Mar 6, 2013, 6:45 AM EST
We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN this Friday night as Maine host No. 4 New Hampshire at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Hockey East and the WCHA will wrap up their final weekend of conference action this weekend while Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, and ECAC all start their conference playoffs. It’s a veritable full weekend of playoffs for everyone if you want to look at it that way as even those who aren’t yet in their postseason are still jockeying for position.
In Hockey East, the battle for the top spot is on between UMass-Lowell, Providence, New Hampshire, and Boston College. Any of those four teams could wind up in first, while Boston University and Merrimack are just outside the top four. Landing in the top four means getting home ice in the first round of the conference playoffs.
In the race for the No. 1 seed, the series to watch is between Lowell and Providence as they’ll have two games to see if they can figure things out. Lowell, thanks to freshman standout and Winnipeg Jets prospect goalie Connor Hellebuyck, lead Hockey East but Providence sits two points back. BC and New Hampshire are each one point out and they’ve got teams from the bottom end of the conference to deal with.
Boston College faces 7th place Vermont while UNH faces a Maine team trying to solidify their spot in the conference playoffs. Only the top eight move on and Maine is trying to keep UMass out. The Minutemen have a pair of games with Merrimack to contend with. Only Northeastern won’t be making the playoffs.
In the WCHA, there’s no threat of missing the playoffs as all 12 teams make it. Figuring out who wins the MacNaughton Cup (first place in the regular season) isn’t quite so easy. St. Cloud State could’ve wrapped it up last Saturday, but were humbled by Michigan Tech. Now, any one of five teams could win the regular season title.
SCSU has a two-point lead on Minnesota and North Dakota and are four up on Minnesota State and Wisconsin. The two weekend match-ups to watch here feature St. Cloud against Wisconsin and Minnesota St. facing North Dakota. Earning the top spot at the end of the season means getting to face a bad Alaska-Anchorage team in the opening round of the conference tourney.
If that’s not enough to get you juiced up, three conferences have their playoffs getting started on Friday night. Here’s how things shape up for them:
CCHA: The top-five teams here all get byes into the quarterfinals. Only difference being that No. 4 Ohio State gets No. 5 Ferris State there. Miami, Notre Dame, and Western Michigan are the top three teams here. Your first-round best of three matchups see the winners re-seeded. Alaska hosts Michigan State, Michigan hosts Northern Michigan, and Lake Superior State gets Bowling Green.
ECAC: All 12 teams make the playoffs and the top four get byes in the first round. Quinnipiac, Rensselaer, Yale, and Union can rest easy this weekend and wait to see what carnage is unleashed with the other eight teams in their best of three series. Dartmouth hosts Harvard, St. Lawrence faces Colgate, Brown hosts Clarkson, and Princeton takes on Cornell in New Jersey. Winning teams are reseeded for the second round. RPI blog Without A Peer shows off how the second round could play out.
Atlantic Hockey: Top four teams have byes (Niagara, Air Force, Holy Cross, UConn). Winners of the first round are re-seeded. The first-round best of three pairings are: Robert Morris-Sacred Heart, Mercyhurst-Army, Canisius-Bentley, and RIT-American International. Anyone on the NCAA tournament bubble (16th in Pairwise) is rooting for Niagara to steamroll through here without issue.
If, somehow, that’s not all enough for you the Division III NCAA tournament gets underway tonight and winds up on March 16 with the national championship game. St. Norbert will be looking for their third title in a row but this writer would like to see Oswego State take it all. That’s called an “alumni plug.”
(Photo: Lowell Sun)
Dec 4, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
Hard lines, Team Finland.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:37 PM EST
Tough blow for the reigning Vezina winner.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:14 PM EST
And as a bonus, their names rhyme.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:33 PM EST
Neither he nor Michal Handzus will suit up in Minnesota.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:07 PM EST
He’s missed the last three games.
Dec 4, 2013, 2:46 PM EST
That picture was not taken today.
Dec 4, 2013, 1:46 PM EST
With a special shout-out to Austria’s 1927 European championship team.
Dec 4, 2013, 1:39 PM EST
“Frankly, in my mind we’re playing him too much.”
Dec 4, 2013, 1:25 PM EST
He was a late scratch for Tuesday’s loss to Columbus.
Dec 4, 2013, 1:10 PM EST
Calgary hosts Phoenix at the Saddledome.
Dec 4, 2013, 12:44 PM EST
Pirri’s slumped lately after a hot start to the year.
Dec 4, 2013, 12:39 PM EST
We came up with three big ones.
Dec 4, 2013, 12:31 PM EST
“We felt we have players ahead of him, simple as that,” said head coach Randy Carlyle.
Dec 4, 2013, 12:24 PM EST
List also includes a number of first-round draft picks.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:28 AM EST
Injuries to Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk opened the door.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:13 AM EST
Mike Babcock says pushing back the deadline is “really beneficial for us.”
Dec 4, 2013, 10:52 AM EST
No Zetterberg or Datsyuk for the Wings equals an opportunity for the Flyers.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:43 AM EST
He’ll back up Curtis McElhinney for the time being.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:13 AM EST
He’ll be 39-years-old when it expires.
Dec 4, 2013, 9:52 AM EST
The actual number may have been even worse.
- Columbus puts Bobrovsky (groin) on IR, out 4-5 weeks 0
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Olympic odds, Russia’s defense, King Henrik’s new deal, Fire Cappy? and more 23
- With Lundqvist deal done, Sather faces tough questions 9
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension 38
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks 48
- Report: NHL set to finally pay Gretzky at least $7M 13
- Kadri out as falling Leafs start tough stretch vs. Sharks 9
- Wounded Wings: Zetterberg (back) out, joins Datsyuk on shelf 7
- Burrows out with broken jaw (Update: expected to miss at least four weeks) 22
- NHL on NBCSN: Can battered, slumping Stars rise above Blackhawks? 8
- Video: Canucks’ Bieksa fights Rangers’ Boyle, then kicks Boyle’s helmet (52)
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks (48)
- Video: Malkin, Penguins win wild, controversial one over Leafs (40)
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension (38)
- ‘It’s like Groundhog Day’: Schneider frustrated about backing up Brodeur (35)