With only a handful of games remaining in the regular season, the Hockey East standings are as close as ever. Merrimack holds the top spot, but the top five teams are all within three points of each other. As the season comes to a close, every point matters and the schedules of some teams down the stretch seem to make their road to the tournament a little bit easier.
New Hampshire is coming off a tough leg of their schedule featuring nine of 10 games against top-four opponents. The Wildcats were 3-5-2 against the top teams in the conference, but currently in the number three spot in the standings, they are hoping to get back to their winning ways as their schedule eases up significantly. UNH concludes its regular season with their final six games coming against Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine, the seventh, eighth and ninth teams in the conference, respectively.
The second-place Eagles will face off against top-seeded Merrimack one last time on Sunday who they are 1-2 against on the season. Boston College most recently lost to the Warriors in overtime on Feb. 15, but things get easier for the Eagles after these top teams face off. BC will head into the tournament hoping to reclaim their title after facing UMass-Lowell, Providence and Vermont.
Currently sitting in fourth place in the standings and tied with Providence, Boston University will finish up their season with five of their last seven games at home. Six of the matchups will come against the bottom half of the conference with only one game against Merrimack in the middle. The Terriers are just 2-5-2 in their last nine games, but coming off a three-point weekend at Maine, they are hoping to keep the momentum rolling.
Maine may be ninth in the standings, but they have a chance to gain some ground and clinch the final playoff spot with games against Massachusetts and Northeastern coming up. UMass only leads Maine by one point in the conference, and with the two meeting this weekend the series will be crucial in determining who makes the cut.
Northeastern holds the last spot in the conference and with only six games remaining, as the Huskies find themselves in a do-or-die situation facing Providence, Maine and finally BU. With only two of those games coming at home, Northeastern will have to do whatever it takes to make it into the Hockey East tournament. Coming off a thrilling 5-4 victory over Massachusetts, the Huskies could have some life left in them.