View From Section U: Hockey East Tourney Preview and Predictions

Time to look towards the 28th Hockey East Championship Tournament which starts tomorrow in Lowell and will conclude a week from Saturday at the TD Garden.  First let’s take a look at the quarter final series matchups:

#1 Boston College Eagles vs #8 Massachusetts Minutemen
The preview for this one will be coming tomorrow per the normal schedule.
Prediction:  BC wins 2-1

#2 Lowell River Hawks vs #7 Providence Friars
The Friars did take one game from the River Hawks, but that came back in late January thanks to a superb effort from goaltender Alex Beaudry which allowed Providence to gain the 1-0.  These teams just met last weekend and the Hawks dominated, outscoring the Friars 9-3 and outshooting them 72-48.  Providence went 0 for 6 on the power play on the weekend.  Tim Schaller is due to return from injury for the Friars but it’s tough to see how his team, winless in their last three weeks, can overcome Lowell in the series
Prediction:  Lowell wins 2-0

#3 Boston University Terriers vs #6 New Hampshire Wildcats
The Terriers swept the season series 3-0 but the teams last met on December 8th, back before BU had any off-ice problems and still had their full complement of players.  The Wildcats’ biggest problem against BU was scoring goals, managing just 2 in those three games.  The Wildcats played better in the second half of the season but still haven’t proven they can win consistently.  They also make the trip to Agganis losers of two straight.  It remains to be seen how far BU can go in the post season missing the likes of Charlie Coyle, Max Nicastro, and Corey Trivino but they likely still have enough tools to dispatch this low-scoring UNH squad.
Prediction:  BU wins 2-0

#4 Maine Black Bears vs #5 Merrimack Warriors
The Warriors have everything to play for in this one.  Not only would they like to advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row and just the third time in school history, but they’re playing for an NCAA berth.  As of right now, assuming no crazy tournament upsets, they’re the last team in.  A series loss would be devastating.  Maine on the other hand doesn’t have that kind of desperation.  The Warriors did well against the Bears on the season, going 2-0-1 in the games and not allowing Maine to score more than two goals in any game.  In my eyes motivation and goaltending will win out in this one and the Warriors have the advantage of both.
Prediction:  Merrimack wins 2-1

Semifinals
Boston College over Merrimack 3-1 (ENG)
The Merrimack defense and goaltender Joe Cannata are excellent, but BC just has too many weapons.

Boston University over Lowell 3-2 OT
This one feels like it has the potential to be a dramatic back and forth battle.  I’ll pick Sahir Gill with the game winner

Finals
Boston College over Boston University 5-3
MVP:  Barry Almeida

That’s how I see it.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  ZZZZzzzzzzz.  Another BC-BU game in the Garden…  Been there, done that.  Think I’m wrong?  Leave a comment with your tournament predictions.

Just as the crew over at BC Interruption were nice enough to take the time to do a Q&A with Fear The Triangle yesterday in advance of this weekend’s series, I returned the favor for their site.

College Hockey News has their preview of the Hockey East Tournament up.