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Hockey Wins Wild One Over UMass, NCAA Tournament Bubble Shrinks

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Cam Atkinson wasted no time, scoring just 36 seconds into the game and finishing with a hat-trick at the No. 2 seeded Eagles won game 1 of their Hockey East quarterfinals series 6-5. The Eagles built up a 6-3 lead after two periods before UMass came roaring back to cut the lead to 1. The Minutemen scored twice in the third period's opening minute, but that would be all the scoring in this one as BC held on to take game 1.

BC continues to get outstanding play from their special teams unit. The Eagles went 3-for-4 on the man-advantage, including two of Atkinson's three goals and a goal from Joe Whitney. UMass finished the game 2-of-5 on the power play.

Atkinson finished the game with 4 points, while Joe Whitney added 3 helpers and younger brother Stephen Whitney registered a goal and an assist.

Parker Milner got the start in net, stopping 33 shots in the full 60 minutes to preserve the victory. Milner improves to 10-2-1. The Eagles were uncharacteristically outshot 38-32.

In other Hockey East action, top-seeded New Hampshire scored the game's final five goals to defeat Vermont 7-4. Boston University rallied past Merrimack 3-2, while Lowell got the victory over Maine 2-1.

 

Shrinking Bubble.

College Hockey America's Bemidji State - remember them? - were bounced from the CHA Tournament semifinals last night, losing to No. 4 seeded Niagara 5-4. The loss assures that in the league's last year of existence, the CHA will field two teams in the NCAA Tournament field of 16. BSU already has a at-large berth secured, so the winner of the CHA championship game between Niagara and Alabama-Huntsville will receive an auto-berth into the NCAAs. Niagara has a record of 12-19-4, while UAH has a record of 11-17-3.

That's bad news for the rest of college hockey's bubble teams. For Hockey East programs like UMass Lowell, Vermont, Massachusetts and Boston University, that's one less spot available in the field of 16. As it stands right now, Hockey East looks like they will only be sending two teams to the NCAAs - BC and New Hampshire - unless one of these teams can sneak in and capture the Hockey East tournament title. Lowell is in the best position to grab one of the final at-large spots in the tournament. 

5 Overtime Hockey = Awesome.

Quinnipiac and Union College needed 5 overtimes and almost 6 hours to settle game one of their best-of-three ECAC Quarterfinals matchup. Quinnipiac won 3-2 on Greg Holt's goal at 10:22 of the fifth overtime. The game was the longest game in NCAA history. (What's up with longest game in NCAA history records falling in consecutive years? First BC-Texas in baseball and now Quinnipiac-Union in hockey.)

This really has no bearing on BC or the NCAA Tournament Field. It's just awesome.

Up Next.

The Eagles look to finish off the Minutemen tonight at Conte Forum, starting at 7 PM. With a win, BC advances to the next weekend's Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden.