These are the three things I think I learned this week.
1. Boston University can do no worse than finish as co-champions with Boston College.
But the Terriers could lose in a tiebreaker (listed below) to see which team gains the number one playoff seed. BU could be number two.
It would, of course, amount to a gut-wrenching collapse for the Terriers. They’re still four points ahead of the Eagles with two games to go, and that’s after hosting a Notre Dame club that has been up and down all year and coming away with only a single point.
BU will need to get swept by Northeastern while BC sweeps suddenly-hot Notre Dame in South Bend. That’s hardly a likely combination, but it could happen.
If so, that will leave the two archrivals tied with 29 points. They’ll also be 1-1 in head-to-head action and have identical 13-6-3 league records. That means BU and BC would then start comparing records against the third place team.
Which is topic number two below. In short, though, BU would take the tiebreaker if that third-place team is Massachusetts-Lowell or Vermont. BC would take it if it’s Northeastern (which will have had to sweep BU to force this tiebreaker scenario). Providence and Notre Dame are not factors here because BU and BC both split with the Friars, and the Irish will have been swept by BC, and thus will not finish high enough to factor in this decision.
Which also means it won’t come down to a coin flip.
Got all that? Test on Friday night at 7 p.m. for 50 percent of your grade.
2. After BU and BC, it’s a free-for-all in the battle for a first-round bye.
And BC could be in the mix, too. While the Eagles are the only team remaining with a shot at BU and first place, their two games in South Bend could send them plummeting as low as sixth.
Providence, Lowell, Notre Dame, and Northeastern can all overtake BC for second place, yet all four could fall as far as seventh (or eighth in the case of Northeastern).
Vermont can’t finish higher than third, but finishes out the six teams who all have a shot at a top-four finish and a resulting first-round bye.
3. Based on Saturday night, anything can happen.
Only New Hampshire avoided an upset among the favorites. The Wildcats completed a sweep over faltering Connecticut.
Beyond that, though, the best a favorite could manage was Vermont’s scoreless tie at home with Merrimack.
The rest: Notre Dame, Maine, and Massachusetts all upset, respectively, BU, Northeastern, and Providence.
So buckle your seat belts this weekend. It could be a wild one.
HOCKEY EAST TIEBREAKERS
At the conclusion of the regular season, teams will be ranked by the number of points accumulated. If two teams are tied for first place, they will be declared co-champions.
For playoff seeding purposes, the following tiebreakers will be used at the conclusion of the regular season
1. Head-to-head results between the tied teams
2. Number of wins in conference play
3. Best record against the first-place team(s), then the second-place team(s), then the third-place team(s), and so on
4. Coin flip
If more than two teams finish in a tie, the same criteria will be applied to reduce the number of teams tied, and then the process will commence again.