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View From Section U: Hockey East Playoff Predictions

Time to make some picks!  Actually, before I take a shot at how the Hockey East playoffs will play out, let’s first see how I did with my regular season predictions.  Here’s how I picked the league way back on October 1st:

  1. Providence
  2. Boston College
  3. Northeastern
  4. Boston University
  5. Maine
  6. Lowell
  7. Vermont
  8. Notre Dame
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Merrimack
  11. Massachusetts
  12. Connecticut

Here’s how the teams actually finished:

  1. Boston University
  2. Providence
  3. Boston College
  4. Lowell
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Northeastern
  7. Vermont
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Connecticut
  10. Maine
  11. Merrimack
  12. Massachusetts

I did fairly well predicting the bottom half of the league with really Maine and Notre Dame just switching places from where I predicted.  Boston University obviously surprised me by winning the league entirely after struggling so much last year.  After BU though the order was fairly accurate.  Overall, outside of BU’s emergence in league and nationally and UConn doing so well in their first year, not too many surprises.  But the regular season is over.  Anything can happen in the playoffs.  Here’s my prediction:

  Octofinals 

12 Massachusetts at 5 Notre Dame:  Notre Dame wins 2-1 

Yes, UMass has played much better in the last couple months, but they haven’t shown that they can produce that winning effort with consistency.  The type of consistency you need to win a series on the road. 

11 Merrimack at 6 Northeastern:  Northeastern wins 2-0 

Merrimack was a pleasant surprise for much of the season but they’re heading in the wrong direction at the wrong time, going winless in their last 9 games.  I don’t think that trend changes in the playoffs. 

10 Maine at 7 Vermont:  Vermont wins 2-1 

I think this will be the closest of the opening round matchups.  Vermont swept the season series but those games were played way back in November.  Ultimately I give the Catamounts the nod due to their superior goaltending. 

9 Connecticut at 8 New Hampshire:  New Hampshire wins 2-0 

Again two teams heading in different directions.  UNH has won 5 in a row.  UConn was in a freefall before meeting an uninspired UMass team last Friday.  The Wildcats just swept a weekend series against UConn a couple weeks ago by a combined score of 9-2. 

Quarterfinals 

8 New Hampshire at 1 Boston University:  Boston University wins 2-1 

A sweep in the first round means UNH comes into the series very hot.  These teams just split a weekend series in mid-February and I think the Wildcats will put a scare into the Terriers all the way through Sunday.  But in the end BU’s talent wins out.  Maybe with a little help from the officials. 

7 Vermont at 2 Providence:  Vermont wins 2-1 

Providence’s offense has been iffy all season and I think that UVM’s defense is good enough to squeak out a couple 1-0 or 2-1 wins to pull off the upset.  Or watch the games of the leagues two best defenses end up with a few 7-5 barnburners.  Who knows. 

6 Northeastern at 3 Boston College:  Northeastern wins 2-1 

The Huskies have done really well against teams not named Boston University over the last two months.  Boston College is not named Boston University.  Huskies pull off the upset. 

5 Notre Dame at 4 Lowell:  Lowell wins 2-1 

The Irish have played well of late, but I think Lowell gets a wake up call and takes the series at home.  Notre Dame blames the losses on the fact that they had to take a plane to Lowell and calls the NCHC on the flight home. 

Semifinals 

Northeastern 3 Lowell 2 

Kevin Roy scores the game winner against Kevin Boyle with 3 minutes left in the game and the Huskies move up enough in the Pairwise to clinch at at large berth. 

Boston University 5 Vermont 1 Eichel and company are just too much for the Catamounts. 

Championship 

Boston University 4 Northeastern 3 (OT) 

Yep, carbon copy game of the Beanpot championship, but this time without the controversial call at the end.  BU still wins it though. 

  Troy Power discusses the impending trip to South Bend in his blog this week.

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