The opening round of the Hockey East postseason is complete. Four teams, Boston University, Northeastern University, Merrimack College, and the University of Vermont have advanced and will face off against the four teams that received a first-round bye in the conference’s quarterfinal round, which will begin on Friday, March 11.
The quarterfinals match-ups are as follows:
#9 Vermont at #1 Boston College
#7 Merrimack at #2 Providence College
#6 Northeastern at #3 Notre Dame
#5 Boston University at #4 UMass Lowell
No. 1 Boston College (15-2-5 HEA), the 2015-16 Hockey East regular season co-champion, faces No. 9 Vermont (6-13-3 HEA) in the quarterfinals for the second straight year after rookie Brian Bowen’s (Littleton, Mass.) tie-breaking, game-winner at 18:41 of the third period at UConn Saturday. Last year, the Catamounts downed the Eagles in a three-game quarterfinal series at Conte Forum to advance to the final weekend at the TD Garden. That series was the first time Vermont defeated Boston College in the postseason, improving its all-time Hockey East Tournament record against the Eagles to 7-2-0. In the regular season, the Eagles traveled to Burlington, Vermont for a pair of games Feb. 19-20 and took two victories away from Gutterson Fieldhouse.
No. 2 Providence (16-3-3 HEA) draws No. 7 Merrimack (5-10-7 HEA) to Schneider Arena in the first-ever postseason matchup between the two schools. Merrimack disposed of New Hampshire in a three-game opening round series at Lawler Rink that saw freshman Derek Petti (Tewksbury, Mass.) score a goal in each of the contests. Providence took each of the two regular-season contests from Merrimack, Dec. 4-5, en route to earning a share of the Hockey East regular season title for the first time in school history.
No. 3 Notre Dame (15-5-2 HEA) draws No. 6 Northeastern (10-8-4 HEA) to South Bend in the first-ever postseason meeting between the two programs. Notre Dame claimed the No. 3 seed, its highest finish in Hockey East league play after finishing No. 8 in 2014 and No. 5 in 2015. All-time, the Irish is 6-5 in the Hockey East postseason. Northeastern is currently one of the hottest teams in the nation, going 16-1-2 in its last 19 games, including a two-game sweep of Maine in dramatic fashion, as captain Kevin Roy (Lac-Beauport, Que.) netted two overtime tallies. Northeastern has played four straight overtime games in the postseason dating back to last year and nine straight one-goal games in the Hockey East Tournament. In the regular season, Notre Dame claimed a 1-0-1 record over the Huskies at the Compton Family Ice Arena Nov. 12-13.
No. 4 UMass Lowell (12-6-4 HEA) will welcome No. 5 Boston University (12-6-4 HEA) to the Tsongas Center in a rematch of the 2015 Hockey East title game. In that tilt, the Terriers came out on top of the River Hawks, 5-3, at TD Garden to earn its eighth title in program history. In the opening round against UMass, Bobo Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) scored both goals of a 2-1 overtime win Friday and Danny O’Regan (Needham, Mass.) turned in a four-point (2g, 2a) night Saturday to pace the Terriers in a 5-4 victory to a sweep of the Minutemen. BU is 9-2-0 all-time against UMass Lowell, including a 2-1-0 record in the quarterfinals. During the 2015-16 regular season the two programs split a home-and-home series Feb. 12-13 while the two jockeyed for playoff position, and the final opening-round bye, until the final weekend of the season. Friday night’s contest, slated for 7:30 p.m. will be shown nationwide on American Sports Network and on NESN in New England.
The four winners of the quarterfinal series will advance to the 32nd annual Hockey East championship weekend at TD Garden, March 18-19. Across New England, the New England Sports Network will produce and air the Hockey East championship weekend from TD Garden once again. The first semifinal will game will be shown on NESN in its entirety beginning at 5 p.m., while the second semifinal begins at 8 p.m. on NESN and NESNplus before moving exclusively to NESNplus at 9 p.m. The title game is set to be played at 7 p.m.Saturday night and shown on NESN. Across the country, NBCSN will also show all three games in over eight hours of coverage on the weekend.
Date Game Time
Fri., March 11 No. 9 Vermont at No. 1 Boston College 7 p.m.
Fri., March 11 No. 7 Merrimack at No. 2 Providence 7 p.m.
Fri., March 11 No. 5 Boston University at No. 4 UMass Lowell^ 7:30 p.m.
Fri., March 11 No. 6 Northeastern at No. 3 Notre Dame 7:35 p.m.
Sat., March 12 No. 9 Vermont at No. 1 Boston College 7 p.m.
Sat., March 12 No. 7 Merrimack at No. 2 Providence 7 p.m.
Sat., March 12 No. 5 Boston University at No. 4 UMass Lowell 7 p.m.
Sat., March 12 No. 6 Northeastern at No. 3 Notre Dame 7:05 p.m.
Sun., March 13 No. 9 Vermont at No. 1 Boston College* 4 p.m.
Sun., March 13 No. 5 Boston University at No. 4 UMass Lowell* 4 p.m.
Sun., Match 13 No. 7 Merrimack at No. 2 Providence* 7 p.m.
Sun., March 13 No. 6 Northeastern at No. 3 Notre Dame* 7:05 p.m.
* if necessary
Follow ESPN New Hampshire NHL/NCAA Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.
(Photo: UMassLowell Twitter Account)