There are only two men’s college hockey teams in Boston left playing this season: Boston College and Boston University who both begin their Hockey East quarterfinal series this weekend on home ice. Another forgettable season by Northeastern ended with a six game winless streak (0-5-1) and a pair of losses to Boston University last weekend. Harvard displayed much more pride as they were the only ECAC team to go three games in their first round playoff against Dartmouth, but unfortunately for the Crimson, they bowed out after a 6-3 loss on Sunday in Hanover, NH. All of this was greatly overshadowed by the biggest news to hit college hockey this season: BU’s legendary head coach Jack Parker is retiring after 40 seasons in charge of the Terriers.
1. Boston College (20-10-4 overall, 15-9-3 in Hockey East; No. 5 in USCHO.com poll)
Last week: Tied Vermont 4-4 in Burlington, VT on Friday then won 7-2 at Vermont on Saturday
Next games: Host Vermont on Friday (7 p.m., NBC Sports Network) & Saturday (7 p.m.) in Hockey East quarterfinals; Game 3 on Sunday (4:30 p.m.) if necessary
They might have come up one point short for another Hockey East regular season title but the Eagles ended it on a good note. Strangely enough, they were rewarded by playing the exact same opponent for real, this time in the Hockey East playoffs. BC is 2-0-1 against Vermont this season and with home ice, they should have no real issues with the Catamounts who snuck in as the seventh seed. If BC can get past Vermont, then they’ll reach the Hockey East semifinals at TD Garden the following weekend.
2. Boston University (18-15-2 overall, 15-10-2 in Hockey East; No. 18 in USCHO.com poll)
Last week: Won 4-2 at Northeastern on Friday and beat Northeastern 5-0 on Saturday
Next games: Host Merrimack on Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m.) in Hockey East quarterfinals; Game 3 on Sunday (5 p.m.) if necessary
We’ll have to wait and see how Parker’s impending retirement affects the Terriers. They had no trouble with the Huskies but that’s nothing to be excited about. The good news for them is that they were 3-0-0 during the regular season against Merrimack, so given that and the home ice advantage, they should get to the Hockey East semifinals. Then again, this team has usually chosen the unexpected route in this rocky season so who knows?
3. Harvard (10-19-3 overall, 6-14-2 in ECAC)
Last week: Won 2-1 at Dartmouth on Friday, lost 4-2 at Dartmouth on Saturday and lost 6-3 at Dartmouth on Sunday
The Crimson scored a huge road win on Friday but they couldn’t close the deal as the Big Green won on Saturday and Sunday to eliminate Harvard from the postseason. After a very trying regular season given the academic scandal and injuries, Ted Donato has to be proud at his team’s resolve. With a little more luck, they could have enjoyed a much better season. It’s all about recruiting now as they have to keep getting players that fit into their system moving forward.
4. Northeastern (9-21-4 overall, 5-18-4 in Hockey East)
Last week: Lost 4-2 to BU on Friday, lost 5-0 at BU on Saturday
The Huskies finished in last place in Hockey East and missed the playoffs once again. Getting to the Beanpot final against BC was the lone highlight for a brutal season, head coach Jim Madigan has to find a way to keep promising freshman winger Kevin Roy in a Huskies uniform for a few more seasons. Northeastern needs to accumulate way more talent since their goal-differential was an unsightly minus-37 overall and minus-38 in Hockey East contests. It doesn’t get any worse than that.
Star of the week
Boston College sophomore winger Johnny Gaudreau
He had been mostly quiet for a few weeks-not surprisingly BC struggled during that time-but Gaudreau woke up in a big way last weekend. He had a goal in Friday’s 4-4 tie then pumped in a career-high six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in Saturday’s 7-2 blowout victory. He probably won’t win the Hobey Baker but he still deserves an invite with 18 goals and 28 assists in 31 games this season.
Quote of the week
From USCHO.com’s staff report
“It’s time,” said BU head coach Jack Parker about his decision to retire. “I’ve been coaching the team for 40 years. I’ve been coaching here for 44 years. I was a player here before that so for 48 of the last 49 years, I’ve been reporting to duty for BU hockey and that’s enough.”
Follow Metro Boston college hockey writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate