|NCAA NORTHEAST REGIONAL | DCU CENTER | WORCESTER, MASS.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 24-25
All times EDT
Saturday: Boston College vs. Air Force, 4 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU)
Saturday: Minnesota Duluth vs. Maine, 7:30 p.m. (TV ESPN Syndication; ESPNU tape delay at 11:30 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Regional Final, 8 p.m. (TV: ESPNU)
All games available live via www.watchespn.com.
The answer each team needs to find in order to advance to the Frozen Four
Boston College: The Eagles seem to have everything in order as they head into the NCAAs, but we thought the same last year. Can BC avoid the upset bug this time around?
Minnesota Duluth: The defending national champs were top-ranked for a good portion of the year, but fell just short of earning conference regular-season or playoff championships. Are they saving the best for last?
Maine: Spencer Abbott’s health is a big concern, but even with Abbott, can enough secondary scoring options step up and take some pressure off of the top line?
Air Force: It’s happened enough times that the surprise factor has worn off a little bit when an Atlantic Hockey representative knocks off a highly favored team. Do the Falcons have another (mini) surprise in store?
|ONE TO WATCH|
Not necessarily the best player on each team, but his contributions will go a long way toward determining his team’s fortunes.
Boston College: D Tommy Cross
Minnesota Duluth: F Max Tardy
Maine: F Mark Anthoine
Air Force: D Scott Mathis
|THE STAFF SAYS …|
INCH writers weigh in with their prediction for the Northeast Regional with comments on their picks.
Mike Eidelbes, managing editor: Boston College over Minnesota Duluth
Lots of parallels between this Boston College team and the one that won it all in 2010—both rolled through February and March and had scoring depth beyond compare. The Eagles are more talented, and better coached than any team in the tournament. UMD has the game changers to top Maine (with or without Spencer Abbott) but BC presents a different challenge. Gotta believe last year’s crushing NCAA Tournament loss to Colorado College lingers in the Eagles’ minds.
Joe Gladziszewski, editor and ECAC Hockey senior writer: Boston College over Minnesota Duluth
It’s not too often that you get this type of Frozen Four-level game in a regional final, but this is a big-time matchup. I think BC’s overall talent and the roll they’re on right now will be enough to sustain them for at least two more wins this weekend. If you’re the type that points to strength of schedule, did you know that UMD played 12 of its 39 games against Alabama-Huntsville, Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage?
James V. Dowd, CCHA senior writer: Boston College over Minnesota Duluth
The Eagles learned last year that coming out flat in the tournament will get a team steamrolled, and they’ll be ready to avenge that early exit with a trip to Tampa. With Parker Milner playing at a level that can win championships and a dynamic offense that faces one of the nation’s least efficient penalty kills, the Eagles will deliver.
Ken McMillan, Atlantic Hockey senior writer: Boston College over Maine
If you believe in numerology, it’s Boston College’s turn to lift the trophy after winning the title in the even years of 2008 and 2010. But the Eagles’ success is hardly mystical. Air Force has a string of three consecutive overtime losses in NCAA play but the pick here is B.C. wins its semi by a couple and repeats its performance from the Hockey East final, sending the Bears into off-season hibernation.
Kevin Zeise, Hockey East senior writer: Boston College over Minnesota Duluth
The Eagles simply have the complete package: size, speed, skill, special teams, goaltending … Beyond that, though, Boston College has the drive for redemption after last year’s first-round flameout. And as anyone who’s ever won a championship in any sport can attest, as hard as that first one was for Duluth last year, it’s even harder to repeat.