The first-round results the Atlantic Hockey playoffs yielded no surprises. The higher seed won each series, though all three sets took the maximum three games to decide. This coming weekend, the 2016 Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals will take place.
The top eight teams remain, with the top five coming off of a bye week. The rest, or lack thereof, for a team may play a factor in three of the four series. That will not be a factor in the series between Mercyhurst and Rochester Institute of Technology, as both were off for the first round.
These teams will all be entering play this weekend in hopes of earning the ever-important chance to play in Rochester, where anything can happen in the one-and-done conference semi-final and final. The stakes are high, and we should be in line for some exciting series.
In the past three seasons, the quarterfinals have proved to be somewhat unpredictable.
Last year was fairly straightforward, with the top three seeds winning and No. 5 Mercyhurst over No. 4 Bentley being the only upset.
In 2014, the only favored team to win was first-place Mercyhurst, whereas No. 5 Robert Morris, No. 6 Niagara and No. 7 Canisius all produced upsets on the road in the quarterfinals.
In 2013, two of the home teams won, as No. 1 RIT and No. 4 Connecticut advanced to Rochester, while No. 6 Mercyhurst and No. 7 Canisius won on the road.
This season has been unpredictable at times, so it would not be a surprise to see some upsets in this quarterfinal round. The following is a preview of each series in the 2016 Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals, along with picks by this author and ATB’s Nick Phelan.