With just over a month to go before selections to the 2019 NCAA tournament, February and March has ushered in high-stakes hockey for many bubble teams. We're keeping up to date on the predicted tournament field with weekly bracketology, but this weekend's slate of games could shuffle the field.
Here are the Friday-Saturday games to watch this weekend with potentially big implications for the NCAA tournament field.
Notre Dame at Minnesota
Notre Dame: 16-11-3; 9-9-2
Minnesota: 13-14-4; 10-9-3
At 0.97 points per game, Bobby Nardella ranks 9️⃣th in the country and 2️⃣nd in @B1GHockey in PPG by a defenseman (30 GP, 7-22-29)— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) February 20, 2019
Hobey vote → https://t.co/hBXn49bu0X #GoIrish☘️ pic.twitter.com/qrALTQaMSI
Of the two Big Ten bubble teams, Notre Dame has bigger stakes on the line this weekend. Minnesota currently holds the comparison win against the Fighting Irish due to the Gophers sweeping Notre Dame in South Bend. The Fighting Irish can get it back - along with the possibility of being on the right side of the bubble - with a sweep of its own in Minneapolis. Friday’s game is on BTN while Fox Sports North broadcasts Saturday’s game.
Beanpot Repeat: Northeastern captures title
Northeastern at New Hampshire
Northeastern: 19-9-1; 11-7-1
New Hampshire: 11-10-8; 7-7-5
Starting with this weekend, the Huskies play New Hampshire three times in its last five regular season games. Needing to win at least three to feel safe heading into the Hockey East conference tournament, this is an opportunity for Northeastern to stay on the right path. Being swept by the Wildcats would likely drop Northeastern on the other side of the bubble. Friday’s game is on NESN+ while Saturday’s game is on NESN.
Bowling Green at Bemidji State
Bowling Green: 19-8-4; 14-7-3
Bemidji State: 15-12-5; 13-8-3
All 3⃣ #WCHA teams moved up one spot in this week's @USCHO rankings!— WCHA Men's Hockey (@WCHA_MHockey) February 18, 2019
🗳️ @BSUBeaversMHKY #WeAreWCHA | #TraditionStartsHere pic.twitter.com/XqXASGhSKX
After last weekend’s win and tie, Bowling Green heads to Bemidji for a series where the Falcons — tied for second in the WCHA with Lake Superior State — could help itself with a sweep. The two teams split earlier in the season. You can check this game out online at Flohockey.tv.
Minnesota Duluth at North Dakota
Minnesota Duluth: 18-8-2; 11-6-1
North Dakota: 14-13-2; 8-9-1
As Denver showed last weekend, a win against a top-five team like UMD can go a long way. (Providence facing Massachusetts on Saturday also fits into this mold.) North Dakota is currently 21st, but remains in better shape than several of the teams around the Fighting Hawks. A sweep at home would push them right to the bubble with two weeks remaining in the NCHC regular season. Friday’s game is on CBS Sports Net.