The River Hawks of UMass-Lowell were the big winners on Saturday, clinching the first regular-season conference title in school history with a 4-1 win over Providence. As the No. 1 seed, they’ll host eighth-seeded Maine at Tsongas Arena when the quarterfinal series open up this Thursday.
In a day ruled by blowouts, Maine concluded the only highly contested series of the weekend, following up a 4-3 win over UNH on Friday with a 4-4 tie in Saturday’s matinee. Home-ice advantage was thought to be all but sewn up for the Wildcats entering the final two contests of the regular season, but the one-point showing against the rival Black Bears dropped them all the way to fifth in the conference. They’ll hit the road in the first round against the Friars, whose fourth-place finish is the best mark by a Providence team since 2002-03.
A 5-0 rout of Northeastern brought Boston University into a three-way tie with UNH and PC, with the Terriers earning the No. 3 seed by virtue of the tiebreaker. BU will host a struggling Merrimack squad that limps into the playoffs after dropping five of its final six games, including a 3-0 decision to UMass on Saturday.
In the final opening-round series, No. 2 Boston College will host No. 7 Vermont. The Eagles have had UVM’s number this season, outscoring the Catamounts 15-7 to take the season series 2-0-1. BC also owns the top scoring offense in Hockey East, averaging 3.26 goals per conference game, and hung a touchdown on Vermont in a 7-2 victory Saturday night.
The quarterfinal round will feature four best-of-3 series, with the top four seeds hosting each game. The winners of each will advance to the one-game semifinal round at TD Garden. Both semifinals will take place Friday, March 22, with the finals scheduled for the following day.
Photo via Facebook/UMass Lowell River Hawks