The race for the Lamoriello Trophy is on, and the #1 Boston College Eagles were the first team to punch their ticket to the TD Garden for the 2012 Hockey East semifinals. The other three berths were sealed on Sunday in decisive Game 3s, and the results were mostly favorable to BC.
(1) Boston College Eagles vs. (8) Massachusetts Minutemen
Eagles win series, 2-0
It was certainly not easy, but the Eagles were the only team in this tournament to be able to take care of business in the minimum two games. With two one-goal victories, the Eagles advanced to the Garden for a chance to defend their trophy once again. BC took Game 1 2-1 and Game 2 3-2; full recaps are available.
(2) UMass-Lowell River Hawks vs. (7) Providence Friars
Friars win series, 2-1
The only major upset took place in Lowell, Massachusetts, as the 2-seed River Hawks were dropped in three games by the Providence Friars. This is a PC team that was sinking badly during the 2012 portion of their schedule, and just recently suffered consecutive shutout losses to the Eagles, whom they will face next.
By Sunday afternoon, the Friars had played five straight games against the River Hawks, the last four of which were in Lowell (and the first two of which were in the regular season). Providence lost those first two, but took two of the last three, and luckily for them, the latter games mattered more.
Game 1 was a 5-3 win on Friday night (the fifth PC goal coming on an empty-netter) featuring 41 Providence shots on goal and 36 UML shots.
Game 2 was an 3-2 overtime win on Saturday for the River Hawks to force a deciding third game. Both Alex Beaudry and Doug Carr were solid in net for their respective teams, but Beaudry was the one who cracked in the end.
Game 3 was a 1-0 shutout victory for Beaudry and his Friars to clinch the series. Only two penalties were called in the entire contest and the sole score came after just seven minutes, followed by 53 minutes of saves.
The Friars will face the Eagles Friday afternoon at 5pm on NESN or the NBC Sports Network; full preview to come on STG this week.
(3) Boston University Terriers vs. (6) New Hampshire Wildcats
Terriers win series, 2-1
New Hampshire looked like they had it in the bag. Until they didn’t.
The Boston University Terriers, in a three-game series that saw more than its fair share of bonus hockey, skated by (no pun intended) the UNH Wildcats to advance to the 8pm Friday semifinal against the Maine Black Bears.
Both Game 1 and Game 3 went to double overtime; the former was won by New Hampshire and the latter by the Terriers. Game 2 in the middle on Saturday was a 4-2 BU win. Here’s a selection of cumulative stats for the series:
• 228 minutes, 42 seconds of game time (48 minutes, 42 seconds of overtime)
• 159 New Hampshire shots on goal
• 127 Boston University shots on goal
• 150 saves for Kieran Millan
• 116 saves for Casey DeSmith
The worst part from a non-BU fan perspective is that the Wildcats didn’t just lead in Game 3, but they had a 4-1 lead in Game 3. It’s shocking how totally out-of-character it was for UNH to choke in a postseason game (denote heavy sarcasm).
(4) Maine Black Bears vs. (5) Merrimack Warriors
Black Bears win series, 2-1
The Warriors and Black Bears played an interesting series which resulted in Maine advancing to the semifinals against Boston University, but it was more noteworthy for its chippiness. An extraordinary number of penalties were called over the course of the three games; here’s the long and short of it:
• Game 1: 10 penalties on Merrimack; 12 on Maine
• Game 2: 26 penalties on Merrimack; 24 on Maine
• Game 3: 10 penalties on Merrimack; 5 on Maine
• Series: 46 penalties on Merrimack; 41 on Maine (Grand total: 87)
• 20 hit-after-the-whistle penalties
• 7 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties
• 6 10-minute misconducts (not including game misconducts)
• 4 game misconducts
Play nice, kids.