Last season, you got the feeling that if BC could somehow manage to find their way into the NCAA Tournament field of 16, they'd have a good chance to defend their National Title. The field seemed wide open with no clear cut favorite. The tournament lived up to its billing. Last year's NCAA hockey tournament saw two 4 seeds make the Frozen Four (Miami Ohio and Bemidji State), with the former just a minute away from winning the program's first ever National Championship.
Alas, it wasn't to be for the Eagles last year. BC just missed making the NCAA Tournament field and had to stay home and watch their green line rivals hoist the National Championship trophy for the 5th time in program history.
The feeling that I had last year has carried over to this season, with only the Eagles' circumstances changing. The tournament seems as wide open as it has been in years, but this time, not only is BC safely in the tournament field, but they have the added bulls-eye of being the #1 seed in the Northeast Regional.
Last night's results from the NCAA Tournament certainly have to be encouraging for BC. In the opening game, #4 seeded RIT upset #1 seeded Denver 2-1, sending the East Regional's top seed packing after a season that had so much promise. Coach York was particularly pleased with the RIT victory, as the Tigers' head coach Wayne Wilson played for York on his 1984 National Championship team at Bowling Green. In the second game, #3 New Hampshire blasted #2 Cornell 6-2, setting up a Regional final between #3 UNH and #4 RIT.
Out west, it's all chalk. #2 seeded St. Cloud State outlasted #3 Northern Michigan 4-3 in double overtime, giving the Huskies their first ever NCAA Tournament win. St. Cloud State will be joined by top-seeded Wisconsin, who skated past a pesky Vermont Catamount team 3-2. While the Catamounts got outshot 42-29, they gave the top-seeded Badgers all they could handle and would not go away. The Western regional final will be an all-WCHA affair. The Huskies earned a 3-2-0 season victory in their matches with the Badgers this year, including a win over Wisconsin in the WCHA semifinals.
While it great to see a top seed bounced from the tournament (and one that BC struggled with back in January to boot), there is still a lot of hockey to be played. The Eagles can't be caught looking ahead and should have their focus squarely on the Alaska Nanooks in today's first round action at the DCU Center.
Here is your TV viewing schedule for the rest of the day's hockey action:
1:30 PM ET - Boston College vs. Alaska - CSN New England (DirecTV 630), MASN (DirecTV 640)
4:00 PM ET - Miami (OH) vs. Alabama-Huntsville - ESPNU
5:00 PM ET - North Dakota vs. Yale - FSN North (DirecTV 668), MASN
6:30 PM ET - New Hampshire vs. RIT - ESPNU
7:30 PM ET - Bemidji State vs. Michigan - FSN North, MASN
9:00 PM ET - Wisconsin vs. St. Cloud State - ESPNU