Mar 17, 2012, 10:26 AM EDT
A pair of thrilling performances in yesterday’s Hockey East semifinals sets up the tournament’s championship game with a lot at stake for one team (Maine), while the other has their spot already virtually assured (Boston College).
According to the Pairwise Rankings, the method the NCAA uses to choose the tournament field, No. 1 Boston College already has their ticket to the big dance punched and they even know who their first-round opponent will be; they’ll get the winner of the Atlantic Hockey championship game either R.I.T. or Air Force.
If you think having their fate set for them will deter BC from trying to beat Maine, you don’t know Jerry York’s teams very well. After seeing the game Johnny Gaudreau (pictured below) put up against Providence in the semifinals, the Eagles are primed for victory. Considering that BC is in the midst of a 14-game winning streak, things are cruising along nicely and that’s not even accounting for guys like Chris Kreider and Barry Almeida doing much yesterday.
Making things a bit easier for BC was seeing how goalie Parker Milner settled in after a rocky start to their game against Providence. That’s a game that could’ve gotten out of hand had Milner not found his rhythm. Little things like that help keep the Eagles rolling along and they’ll need more of that against Maine.
The Black Bears’ big win over BU help them to virtually in the NCAAs as a team can be. They’ll be at a serious disadvantage in this one as their Hobey Baker Award finalist, Spencer Abbott, left yesterday’s game after taking an elbow to the head. Without Abbott, Maine will be missing their leading scorer although that wasn’t enough to hold them back late in yesterday’s game.
Stepping up in Abbott’s place were forwards Joey Diamond (pictured above) and Greg Shemansky as the Black Bears held off BU. Goalie Dan Sullivan’s late game heroics helped prevent BU from tying the game up late and they’ll need him and the defense to step up big to keep BC off the board. With so many talented scorers on Boston College to hold down, Maine is going to have their hands full to try and steal the Hockey East crown.
No. 1 Boston College faces No. 11 Maine at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead 11
- Video: Callahan gets away with high-sticking Chara 13
- Playoffs Tonight: Kings look for ‘killer instinct’ against Sharks 10
- Brother says Patrick Roy will be Avs’ head coach 21
- Video: Controversy colors Blackhawks goal, disallowed score 56
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago 88
- Video: Viktor Stalberg returns after head-first sprawl into boards 2
- Brown, Toews, Alfredsson up for Messier Leadership Award 9
- Playoffs Tonight: Blackhawks look to ‘ramp up our intensity’ vs Red Wings 13
- Report: Patrick Roy a candidate for Avalanche head coaching job 9
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (88)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (80)
- McPhee says lack of power plays ‘didn’t feel right’; Torts says Washington is ‘whining’ (70)
- Penner blasts refs for having ‘gall to guess’ on goalie interference call (64)
- Live Extra: Watch Sharks-Kings, Game 4
- PBT: Cavs win NBA draft lottery, will pick No. 1
- PHT: Bruins rally in third, put Rangers in 3-0 hole
- Durant pledges $1 million for tornado victims
- GTC: Garcia offers Tiger 'fried chicken' for dinner
- Andy Murray out of French Open due to back injury
- PFT: Woodson returns to Raiders for up to $4.3M
- Play Video: Are the Red Wings a true contender?
- Play Video: Chara bleeds after being struck by high-stick
- Play Video: Time to play Pucktionary
- Play Video: Roenick not happy with call against Blackhawks in Game 3
- Play Video: Must-win Game 3 at MSG
- Play Video: Highlights: Red Wings top Blackhawks in Game 3