These are the three things I learned this week.
1. To no one’s surprise, UMass’s and Maine’s seasons end while Providence and Vermont move on.
Massachusetts ends its season with 17 straight losses. For Maine, it ends without a single win on the road.
So it was no surprise at all that Providence and Vermont swept the league’s two weakest teams, and quite handily at that, 3-0 and 5-2 for the Friars and 5-0 and 5-1 for the Catamounts.
The question now becomes, can those two teams go from bulldozing the league’s weak sisters at home to pulling off modest upsets on the road? PC travels to Notre Dame while Vermont visits Boston College.
2. Northeastern ends UConn’s season with another sweep.
This match-up looked considerably more equal on paper, but again lasted only two games. Northeastern proved conclusively that it was the better club, reprising its sweep of Connecticut from two weeks prior, this time winning 3-1, 6-2.
Northeastern advances to face Boston University.
3. UNH ends Merrimack’s season in a decisive third game.
New Hampshire and Merrimack swapped 4-0 wins in the first two games, wins that arguably looked more lopsided than they really were. Merrimack added an empty-netter on Friday, and UNH added two of them on Saturday.
Nonetheless, those games set up a winner-take-all, loser-goes home contest on Sunday, the only Hockey East action that day. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 3-1 lead over the hosts, and Merrimack never got any closer.
Top-seeded UMass Lowell will host the Wildcats, the only road team to advance from the first round.