As UMass-Lowell, Notre Dame, Providence, and New Hampshire battled it out at TD Garden in the Hockey East Tournament, with Lowell ultimately winning the crown with a 4-0 victory over UNH on Saturday night, the regular-season champion sat idly by.
Boston College’s first sustained break – 13 days – was a positive with the Eagles, who were one of five teams earning a first-round bye. The second break – nearly another two weeks – was the result of BC losing in the best-of-three league quarterfinal to Notre Dame.
The waiting game ended Sunday when the Eagles gathered at Conte Forum to watch the NCAA hockey tournament selection show and learned they were a No. 1 seed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester, and the No. 2 seed overall. Boston College will take on Denver (20-15-6) on Saturday at 4 p.m. (ESPNU).
UMass-Lowell (25-10-4) drew Minnesota State-Mankato (26-13-1) in another Saturday Northeast Regional game at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3).
In the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., on Friday, No. 1 Union (28-6-4) faces No. 4 Vermont (20-14-3) and No. 2 Quinnipiac (24-9-6) plays No. 3 Providence (21-10-6).
Minnesota (West), Wisconsin, and Union were the other top seeds.
Boston College coach Jerry York, who was the recipient of the Bob Kullen coach of the year award, wasn’t pleased his team was bounced out of the league tournament, but said they were using the recess as a way to prepare for the next opponent.
“It was a difficult weekend to watch four [other] teams play for the Lamoriello Trophy,” said York, whose team has lost three of its last four games following a 19-game unbeaten streak (17-0-2). “We’ve got two weeks to prepare for a [chance at] a national championship.”
He said it wasn’t difficult for his players to keep their heads in the game because of what is at stake.
“When the goal is the national championship, it’s a pretty big goal to have, so that will keep us focused,” York said. “It’s not like it’s Christmas where you’re playing prior to a Christmas break. We want to make sure our game gets better as we go through it. That’s the least of our problems, trying to get them motivated, because that’s what they all want.”
York, whose team is 26-7-4 overall and 16-2-2 in Hockey East, said he has a great deal of confidence in freshman netminder Thatcher Demko.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” said York. “He’s a freshman goaltender who is earning his stripes. He’s playing in some big, big games for us and I feel very confident in Thatcher.”
York said as disappointed as his team was to be shut out of a trip to TD Garden, they couldn’t afford to dwell on it.
“It’s something we wanted and reached for, but when you sign up for this game, it’s never easy,” he said. BC’s losses to the Fighting Irish illustrate just how tough the league is.
”I think our league has been strong the last number of years,” said York. “We’re very proud of the fact we’ve gone nine straight times. I don’t think the league is any different now than it was nine years ago. It’s been a hard, competitive league. So, hats off to the four guys that made it. They advanced through some difficult opponents.’’