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BC Women’s Hockey vs. UConn, Hockey East Quarterfinal: Final Thoughts & Predictions

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Trophy season is upon us!

BC Athletics

This season has simultaneously felt like it’s lasted for both the blink of an eye and forever. Things started out late, with Boston College Women’s Hockey dropping the puck on their first game in late November, almost two full months later than usual. But despite the fewer games played this season, time itself basically has no meaning, so have these past 18 games lasted for 18 minutes or 18 years? Honestly, who can say?

We are all just specks of dust stuck to a pebble floating through four dimensional spacetime. Go Eagles.

WHO

UConn Huskies (8-9-1, 8-9-1 WHEA — #7 Seed)
at No. 6 Boston College Eagles (14-4-0, 14-4-0 WHEA — #2 Seed)

WHAT

The Hockey East Quarterfinals — Single Elimination

WHERE

**Games will be played without fans, so don’t show up hoping to get in the door**

Conte Forum
Chestnut Hill, MA

WHEN

Sunday, February 28th, 2021
4:30pm EST

HOW TO WATCH

The Eagles will once again be playing live in HDTV on NESN, their 4th straight game on the network and their 9th out of their last 12. You gotta love it.

As always, those of you not in the NESN area will be able to stream the game for free on CollegeSportsLive.com.

LAST TIME OUT

Boston College took on Boston University last week to close out the regular season and earned a split with the Terriers, losing 3-2 on Friday before taking a 2-0 win on Saturday. The Terriers are a lot better than their record, thanks to missing games and missing players, so that wasn’t the worst result in the world — especially for a rivalry series.

UConn has had a weird couple weeks. They earned a less-than-convincing 1-0, 4-2 sweep against struggling Holy Cross two weeks back, but were unable to play any games at all last weekend. Normally you’d be annoyed at having to deal with single elimination as the higher seed, but it might work out for the Eagles in a one-off since UConn hasn’t played any games in a while.

PROJECTIONS

With no inter-conference games this year, a national KRACH calculator would be pretty pointless. But since we’re only playing conference games, we can use a league-only KRACH projection. The sample size is smaller than usual, but now that we’re in the postseason it’s about as good as it’s going to get.

According to KRACH, the Eagles are 2nd in Hockey East, and UConn is squarely in the middle in 5th. The numbers work out to BC having a 72.14% chance of winning, which is probably about right — BC’s got to be favored in this one, but it wouldn’t exactly be a titanic upset if UConn pulled this one out. They’re a decent team with an above-average KRACH rating of 121.06 (“average” being defined as 100).

THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE

It’s tough to beat the same team three four five six times in a row. In this bizarro-world of a season, Boston College and UConn have already faced off five times — more than a quarter of the games for each team. BC is 5-0-0 in those games and it seems clear that the Eagles are the better team, but the Huskies put up a fight in each matchup and took BC to overtime in Game 3.

It’s easy to get overconfident with that winning streak, but if these teams played 10 times, you can pretty much take it to the bank that the Huskies would at least win one... but hopefully that “one” isn’t *this particular* one.

THE BIG QUESTION

Can the Eagles put all the pieces together? Boson College hasn’t really blown anyone away this year, but they’ve been better than the sum of their parts all year and have just done an admirable job of finding wins each week.

But despite getting all those wins, here and there there’s always been something amiss. For a while the goaltending struggled, but now Abbey Levy’s suddenly sitting with the 2nd best goalie stats in the country. The penalty kill has gone on great streaks, but the power play has been horrendous. The team’s done a good job getting games into the books, but hasn’t played with a full roster in months. If BC can keep the goaltending rolling, get both special teams units on the same page, and get a full roster on the ice, all in the same week, the Eagles are capable of putting up the dominating effort they haven’t found yet this season.

GAME TIME MEAL OF THE WEEK

Vegetable Bisque

Mrs. Salzano and I went over my in-laws’ place yesterday afternoon, and the Mrs.’s Mama whipped up an absolutely tremendous vegetable bisque. It had a rice base and was thick and peppery and filled with a bunch of vegetables that I didn’t even take the time to identify because I was eating it too fast. With how cold and rainy this weekend has been, I highly recommend this particular meal for game time.

The mother-in-law had this recipe on the front and back of two separate index cards, so you’re going to have to look up a recipe of your own on this one. Good luck.

GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK

Machine Gun Kelly ft. Halsey — Forget Me Too

You want me to forget you
Okay, forget me too
You tell me you hate me, baby,
Yeah, I bet you do

We all hate UConn, we’re all tired of playing UConn... I know. Barring something ridiculous like UConn winning Hockey East and both teams somehow making it to the Frozen Four, this will be the last time we have to look a them until next year. Good riddance.

PREDICTION

Not a big fan at all of having to face a decent team for the 6th time when we’re 5-0-0 against them. I like the fact that UConn hasn’t played anyone in 2 weeks and hasn’t played anyone decent in three weeks. Who knows which players the Eagles will have available to play, but if we’re short staffed again I’ve got a pretty good idea of how this one will play out: BC will jump out ahead 2-0 in the first period, UConn will even gameplay a bit in the second but won’t score, and then the Huskies’ fresh legs will make a real tight game of it in the third period.

But in the end, I feel good about BC’s ability to get a goal when they need it late — that’s been their M.O. all year long. I’ll give BC a 3-1 win in this one with a non-ENG goal in the third to put the game away and advance to the Hockey East semifinals.