|Notes and Observations Week 11: Defense Leads Battered Patriots to Victory Over Bills 20-13||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win Despite Cannon’s Assassination Attempt on Brady||Patriots and Bills Set To Do Battle on Monday Night Football||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots vs. Rex|
The brackets were announced on Sunday morning and USCHO.com released its latest poll on schedule days before the tournament is to begin. For the first time since December, teams other than Miami and Denver got first place votes, however, the two titans this season have held the top spots since November and the trend continues this week. Miami got 28 of the 50 first place votes to re-take the number one ranking. The Redhawks won the CCHA Third Place game over the weekend, after falling to eventual winner Michigan and earned the tournament’s overall number one seed.
The Pioneers fell to second with six first place votes after losing to two tournament teams, North Dakota and Wisconsin, in the WCHA Semifinals and Third Place game. Denver will be the East’s top seed and the second overall seed in the tournament. BC earned eight first place votes to close to within 11 points of Denver for third. The Hockey East Champions swept through the league playoffs and will be the number one seed in the Northeast Region and fourth overall seed. North Dakota moved up one spot to fourth in the poll with four first place votes. The Fighting Sioux will be the number two seed in BC’s Northeast Region after winning the WCHA Final Five Tournament (the lowest two seeds play a play-in game with the winner advancing to the semis). For the second consecutive season, the league’s champion won three games in three days. Wisconsin, winner of the WCHA’s Third Place game, was number five, down two spots, with two first place votes. The Badgers are the West’s number one seed and third overall.
New Hampshire inched up one spot despite having the weekend off and will be the East’s number three seed this weekend. Vermont fell to BC in the HEA Semis and dropped one spot to 15. The Catamounts will be the four seed in the West Region. Maine, which beat BU in what amounted to a play in game for the NCAA tournament and took BC to overtime in the league title game with the NCAA tournament again on the line, was up one spot to 18. The Black Bears were the third highest ranked non-tournament team.