Sunday, March 23, 2014
BC, UMass Lowell paired in Northeast
After being unceremoniously dumped from the Hockey East tournament in the quarterfinal round, Boston College could get a shot at league champion UMass Lowell after all.
The Eagles and the River Hawks are both part of the Northeast region in the NCAA men's hockey tournament in pairings that were announced Sunday. BC, the region's top seed, and No. 2 seed UMass Lowell will open NCAA play on Saturday in Worcester, with the Eagles (26-7-4) facing Denver (20-15-6) at 4 p.m. on ESPNU and the River Hawks meeting Minnesota State Mankato (26-13-1) at 7:30 on ESPN3.
That sets up the possibility of an all-Hockey East regional final on Sunday for a berth in the Frozen Four. UMass Lowell was a Frozen Four team last season, losing in the national semifinals.
Since going 1-0-1 against UMass Lowell in a two-game series Feb. 21 and 22, BC has played only four games, all against Notre Dame. The Eagles went 1-3 in that stretch, including a best-of-three loss to the Irish in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
BC coach Jerry York was asked about the "rust vs. rest" dynamic by ESPN's John Buccigross during the tournament selection show.
"My biggest concern is that our bracket has three tournament champions," York said, citing conference tournament wins by UMass Lowell, Denver (NCHC) and Minnesota State (WCHA). "Rest or rust doesn't matter to me. We're scheduled to face Denver, which is a very, very good hockey team."
Buccigross then asked York what message he would deliver to his team this week in practice.
"We're always talking here about national championships," York said. "That's our main goal and now we're in the field of 16. We understand that no lousy teams make this field.
"We're going to have be on top of our game, polish some things in our game -- defensive coverage, our forecheck. It' more about what we do as a club rather than what (Denver coach Jim Montgomery) does on the power play or PKs. We're more concerned about ourselves."