BC knows that it will be playing in NCAA Hockey’s playoff tournament, but BU and Maine were playing an elimination game and Vermont needed some help to get in. BC did Vermont, and the rest of the league, no favors in a 3-0 win over the Catamounts in the early semifinal. Maine jumped on BU in the nightcap and won 5-2 to keep their hopes alive.
BU cannot make the NCAAs with the loss and Maine will need to beat BC in the final to do so. Vermont is squarely on the bubble and will have to sweat it out Sunday. An upset autobid from another conference, or even a Maine win, likely spells doom for the Catamounts. Regular season champion UNH will also have to sweat it out for a spot in the 16 team tournament. They are ahead of Vermont in the pecking order, but have not locked up a spot yet.
#2 Boston College Eagles vs. #4 Maine Black Bears
Season Series: BC 4-3, Tie 3-3, BC 6-1
How they got here: BC 2-0 over #7 UMass (6-5, 5-2) and 3-0 over #7 UVM; ME 2-1 over #5 UMass-Lowell (1-2 (ot), 2-0, 3-2 (ot)) and 5-2 over #3 BU
BC: 3.67 goals per game (#1 HEA), 2.26 goals allowed per game (#1 HEA), 20.2% power play (#3 HEA), 84.8% penalty kill (#1 HEA)
ME: 3.52 gpg (#3 HEA), 3.33 gapg (#9 HEA), 27.8% pp (#1 HEA), 81.8% pk (#3 HEA)
John Must shut out a much less potent offensive team than he will see in Maine. Muse will see more shots and have to knuckle down against the nation’s number one power play unit. BC’s offense will try to take advantage of senior goalie Scott Darling, who earned his first victory of the season in the playoffs.
Maine will try to control the pace of this one. They want as many scoring chances as possible, hoping to break Muse and reduce pressure on Darling. Hobey Baker finalist Gustav Nyquist will power the Black Bear offense and power play.
Outlook: BC’s goaltending prowess tends to get the headlines, but the Eagles also were the most potent offensive team in Hockey East. They will lick their chops at a fast paced, offensive game if this game goes that direction. BC’s big guns outmuscle the Black Bears as the Eagles capture the Hockey East title.
Tags: Boston College, Boston University, College Hockey, Maine, University of New Hampshire, Vermont