Big matchups in final weekend
Since all five conferences will be fully engulfed in tournament play next weekend, this marks the final installment of the Friday Fourcast for the 2010-11 season. Hopefully, it allowed you to kill a few minutes at work each week. Anything you learned about hockey along the way was pure coincidence. And now, with a nod to the greatest Wayne State University graduate of all time, Casey Kasem, let's get on with the countdown.
Boston College vs. New Hampshire (Friday at Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Saturday at Durham, N.H.): Hard to believe that even though Boston College has won two of the last three NCAA championships, the Eagles haven't won the Hockey East regular-season crown since 2005. That has been the Wildcats' milieu; New Hampshire has earned the league's regular-season title in three of the last four years. All UNH needs to do to make it four out of five is earn two points in this weekend's home-and-home with a BC team that's gone 18-3-1 in its last 22 games.
Nebraska-Omaha at Minnesota Duluth (Friday-Saturday): The third-place Mavericks and fourth-place Bulldogs are both guaranteed a first-round playoff series at home, but this series could have a huge impact on the round beyond that. UNO and UMD can still end the regular season in second place in the league standings which would mean a bye into the Final Five semifinals -- assuming a win in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. These teams are trending in opposite directions; the Duluthians have earned a total of four points in their last three league series, while the, uhh, Omahainians are 6-2-0 in their last eight conference games.
Colorado College at Wisconsin (Friday-Saturday): A home berth for the first round of the WCHA playoffs is at stake in Madison, and there's a fairly good chance these two teams will see each other when the postseason gets underway next weekend. With one win, the Tigers are guaranteed a home playoff series. The free-falling Badgers, who went 0-for-February, need a sweep (or three points and a St. Cloud State non-sweep at Denver) in order to stay home.
Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, and ECAC Hockey Playoffs (Friday-Sunday): The war of attrition begins this weekend as a dozen or so schools will see their seasons come to an abrupt end. Our league correspondents have the skinny on the opening round action in Atlantic Hockey, the CCHA, and ECAC Hockey.
Also: Boston University is trying to stay in third place in Hockey East, but Merrimack is one point back and would probably like to avoid a first-round playoff series against a fifth-place Maine team that throttled them in Orono last weekend. BU plays two with Northeastern this weekend, while Merrimack takes on Providence. Just three weeks after undergoing emergency abdominal surgery, Denver captain Kyle Ostrow could return to the lineup for the Pioneers' series against visiting St. Cloud State.
For more from Inside College Hockey, check out insidecollegehockey.com.
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