Even after the afternoon games, Minnesota is still 14th in the PairWise Rankings by itself, leading some to ask how we can claim the Gophers are out of the NCAA tournament.

The answer lies with the Hockey East championship game between Boston University and Massachusetts-Lowell. The way it works out, no matter which team wins it hurts the Gophers.

UML winning is obvious — it gives the River Hawks the Hockey East autobid and therefore takes away an at-large spot, leaving Minnesota on the outside.

If BU wins Hockey East, it’s also bad for the Gophers, but in a different way. UML losing to BU drops Lowell’s Ratings Percentage Index enough to give the Ohio State-UML comparison to OSU.

That puts Ohio State into a tie with Minnesota for 14th, and the Buckeyes then win the tiebreaker. Wisconsin can get into the mix as well by flipping its own comparison with UML, in which case OSU wins the three-way battle for 14th and the last at-large bid.

  • Paula …please change your pick for WMU, you have been consistently inconsistent all season long with them..why must you jinx them now???….It’s been like really good Christmas present for Bronco fans all season long, you wanted a BB gun and you got a much cooler… really I am not kidding..not lookiing forward to Denver or RPI as the winner..

    • Paula Weston

      I don’t mean to jinx the Broncos. You know I’d be delighted to get the chance to cover them again in St. Paul. I can’t help it. I think they’re going to beat Denver.

      Look at it this way: If they get past Denver, I have them falling to NoDak — a good sign, no?

  • Kazzy53

    Really, you surprised yourself by picking the four number 1 seeds???

    • Paula Weston

      Yes, actually, I was really surprised when I worked my way through the brackets and realized that I picked all four No. 1 seeds. I usually have an underdog or two in my picks heading to the FF.

  • Ihsan_madaur

    4 number 1 seeds and only 2upsets of 3 seeds vs 2 seeds. You really stuck your neck out there!

    • Paula Weston

      It’s actually unusual for me to NOT call upsets. Last weekend I had Miami all the way, and I came *this* close to calling Western against Michigan (and Bronco Nation is happy that I didn’t — see Neil’s post above).

      I have a gut feeling about several teams, like UNO over Michigan today, and I’m probably going to be kicking myself that I didn’t pick it when it’s over. Then there’s Duluth. I have a nagging feeling about Duluth.

      We’ll see.

      • Bronco12

        Your bracket looks a lot like mine, except I have to go with UMD for the frozen four, and I do think UNO will pull it off against UM. Or maybe I want them to, even if it means WCHA fans get more bragging rights. That being said, hockey playoffs are all about the unexpected.


        • Bronco12

          I also think Notre Dame could make a strong case for an upset against Merrimack. They’ll be angry after last weekend; if they can turn that into energy on the ice, they’ll be hard to break.

          • Paula Weston

            I really like Notre Dame’s team and I think they are among the best-coached in college hockey. They are, however, very young. They have, what, 17 freshmen and sophomores? Since they haven’t been to the tournament in two years, that means that none of those players has tournament experience.

            Yes, I know that this should work against WMU, too (and very well may), but they have that last-place-to-NCAA-playoffs thing going for them.

            I haven’t seen Merrimack play this season, but I never underestimate Hockey East against the CCHA in NCAA tournament hockey.

  • Matt

    u cover CCHA and you pick Miami to win the Northeast Bracket? feels a little biased to me. Everyone is entitled to an opinion of course.

    • Paula Weston

      While every beat writer is partial to his or her teams, my Miami pick comes from having watched them down the stretch. I think they and NoDak are playing the hottest hockey right now.

      And I’m telling you that if Miami plays the game they’ve been playing since late January, they are unbeatable.

      And having said all that, I still have this feeling that my former CCHA team, UNO, is going to upset my current CCHA team, Michigan, even though I didn’t call it. No offense to the Mavericks for not calling them, and no offense to the Wolverines for the gut feeling.

      • Matt

        You may be right as last time I saw them was against Michigan State and they didn’t look so good. When you say unbeatable I think that’s a stretch. BC top to bottom is better and no one has their team prepared like Jerry York.

        • Bob

          Care to revise your statement, sir?

          • Matt

            they were awful. anything can happen in one game and CC put it to them.

          • My Am Ee

            BC Fail, homie.

      • matt

        looks like down the stretch wasn’t good enough for Miami. They were outplayed the entire game.

        • Paula Weston

          Yup. If they had played the game I saw down the stretch, they would’ve given themselves a chance. Instead, they took penalties and were outworked — and outmatched. Hats off to New Hampshire and congratulations to Miami on a great season.

    • Bob

      Soooo, because she covers the CCHA, she would not be permitted to pick either Miami or Notre Dame to win the regional? I fail to see the bias.

      • Matt

        doesn’t matter now. UNH won and if that’s the real Miami team not sure what the fuss is about them.

        • My Am Ee

          That wasn’t the same Miami that we’ve been watching for the past two months, I promise you that. Were we unbeatable? Obviously not. However, I hope your hockey knowledge is adequate enough for you to understand why Miami fans had exceptionally high hopes going into yesterday’s game. 10-0-3 in our last 13 games, including 5-0-3 against the other 3 CCHA teams who made the NCAA tournament (one, possibly two of them will be Frozen Four participants). Our PK was lights out during that stretch too. Of course all winning/unbeaten streaks have to come to an end at some point; I’m sorry that we didn’t go into this weekend expecting our hot streak to inexplicably end.


    I’m really liking the picks you have right now. The ones that I find most interesting is the East Regional. I think Yale and UMD is going to be really interesting game if it happens because IMO Yale hasn’t been tested at all this year, except when playing Union. So to see them go up against a team that has been up there in the rankings and playing fairly consistent all year, it’s going to be intersting. Another interesting matchup will be the first round in the Midwest between Denver and Western Michigan. I’m a die-hard UND fan so I’m picking WMU, but it’s going to be a really good game to watch. GO SIOUX!!!

    • Matt

      Even though Yale’s goalies stunk against BC last year they probably gave them the best game of all their Frozen Four games. Just because they are an Ivy League/ECAC team doesn’t mean they should be discounted.

    • Paula Weston

      Thanks, Casey. I think NoDak is playing phenomenal high-caliber hockey now. If they sustain this and Miami does as well, I expect the two to meet in the title game.

      As for WMU, I know that they *can* beat Denver; I just don’t know if they will. That’s perhaps a sentimental pick. I don’t think that Gwozdecky & Co. will underestimate the Broncos, but I don’t know that the same can be said for players in a game, you know? They’re kids.

      The Broncos finished in last place last season and this is an amazing experience for them. The newness of it — and the fact that they weren’t expected to be here — could work in their favor. Of course, that could work against them, too.

      I love how this 16-team field has so many relatively unfamiliar faces. Should be a great weekend of hockey for the fans.

  • Pesca

    good stuff. i think you’re right about miami; they have a hot enough hand to go all the way to the finals (where miele will be announced for hobey!). i’d keep an eye out for UMD in their region though.. very well may find a way into the frozen quattro.

  • WCHA

    In the Yale vs. Minnesota-Duluth game I guarantee the Bulldogs win!! (and the Bulldogs also lose!) ;)

  • Dsafads

    Wow, Paula, way to pick all the #1’s… Don’t get too risky?….

    • Paula Weston

      I think I’ve already addressed this below, but I do appreciate your chiming in.

  • Mfurta15

    What a joke that only 3959 fans showed up to watch ND- DU in Green Bay and there are NO results for attendance in St Louis becuase I bet less than 3k showed up. I spent my weekend watching these games and they all lacked emotion and character from my standpoint. The atmosphere in these regional are just not there. It is time to bring these games back to the college rinks at affordable prices and the fans will attend. I was not driving to Manchester from Boston at 3:50 per gallon and was not spending $100.00 on tickets. No wonder there are more empty seats than fans when you have to buy all 3 games at these foolish prices. The NCAA has to be taking a beaten on these events. Could imagine if the “Ralph” hosted that regional final on Sunday, I guanrantee Denver would have shown some interest!!!!!!

    • Paula Weston

      The lack of reported attendance in St. Louis is just one of the many issues with the way that tournament was run. I would like to say that the omission of attendance was deliberate to cover up the low numbers, but the tournament was so poorly run that I wouldn’t count out pure oversight.

  • Ms London

    Talking about two players that can really make the difference, Marie-philip and Decker. If this was the NHL and they were a free agent, they’ll be looking at a big juicy signing contract after this weekend.
    After watching the first game of this past weekend between BU and Maine, it was easy to realize how Poulin not only can cash in but the momentum she brings affects the overall performance of the team. Needless to say, the #1 Defense team in the nation last year is way far from it this season. When you allow 3 players unattended in front of the net to do what they please with your own goalie while you stand and watch.. twice in one game… that’s when you know only a killing offense can offset the score board and sadly it wasn’t there anymore.  When I saw Poulin crash on the boards I knew something bad would come out of it. That was it for BU. For as short as it was she brought the game to a different level. Talking about being in the right place at the right time!
    To wrap up HEA let’s talk about BC and UVM. Kuddos to the Catamounts for playing with only 12 girls and put out the performance they did. Their goalie was exceptional and as per usual Nash and Pelkey kept that squad alive.
    So what’s up with the Big Green and the Saints?? They decided to actually use their talent for a change? Look at the underdogs rising up! This season is really getting interesting. My fantasy team picks are getting all messed up!
    I just watched the conference interview with Brian Idalski after UND beat UW in the shootout. He said he was glad the team didn’t panic and stayed calmed when they were behind 2 points (to put in words) . That right there is what I’ve been saying all season long. Mental toughness is what it takes to beat a team like UW. If you start playing frustrated, chances are you’ll make many mistakes. That’s what makes the difference between great team/players and the rest. At the end, what do you have to lose?
    I’m sure the voters for the poll this week really have it hard.

  • Anonymous

    CORRECTION: the shootout victory that UND had against the badgers on sunday was NOT the best result. we have 2 wins against the badgers.

    • Arlan Marttila

      Yes, but both occurred during the 2009-2010 season when Johnson was away coaching the Olympic team, which is why I referenced the coach, not the team.