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Hockey East Semifinals and Finals: Final Thoughts and Predictions

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Will BC advance to the final? Can they win HEA tournament trophy #12?

Dustin Satloff for BC Interruption

The Eagles shut down Conte Forum for the year in dramatic fashion on Sunday, beating Vermont 4-3 in overtime to get themselves back to TD Garden. Now, any and all remaining games this season - somewhere between 2 and 6 - will be single elimination and played on a neutral site. Do the Eagles have what it takes to raise their game and skate away from TD Garden with more hardware this weekend?

In the other semifinal, will Providence be able to get to the final and play for their first conference title since 1996, or will Lowell once again reign at the Garden?

vs. Friday, March 18, 2016, 5 PM, TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
vs. Friday, March 18, 2016, 8 PM, TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

THE MATCHUP

bc logo
Record 26-6-5 (15-2-5 HEA) 20-13-5 (10-8-4 HEA)
Pairwise 5th 14th
KRACH 5th 14th
Team Offense #5 (3.86 G/GM) #12 (3.26 G/GM)
Team Defense #5 (1.92 GA/GM) #19 (2.45 GA/GM)
Streak W1 W11

Storylines

  • Return to a free flowing BC?: BC struggled mightily with UVM's neutral zone trap last weekend. They seemed unprepared for how to face it and out of ideas on how to beat it for much of the weekend. Against Northeastern, I'd expect a more wide open game. Does this mean BC will get its offensive rhythm back? Or will they continue to sputter and have to grind out goals like they did last weekend?
  • Hot starts: The start of games and the start of weekends have been good to BC. They've outscored their opponents 27-15 in the first period in calendar year 2016, and for the season their shot margin is by far the most lopsided in the first (424-332). BC is also, for whatever it's worth, unbeaten on Fridays this season, with a tendency of starting a weekend off hot then struggling in the second day of a back to back. Will those trends continue this weekend?
  • The look of the top 9: At this point, I'm expecting BC's 4th line - which by the end of last week's series consisted of Matt Gaudreau, Chris Brown and Travis Jeke - to see limited minutes. And based on the fact that the other two top lines were reunited late in the 3rd and in OT, my suspicion would be you'll see the top three lines as: Doherty, Sanford, Tuch; Wood, Cangelosi, Gilmour; Dudek, White, Fitzgerald.
  • Getting White on the board: Likely hobbled by injury and less than 100%, Colin White has been a bit quiet in recent weeks, but he seemed to find his stride on Sunday, scoring a goal to put BC up in the 2nd period and being a factor in the Eagles' third period game tying strike. JD Dudek put a fresh jolt of energy in to that line. The last time BC was at the Garden, White was at the top of his game and a huge factor, particularly against Harvard. Hopefully he's healthy enough to play a big role again.
#CATPREDICTIONS: By the cats of the Gifford Cat Shelter

Toby is a very sweet and gentle cat available for adoption at Gifford. His favorite activities are chasing toys and eating treats. Toby was very enthusiastic about choosing the Hockey East Tournament winners, but we can't say we love his predictions.
Toby pretty quickly decided that Northeastern would beat BC. Boooo. He's predicting a final score of 3-2.
Toby then quickly picked UML to win game two, but then snuck in and grabbed the Providence treat too. That's a prediction of a 4-3 OT win for UML.
Finally, Toby is guessing that Northeastern is going to overcome their continued Beanpot woes by winning the Hockey East Tournament by a score of 4-2.
You can visit Toby and other adoptable friends at the Gifford Cat Shelter on Undine Road in Brighton, right down the street from BC. Founded in 1884, it's the nation's oldest cageless and no-kill shelter. For more information visit GiffordCatShelter.org. Gifford is the official cat shelter of BC Interruption and Eastern Bias.

Predictions Contest

Play along at home! This is it, the last round of the contest. Next week, you'll all be invited to BCI's World Famous NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge* (*Not actually world famous). That will be administered separately from this. So get your scoring in now.

The format for this week:

Correct semifinal winner: 5 points
Correct champion: 10 points
Margin of victory correct: 2 bonus points
Exact score correct: 2 additional bonus points

Name Predictions GPS: Points
Grant Salzano BC 4 NU 3
UML 2 PC 0

BC 3 UML 0
Shuttling back and forth between the Women's Frozen Four in Durham and the HEA championships. Hoping for lots of good BC results. 47
Joe Gravellese

BC 3 NU 2
PC 4 UML 1

PC 3 BC 2

This is such a wide open weekend that it's really anyone's tournament. I like BC to edge NU, but I think Providence is playing the best hockey of anyone in the country right now, so I think they will have the slight advantage in the final. These results will leave NU sweating on the bubble pending results of other conference tournaments.

45
Laura Berestecki BC 4 NU 3
PC 4 UML 2

BC 3 PC 2
Ughhh I am very very nervous because a) I am me and b) BC hasn't been playing to their full potential. The skill is there, they just need the drive and the focus. I'm picking BC based on the fact that I think when they're at the garden and the trophy is really in their sights they will step up.
44
Arthur Bailin BC 4 NU 2
PC 3 UML 2

BC 2 PC 1

This is a pick'em in the final and Arthur is going with who he sees as the top goaltender to get the job done.

41
AJ Black

AJ is clinging to a one point lead in this contest, but to this point has not entered his predictions. DRAMA 48
John Fidler

NU 4 BC 3
UML 3 PC 1

UML 3 NU 2

Picking Norm Bazin's team to keep doing their playoff thing 21
Toby/ The Gifford Cats NU 3 BC 2
UML 4 PC 3

NU 4 UML 2
Meow 38
New "Dan Rubin" Guy NU 3 BC 2
PC 3 UML 1

PC 2 NU 1
As much as Northeastern win would make Bentley transitive property Hockey East champions after my beloved Falcons swept them back in October, I'm picking the Friars. It's still their time.
26
Caleb Childers


7




Brian Favat

NU 3 BC 2
UML 3 PC 2

NU 4 PC 2

1

Staff Prediction Summary:

BC to win the title... 4
NU to win the title... 3
PC to win the title... 2
UML to win the title... 1

Fan Prediction Standings after last week:

JPDot 46 points

princisb 42 points
pjpj23 42 points

bostoncollegenyr 41 points

airforce987 40 points


cam_dezak 34 points

eagles2015 26 points
bcmike22 24 points
95dougie95 15 points

seobe 8 points
mig1168 8 points
eagleeye9184 7 points
bcmurt09 7 points
we are bc 5 points
kreidersjohnson 4 point
b0mberman 4 point
tommykay 4 points
totheheights 2 points
bceagles66 2 points
rmbc81 1 point
spillerhighlife 1 point
bceaglekeepr 1 pint
suckstobu 1 point

Leave your thoughts and predictions on the weekend below! Can BC lift the trophy for the 12th time? Will Providence continue to stay red hot? Can Northeastern clinch a spot in the tournament field? Or will Norm Bazin & co. own the Garden again?