This one was inspired by Boston College Twitter posse member @boyceb07. He rhetorically asked yesterday if there was such thing as a “magic number” in college hockey, and if so, what is Boston College’s?
The Eagles are #2 in the nation, on a twelve-game unbeaten streak, and now sitting on an eight-point lead in Hockey East with six conference games left to play. Surely, things are looking good for Boston College to clinch the top seed in the 2014 Hockey East Tournament, but is there a so-called magic number?
Not in the same sense as you would see in a sport like baseball, but we can tear apart the standings for an answer.
(note: your browser may cause the generated table to follow a large amount of blank space — just keep scrolling; you’ll find it)
Hockey East Standings, Feb. 2, 2014
The team standing in Boston College’s way now is not so much Providence anymore, nor is it really Northeastern: it’s UMass-Lowell, who can still reach a maximum total of 31 points. They play the Eagles twice down the stretch, so getting there would require two wins over Boston College. As you might expect, that would make things quite uncomfortable for the Eagles as they look to ride a big wave of momentum into March.
In any event, the four teams at the bottom mathematically cannot catch up to the Eagles. Meanwhile, if Boston College were to reach 32 points (or 31 if they hold the tiebreaker over the River Hawks), nobody will be able to catch them.
Therefore, the answer is that Boston College needs 6 or 7 more points in order to wrap things up. This figure could change if certain teams below them lose.