The Hockey East playoff picture became increasingly muddled over the weekend. With Maine heading to Conte Forum, most, including myself, expected at least one team, Maine, to end the weekend more or less eliminated from playoff content. The Black Bears unexpected sweep of BC changed all of that.
Last week, I wrote a piece discussing the term “upset” and it’s validity for regular-season games in Hockey East. Now, it was certainly strange to see Maine take two wins from BC, and this result satisfies every criteria for an “upset.” But the real point is that a 27-game schedule is going to produce some unlikely results that, while interesting, don’t change too much. Personally, I like to save the term and the general idea of meaningful wins from lesser teams for the postseason. Any championship team is going to lose games. No team has ever made it through a Hockey East schedule undefeated, and I’d have no problem suggesting it will never happen; especially given the general improvement of the bottom half of the league in the last decade.
Maine’s wins were important for the club in its battle for a playoff spot. They weren’t, however, as damaging for BC as they were important for Maine. The Eagles are still in first place in the league. Even if they lose out on the top spot by the end of the regular season, there’s little difference between being a first seed and a fourth seed once the quarterfinals end. Last weekend’s losses to Maine hurt BC most in the Eagles’ race for a favorable seed in the NCAA tournament, but they still have time to fix that as well.
BC has a litany of problems to correct in these next few weeks. History suggests they’ll figure out in time to amaze us all in the postseason. Maine, however, needed some wins to save its season. The Black Bears got them, and the next few weeks will be even better because of it.
Review whatever coaches want reviewed
Saturday night, Boston University and Providence played to a 3-3 tie at Agganis Arena. The draw gave BU three of four points from its weekend series with the Friars and five out of six total from the clubs’ three games this season. The third goal BU scored in the game was initially waved off due to a player in the crease. Now, officials reviewed the play and awarded BU a goal because the player was held in the crease by a Providence player. It was the right call, and PC coach Nate Leaman agreed with the decision after the game. However, Leaman was rightfully upset about a play in the first period. (more…)