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Hockey East Women’s Seeding Scenarios Heading Into The Finale

As best we can figure out, anyway

BC Interruption

Yesterday, Boston College Women’s Hockey suffered its first loss since way back in December, and in pretty heartbreaking fashion. They Eagles took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, but Boston University stormed back to win 3-2 on a scrappy goal with just 40 seconds to play in the game. Ouch.

So yeah, that was bad. Unfortunately, the loss coming in regulation probably means that while the Eagles still handily control their own destiny to claim the #2 seed in the Hockey East tournament, they probably aren’t quite clinched for the spot. That’s too bad, because the #2 seed is going to be a big advantage over the #3 seed with all conference tournament games taking place at campus sites.

Let’s take a look at the HEPI standings before and after yesterday’s games and see if we can’t figure out where the Eagles might end up.

First thing’s first. Hockey East is still refusing to share how they get these numbers, so this whole exercise is going to be a bit like an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway.

Anyway, we can safely assume that NU has clinched the #1 seed, especially with BC losing to BU. They went from +4.06 over the Eagles to +5.92, and that gap’s not getting closed. Congrats, Huskies.

Boston University jumped up from 7th to 5th with the win, closing the gap on BC from -7.98 to -4.23. That’s a big jump, but we can assume BC shouldn’t have to worry about the Terriers jumping BC with another win — first off, each win has a diminishing effect on the standings, but more importantly, we know that road wins count for more than home wins. BU will be at home this afternoon against BC, so even if they win over the Eagles, they’ll pick up less than they picked up yesterday.

Providence is idle this weekend, but with BC’s loss, the Friars have closed the gap from -3.53 to -2.07. Again, even with another BC loss to BU, today’s game would come on the road which would hurt the Eagles less. So the Friars look safely in the rear view mirror.

That leaves Vermont as the team of concern for the Eagles, which is the worst possible team that could pass BC for second as it would mean a long road trip up to Burlington for a potential semifinals matchup. BC roughly maintained the gap on the Catamounts, going from +2.94 to +2.82 thanks to Vermont’s loss to Northeastern in Burlington. Vermont’s loss was “better” than the loss to BU, but it still hurt the Catamounts quite a bit because they were only 6-2 going into the night.

It’s obvious that a Vermont loss or a BC win will be enough to keep the Eagles in second. But what’s harder to figure out is whether a Vermont win and another BC loss would be enough for the Catamounts to jump ahead.

Let’s try and look at the two in a vacuum for a second. We know that BC dropped by 1.61 points on the day, with a worst-case loss to BU in regulation at home. So the Eagles should not drop by more than 1.61 points with another loss this afternoon even with the small affect the other games could tangentially have on their rating.

As for Vermont, since they are playing Northeastern, it’s probably safe to assume that a split against the #1 team in the conference should have a net-positive effect on their rating. We don’t actually know this, but it’s a fair assumption to make. Since they entered the weekend with a rating of 55.08, it’s reasonable to expect that a win today would jump their rating back above that number.

BC’s gap over 55.08 right now is just +1.33 points. Friday’s loss had an effect of 1.61 points, and while we know a road loss would count for less, it’s probably not that much less. And since UVM will probably jump above their 55.08 mark going into the weekend, I think it’s a safe guess that a Vermont win over Northeastern and another Boston College loss to Boston University would probably (but not definitely) be enough for jump the Catamounts into 2nd place and bump the Eagles into 3rd.

The good news, though, is that a Vermont win would be a pretty big upset, and even an overtime loss out of the Eagles would probably be enough to hold the spot. BC would have no excuse for dropping out of that #2 spot for home ice in the semifinals, since it’s clear they control their own destiny for it — they just need to take care of business this afternoon against BU.