Men’s Hockey: One To Go At Maine

With one game left in the regular season, there is a lot left to decide in terms of seeding for the Hockey East tournament. The opponent is The University of Maine in what could be the most important game in Orono for the Terriers in the last decade, maybe two.

That is if the chips fall in BU’s favor. Even with a win, BU will still need some help from their friends from New Hampshire or Vermont. Lowell sits one point ahead of BU at 28 points, while Northeastern and Providence are two points ahead of BU with 29.

NU plays UNH at home on Friday, while Lowell travels to Vermont the same night. BU will know going into Saturday’s game whether a win rewards them with home ice, or the game is completely meaningless. If both Lowell and NU win, the game virtually means nothing in Orono. BU can’t pass anyone ahead of them of themselves and can’t fall back of any teams behind them. Also, BU’s only route to the national tournament is winning Hockey East and so the PairWise is pretty irrelevant at this point, too.
The whole breakdown of how BU gets home ice is at the bottom.

“I don’t think we’re worried about anything,” mentioned head coach Albie O’Connell. “It’s going to be kind of a hostile environment and we have to be ready to win a hockey game on the road. No matter what the standings are, we just have to make sure we come out and compete hard and play the game.”

Maine has quietly put together a little bit of a late-season run. Before falling to UMass last weekend, the Black Bears were unbeaten in five games that included a sweep at Boston College.

Sixth place Maine can’t catch BU in the standings, but BC can leapfrog the Black Bears with a win and a Maine loss. Maine can finish as high as sixth and as low as eighth, but have already clinched a playoff spot.

Head to head, BU and Maine met in a weekend series at Agganis back in November. BU took the opener 3-2 on a late David Farra power-play goal. Maine struck back the next night with a 3-1 win, as Chase Pearson scored twice including the game winner.

BU maine
A Patrick Harper power play goal from 2017. This was the last time the BU Terriers went on the road to Orono, ME and won at UMaine.

Scouting the Black Bears
Mitchel Fossier leads Maine on the back off a very selfless stat line. In 33 games played, the junior has racked up 27 assists and seven goals for 34 points. He’s 27 assists are good for the eighth most in the country in said category. Pearson leads the Black Bears in goals with 15 and has pitched in 12 assists for 27 points. After the two at the top, there is a nine point gap, where 18 points lands Brady Keeper. Other players to watch include Eduards Tralmaks, Patrick Shea and Brendon Robins.

“They have a big team and a really dangerous first line,” added O’Connell. “They have a couple big bodies who are really good players. I think we have our hands full.”

In goal, Jeremy Swayman has put together a highly productive sophomore campaign. In 33 appearances, Swayman holds a .919 save percentage and a 2.82 goals against average.

In the one game at the Alfond last year, BU fell 5-2 in one of the most hostile buildings in college hockey. All things considered, BU has faired pretty well in the old barn, going 3-3-2 dating back to November 2008.

“Things happen really quickly there,” said O’Connell. “Its a lot different than our rink. The crowd is right there on top of you.”

All Systems Go
With Bobo Carpenter coming back to the lineup, BU should finally be in the clear injury wise. Gabe Chabot did leave the Merrimack game with a shoulder injury and did not return. But, according to O’Connell, “He practiced today and should be fine.”

Standings
BU is in a the unique position where they can only improve their seed and can’t finish worse than their current fifth place.

Fishing in the fifth slot would render BU the road team in the Hockey East tournament for just the third time since 2004. 2014 (at Notre Dame) and 20016 (at Lowell) were the other examples.

Scenarios where BU gets home ice

One Way Tiebreaker with NU
BU win vs Maine – 29 points
NU loses to UNH – 29 points

BU wins tiebreaker over NU by way of head to head record (1-0-1)
BU finishes, at worst, the four seed (depends on Lowell-UVM result)
– Lowell win, BU is the four vs 5. NU in the QF
– Lowell loss/tie, BU is the three vs Maine or BC

One Way Tiebreaker with Lowell
BU win vs Maine – 29 points
Lowell ties UVM – 29 points

BU wins tiebreaker over Lowell by way of wins in league (13>12)
BU finishes as, at worst, the four seed (depends on NU-UNH result)
– NU win/tie, BU is the four vs Lowell
– NU loss creates three way tie… see below.

Three Way Tiebreakers (BU, NU, Lowell)
BU beats Maine – 29 points
NU loses to UNH – 29 points
Lowell ties UVM – 29 points

BU wins tiebreaker over NU by way of head to head record (1-0-1)
BU wins tiebreaker over Lowell by way of wins in league (13>12)
BU finishes with the three seed vs Maine

Three Way Tiebreakers (BU, NU, PC)
BU beats Maine – 29 points
NU loses to UNH – 29 points
PC loses to BC – 29 points

BU and PC both beat NU head to head
PC and BU tied 1-1-1 and would both have 13 league wins
– PC wins next tiebreak, record vs first place team (1-2-0 vs UMass, BU was 0-2-0)
PC becomes the second seed faces Maine in the QF
BU becomes the three seed faces BC in the QF
NU becomes the four seed faces Lowell in the QF
Four Way Tiebreakers
BU beats Maine – 29 points
NU loses to UNH – 29 points
Lowell ties UVM – 29 points
PC loses to BC – 29 points

Second Seed:
PC wins the overall tiebreaker and becomes the two seed because of the following:
– PC is 2-0-0 vs both NU and Lowell head to head
– PC and BU tied 1-1-1 and would both have 13 league wins
– PC wins next tiebreak, record vs first place team (1-2-0 vs UMass, BU was 0-2-0)
– PC faces Maine in the QF

Three Seed:
– BU wins tiebreaker over NU by way of head to head record (1-0-1)
– BU wins tiebreaker over Lowell by way of wins in league (13>12)
– BU faces BC

Four Seed
– NU owns the tiebreaker vs Lowell by way of 2-1-0 head to head record. NU becomes the four seed, Lowell the five.
– NU and Lowell play in the QF at Matthews.

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