northeasternHockey East is the most competitive and exciting conference in Division I hockey, and the results of the 2013-14 regular season have done nothing to dispel that notion.

The Boston College Eagles have been the class of the conference all season as a team consistently ranked in the top five of the national polls. They lead the conference standings with 34 points entering Saturday’s slate of games, but spots two through eight are separated by just seven points.

Northeastern has shown immense improvement from last season. The Huskies finished with a disappointing 9-21-4 record last season, but with first-line center Kevin Roy and No. 1 defenseman Josh Manson leading the way in 2013-14, the team sits in third place at 18-11-4. Head coach Jim Madigan has done a tremendous job developing his young players.

Providence has continued to get better after an encouraging 2012-13 campaign. The Friars enter Saturday’s regular-season finale with an 18-9-6 record and tied with Northeastern for third place in Hockey East.

UMass Lowell has proven that last season’s trip to the Frozen Four was not a fluke. Norm Bazin’s squad is second in the Hockey East standings at 21-8-4 and look poised for another deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Are one of these three schools the most pleasant surprise in Hockey East this season? Vote in the poll below.