The Road Ahead - Weekend Outlook

Just an overview of some teams looking for wins in their conferences this weekend.  Lots of meaningful games to be played and here's why...

Hockey East

In Hockey East, the battle for first place has come down to a 4-way tie as college hockey rolls into it's final two weekends of play.  Boston College, Massachusetts-Lowell, New Hampshire and Providence all have 28 points, Merrimack with 27, and Boston University with 26, making the battle for first place in Hockey East the spotlight in NCAA hockey.


Boston College at Providence

Boston College is looking for a high seed to help them win the Lamoriello Trophy, extending their streak to 4 years in a row winning the award and seven times in the last decade.  Providence, on the other hand, wants to go from finishing 7th last year to being able to call themselves conference champs on only a year.

The two teams battled earlier this year already, but ended in a 3-3 OT tie.  The tie ended a nearly 4-year losing streak to the BC Eagles, but are still winless.  It should be a great battle for both teams as Boston College tends to perform much worse on the road (6-5-1) and the 7-game unbeaten streak Providence is proudly displaying will only make things more interesting.
Providence
Boston College
13-10-7
...Overall...
18-9-3
11-6-6
Conference
13-8-2
7-3-3
Home
9-4-2
6-7-4
Away
6-5-1
20th
Ranking
4th
25th
Pairwise
6th
0.5193
RPI
0.5420
2.87
Avg. Offense
3.37
2.40
Avg. Defense
2.67
12.3
PIM/G
12.5
14.0%
Power Play
22.3%
81.6%
Penalty Kill
85.4%

Merrimack at Massachusetts-Lowell

Both of these teams haven't finished on top Hockey East on quite awhile, and both will be looking to take the lead.  Both teams have very similar conference records but Umass-Lowell has a five more overall wins and impressive 93 goals scored so far this season to add on the pre-game scratch sheet.

Things are looking better for Umass-Lowell as far as the NCAA tournament goes as they sit in 9th in the Pairwise.  On the other side of the page is Merrimack, who will need to finish out the season strong if they have any hope of making the tourney; they're currently 29th with an RPI of .5108.
Merrimack
Umass-Lowell
14-12-6
...Overall...
19-9-2
12-8-3
Conference
13-8-2
8-5-3
Home
8-4-1
6-5-2
Away
11-5-1
17th
Ranking
12th
29th
Pairwise
9th
0.5108
RPI
0.5448
2.59
Avg. Offense
3.10
2.41
Avg. Defense
2.33
12.3
PIM/G
11.6
15.4%
Power Play
17.3%
86.6%
Penalty Kill
83.6%

WCHA

As far as conference battles go, the WCHA finale will be one helluvan ender with much more meaning than previous years.  As the WCHA will be losing and gaining different teams to kick-off next year, for many teams this is the last chance to win the MacNaughton Trophy by finishing regular season champions.  St. Cloud State currently holds the lead with 33 points, Minnesota with 31, Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota with 30, and Minnesota State with 29.


Wisconsin at Nebraska Omaha

Both of these teams will be fighting for difference reasons this weekend, but have a common goal.  Wisconsin is currently tied with Denver for 6th place in the WCHA, being the difference between earning a home game to start playoffs or taking a road trip.  One might think Wisconsin is only decently-skilled, especially after recently falling to Penn State, but with the exception of that minor speed-bump, Bucky has been firing on all cylinders.

Nebraska Omaha is looking to steal these WCHA points for a different reason...  Currently sitting two points out of first place, tied for third, the Red Mavericks will need as many points as they can to get a jump on things before heading to Minnesota Duluth to end the regular season next weekend.  If they can pull off the home-sweep, things should get very interesting.
Wisconsin
Nebraska-O.
14-11-7
...Overall...
18-12-2
10-7-7
Conference
14-8-2
7-7-3
Home
9-6-1
6-2-4
Away
8-5-1
16th
Ranking
13th
26th
Pairwise
22nd
0.5152
RPI
0.5235
2.34
Avg. Offense
3.50
2.03
Avg. Defense
2.75
13.8
PIM/G
13.7
10.9%
Power Play
18.8%
79.8%
Penalty Kill
80.5%

Denver at Minnesota

Almost identical to the series explain above, but Minnesota sits 2-points out of first place.  The Golden Gophers will be wanting nothing more than to leave the conference as the reigning WCHA champion and to head into the Big Ten's first year with momentum.  This marks the final home series for the Gophers who head to Bemidji State the following weekend, so plan on this team leaving everything on the ice.

Denver is one hell of an inconsistent team, but when the spark plug is pulsing, this team can ruin any team's hopes and dreams.  The Pioneers main drive in this series to get a foot in the door of the WCHA playoffs and even slam it on Wisconsin, who is completing for the same home-ice advantage.
Denver
Minnesota
16-10-5
...Overall...
21-6-5
11-8-5
Conference
13-6-5
11-5-3
Home
13-2-3
5-5-2
Away
8-3-2
10th
Ranking
2nd
12th
Pairwise
2nd
0.5367
RPI
0.5641
3.35
Avg. Offense
3.66
2.81
Avg. Defense
2.00
18.0
PIM/G
10.2
22.2%
Power Play
25.4%
83.6%
Penalty Kill
87.0%

CCHA

This marks the last year of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's existence, so let's have a quick moment of silence...   Alright.  Now In the conference's last year of life (as we know it) there is quite a race for the regular season crown.  Miami sits in first with 56 points, looking down on Western Michigan with 51 and Notre Dame with 50.  Keep in mind that the CCHA does their point system a little bit different than the other conferences.

Western Michigan ventures to Michigan State, Miami hosts Ohio State and Notre Dame hosts Bowling Green.  Now Western Michigan is on the road, but is playing arguably the worst team in the CCHA while Both Miami and Notre Dame play decent teams, but at home.  So I decided to handle this a little different as far as comparisons go.
Miami
Western Mich.
Notre Dame
Overall
21-8-5
18-8-8
19-12-3
Conference
16-6-4-4
14-6-6-3
15-8-3-2
Home
11-1-3
13-2-3
10-6-0
Away
9-5-2
5-5-4
6-6-3
Ranking
3rd
8th
11th
Pairwise
3rd
10th
14th
RPI
0.5550
0.5384
0.5329
Avg. Offense
2.56
2.29
2.91
Avg. Defense
1.56
1.94
2.26
PIM/G
13.5
12.4
13.4
Power Play
15.9%
18.1%
16.2%
Penalty Kill
89.2%
86.4%
83.2%


Enjoy.

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