College Hockey Friday Schedule: Denver, Nebraska-Omaha Battle For Playoff Positioning


Denver and Nebraska-Omaha have a nationally televised battle for WCHA Tournament positioning, while Vermont hopes to play spoiler against top-ranked Boston College.

In the final weekend of college hockey regular season play for Hockey East and the WCHA, two national games are on the schedule Friday night. On CBS Sports Network, top-ranked Boston College tries to win their second consecutive Hockey East regular season title against Vermont. NBC Sports Network, meanwhile, features the University of Denver against Nebraska-Omaha in a series which looks to determine home ice in the WCHA playoffs.

Two other games, a battle between Big Ten rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin and North Dakota and Minnesota State, air nationally on Fox College Sports.

Which game is for you? The previews are below.

Vermont (6-25-1, 3-21-1 HEA) at No. 1 Boston College (23-10-1, 17-7-1 HEA)

Time/TV: 7:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Announcers: Dave Starman, Ben Holden and Shireen Sasksis

What's at stake: A tale of Hockey East's first-place team playing the cellar-dweller, Boston College currently holds a two-point lead over Boston University in the standings. The Eagles can win the regular season title this weekend with a pair of wins against Vermont, who they have already defeated 6-1 February 10. A good showing this weekend would also give them a chance to take over the top seed in the Pairwise rankings. Boston College currently sits in second behind Minnesota Duluth.

The Catamounts know these is the last weekend for them, as only the top eight teams make the Hockey East post-season -- all other conferences give every team a chance to win an automatic bid -- but that doesn't mean they won't try to be spoilers. Vermont took fourth-ranked Boston University to overtime before losing last Saturday and three of their six wins are against teams in the top ten.

Vermont Players To Watch: No. 8, F Sebastian Stalberg (undrafted); No. 13, F Connor Brickley of the Florida Panthers; and No. 15, D Michael Paliotta of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston College To Watch: No. 19, F Chris Kreider, a first round draft pick of the New York Rangers; No. 4, D Tommy Cross of the Boston Bruins; and No. 12, F Kevin Hayes, a first round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks

Watch If You're A Fan Of... the Chicago Blackhawks, Rangers, Calgary (Boston College has two prospects), a last chance for Florida fans to see Connor Brickley this season and potential title celebrations.

CBS Sports Network will also broadcast Saturday's game live from Conte Forum at 7 p.m. ET.

No. 9 Denver (14-8-4, 19-11-4 WCHA) at Nebraska-Omaha (11-10-5, 14-14-6 WCHA)

Time/TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Announcers: Ron Vaccaro and Ken Hodge

What's at stake: Home ice and NCAA Tournament chances. After being swept last weekend at home for the first time since 2008 by Minnesota, Nebraska-Omaha finds themselves in the sixth and final spot for hosting the WCHA playoffs. With a surprising Michigan Tech squad only one point behind, getting a win or two against Denver would be huge for the Mavericks.

The Pioneers are almost assured of finishing in third place, however, they moved down a spot in the Pariwise to 13th after splitting a two-game series with North Dakota last weekend and going 4-3-1 in their last eight games. With only the top 14 teams guaranteed a spot (the Atlantic Hockey and possibly another conference's automatic bid will be from teams below the top 16 in the Pairwise), the time for Denver to make their tournament case is now.

Denver Players To Watch: No. 15, F Drew Shore of the Florida Panthers; No. 23, F Nick Shore of the Los Angeles Kings; and No. 17, F Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild.

Nebraska-Omaha Players To Watch: No. 21, F Matt White (undrafted); No. 15, F Josh Archibald of the Pittsburgh Penguins; and No. 24, D Bryce Aneloski of the Ottawa Senators

Watch If You're A Fan Of... the Florida Panthers (Denver has 3 prospects drafted), Penguins (although first round pick and Pioneer Beau Bennett remains out with an injury), Kings and a battle of speed (Denver) versus size. Nebraska-Omaha has 6 defensemen 6'2 or taller, including 6'8 Andrej Sustr (No. 3).

Other Televised This Weekend Games:

Wisconsin at Minnesota -- 8 p.m. ET, FSN+ Friday and Saturday; FCS Pacific Friday and FCS Atlantic Saturday

Players to watch: No. 27, F Nick Bjugstad (Minnesota/first round pick by Florida); No. 6, D Justin Schultz (Wisconsin/Anaheim); No. 7, F Kyle Rau (Minnesota/Panthers); No. 9, D Mark Zengerle (Wisconsin/Undrafted); and No. 35, G Kent Patterson (Minnesota/Avalanche),

Minnesota State at North Dakota - 8:30 p.m. ET, FCS Central Friday; 8 p.m., FCS Pacific Saturday

Players to Watch: No. 7, F Danny Kristo (North Dakota/Montreal); No. 8 F Max Gaede (Minnesota State/San Jose); No. 4, D Derek Forbort (North Dakota/First round pick by the Los Angeles Kings); No. 14, F Justin Jokinen (Minnesota State/Buffalo); and No. 29, F Brock Nelson (North Dakota/First round pick by the New York Islanders)

New Hampshire at Maine -- 4 p.m. ET, Saturday; NESN

Players to Watch: No. 13, F Spencer Abbot (Maine/Undrafted); No. 6, D Trevor van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire/Undrafted); No. 10, F Brian Flynn (Maine/Undrafted); No. 22, F Stevie Moses (New Hampshire/Undrafted); No. 27, D Will O'Neill (Maine/Winnipeg)

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