The Eagles made quick work of UMass, winning 5-2 last night to advance to the Hockey East semifinals. BC completed the rare 5 game season sweep of the 7th seeded Minutemen. BC broke a 2-2 tie by scoring three unanswered goals in the third period. Assistant captain Matt Lombardi netted the game-winner just 2:11 into the third period.
Barry Almeida led the way for the Eagles, registering two goals and an assist. Carl Sneep, Paul Carey and Matt Lombardi added goals in the victory.
John Muse got the start in net, stopping 16 shots in the win. Muse improves to 13-8-2 on the year.
I'm not sure how I feel about York's decision to put Muse in net. I understand wanting to give Parker Milner the night off, but I thought that the benefits of playing Milner in back-to-back games would have outweighed giving him some well-earned rest. Milner hasn't played in back-to-back games all season. If York is going to go with Milner throughout the playoffs, this seemed like the last good opportunity to get him some experience in back-to-back games before the team is playing single elimination hockey in the Hockey East semifinals and the NCAAs.
Then again, we learned not to question York in March or April. In hindsight, York's decision to play for the tie last weekend in Durham doesn't seem so foolish now. Hopefully, it all works out and we get quality goaltending from both Milner and Muse.
York's squad will be making their 6th consecutive trip to the Hockey East semifinals at the Garden, and their 8th appearance in their last 10 seasons.
The good news is that BC gets a night off while the rest of Hockey East plays in decisive game threes tonight. Vermont evened their quarterfinal series with No. 1 seeded New Hampshire, winning 1-0. Sixth seeded Merrimack shocked BU in overtime, 3-2, pushing their series to game 3. Finally, Maine beat UMass Lowell 2-0 behind a shutout from backup goalie Dave Wilson.
Hockey East Semifinal Opponent TBD.
BC's semifinals opponent won't be decided until the results come in from the rest of the Hockey East quarterfinal game threes. The Eagles can play any one of four Hockey East teams in the semis - Vermont, Boston University, Maine or UMass Lowell.
Here are the scenarios and BC's possible opponents in the Hockey East semifinal:
|UNH vs. UVM||BU vs. MC||ME vs. UML||BC Opponent|
|#1 New Hampshire||#3 Boston University||#4 Maine||Boston University|
|#1 New Hampshire||#3 Boston University||#5 UMass Lowell||Boston University|
|#1 New Hampshire||#6 Merrimack||#4 Maine||Maine|
|#1 New Hampshire||#6 Merrimack||#5 UMass Lowell||UMass Lowell|
|#8 Vermont||#3 Boston University||#4 Maine||Vermont|
|#8 Vermont||#3 Boston University||#5 UMass Lowell||Vermont|
|#8 Vermont||#6 Merrimack||#4 Maine||Vermont|
|#8 Vermont||#6 Merrimack||#5 UMass Lowell||Vermont|
The Alabama-Huntsville Chargers became the first team to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, defeating Niagara 3-2 in overtime. The Chargers went just 12-17-3 this season.
NCAA Tournament Field Update.
With UAH's surprising CHA Championship, the current NCAA Tournament field looks something like this:
1 seeds - Denver, Miami, Wisconsin, Boston College
2 seeds - North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Bemidji State, Yale
3 seeds - Ferris State, Cornell, New Hampshire, Northern Michigan
4 seeds - Alaska, Vermont, RIT (projected Atlantic Hockey champ), Alabama-Huntsville (CHA champ)
If the 1 seeds hold serve, I see no reason why BC wouldn't be placed in either the Northeast (Worcester) or the East Regional (Albany) and get to play close to home. I still disagree with Vermont getting in as the third Hockey East team, especially since they entered the Hockey East tournament as the 8 seed. However, last night's win over UNH keeps them at #14 in the PWR rankings, which right now is the final at-large spot in the field (barring any other surprises in the other conference tournaments).