Boston College men’s hockey begins what they hope is their march to another national championship tomorrow night in Providence. Thing is, there are 15 other teams hoping to do exactly the same thing, and this time, the Eagles have some question marks. It would, in fact, be easy to say that there are questions about all of the teams in the field as there is no one dominant team on a blistering win streak like BC was last season.
The following are the top four things we are going to learn from the upcoming 2013 NCAA Hockey Tournament; as for the answers to these questions, we’ll all find out together:
1. Does Boston College hockey have a second gear this season?
It’s a valid question, and one about which we’ve now wondered for months. BC hasn’t exactly been hot since the winter break, and though they definitely deserve their decent spot in the field, they have not strung together a long line of crushing performances. One day they’ll look terrible, and the next, they’ll put seven goals on the board. While BC is capable of winning their region, this year, nobody knows what exactly we’re going to get out of them, and as of yet, they have not “kicked it into high gear.”
2. Is Hockey East champion UMass-Lowell the real deal?
UML got a tough region, but they did win a difficult conference in the regular season and the tournament. There’s no guarantee they’re even escaping the first round as Wisconsin is a tough out, but if they get to Pittsburgh by beating the teams they’ll have to beat, they’re going to be very dangerous.
3. Is Quinnipiac really the best team in this field?
Some aren’t even sure Quinnipiac is the best team in BC’s region, let alone the best team overall, but that’s where they are and they’ve got the record to back it up. Could they be to college hockey what Notre Dame was to football this season? As in, the team with the best record who “earned” their spot but isn’t as experienced and wilts against the top competition? It’s possible, and we won’t have to wait long to find out.
4. Could Minnesota be heading for a hockey championship sweep?
We all saw what Minnesota did to BC earlier this season; putting that aside, they are absolutely capable of winning a national championship. The women’s team recently beat BC to do it, and the way the bracket is established, the men’s teams could meet for all the marbles as well. Nobody is going to be surprised if they win, but nothing is easy in this tournament.