’d see. End of story.

It was disgraceful. Icing, and if Syner didn’t get hit from behind, behind the net going to get the puck, then there should have been a huge embellishment penalty, a huge embellishment penalty. So pick it. What was it? If it wasn’t icing, it was a hit from behind, if it wasn’t a hit from behind, it was embellishment. There’s no one in this league or any other league that’s going to tell me otherwise. And it just ended our season, absolutely disgraceful.

Well, that's cool, but if you want to complain about that, BC fans can complain about the non-call on the hitting from behind in the first period that led to UMass's goal. It was the exact same play, and as such, complaining with such manufactured anger about the events leading up to that goal takes away Cahoon's credibility here.

With the win, BC eliminated UMass from TUC status for good and knocks out our two losses against them. Combined with Northeastern and our 4-0 record safely in and a monstrous lead in the RPI, Boston College appears to be mathematically assured of the number one overall seed in the Pairwise Rankings regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

While Boston College was busy punching its ticket to the Garden and the Hockey East semifinals, the other three Hockey East quarterfinal series were pushed to a third and decisive game three.

Last night, third-seeded Boston University topped sixth-seeded New Hampshire 4-2, while Merrimack notched a 5-2 win over Maine in the 4-5 matchup in a game featuring Tim Benedetto And The Fifty Penalties. UMass-Lowell and Providence had the night off, but the River Hawks and Friars will play game three of their Quarterfinals series today at 4 PM.

Here is today's Hockey East Tournament playoff schedule.

4 PM -- No. 7 Providence at No. 2 UMass-Lowell (Series tied 1-1)
5 PM -- No. 6 New Hampshire at No. 3 Boston University (Series tied 1-1)
7 PM -- No. 5 Merrimack at No. 4 Maine (Series tied 1-1)

With all three of the other Hockey East quarterfinals series still up in the air, it's unclear who Boston College's semifinals opponent will be. Well, at least we know it won't be no. 2 UMass-Lowell or no. 3 Boston University as Hockey East reseeds programs after the Quarterfinals. As BC is the top seed, they wouldn't see either Lowell or Boston University, should one or both win, until the title game.

The Eagles will face one of these teams in the Hockey East Semis at the Garden.

-- No. 4 Maine Black Bears (32 points, 15-10-2 Hockey East)
-- No. 5 Merrimack Warriors (31 points, 13-9-5)
-- No. 6 New Hampshire Wildcats (24 points, 11-14-2)
-- No. 7 Providence Friars (23 points, 10-14-3)

BC swept the regular season series with both New Hampshire and Providence (3-0-0) and went 2-0-1 this year against Merrimack. The Black Bears are the only program of that bunch to have claimed the regular season series over BC, going 2-1-0.

Of that group of teams, the Eagles have enjoyed the most Hockey East Tournament success all-time against the Warriors, posting a 10-1-0 record against Merrimack. BC is 6-3-0 all-time vs. Providence, 8-3-0 vs. New Hampshire and 7-5-0 vs. Maine.

So who ya got? Which program does BC draw in the Hockey East semis? Which program do you want BC to face?

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