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Projecting the Hockey East Tournament Field

If the season ended today, New Hampshire, Boston College, Maine and Boston University would be hosting the Hockey East quarterfinal series, with Northeastern, UMass Lowell, Massachusetts and Merrimack going on the road. Providence and Vermont would be staying home.

Based on the current league standings, the Hockey East Tournament pairings would look like this:

#1 New Hampshire vs. #8 Merrimack
#2 Boston College vs. #7 UMass Lowell*
#3 Maine vs. #6 Massachusetts*
#4 Boston University vs. #5 Northeastern

* Massachusetts currently has the tiebreaker over Lowell (winning the regular season series 2-1-0) and would get the 6 seed. Lowell would then grab the #7 spot.

Looking ahead, while UMass Lowell is only 4-6 in their last ten, they did win the season series against Boston College. Lowell has been a tough out for the Eagles over the past few season. On the other hand, BC is currently 2-0-0 against Massachusetts. If I had to choose, I would hope BC draws Massachusetts over UMass Lowell, but there's still a lot of hockey to be played. 

Lowell is currently tied with UMass with 22 points, but Lowell has a game at hand and a much easier stretch run (a home-and-home vs. Providence and a 2 game home-set against UVM). UMass finishes with BC and a 2 game road trip to end the season vs. Maine.

Merrimack (21 points) may also make up significant ground in the standings as they have 5 games left to play, 2 more than UMass and 1 more than Massachusetts. BC will likely draw one of these three teams in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

With the games remaining, my guess as to how the Hockey East regular season will finish is as follows:

  1. New Hampshire - 37 points
  2. Boston College - 34 points
  3. Maine - 31 points
  4. Boston University - 29 points
  5. UMass Lowell - 26 points
  6. Northeastern - 26 points
  7. Merrimack - 26 points
  8. Massachusetts - 24 points
  9. Vermont - 23 points
  10. Providence - 14 points
The Hockey East Tournament pairings would then look like this:

#1 New Hampshire vs. #8 Massachusetts
#2 Boston College vs. #7 Merrimack
#3 Maine vs. #6 Northeastern
#4 Boston University vs. #5 UMass Lowell

Despite BC's 1-1-0 record against Merrimack, I think a draw of Merrimack followed by Maine/Northeastern is a much easier path to the Hockey East Championship game than a draw of UMass Lowell followed by Maine/Massachusetts. 

The good news is that in both scenarios the Eagles will miss playing Boston University (who's had BC's number this year) and New Hampshire until the Championship game.