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Hockey East Final Four Preview : College Hockey News

Not Enough : College Hockey News

March 17, 2023

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by Anthony Travalgia/CHN Reporter (@A_Travalgia)

Often a conference that you can count on to send multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament, Hockey East is at risk of having one lone representative in the tournament this year.

Top seeded Boston University is a lock to continue its season regardless of what happens this weekend in the Hockey East playoffs.

After that, however, things get a bit messy. Merrimack could lose Friday and still make the tournament, but of course, its easiest path is to simply win. 

Providence and Lowell would need to win the conference championship in order to extend its season to the NCAA Tournament.

7. Providence vs. 1. Boston University

After a solid first half to its season, Providence entered the Hockey East playoffs struggling in the second half, with just three wins following the Christmas break.

But as Leaman coached teams often do, the Friars found ways to win when it mattered the most, punching their ticket to the conference semifinals with a pair of 2-1 overtime wins over New Hampshire and Northeastern. 

“I think the second half hardened us for sure,” Providence coach Nate Leaman said. “I think we know who we are a little better now. I think we can handle adversity within a game a lot better.”

The Friars have played in a league-high 14 overtime games, winning five of those.

“I wouldn’t want to go to overtime against us right now,” Leaman said. “They want these moments, that’s what you want as a coach. You don’t want your guys backing down in those moments.”

When you look at how the Friars have won games since the start of the calendar year, it’s been mostly in low-scoring games. In Providence’s last four wins, it’s only allowed multiple goals once, in a 3-2 overtime victory over Lowell on Feb. 17.

Four different Friars skaters have combined for Providence’s four playoff goals through two games, but the one consistent in those wins was freshman goalie Philip Svedeback, who made 22 saves against New Hampshire and 25 more against Northeastern.

“He’s a freshman, he’s from another country, he doesn’t want to let his teammates down,” Leaman said. “It’s getting past that and understanding it’s about giving your best effort for the team.”

Boston University had no issues in its quarterfinal contest with Vermont, cruising to 7-3…

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