Leave it to Hockey East to give us the most bizarre quarterfinals. Only Northeastern made it out of the first round among the top seeds, and even they had some trouble, finding themselves tied with Vermont early in the second in both games. New Hampshire made relatively short work of Providence despite being outshot by a ton, Maine beat Boston University, and UConn rebounded from a terrible first game to outlast Boston College.
In games among these four basically everyone could kill penalties and no one could score on the power play, including Northeastern’s 2/33 effort and New Hampshire’s 1/44 figure. Outside of that there actually wasn’t a ton of variance aside from Northeastern being the clearly superior team.
#1 Northeastern vs. #7 Maine
Maine comes off playing a Boston team that played them oddly poorly in the regular season to…playing a Boston team that played them oddly poorly in the regular season. Maybe Maine was just kind of good?
At the very least, Maine has some players that can stack up against just about anyone. Freshman Ida Kuoppala led the team in scoring (19-13-32) and senior Tereza Vanišová was right behind her (14-17-31). Where they could get last change, they could match up okay (at least in terms of shots) against Northeastern. Where they couldn’t the possession was skewed heavily in the other direction.
Northeastern – Katy Knoll. The freshman had the winner in the middle game and as the competition stiffens, Northeastern will need that kind of secondary scoring.
Maine – Ella MacLean. Maine largely shut down a dangerous BU team and they can in part thank their leading freshman defender who tallied 2 goals and 11 assists in the regular season.
Prediction: Northeastern 4-2
#5 Connecticut vs. #6 New Hampshire
What a weird series. New Hampshire won twice with two shutouts but scored fewer goals than the Huskies. Both teams also piled up the penalties throughout the series.
New Hampshire putting up shots but not scoring, though you have to wonder how much of that was having more power play opportunities in the two latter games. That didn’t result in much in the way of goals, but it can wear down the opposition as they can’t do much but defend.
Connecticut – Wabicks galore. Twin sisters Taylor and Morgan, a defender and forward respectively, didn’t lead the Huskies in scoring, but did finish fourth and fifth. Perhaps more importantly they had 3 assists combined in the lone game UConn put goals on the Wildcats.
New Hampshire – Tori Howran. In a series punctuated by shutouts you have to credit a defender, and Howran was the best on the Wildcats. She also featured heavily in the offense, her 2 goals and 20 assists putting her second in points.
Prediction: UConn 2-1.