The unpredictable nature of playoff hockey was at its finest Sunday night with seven deciding games in conference tournaments.
The longest Game 3 of the day was played by Harvard and Yale with the Crimson scoring a 3-2 double overtime win. The victory was crucial for Harvard, which has been fighting for its PairWise life. Meanwhile Providence saw its NCAA hopes go on life support after the Friars were eliminated from the Hockey East tournament in a 2-1 overtime loss to New Hampshire.
Also bounced this weekend were defending national champ Union, Boston College and Notre Dame. BC will likely have a PairWise ranking that gets them into the NCAA field. Union however is out meaning there will be a new national champion this year.
The craziest Game 3 came in Atlantic Hockey between Mercyhurst and Bentley at the JAR. The Falcons had taken a 2-0 lead in the third period, but the Lakers scored twice in a 14 second span to tie the game. Mercyhurst then netted the winning goal with five second left in regulation to advance to the conference semifinals. That's the second straight year Bentley lost in three games in the quarterfinals on home ice.
Speaking of Atlantic Hockey, Robert Morris retained its No. 20 ranking in the latest USCHO.com Men's Division I poll while three other teams are among those receiving votes -- Canisius (four), RIT (three) and Mercyhurst (two).
And once again, for the record, the Golden Griffins didn't get a vote from me.
Heading into the heart of conference tourney play, North Dakota is a strong position for the overall No. 1 seed. They are tops in the PairWise and have 44 first-place votes in this week's national poll.
Here's how my ballot shook out:
- North Dakota
- Minnesota State
- Boston University
- Michigan Tech
- Bowling Green
- Boston College
- St. Cloud State
- Robert Morris