Monday, February 21, 2011

Looking Down the Stretch Run: Part II

After this weekend's action, I decided to run my numbers again and review my predictions from part 1 of this post. In some cases I was right, in some cases I was wrong. But mostly right, let's be serious...

Let's start with BU. The Terriers took all 4 points from PC this past weekend, as I had predicted they would. While it can certainly be argued that we didn't play our best hockey, there were some bright spots. For example, Kieran Millan was phenomenal all weekend, only giving up 1 goal and making 68 saves between the two games. BU also got great performances from some freshmen (Clendening and Nieto both had a goal and an assist on the weekend, while Garrett Noonan picked up an assist), a trend that needs to continue if this team has any hope of making it in the postseason. BU is next in action this weekend with two at home against Vermont. Last week I said that I thought they would take 3 out of 4 points from UVM, but I'm going to change that to all 4 points. With the way Millan is playing, this team only needs to score 2 goals a night to be competitive, and since Vermont struggles to score I have to think we win both. My prediction for Northeastern is staying the same, a split - probably the home team winning both. If both of those hold true, BU will sit at 37 points in conference.

BC lost and tied to Northeastern this weekend, which was worse than my prediction of a win and a tie. The Eagles finish out the season with two each against Amherst and UNH, and my predictions for those two series have stayed the same - two wins against UMass and a split with UNH. That would give BC a total of 39 points in conference - only two ahead of BU.

UNH beat and tied UVM this past weekend, and although I didn't offer a specific prediction for that series, it more or less fits into my overall scenario for UNH. I originally said that UNH would have a 3-1-2 record down the stretch, which would mean they beat and tie Northeastern this weekend and then split with BC the last weekend - a very likely scenario. If that holds true, UNH would sit at 40 points in conference, 1 ahead of BC and 3 ahead of BU.

Merrimack took care of business with 2 wins against UMass - Amherst this weekend, although the games were rather close (which was a surprise, considering the Macks 11-2 shellacking of this same squad only a week earlier). They have two left with Maine and Providence each, and I very much see them winning all 4 of those games. There is a possibility that they tie or lose to Maine, but for now I'm going with all 8 points for Merrihack - good for 41 points and an undisputed league title.

To recap, the top 4 teams would look like this:
1. Merrimack (41 points)
2. UNH (40 points)
3. BC (39 points)
4. BU (37 points)

The bottom 4 teams look the exact same as last week, although a couple teams have more/less points
5. Maine (30 points)
6. Northeastern (27 points)
7. Vermont (18 points)
8. UMass - A (15 points)

Given this scenario, the quarterfinal round match-ups would only change for UNH/BC and Northeastern/Vermont. A BC - Northeastern quarterfinal could be very interesting, especially given the 3 games they played this past week. If BC were to sweep UNH on the last weekend, however, UNH would fall all the way to 4th - as they would tie us in points but lose the season series tiebreaker. In that case, BU would see Northeastern for 5 straight games - two at the end of the season, and the 3 quarterfinal games. Not exactly an ideal situation for BU, so to be honest I'm actually rooting that we stay in 4th place unless by some miracle we are able to move up to 2nd (which could only happen if both BC and UNH were to take fewer than 3 points in their last 4 games).

I'll be back next week for some updated numbers and more predictions - until then, GO TERRIERS!

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