These are the three things I think I learned this week.
1. If the season ended today, Hockey East would only get three teams into the NCAA tournament.
After this weekend’s action, only Boston University, UMass Lowell, and Providence are on pace to earn selections. All three teams are in the top 10 of the PairWise, but beyond that, there’s trouble.
Notre Dame, Vermont, and Boston College now sit just outside of the tournament, ranking as the top three excluded teams.
There’s still one more week of regular season action, followed by the playoffs, so all three could play their way in, but they’re on the precipice.
And no, if Boston College wins the regular season title, that earns them nothing in terms of an automatic berth. That goes to the winner of the Hockey East tournament (as it should).
2. Four teams will go head-to-head for the regular season crown.
Only four teams can finish first and those four play each other this upcoming weekend. Boston College and Lowell, currently in first and fourth place, respectively, play a Thursday and Friday home-and-home series.
Second-place Boston University, two points behind BC, hosts third-place Notre Dame.
The league office couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
3. Two teams never trailed this weekend, but only came away with a total of three points.
Boston College never trailed Vermont, but had to settle for only two ties, a potentially disastrous result as noted above.
Maine never trailed Merrimack, but fared even worse, getting only a single point after losing on Friday and settling for a tie one night later. The Black Bears are now locked in at 11th place.
(That last item courtesy of Jim Connelly.)