Last week happened. There are a lot of reasons for it, whether they be just plain wanting it less, not being able to find enough skaters to put on the ice to fill out the entire lineup while said lineup was half-full of walk-ons, or a Vermont team that tried until the bitter end, sweeping NU then playing a tie game with UMass for over 58 minutes last night before eventually falling. Either way, 4 points are lost, never to be seen again, moving on.
Tonight the Huskies start senior weekend with the home end, a battle with Beanpot rivals BU. The Terriers and the Huskies have been mirror images since that fateful Monday in February where the Huskies raised their third title in a row, with both teams sweeping the next weekend (NU against Lowell, BU against UNH) before dropping every game they’ve played since. Sam Tucker seems to have regained the starting job in goal for one last hurrah, but besides that, these are the same Terriers you saw a few weeks ago.
Now seems like a good time to mention that Tyler Madden will not be in the lineup Friday Night and is not expected back this weekend. Grant Jozefek is questionable. It’s another crushing blow for the Huskies, who have yet to score more than twice in a game without Madden in the lineup this season and are almost guaranteed to need more than 2 this weekend after BU has scored at least 4 goals both times the teams have played this season. As for Jozefek, beyond being a top six contributor, he’s also a senior who has had a number of injury struggles in his four years at NU, so it would be great to see him on the ice to see his career out rather than relegated to the sidelines yet again.
So, what’s on the line?
Forget about the Pairwise. If it happens, great, but it’ll only be through winning, not through posturing. In the words of the late Al Davis, “Just win, baby!”
In the Hockey East standings, the Terriers enter this weekend in the very fun position that we knew for a month either NU BU or both would be facing to end the season. Coming into the weekend, BU can win out and get home ice. They can also lose out and finish 9th, seeing their season end at Agganis on Saturday. NU has dropped slightly behind them and can only finish 5th-9th, out of the home ice race, but both teams will be playing for their lives this weekend.
Here are the games that matter:
NU vs BU, BU vs NU (Duh.)
BC vs UNH, UNH vs BC
PC at Maine
If NU sweeps the Terriers and Providence wins in Orono, the Huskies will finish fifth and head to Lowell or Hartford.
If some of those things doesn’t happen (NU takes 3 points or Maine wins) NU will be in the playoffs but as a 6 seed, with travel options that now could include Orono.
If NU takes 2 points or less, there’s a chance they finish 7th, 8th, or miss the tournament entirely. Assuming NU and BU split their series, a UNH 3-4 point weekend against BC puts them ahead of the Huskies and PC win or tie puts them ahead of the Huskies. So if those all happen, NU would see their season end with an 18-14-2 regular season leaving them as one of only five teams in the entire NCAA without a postseason.
If NU takes less than 2 points it’s all up to UNH/BC. If UNH gets more points than NU, it’s all over and we’ll be seeing you next fall. (Well, we’ll be seeing you in two weeks at the Womens NCAA Quarterfinals, actually.)
So considering all of that, your rooting guide for the weekend is:
- NU, duh.
- Maine. The Black Bears winning can’t really hurt NU other than the off-chance they could end up going to Orono for a quarterfinal, but a Maine loss could be devastating.
- BC. The Eagles need to keep UNH down, and a BC sweep would put NU in the Hockey East tournament no matter what happens.
That’s all that’s left but to play the games, so let’s pack the barn toni… jk it’s spring break because who would want to go to a home game against BU and have it scheduled during a normal time of year right? #ThankYouJoe