Boston College men’s hockey kept their season alive with a ruthless, 14-4 aggregate thrashing of Vermont this weekend in the Hockey East quarterfinals. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it’s still an uphill climb for BC to qualify for the NCAA tournament - and in order to do so, they absolutely must win in Friday night’s conference semifinal. Hold on to your butts, because there are only two possible opponents for Friday night at TD Garden: BU or Notre Dame.
The only third game in the Hockey East quarterfinals takes place tonight, between 1-seed UMass-Lowell and 10-seed UNH. Should chalk hold and UMass-Lowell advance to the Garden, UML will play Notre Dame at 5 PM, and BC will play BU in the nightcap at 8 PM.
If UNH springs an upset, BU will play UNH, while BC will play Notre Dame. That would also be the nightcap.
Odds are, we’re staring down the barrel of a BC-BU nightcap semifinal with the Eagles’ season on the line.
Here’s your bubble situation:
12. Cornell .5473 -> Playing Game 3 of the ECAC quarterfinals tonight against Clarkson. Go Golden Knights!
13. Penn State .5457 -> Plays Michigan in Thursday’s Big Ten quarterfinal
14. Ohio State .5450 -> Plays Michigan State in Thursday’s Big Ten quarterfinal
15. Air Force .5430 -> Advanced to AHC semifinals
—-CUT LINE—- Whoever wins the WCHA title will be team #16 —-
16. Boston College .5389 -> Plays BU/ND in Friday’s HEA semifinal
17. Vermont .5354 -> Eliminated from HEA tournament, they’re out
18. Wisconsin .5346 -> #2 seed in Friday’s Big Ten tournament semifinals
19. Nebraska-Omaha .5334 -> Playing Western Michigan tonight in game 3 of NCHC quarterfinals. Must win to keep season alive.
Everyone below #19 is mathematically eliminated from getting an at-large bid. However, there are a few potential bracketbusters still alive with a chance to win their conference tournament and move the cut line up above 15:
The entire AHC other than Air Force
ECAC: Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence, Clarkson
Big Ten: Michigan, Michigan State
Hockey East: UNH
So the situation for BC, aside from just going out and winning the dang thing next weekend, is: win on Friday, hope all the above-referenced teams get knocked out, hope Omaha and Wisconsin lose, and hope that BC can pass Ohio State, Penn State, or Cornell. (Or maybe Notre Dame: there are some scenarios that knock them out. But I’m not the math major, so I’m not going in to them just yet.)
If this all feels oddly familiar, it should. In 2009, BC needed a deep run in the Hockey East tournament in order to make the NCAA tournament. They upset UNH in the quarterfinals, and faced a historically good BU team in the Hockey East semifinal; a win would have probably gotten the Eagles in, but a loss would end their season. BC jumped out to an early lead, but BU roared back with 3 goals in the third period to knock the Eagles out.
Let’s hope for a different outcome this time.