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Examining Sunday's Seven Game Threes

Quinnipiac and Providence both need wins today or they'll need a lot of help next weekend to make the NCAA Tournament
Quinnipiac and Providence both need wins today or they'll need a lot of help next weekend to make the NCAA Tournament
Matt Dewkett

Seven different playoff series across college hockey will go to a decisive third game today, beginning at 4pm EST. As is usual for this time of year, most of those games have major implications for the NCAA Tournament Field. (If you're not entirely sure why, I'll recommend our Pairwise Ranking explainer as a starting point)

Here's a look at those games, and where outside interests might lie in those games.

Union at Quinnipiac--ECAC Playoffs 4:00pm EST

Union has to win the ECAC Tournament to make the NCAA tournament. Quinnipiac would fall to 16th in the Pairwise with a loss. That wouldn't quite eliminate the Bobcats, but it would put their season in very serious danger.

If you're a fan of a bubble team, this game is kind of complicated. A Quinnipiac loss would knock a team currently inside the at-large bid bubble to the outside, but would also guarantee that one team currently outside the at-large bubble would earn an autobid to the tournament. You're rooting interests likely lie with Union. If the Bobcats do win, you're really hoping they win the ECAC Tournament next weekend.

Notre Dame at UMass Lowell--Hockey East Playoffs 4:00pm EST

Notre Dame needs to win the Hockey East Tournament to get into the NCAAs. UMass Lowell currently sits in the 18th spot in the Pairwise. It would most likely take a victory in the Hockey East Tournament for UMass Lowell to make it in, unless things go very poorly for the other bubble teams around them.

If you're a fan of a bubble team, you want Notre Dame to win this game and eliminate any chance of UMass Lowell sneaking an at-large bid, and then taking your chances that somebody knocks off Notre Dame in Boston next weekend.

Vermont at Boston College--Hockey East Playoffs 6:00pm EST

Boston College comes into this game 9th in the Pairwise while Vermont is 19th. It looks like Boston College would have a very hard time falling out of the NCAA tournament field even with a loss, and Vermont would have a very hard time making the field without winning the Hockey East Tournament.

If you're a fan of a bubble team, resign yourself to the fact that BC is probably finishing ahead of you and cheer for them to end the Catamounts' season.

Harvard at Yale--ECAC Playoffs, 7:00pm EST

Harvard sits at 15th in the Pairwise, and Yale is 17th, so obivously this is an important game for determining the NCAA tournament field. The winner of this game keeps their tournament hopes alive, while the loser is most likely done for the season. If you're cheering for another bubble team, it really doesn't matter too much which teams wins because both teams are in such similar positions.

Mercyhurst at Bentley--Atlantic Hockey Playoffs, 7:05pm EST

This game probably has the lowest stakes for those watching from afar. Atlantic Hockey is guaranteed only their single autobid to the NCAA tournament, and it doesn't matter all that much who claims it from an outside perspective.

Western Michigan at Miami--NCHC Playoffs 7:05 EST

This is a simple one. Miami is definitely in the tournament, Western Michigan definitely needs to win the NCHC playoffs to make the NCAA tournament.

If you're a fan of a bubble team, you want the Broncos to lose to take away a potential team that could steal a bid to the NCAA tournament with an automatic bid.

New Hampshire at Providence--Hockey East Playoffs 7:30 EST

New Hampshire needs to win the Hockey East Tournament to make the NCAA tourney. Providence currently sits 10th in the Pairwise and is maybe the most interesting team to watch today. A win likely keeps them 10th in the Pairwise and in decent shape even if they lose their semifinal game next Friday. A loss put them in a position around 13th in the Pairwise, which would mean they'd spend all next weekend hoping all the favorites win their conference tournaments and they sneak in with one of the last at-large bids in the tournament.

If you're a fan of a bubble team, you're hoping New Hampshire wins. I can't see the Wildcats winning the Hockey East Tournament to steal a bid, and a Providence loss makes it all the easier for teams on the bubble to pass them.