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NCAA Women’s Hockey Quarterfinals, BC vs. Ohio State: Final Thoughts & Predictions

No more mulligans.

Rich Gagnon, BC Athletics

A week ago, the Eagles entered the Hockey East semifinals after a convincing quarterfinal sweep of the Vermont Catamounts, a team that gave them some trouble during the regular season. BC lined up against the UConn Huskies playing for a Hockey East championship game berth, and found themselves stuffed repeatedly by UConn goaltender Annie Belanger.

BC lost 4-2 and cut short a run to what would have been their third trophy of the season.

Fortunately, the Eagles played well enough in the regular season to back themselves into a home-ice spot in the NCAA tournament even with the conference tournament loss. That’s the last mulligan they’ve got, though — one more loss, and the season’s over.

But one more win, and the Eagles are in the Frozen Four.

Women’s NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals
March 10th, 2018, 1pm EST

No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (23-10-4, 24-14-6-4 WCHA)
at No. 4 Boston College Eagles (30-4-3, 19-2-3 WHEA)

How to Watch: ESPN3

There are a three important firsts to note for this game:

FIRST FIRST: This is the first time these two teams have ever faced each other. The Eagles try and play a WCHA team each year, but they’ve never quite managed to get the Buckeyes on the schedule.

SECOND FIRST: This is the first time the Buckeyes have ever made the NCAA tournament. Ohio State has had the misfortune of playing in a conference with three teams who have won all but two of the NCAA championships ever won in this sport (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota-Duluth), and as such their success has been... er, limited.

THIRD FIRST: This is the first time all season that Boston College has played a team in the top seven of the current KRACH ratings. The Eagles did play St. Lawrence and Northeastern, 8th and 9th in KRACH respectively, but no one quite to the caliber of the Buckeyes. Of all the teams BC has played this year, only Northeastern made the NCAA tournament — and they did so only because they managed to win Hockey East and earn an autobid to get in.

Last Time Out

Both of these teams enter the NCAA tournament coming off a loss in their conference semifinals.

Ohio State dropped a hard-fought 2-0 decision to Minnesota.

Boston College fell 4-2 (ENG) to UConn in a frustrating matchup.

Big Questions

There’s one biggest question of all, and that’s whether senior Ohio State goaltender Kassidy Sauvé will be able to skate out between the pipes for the Buckeyes. Sauvé was injured a few weeks back, came back to play in both games against Bemidji State in mid-February, and then missed her last three game since. In a bizarre twist, she actually suited up for Ohio State’s game against Minnesota last weekend, but didn’t see any game action. The rumors of whether or not she’ll play against the Eagles are all over the place, but it’s worth more than a passing thought to wonder whether a cold goaltender coming in off an injury might struggle against a high-powered team like BC.

Random, Possibly Incorrect Fact From Ohio State’s Wikipedia Page

Ohio State holds the world record for the fastest speed by an electric car with a speed of 271.737 mph. The car also holds a peak “timed mile” speed of 321.834 mph.

Cool electric car, bro. BC found a better way to put that many Watts to good use, though.

Ice Cream of the Game

Apparently we’re doing “Ice Cream of the Game” this year. Ask Bailin or Laura; I don’t make the rules.

“Bacio” Gelato — Grom

“Grom” is an Italian gelato chain with the vast majority of its locations inside the Italian border, but with a few international locations (and a couple in the US) as well. It’s pretty great stuff — as you would expect legit Italian gelato to be — and Bacio is one of their best flavors. It’s basically chocolate with hazelnut pieces (sort of like a chunky Nutella).

This is our ice cream of the game because a buckeye is just a bullshit hazelnut that will kill you if you eat it raw. Screw that.

Game Time Song of the Week

Michael Franti and Spearhead — Yell Fire!

A revolution never come with a warning
A revolution never sends you an omen
A revolution just arrived like the morning
Ring the alarm, we come to wake up the snoring

BC Women’s Hockey has a very well-known and painful history of heartbreak in the NCAA tournament. They’ve made the Frozen Four seven times, but only have one win to show for it — in the 2016 semifinals — giving them a 1-7 record in the season’s final weekend. It’s easy to forget, though, that before rattling off four national titles since the turn of the millennium, it felt like the BC men’s team would never break through that glass ceiling either.

A national title is going to come for this program eventually, and this season is as good as any for it to happen. If the Eagles can beat the Buckeyes today, they’ll get themselves one more crack at the Frozen Four and have the opportunity to play for a national championship next weekend.

Prediction

Ohio State is definitely the best team the Eagles have played all season, but there’s a reason that the top four teams in the country were able to separate themselves from the pack. Moreover, Ohio State seems to be a really good matchup for BC. Aside from the fact that the Buckeyes are terrible on the road, they don’t really have those game-breaking forwards that can give the blue-collar BC defensive corps fits. Add on the fact that their senior goaltender may miss the game or, at best, would play for the first time in three weeks after coming off an injury, and it just feels like this matchup works out well for BC.

Boston College has never lost a home NCAA quarterfinal — and in fact have dominated in those games, outscoring their opponents 29-7 in six contests including a whopping 16-2 the last three years — and I think they keep that home NCAA women’s streak alive. I think this game plays right into the Eagles’ hands with a 4-1 BC win to reserve their spot in the Frozen Four.