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The Northeast Regional

Game 1 #2 Boston College vs. #3 Minnesota

Minnesota has had a good deal of success in the playoffs by following a fairly simple formula of playing tight defensive hockey, letting Alex Kangas keep the puck out of the net, and waiting until they catch a break late in the game. For as close as all of Minnesota's playoff games have been, the only time they've trailed in a playoff game was a brief stretch in the first period of their third game with Minnesota State, and in the Final Five final, a game which they lost.

That said, I think the big key for Boston College is for BC to score a couple goals early and build a lead. If they do, I don't think Minnesota has the firepower to catch back up. But if Alex Kangas is playing well, and the game stays tied or in the Gophers favor, I really like Minnesota's chances.

The other key for Boston College will be the play of goalie John Muse. Muse was shaky at points this season, but was great in the Hockey East playoffs. If he can handle the pressures of the NCAA tournament, BC should be in good shape.

I think the Gophers have a great shot at winning this game, but I'll take Boston College to win in overtime. The Gophers have had quite a few bounces go their way in the playoffs, but I think their luck will run out here.

Game 2: #1 Miami vs. #4 Air Force

Air Force almost pulled off a huge upset last year over Minnesota, and that tournament experience could help them this year against a very good Miami team. It sounds like Air Force might be getting Eric Ehn back for this game, but even if he plays, I don't think he'll be at 100%.

I think Miami has too much talent to lose this game. I don't see goalie Jeff Zatkoff giving up that many goals, and Miami's forward corps is deep enough that it will create mismatches with Air Force, and they'll be able to score some goals.

Game 3 #1 Miami vs. #2 Boston College

This is a rematch of last year's Northeast Regional final, where Boston College won 4-0. Some things have changed since then. Miami is a year older and a little more confident. BC isn't as red-hot as they were last year. And John Muse is in goal instead of Cory Schneider. But I don't think enough has changed to switch the end result, and BC will advance to the Frozen Four.