Next weekend, Boston College’s march to another national championship will begin at the DCU Center in Worcester. The #1 Eagles, the top overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Division I Tournament, will draw the Air Force Falcons in the regional semifinal. From there, if they advance, they will draw either the defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs or the conference rival Maine Black Bears.
A full look at the 2012 bracket (click to enlarge if necessary):
If the Eagles win the Northeast Region, they would face the winner of the West Region, which includes hated adversary Boston University.
On a conference scale, Hockey East got four teams into this NCAA Tournament; last year, the conference put three teams in, and Boston College is the only one that is the same (2011: BC, Merrimack, UNH; 2012: BC, BU, UMass-Lowell, Maine).
There are always certain perils in a single-elimination tournament, but Boston College is the top seed and they’re close to home in Worcester. The Eagles tend to defend their home turf quite well and it should be easy for Eagles fans to travel.
Should Eagles fans beware the first-round Colorado team after what happened last year? (Full preview coming later this week on STG.) For one thing, no opponent should be taken lightly in an NCAA Tournament, regardless of stature. Air Force may only be 21-10-7, but as BC learned the hard way in 2011, just because you’re a #1 seed and the other team is a #4 doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win. Still, the Eagles deserve to be, and will be, the heavy favorites to win that game and then will again be the favorites to come out of this region and go to the Frozen Four in Tampa.
The puck will drop for the Eagles at 4pm on Saturday, March 24.