In spite of having lost on Saturday for the first time in over three months, the #1 Boston College Eagles still have a lot to play for, and that path begins in a few weeks.
We do not yet know who the Eagles will face in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Hockey East Tournament, but we do know it will be the lowest seed of the three teams to make it out of next week’s elimination round. As such, it cannot be 6th seed Maine or 7th seed Vermont, but it can and will be any of the other four.
Let’s take a look at the full bracket as the Eagles chase a trip to the Garden:
In fact, with the way this new tournament structure is aligned, one quarterfinal matchup is already set in Northeastern-New Hampshire. They will have two weeks to prepare for one another in their best-of-three series.
One thing that will be on the minds of the fans is how the extended layoff will affect the team’s performance. It’s not a tremendously long one, though they will not play in a game for two weeks and have to jump into playoff gear when they come back. Nevertheless, you always want the bye to the quarterfinals, considering that the alternative is essentially having to do a play-in game. We will soon find out if the bye helped prepare the Eagles.
A few days ago, Providence looked like they were on-track for hosting a first-round game, but not only did they manage to escape that, they’re all the way back up to #3. Maine ended up falling out of the byes in the final weekend, while the five other teams playing in the single-elimination first round all expected to be there for quite some time.
We will start by assuming that Maine and Vermont win their opening-round games at home. While nothing is ever a lock in the playoffs, Maine would have to implode to lose to a team as inept all-around as Merrimack, while UMass has been almost just as bad. This means Boston College could realistically be playing the winner of the 8-9 game, which means either Boston University or Notre Dame. Either one would be a tough series, though winnable.
All Boston College fans can do now is wait for the tournament bracket to fill out the next column.