All-division preview: Sneak peek at possible Hockey East title game
The top two teams in the Hockey East meet as No. 1 Boston College takes on seventh-ranked Massachusetts-Lowell this weekend.
Boston College wrapped up its 13th Hockey East regular-season championship last weekend while the River Hawks are holding onto the second spot. UMass Lowell is two points ahead of third-place teams Maine and New Hampshire, but still not guaranteed home ice for the playoffs.
Boston College has not played the River Hawks in almost a year and hope to avenge a 4-2 loss on Feb. 26, 2013, at Kelley Rink. Despite a recent surge in UMass Lowell's program, BC has still had great success against UMass Lowell in recent history, having won eight of the past 10 encounters. This series will sport the league’s top offense (BC) against Hockey East’s best defense (UML).
Lowell has been on a tear as of late; running off a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1), including a recent sweep of Massachusetts last weekend. In fact, Boston College and UMass Lowell possess the two longest unbeaten streaks in the country at 17 and six, respectively. Joseph Pendenza leads the River Hawks in scoring (12-12-24), but UML is known for its staunch defense. Lowell possesses the nation's best defense, surrendering a scant 1.93 goals per game. Goalies Connor Hellebuyck (.940) and Doug Carr (.934) the second- and fourth-best save percentages in the nation.
The Eagles have not lost a game since the turn of the calendar. No Boston College team has gone undefeated once the New Year occurred in the schedule but this year, the Eagles have gone 12-0-1.
If Quinnipiac can defeat the two ranked teams it faces this weekend (No. 13 Cornell, No. 19 Colgate), it will clinch the No. 2 spot in the ECAC Hockey tournament. ... Union (N.Y.) can clinch the Cleary Cup as the winner of the ECAC Hockey regular-season championship on Saturday against St. Lawrence. ... St. Cloud State has won its past four games at home after starting the season 6-3-5 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. ... Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt leads the nation with a .943 save percentage heading into the series against Maine. ... If Wisconsin can sweep Michigan State, that would give the Badgers a program-best 17 wins at home this season.
A pair of Division III conferences start their post-season tournaments. ... In the NHCA, St. Norbert begins its quest for a fifth title in a row against Lawrence while Adrian is 3-1 against Milwaukee Engineering all time in the Harris Cup playoffs. ... While the NHCA is a two-game series, Norwich will play just one game against Skidmore in the ECAC East playoffs. ... Babson's first ECAC East playoff game comes against Southern Maine, a team it beat 3-0 two weeks ago.