This is a HUGE weekend for Northeastern as Notre Dame comes to Matthews for two home games. The Huskies are hanging on to home ice advantage in the first round of the Hockey East tournament, tied for seventh. Notre Dame is one spot out of a first round bye in fifth.
Although being separated by three spots in the standings, the two teams are separated by just three points. Northeastern is also just one point ahead of Merrimack who is also gunning for home ice. Notre Dame losing would also put some space between the top four teams looking for a bye. The team between Notre Dame and Northeastern, Providence, is playing Lowell and will probably drop at least a couple points. UConn, who Northeastern is tied with for seventh, only has one game this week and it’s against Boston College. I don’t expect them to get anything from that game. This matchup between Northeastern and Notre Dame has some pretty big implications for Hockey East.
Northeastern has a great chance to come away with Hockey East points and put them solidly into the home ice territory. Notre Dame, although spanking UConn on Saturday, has not played well since coming back from break. That win is their only one of the semester. Notre Dame also sports the conference’s worst powerplay, Northeastern’s biggest weakness. The Huskies have been inconsistent in the past couple weeks, but their biggest struggles have come when they were on the road. The team has played significantly better at home. I think this is a big opportunity for Northeastern to jump up in the standings. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Huskies move to sixth in Hockey East.
PS – Notre Dame has huge fan and alumni bases in Boston. They will be out for this weekend’s games. Get your friends out and to the game. They’re giving out t-shirts and towels and stuff if you need extra motivation. If you don’t come and the team loses I’m blaming it entirely on you.