NCAA Hockey Tournament: Northeast Region Preview
The NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament is heading back to Albany for the second consecutive year. Last year, Albany was a host site before the tournament was canceled.
Boston College will play the winner of St. Cloud State and Boston University for a bid to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four after Notre Dame was forced to withdraw from the tournament.
The semifinal contests will happen on Saturday, March 27, with the regional championship taking place Sunday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. All games will be played at the Times Union Center.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the matchups.
No. 1 Boston College (17-5-1) Defeats No. 4 Notre Dame (14-13-2)
The Holy War on Ice reaches a whole new level. Well, it was going to be until Notre Dame was removed from the tournament due to positive COVID-19 tests. The Irish got in after ECAC champion St. Lawrence who has COVID issues themselves.
Boston College has been one of the best teams in the country, they’ve been ranked in the top-3 for every USHCO.com and USA Today poll throughout the season. However, the Eagles are coming off a shocking loss to UMass Lowell in the Hockey East Tournament, 6-5 in double overtime.
The Eagles’ strength is in between the pipes with Richter Award Finalist Spencer Knight. The Darien, Connecticut native is enjoying another phenomenal year. Knight has a 16-3-1 record, a 2.13 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.
On the offensive end, Matt Boldy and Marc McLaughlin lead the way for Boston College. Boldy has 30 points, 10 goals and 20 assists in 21 games, while McLaughlin has 24 points in 23 contests. There are also 11 other Eagles’ players with 10-plus points.
Boston College is one of the best teams in the tournament and is only one win away from advancing to the Steel City.
Result: Notre Dame Forfeits, Boston College Advances
No. 2 St. Cloud State (17-10-0) vs. No. 3 Boston University (10-4-1)
This is an interesting matchup between an up-and-coming program in St. Cloud State against one of the most storied programs in history, Boston University.
Brett Larson’s St. Cloud State squad is enjoying a nice bounce-back campaign after finishing 13-15-6 just a year ago. The Huskies have made seven of the last nine tournaments. The last time they were in it, in 2019, they famously lost to American International as the No. 1 overall seed.
The Huskies enter this one after losing in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Final to North Dakota, 5-3.
St. Cloud’s strong suit is its offense, where the Huskies have nine 10-plus point scorers. Leading the way is freshman Veeti Miettinen with 23 points in 27 games, 10 goals and 13 assists. Blueliner Nick Perbix has 20 points, six goals and 14 assists.
The concerning part of the Huskies game is in net with Dávid Hrenák. The senior has been a solid netminder but has never been great in his four years with St. Cloud. This season, he is 14-9 with a .906 save percentage and allows 2.6 goals per contest.
Boston University on the other hand has had quite an interesting season. The Terriers didn’t play their first game until January 8, a 7-3 loss vs. Providence. After that, the Terriers won nine of the next 10, before ending the year 1-2-1 in the final four games.
The leader of this BU team is senior defenseman David Farrance. The Predators prospect has 16 points in 10 games played, which’s tied for the team-high with Jay O’Brien, who leads the team in goals with eight.
Freshman Drew Commesso has been big in between the pipes for this Terriers team as he faces a ton of shots. Commesso is 6-2-1, with a 2.68 goals-against and .924 save percentage.
This game could go either way, but St. Cloud seems to be the better team as of late and that gives them the slight edge.
Prediction: St. Cloud State
If there aren’t any more COVID-19 problems, it should be a fun weekend for hockey in Albany. There’s potential for a Green Line Rivalry regional championship between BC and BU. But no matter who Boston College faces, it will be a tight contest.
Regional Winner Prediction: Boston College
Matthew Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Freshman / Broadcast Journalism