It’s tournament time once again as we have the last eight teams set. For the ninth time in the last 10 years we have two Boston teams in the tournament. As it has been the last two times the teams are Northeastern and Boston College, this time Northeastern is the home team while Boston College is travelling.
Northeastern v Cornell
Northeastern jumped up to the third spot mid season and never looked back leading Hockey East from wire-to-wire. Cornell got some help and took the ECAC regular season crown right at the end of the season. Both teams had some trouble in their tournaments. Northeastern was able to hold off Boston College, while Cornell fell to Clarkson.
Keys to the Game
The Huskies are an awe inspiring 23-1-1 when scoring first, the only loss was a head-scratcher to Holy Cross, on the road, the tie was on neutral ice to Boston University in the Beanpot. Pretty simple here score early, likely win the game.
Northeastern has had a tendency to rely on home run passes to break out of their defensive zone, and Cornell has been solid all season defensively especially turning a great defensive stop into a scoring chance. Passing more smoothly and eliminating breakouts should spell a victory.
The Big Red put up a truly insane amount of shots against RPI in the first two games of their ECAC quarterfinal but only scored twice, once in regulation. Aerin Frankel, while not Lovisa Selander, will give them trouble so better shot selection may be necessary to win.
If Cornell gets some man advantages they need to capitalize. The problem is NU has the top PK in the nation at 89%. Any special teams goals will do wonders for Cornell’s chance of playing spoiler.
Northeastern 3- Cornell 1
That was tough to write as an alumnus of Northeastern who has witnessed the gambit of Husky failure, but this team is really good. They have the ability to win big and scrape out the tight games. The fact that they had the toughest schedule outside the WCHA is going to be a big boost as the tournament goes on. Cornell is too good defensively to go quietly but NU has a very capable defense too and a lot of firepower up front.
Boston College @ Clarkson
If you had predicted this matchup in the preseason you would’ve been called insane, and for good reason. Clarkson has won the last two National Championships and three of the last four. Boston College was a powerhouse team led by the first ever freshman Kaz winner and a returning core of Olympic Gold Medalist defenders.
This season was a bit of a disappointment for both with some puzzling losses mixed into some great stretches. Clarkson was in a three way tie for second in the ECAC while BC was on their own in HEA for second. Clarkson took care of business in the ECAC tournament but the Eagles had the trophy slip right out of their hands.
Keys to the Game
MacArthur is clearly hurt but when she is on, games get difficult for her opponents. If she is playing well the Eagles can beat anyone, if she isn’t, well, they could lose badly.
This is a double edged sword as the Golden Knights have probably the best top line in the country. But if Watts can get going like she has of late things could get fun.
Stay at Home
While the Eagles are not great away from Conte I mean the Knights defense needs to make sure they shut down BC’s offense and give their top line a chance to make excitement happen.
While BC has been to the tournament a lot and made the Frozen Four before they haven’t won it all yet, and Clarkson has been a different type of dominant in recent years which could propel them back to Hamden, CT.
Clarkson 5- Boston College 4
This game could go either way, both teams are offensively gifted but Clarkson has the goalie that shut down BC last year in the tournament. The top line of Clarkson will be just too much to handle for the Eagles as they will have a very long trip home through three distinct wildernesses.
Wisconsin v Syracuse
We already saw this matchup this season and boy was it ugly, no one is thinking it will be any better this time around. Syracuse did well to make the tournament for the first time in program history but this is where the road ends.
Wisconsin 5- Syracuse 0
Minnesota v Princeton
This matchup on paper should be a big win for Minnesota, but this might be one of the most intriguing matchups. Minnesota has been a top team all season, however so has Princeton, until their recent slide they had the ECAC regular season title all but wrapped up and were in great shape to actually host this weekend. Princeton is probably the most potent 7 seed in a long time, but the Gophers should be able to return to the Frozen Four unless the wheels really fall off.
Minnesota 3- Princeton 1
How to Watch
All these games’ audio feeds should be available via the home teams student radio broadcasts.