In this Jan. 18 photo, Kurtis Reynolds (right) of Houlton-Hodgdon and Brewer's Liam Spaulding battle for the puck during a game in Houlton. Teams from Penobscot and Aroostook counties are gearing up for a single-elimination playoff. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

The seven high school hockey teams from Penobscot and Aroostook counties will begin a single-elimination tournament on March 2.

Since the teams aren’t going to play the same number of games, a seeding equation has been established that involves fewest losses, head-to-head and a points system.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Maine Principals’ Association regional tournaments and state championship games, so schools wound up playing teams within their own geographic regions.

Bangor is the only Class A school among the seven in the two counties. Brewer, Old Town-Orono, Hampden Academy, John Bapst of Bangor, Presque Isle and Houlton-Hodgdon are all Class B schools.

The top two seeds will receive first-round byes and there will be a play-in game with the sixth seed hosting the No. 7 seed on March 2.

On March 5, the winner of the play-in game will travel to play the No. 3 seed and the fourth seed will entertain the fifth seed.

The semifinals will be held on March 9 with the top seed hosting the lowest-seeded survivor and the second seed awaiting the highest-seeded survivor.

The championship game will be played on March 12 at the home of the highest seed.

“I think it’s a good format, considering everything we’ve had to go through,” Brewer coach Lance Ingerson said.

“This gives the kids something to look forward to. This will give them a push for the end of the year,” he added. “The athletic directors did a good job putting it together.”

Bangor and Old Town-Orono have 5-1-1 records, Brewer is 7-2, Hampden Academy is 5-4-1, Presque Isle is 3-4-2, John Bapst is 1-7-1 and Houlton-Hodgdon is 0-7.

Teams are allowed to play as many as 12 regular-season games under MPA guidelines.

Five of the seven teams had to quarantine for 10 days earlier this month due to coronavirus-related issues stemming from an exposure at Sawyer Arena in Bangor.

“We’re excited to be able to play for something,” Bangor coach Quinn Paradis said of a pod championship. “It’s going to be fun.”

He added that virtually all the regular-season games have been close, so the playoffs should be competitive.

“It may not be the quest to get to Lewiston [for the state championship game] but it is still the mentality of, let’s go as far as we can go,” Old Town-Orono coach Chris Thurlow said. “I think it’s fair that everyone makes the playoffs.”