Hockey World Blog

2015 NCAA Tournament – East Regional Preview

East Regional

Site: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
Saturday’s schedule: (2) Denver vs. (3) Boston College, 3 p.m. EDT, ESPN2; (1) Miami vs. (4) Providence, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU.Sunday’s schedule: Semifinal winners, 5 p.m. EDT, ESPNU.

Boston College
Record: 21-13-3 (12-7-3 Hockey East, tie-second place)
How they qualified: At-large
Last appearance: 2014
Championships: 1949, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2012
Player to watch for: Teddy Doherty (37 GP, 6-17–23)

Overview: This isn’t the high scoring team of last year. But none the less, they have a balanced scoring attack. The plus of that is there are eight players (including three defensemen) with 20+ points. The negative is they all have between 20-28 points so no one or two scorers stick out. This team has big game experience and they want to return to the Frozen Four again, where they lost to Union in the title game. For Boston College to win, they have to keep scoring low and give goalie Thatcher Demko support on defense.

University of Denver
Record: 23-13-2 (16-11-1 NCHC, fourth place)
How they qualified: At-large
Last appearance: 2014
Championships: 1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005
Player to watch for: Joey LaLeggia (35 GP, 13-25–38)
Overview: LaLeggia is one of the top offensive defensemen in the country. The Hobey Baker Award candidate leads a strong seven-man senior contingent is looking for redemption after losing to Boston College last year. What they have to overcome is inconsistent play during the last few weeks. They lost to Miami 6-3 but they bounced back and beat North Dakota 5-1. Which team will show up Saturday? 
Providence College
Record: 22-13-2 (13-8-1 Hockey East, tie-second place)
How they qualified: At-large
Last appearance: 2014
Championships: None
Player to watch for: Jon Gilles (35 GP, 20-13-2, 1.95 GAA, .931 SV%)
Overview: As the last team in, the Friars had to sit and wait to receive their tournament bid after losing to New Hampshire in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Gilles has been the backbone of the team with his strong play in goal, but his teammates need to give him offensive support. Their leading point getter is Nick Saracino, who is tied for 61st in the nation with 33 points. They could get a bit of a crowd boost by playing in their hometown.Miami University
Record: 25-13-1 (18-10-1 NCHC, second place)
How they qualified: NCHC champions
Last appearance: 2013
Championships: None
Player to watch for: Sean Kuraly (39 GP, 18-9–27)

Overview: If there’s any of the No. 1 seeds who is ripe for an upset this weekend, it’s Miami. They will be without their second-leading scorer against Providence and could be without their third leading scorer due to injury. Blake Coleman had a hat trick in the NCHC title game but also got his third game misconduct penalty of the year, which comes with an automatic one-game suspension. Riley Barber got hurt against St. Cloud State and is questionable for the Providence game. If those 20-goal scorers are out, then Kuraly and Cody Murphy (12 goals) are the only RedHawks on the roster with double digit goals. They have a chance if their defense can keep the score down.

Last Words: Denver and Boston College are meeting for the fourth time in the past 365 days. They are meeting for the third time this season, where they split their meeting early in the season. Providence is playing a virtual home game against a superior opponent that could be without their two leading scorers. Look for the Denver-BC winner to have the inside track to win the regional.

Prediction: Boston College over Providence

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