Hockey East races beginning to heat up

The results of recent weekends have brought clarity to some of the league’s key races and muddied the water on others. We’ll take a look at each as we figured out what we learned this weekend.

1. The regular season trophy likely to reside in Boston

It seems like the race for the regular-season champion has become a two-horse race between Boston College and Boston University. Though four other teams are mathematically alive, it’s really the Eagles and the Terriers, separated by only three points, who seem poised to hoist the regular season trophy. For BC, it would need at seven points in its last five games to clinch at least a share. But just four points are needed to mathematically eliminate Notre Dame, UMass Lowell, Vermont and Providence.

2. First-round bye and first-round home may have same teams compete for both

Only six points separates third place and 10th place. That’s eight teams competing for two first-round byes and and four first-round home ice spots. Seriously, do that math. Two teams that are right in the mix of the race for a first-round bye and home ice in the quarterfinal not only won’t get those byes but also will go on the road in the tournament’s first round. Not only will that make for some pretty intense races in the last three weeks, it should also create some really competitive first-round and quarterfinal playoff series give how little separates many of these teams.

3. For Maine and Massachusetts, it’s time to prepare for the second season

Though both the Black Bears and Minutemen are mathematically alive to get to eighth place and host a first-round series, the focus for these teams needs to be on preparing for the second season. The odds are stacked against these clubs jumping up enough to stay home in the first-round, though the thought of playing spoiler to teams in front between now and the season’s end should create a playoff-like feeling that can carry into the opening round of the Hockey East tournament.