The University of Maine men’s hockey program can finish anywhere from fourth to seventh in Hockey East as the regular season winds up this coming weekend.
UMaine was picked last or tied for last among the 11 teams in both preseason polls.
The Black Bears, coming off a 5-0 Senior night loss to league leader Boston College, is currently tied with the University of Connecticut for fifth place in Hockey East.
The top five teams will receive first-round byes in the league playoffs while the sixth-place team will host the No. 11 team, No. 7 will entertain No. 10 and the No. 8 team will await the No. 9 team in the best-of-three first round series.
Boston College, Providence and Northeastern have secured the top three seeds although the order will be decided this weekend. BC has 32 points, Providence has 30 and Northeastern has 29.
Following the first-round series, the league regular season champ will host the lowest seeded survivor; the second seed will entertain the second lowest seeded winner, the No. 3 team will await the highest seeded first-round winner and the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 team in best-of-three series.
The four quarterfinal winners will advance to the TD Garden in Boston for the semifinals and final.
Boston University is in fourth place with 25 points courtesy of its 11-8-3 league mark.
Teams earn two points for a win and one for a tie.
UConn (11-11-1), which has won seven straight including six league games, and UMaine (10-9-3) each have 23 points and UMass Lowell (10-12-0) has 20 points in the battle for the four-through-seven spots.
UMaine, UMass Lowell and Boston University each have two games left while UConn has one, a Thursday night home game with ninth-place UMass (7-13-2, 16 points).
UMaine travels to Boston College (16-6-0) for a pair; BU entertains eighth-place Vermont (6-11-5, 17 points) for two and UMass Lowell plays a home-and-home series with 11th place Merrimack (6-14-2, 14 points).
If two teams finished tied in points, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head, the second is number of league wins, the third is best record vs. the first place team, then the second place team, and so on. The fourth tiebreaker is a coin flip.
UMaine is 1-1 vs. UConn and UMass Lowell and 2-1 vs. Boston University.
If three teams are tied, it is how they did against each other that decides it.
For example, if UMaine, BU and UConn finish tied, UMaine would be the highest seed because it went 3-2 vs. the other two. UConn would be next at 2-2-1 and BU would be third at 2-3-1.
UMaine women hosting BU in Hockey East quarterfinal series this weekend
The University of Maine women’s hockey team finished as the third seed for the Hockey East playoffs and will host No. 6 Boston University in a best-of-three quarterfinal series at Alfond Arena on Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday at 2 p.m.
UMaine finished ninth a year ago and missed the playoffs.
UMaine finished 11-9-4 in the conference, 17-12-5 overall. BU is 8-11-5 and 13-15-6, respectively.
In the other matchups, league regular season champ Boston College (19-2-3, 28-3-3) will host No. 8 Vermont (7-13-4, 10-18-5), No. 2 Providence (12-7-5, 16-11-7) entertains No. 7 UConn (7-11-6, 13-12-9) and No. 4 Northeastern (11-11-2, 15-16-3) will await No. 5 New Hampshire (9-10-5, 14-13-7).
UMaine swept Boston University during the regular season, winning 4-2 at home on Oct. 20 and then beating the Terriers 4-1 and 3-2 on Jan. 6-7.
But in the January series, the Terriers were without leading scorers and linemates Victoria Bach (36 goals, 25 assists in 30 games) and Rebecca Leslie (21 & 30 in 30) because they were playing for the Canadian Under-22 team in the Nation’s Cup Tournament in Germany.
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