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BC Women’s Hockey vs. New Hampshire: Final Thoughts & Predictions

The regular season finale!

John Quackenbos, BC Athletics

The end of the regular season is here!

Boston College Women’s Hockey probably needs a win to get themselves home ice in the Hockey East tournament, but the good news is that a win will probably get them the 3rd place spot they’ve been gunning for over the last few weeks... at least, as long as they get one point’s worth of help out of (gross) Boston University.

The season hasn’t been quite as good as we’d hoped, but with a top three seed in the league tournament, it wouldn’t be a shocker at all to see them pull out a streak and steal the trophy to make the NCAA tournament. But first thing’s first: they have to win today to set themselves up for that run.

WHO

Boston College Eagles (16-13-3, 14-10-2 WHEA)
at New Hampshire Wildcats (15-14-4, 11-12-3 WHEA)

WHAT

The two biggest points of the season

WHERE

Whittemore Center Arena
Durham, NH

WHEN

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
2:00pm EST

HOW TO WATCH

The game will stream for free on CollegeSportsLive.com. You can get a direct link to the game right here.

PROJECTIONS

KRACH (used for odds) has BC in 15th and UNH in 22nd. That puts the Eagles as a moderate favorite at 61.12% odds to win, or BC -157 with your local bookie (for entertainment purposes only, of course).

GRaNT (used for scores) has the two teams a bit higher than KRACH with BC in 13th and New Hampshire up to 21st. The score projection for those rankings is actually pretty close — GRaNT expects a 2.52 to 2.23 final score, or something like a 2-2 tie — or perhaps BC pulling out a 3-2 win.

We have a direct link to all our BC Interruption hockey calculators in the site header. Just hover over “More” at the top of the page to be linked straight to the Live Pairwise, Projected Pairwise, KRACH, and GRaNT calculators.

LAST TIME OUT

You would think that UNH would have used its dominating 3-0 win over Boston College a couple weeks back to launch into a little hot streak, but they haven’t done that at all. The Wildcats tied lowly Merrimack 2-2 the following day before getting swept and shut out by Boston University (who, granted, is good) by 1-0 and 2-0 scores last weekend.

Boston College continues to be hot and cold even within the same weekend, splitting with Maine in a pair of overtime games last week. The Eagles won game one by a score of 3-2 (OT) before falling in a heartbreaker 2-1 (OT) the following night.

The Eagles and Wildcats have faced off twice so far this season, with BC winning 5-2 during their early season hot streak up at the Whitt before getting beaten pretty soundly in a rough 3-0 loss at home two weeks ago.

THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE

BC really, really, really has to win this game if they want to host their Hockey East quarterfinal next week. Let’s take a look at the league standings:

We’ll omit Holy Cross and Merrimack as they’re not in the picture.

BC is in the 3rd place slot with one weekend to play, but UConn and Providence both hold a game in hand on the Eagles — they each play a pair this weekend while BC just plays one. UConn holds the tiebreaker over BC, and BC holds the tiebreaker over PC (and the same holds true in a three way tie). That means that at worst, the Eagles control their own destiny for 4th place, the last home ice spot. If all three teams sweep the weekend, BC will get 4th.

On top of that, UConn has the toughest weekend of the trio — they have a pair of games at #2 Boston University to navigate. If the Terriers can take at least one point from the Huskies and BC beats UNH, then the Eagles will get 3rd, which is important to avoid #1 Northeastern in the semifinal round, should BC get there.

A tie or a loss for BC complicates things but makes it way too likely that the Eagles are on the road next week, as PC will probably pass the Eagles given that they have two with Holy Cross this weekend, and UConn getting some points off BU isn’t remotely out of the question.

So, win and BC hosts and likely claims 3rd. Lose, and it’s a coin flip at best that the Eagles will be at home. Let’s just win.

THE BIG QUESTION

Which BC do we get? Aside from BC just being good some games and really not good others, it’s been interesting how we’ve been getting both within the same weekend. Since the Eagles had their big losing streak, they haven’t swept a two game weekend, but they’ve typically won the first game of the weekend before dropping points in the second.

The Eagles only have to win the first one (because it’s the only one), so maybe that will help!

RANDOM, POSSIBLY INCORRECT FACT FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE’s WIKIPEDIA PAGE

In 2015, UNH installed life-saving automated external defibrillators in two fraternity houses.

In two... fraternity houses? Kind of an odd choice, no? Feels like that sort of thing would be more beneficial in, like, a public space of some kind. Also, that’s kind of a weird flex to put in your wiki article anyway.

GAME TIME MEAL OF THE WEEK

Dunkin Donuts — Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel

You know what’s nice about a Dunk’s BEC bagel? It really does taste like you made it at home. Obviously that’s all about having a legit bagel as part of the package, but it feels very homestyle, in a good way. McDonald’s, by comparison, has a lot of things going for it lately but it’s bizarre how absolutely terrible their bagels are and always have been.

I’m going with the breakfast staple this week because with the early game (2pm local time), that gives you time to sleep in and have a late breakfast on your way to the rink. Plus, I’ll be in Las Vegas this weekend, so it really will be breakfast time for me by the time this game starts.

GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK

AC/DC — Thunderstruck

Sound of the drums
Beating in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart
You’ve been...
Thunderstruck

Ah, this brings me back, back, back to the my early days as a freshman in 2006-2007. BC Women’s Hockey always opened games with this song at Conte (I think they still do, actually, but as I get to so few games now I can’t say that for sure).

Allie Thunstrom was our favorite player and the reason we got into the sport, and we’d sing “THUN-STROM!” instead of “Thunder!” at the beginning of the song. Back in those days, incredible as it may seem, the Wildcats were the powerhouse of the east. UNH was untouchable in their own rink, never once losing a conference game at the Whitt in their entire NCAA history until like 2009 or something. But BC gave them enough trouble thanks to having a few players — particularly Ms. Minnesota Hockey herself, Allie Thunstrom — who were great on the counter attack.

UNH is no powerhouse anymore, and certainly not this year, but it’s an interesting throwback to have a BC vs. New Hampshire game have so much late-season importance. The Whitt’s huge Olympic sheet no longer tends to favor the home side as much as it used to, so hopefully the Eagles can get the two points and play at home next weekend.

PREDICTION

The good news is everyone seems to be healthy and the team played pretty well last weekend despite only getting the split. Friday’s win in particular was probably the best the team had played in weeks, despite needing overtime to finish off the two points.

The better news is that BC appears to have found themselves a goalie. Kelly Pickreign has really helped turn things around for the Eagles in net over the last few games. She’s started BC’s last three and has put up a very good .950 save percentage in that short time, 8th in the country since the beginning of the month among goalies with at least 3 starts (weird sample size, I know, but whatever). Beyond the numbers, she’s had to come up with some impressive saves, and with the regular playing time, she’s been like a trade deadline signing.

The bad news, though, is that BC’s offense continues to basically only do just enough. Their overtime loss to Maine was because they could could only score one goal. Three goals was the magic number against Harvard and in the Maine win, and that feels like... well, not a ceiling, but a reasonable expectation to see from the Eagles’ offense against a good team. I’m going to say BC wins 3-1 over UNH to get home ice, but the win certainly won’t be a comfortable one.