Monday, February 09, 2009


Six straight wins.

I believe that the only sure route to the NCAA Tournament is to win the next six games on the schedule or the University of New Hampshire Men's Hockey Team will likely fail to make the Tournament for the first time since the 2000-2001 season.

You may say that it is self-evident that if they win the next six from here then they're in but I'm not sure there is much room for error. It may be THE only route to the tournament from here. Let's see why.

Coming off of the weekend's split with Maine, the Wildcats find themselves in a tie for twelfth place in the pairwise rankings - a precarious position. For the uninitiated, the top sixteen team get in, right? Wrong. The top sixteen teams are awarded preliminary positions within the tournament but are eliminated starting at sixteenth and working up the ranking from there with their spot awarded the the league tournament champion autobids. Most years there are two autobids, usually from the AHA and the CHA, but it could easily be more. And an autobid may even be a route that our guys might explore but we'll get to later. So, that twelfth place tie, which UNH falls on the thirteenth side of, is definitely within reach of one of those autobids. Making the spot so dangerous to postseason aspirations are teams like Boston College, who the 'Cats will face next weekend, that are just behind the team though the Wildcat squad currently wins the comparison with BC. Meanwhile Dartmouth has slid slightly but are still under consideration, which is a plus for us, and UMass Lowell has slipped into the final TUC (Teams Under Consideration) spot which is favorable as well for the Blue and White's PWR (Pairwise Ranking) though Lowell's position too is tenuous. Should Dartmouth and/or Lowell fall out of the TUC bracket I think the the results would be a significant downward trend for this UNH team and ultimately hitting the links instead of the NCAA Northeast Regional which they're slated to host.

As for the Hockey East autobid, of course, all of this is null should UNH win the Hockey East Championship. Which brings us back to a proper league-first mentality but there's the rub, the Hockey East Championship will be much harder to obtain should our 'Cats not secure home ice. How do they do that you ask? Again, the only answer I'm left with is that they must win the next six. Boston College, who we'll play next weekend, is just one point behind and they're tied with UMass Lowell. See the quandary? Without winning at least the next six games, even securing home ice will be left to the chances and fortunes of other teams' wins and losses.

Ultimately, this does not even take into account the final weekend series versus Vermont and is entirely presumptive as there are still many possible outcomes. Not something to lose sleep over but certainly something to think about.

Looking at the more immediate future, a lot of good stuff on the slate for this week! A new recruit look tomorrow! Many happenings to report for this Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly. And the weekend series with the Providence Friars!

Time to let it rock!

Go 'Cats!


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