This weekend in college hockey will see the crowning of six conference champions and the end of the road for many more. The weakest teams have all been more or less bounced for good, as we’re already down to semifinalists in four leagues and championship game participants in two others. The bubble has also seen some movement with a significant upset last weekend, while more shakeups are likely to come as the automatic bids get sorted out. So for the last time this season, here is your Student Union college hockey bubble watch.

Automatic Bids

Atlantic: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Notre Dame
ECAC: Cornell
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Northern Michigan

The only change here from last week is a significant one — Minnesota State’s loss to Michigan Tech in the WCHA semifinals guarantees that the league will be sending two teams to the NCAA tournament. That could easily cause some problems for a bubble team and set Michigan Tech up as a potential Cinderella team in the tournament.

Other Locks

Minnesota State (WCHA)
Denver (NCHC)
Ohio State (Big Ten)
Clarkson (ECAC)
Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)
Northeastern (Hockey East)

Northeastern jumps over a few other bubble teams after bringing their PairWise ranking to a comfortable #7. A loss to a solid Providence team in the HEA semifinals would not drop them far enough out of consideration at this point. Minnesota State may have cost themselves a #1 seed with their loss, but they are still an easy lock. The other four locks from last week, all top 11 PairWise teams, are still alive in the semifinals or finals of their league tournaments.

Last Four In

Providence (Hockey East)
Michigan (Big Ten)
Penn State (Big Ten)
North Dakota (NCHC)

The two active teams here, PC and UND, have to feel good about the fact that they are alive and well in their leagues and control their own destiny. This also means that they could be the very teams that end up shutting out the two idle Big Ten teams, who will be nervously rooting for the teams in the auto bid and locks tiers this weekend. Michigan is at 10 in the PairWise to Penn State’s 12, and making it to the Big Ten semifinals may prove to be just enough to get them an at-large bid.

First Four Out

Minnesota (Big Ten)
Boston University (Hockey East)
Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC)
Princeton (ECAC)

Minnesota ends up being the victim of the Minnesota State loss, but being the odd team out of the Big Ten semifinals could end up being crushing blow to their chances. All of these teams will be rooting hard for Boston College this weekend, as BC would fall around the last team in-first team out spot with a loss this weekend. Likewise, Northern Michigan would fall to the very edge of the bubble with a loss to Michigan Tech, who would receive the auto bid.

Games to Watch

There will be good college hockey played all around this weekend. Seriously, just pick a game. However, if you’re looking to follow the bubble madness, Hockey East is where the most consequential action will be.

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