College Hockey Playoffs: Hockey East Preview
The college hockey regular season has come to a close and the top teams in each conference will battle it out for their respective title. One of the most exciting tournaments of the year is Hockey East and this year looks to be no different.
A team from Hockey East has won the National Championship the past three years and if you put the word "Boston" in front of your name, there is a chance it was you. In 2008, The Boston College Eagles managed to claim the greatest honor in NCAA Division I Hockey. Not to be out done, their cross town rivals, Boston University, made their claim when they emerged as National Champions in 2009. In 2010, it was once again Boston College who reminded the hockey world who the top team in Boston was as they won their second national title in three years.
2011 Hockey East Playoffs
As usual, the Hockey East playoff race wasn't decided until the final weekend while teams battled not only to get in but for home ice advantage. The ten team conference only allows 8 teams to make the playoffs and the top 4 teams host the first round best-of-3 series. Here is a look at how it played out:
#8 Massachusetts at #1 Boston College: Both teams had exciting finishes to the final weekend of the regular season. The Eagles (#2 in the nation) took home their second trophy of the season when they were able to hold of conference foe New Hampshire (UNH) to capture the regular season title. Their 20 wins were tops in a challenging conference while second place UNH, had 17.
It took until the final game of the regular season for the Minutemen (UMASS) to know if they were in the playoffs. UMASS earned a tie against the University of Maine in their final game. It was good enough to put them one point ahead of Providence College for the 8th and final playoff spot.
Prediction: Boston College sweeps at home.
#7 Vermont at #2 New Hampshire: These two state schools are natural geographical enemies. New England is a competitive hockey region and pride is at stake when the states of Vermont and New Hampshire, who share a border, go head to head. UNH had an opportunity to become the regular season champions if they won their final two games against BC. The #10 team in the nation was overwhelmed by the Eagles and settled for second place.Continued on the next page