Here’s the third in a series of major conference previews for the WCHA, CCHA, Hockey East, and ECAC. Here’s the Hockey East prediction for a league with a heap full of talent and national powers, though only Boston College, Merrimack, and New Hampshire went dancing this past spring. Parentheses indicate the first round playoff matchup:
1. Boston College 30-8-1 (versus Providence)
2. New Hampshire 22-11-6 (versus Vermont)
3. Merrimack 25-10-4 (versus Northeastern)
4. Boston University 19-12-8 (versus Maine)
5. Maine 17-12-7 (at Boston University)
6. Northeastern 14-16-8 (at Merrimack)
7. Vermont 8-20-8 (at New Hampshire)
8. Providence 8-18-8 (at Boston University)
9. UMass-Lowell 5-25-4 (Does not qualify)
10. Massachusetts 6-23-6 (Does not qualify)
Here are some fun (and not so fun facts) from the 2010 season:
1: Boston College was beaten 8-4 in the West regional semifinal by an upstart Colorado College squad. The Eagles outshot CC 43-36, and in the game before the regional, with Merrimack (Hockey East Championship), BC was outshot 39-35 in a 5-3 win.
2: New Hampshire comes off hosting the 2011 Northeast regional in Manchester, only having two conference home series swept in the 2010 season.
3: Merrimack came up just short in the Hockey East Championship game in Boston, and in a proper two game home series (versus one team), Merrimack’s biggest margin of victory in the combined games was 12-4 over Alabama-Huntsville.
4: Boston University finished seven games above .500 in 2010-11, and their biggest win streak was four games, from Oct 16 to Oct 30 (a fourteen day span).
5: Maine was once a perennial hockey power in terms of NCAA berths. The Black Bears were swept in the conference quarterfinals by Merrimack. What was the combined score of that series? It was 11-6 in favor of Merrimack.
6: Northeastern finished sub-.500 last season, with the Huskies longest losing streaks at five games (Oct 29-Nov 13) and two games (twice). Five of their last six games were against Boston University, with the sixth game being a game in Boston as the home team versus Boston College.
7: Vermont made the 2010 NCAA West regional in St Paul, but the 2010-11 season was not kind to the Catamounts with an eight win year. Four of the eight wins came between December 12th and January 22nd (one exhibition with a US team doesn’t count).
8: The Providence Friars, like Vermont, had eight wins, and I find it hard to believe there were two worse teams in the Hockey East conference. As for Providence, they were swept in their only series in the Midwest, coming at the hands of Minnesota-Duluth in 5-3 and 7-1 losses.
9: Massachusetts-Lowell had five wins in all of the 2010 season, with a streak of twelve straight losses tied in after their 3-1 home victory over Vermont on November 5th. The next victory for UMass-Lowell came in a game at Merrimack which finished 6-4.
10: Finally, the Minutemen of Massachusetts. Like Lowell, UMass had a couple strings of losses but those came in number towards the end of the year with a five game slide from December 12th to January 8th, and a losing streak of seven of their last eight games played from February 11th to March 12th.
We hope you enjoyed this preview of Hockey East. The finale of the four major conference reviews, with the ECAC, will hit cyberspace early this week.
Geoff Discher is knotmove.com’s National College Hockey Examiner as well as the Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by searching “National College Hockey Examiner” or “Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner” and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He’s always chock full of fact and opinion.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the rink!