At long last, we have reached the national tournament!
Here’s the bad news: Boston College Women’s Hockey has not won a single trophy on the season. The lost the Beanpot, they lost the Hockey East regular season title, and last weekend, they lost the Hockey East tournament championship in utterly soul-crushing fashion. This is rapidly becoming something of a lost season.
But here’s the good news: The Eagles are still playing very well. Before losing to the Huskies in overtime, BC was 13-1-1 in their previous 15, and they kicked the everloving crap out of Boston University in the conference semifinals which was a downright pleasure. So despite playing on the road in the conference quarterfinal against the two-time defending national champion, BC is probably feeling pretty good about their chances.
With a win, the Eagles will advance to the Frozen Four. With a loss, the season will end without any meaningful hardware. Let’s go get it.
No. 5 Boston College Eagles (26-11-1, 19-7-1 WHEA)
vs. No. 4 Clarkson Golden Knights (29-7-2, 16-5-1 ECAC)
The NCAA Quarterfinals
Canada New York
Saturday, March 16th, 2019
HOW TO WATCH
All games in the NCAA women’s hockey tournament stream for free, and BC vs. Clarkson is no exception. You can watch the game via this link, or you can be a lunatic like me and drive up to the Canadian border to watch in person.
For the first time all year, our models give us a split decision.
KRACH has Clarkson just slightly favored, with the Golden Knights at a 56.23% chance of winning (Clarkson -128). That’s pretty close!
But GRaNT, on the other hand, favors the Eagles. The two teams are neck and neck at 5th and 6th, and the model has a score projection of 2.75 to 2.62 in favor of BC. You’d normally project that out as something like a 3-3 tie... but they’ll play until we have a winner!
This should be a really good one.
LAST TIME OUT
Boston College fell in the Hockey East championship game against Northeastern 3-2 in overtime after a chaotic end to regulation that saw the Eagles tie the game right after a faceoff with just 7.4 seconds to play.
Clarkson won the ECAC title with a 2-0, 4-1 weekend over Colgate and Cornell, respectively, looking stronger than they had in a few weeks after a somewhat questionable finish to the regular season.
THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE
This game would be a real toss-up if it were at BC or even on neutral ice. With KRACH and GRaNT giving a split decision, that tells you BC has more than a puncher’s chance to take the win and advance to the Frozen Four. But the problem is that the game is at Clarkson, and BC has been dreadful on the road this year. The Eagles were 17-1-0 at Conte Forum this year, but just 7-9-1 (!!) as the road team. BC can certainly win this game, but they’re going to need to shake off whatever mental block they have that keeps them from playing well away from Kelley Rink.
Will getting up to Clarkson well in advance of the game (the team left Chestnut Hill early on Thursday) help stave off some of BC’s travel demons? Is the team healthy and rested up after having both Caitrin Lonergan and Makenna Newkirk miss some time against Norteastern? Will the rookie netminder rise to the occasion in her first even NCAA tournament game? Can BC at least somewhat slow down Clarkson’s by-far-the-best-in-the-country top line of Gabel-Giguere-Pejzlova? Will BC’s blue line continue their improved play defensively while still creating offense from the back? Will I make it home alive through the wilderness of upstate New York? Will I persuade myself never to make this stupid drive up to the north country ever again?
RANDOM, POSSIBLY INCORRECT FACT FROM CLARKSON’S WIKIPEDIA PAGE
The school was founded in 1896, funded by the sisters of Thomas S. Clarkson, a local entrepreneur who was accidentally killed while working in his sandstone quarry not far from Potsdam. When a worker was in danger of being crushed by a loose pump, Clarkson pushed him out of the way risking his own life. Clarkson was crushed against a wall by the swinging pump, sustaining severe internal injuries. He died five days later.
We’ve been doing these Random Wikipedia Facts all season, but this is easily one of the most interesting facts we’ve had, in my opinion. Certainly one of the better school founding stories out there, at the very least.
ICE CREAM OF THE WEEK
We do ice cream of the week because hell yeah, ice cream.
Friendly’s Coffee Cookie Crumble
It is a six hour drive up to Potsdam and a six hour drive back. I will be making the trip up and back all on Saturday. The 2pm start time is pretty close to ideal, but I’m still looking at an 11pm or so arrival time back at the homestead, if I’m lucky.
I will need caffeine. This ice cream is coffee flavored. Sounds like a winning combination to me.
GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK
The Allman Brothers Band — Ramblin’ Man
I’m on my way up to Clarkson this mornin’
I’m leavin’ out of Madison, C. T.
They’re always having a good time up in the Adirrrrondacks
Them Eagle women better win for meeeeee
Clarkson is REALLY FAR AWAY, y’all!
The winner of this game advances to the Frozen Four, being hosted by Qunnipiac in Hamden, CT. The last time Quinnipiac hosted the Frozen Four was 2014. The last time Boston College Women’s Hockey played at Clarkson was the 2014 NCAA quarterfinals.
The last time I drove 12 hours in a day was — you may be sensing a pattern here — when I drove up to Clarkson for the 2014 NCAA quarterfinals. The Eagles were missing Alex Carpenter, who missed the season to play in the Olympics, and BC had a good-but-not-great season. Clarkson took advantage of not having any Olympians missing from the roster by having a strong season and winning the national championship.
The BC vs. Clarkson quarterfinal that year was a slow burn of misery. BC went down 1-0 after one, 2-0 after 2, and 3-0 immediately in the third, and the game was never really a contest despite the 3-1 final. To top it off, Joe Gravellese and I had some very serious issues getting through the mountains in a snowstorm in the middle of the night on the way home. As such, I can’t help but feel miserable just thinking about going through this whole experience again and feel like we’ve already lost the game — even though we obviously haven’t, and the two teams are much closer in talent level this time around.
Still, I can’t get the feeling out of my head that I’m going to watch an instant replay of that game and see a 3-1 Clarkson win to end the season. So that will be my official prediction, but if the Eagles can flip the script it’ll make for a much more pleasant ride home than it was in 2014.