|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Last week saw some upsets in the early rounds of the nation’s college hockey tournaments, but the top five in the latest USCHO.com Division I Men’s Hockey Poll remained unchanged from last week. Denver solidified its grip on first with 46 of 50 first place votes, while Miami remained in second with the other four votes. Wisconsin, BC, and North Dakota complete the top five. Hockey East gained representation in the poll with Maine and BU re-joining the poll in the final two spots, 19 and 20, respectively. New Hampshire fell two spots to 13 after its quarterfinal loss to Vermont. The victory propelled Vermont up five spots to 14.
Conference tournaments wrap up this weekend and the brackets will be announced Sunday. Hockey East features #2 BC vs. #8 Vermont and #3 BU vs. #4 Maine Friday with the winners playing Saturday night (SoB preview can be found here). With the formula that the Selection Committee follows, BC is a lock and UNH is very likely to get in, however, there are scenarios that leave BC as Hockey East’s only representative and others giving the league as many as four teams (BC, UNH, Vermont, and BU or Maine). Vermont does not need to win the tournament, but if they do not, they need help. BU and Maine must get the autobid to get in.