The final weekend of the regular season kicks off for most of Division I hockey this weekend. NEWHA teams will crown a conference tournament winner and the CHA will play one more week before we figure out their very tight race, but the ECAC, Hockey East and WCHA will figure out their tournament seeds by Sunday.
We don’t know yet who’ll win the CHA or WCHA, but Cornell, Northeastern and Sacred Heart have locked up the ECAC, Hockey East and NEWHA regular season titles, respectively. Wisconsin plays on Sunday, stretching out the drama for another full day.
Even with some of the top seeds secure, there’s still plenty of meaningful hockey to be played this weekend as teams fight for positioning – and ultimately, a better shot at winning the conference tournament and an NCAA autobid.
The CHA still has two more weeks of regular season play, but it sure will be interesting. Mercyhurst has a one point lead atop the table, but both Robert Morris and Syracuse are just a single point behind them.
The Lakers host Syracuse this weekend in a key meeting, while Robert Morris hosts RIT. The following week, it’s the Colonials that head to Syracuse while Mercyhurst closes out the regular season at Penn State.
The first conference tie-breaker is head-to-head. With both Mercyhurst and RMU having to play Syracuse again, this one is still up in the air. The Lakers own the tie-breaker over Robert Morris.
In the bottom half of the conference, Penn State has the fourth seed wrapped up. RIT has a three point lead on Lindenwood for the fifth spot and they’ll play head-to-head to close out the season next week.
Cornell has the top spot and regular season championship secured. We also know which eight teams will play in the tournament. But everything else is up for grabs in this conference. Princeton and Harvard have secured home ice. The Tigers have a two point lead on the Crimson. Princeton finishes out the season with Brown and Yale while Harvard hosts Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
Yale is four points behind Harvard, Quinnipiac is two points behind them, Colgate is one more point back and St. Lawrence is three points behind them. Yale will play Princeton and Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac will also play Brown. Colgate hosts Union and PRI and St. Lawrence heads to Harvard and Dartmouth.
Princeton owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Harvard. The Crimson beat Clarkson earlier in the year, but they play again this weekend, so that tiebreak is not yet figured out. Clarkson and Yale are tied in head-to-head and the next tiebreaker is conference wins, which they’re also currently tied in. The next criteria is record against the top four teams. Clarkson is a top four team, so there’s only takes into account the other three. They are 2-1-2 against Cornell, Princeton and Harvard. Yale is 1-6, so Clarkson would take that tiebreaker.
Yale beat Quinnipiac earlier this year, but they play again this weekend. Yale and Colgate split their season series, but the Bulldogs have more conference wins, so would win the tiebreaker. Colgate and Quinnipiac split their season series, but the Bobcats currently have one more conference win. Colgate and St. Lawrence tied twice this year, but the Raiders have two more conference wins than the Saints.
In Hockey East, the eight playoff teams are set. Northeastern has won the regular season title, clinching the top seed as well as home-ice for the first round of the conference tournament. Boston University is the second seed and has also clinched home ice, but everything else is up in the air. Boston College is currently third, with a two point lead on both Providence and UConn, who are tied in fourth. The teams that end up in those two positions will also get home ice. Providence and UConn each have a game in hand over BC. The Eagles play Maine to finish out the season, while Providence has two games against Holy Cross and Connecticut heads to BU for two games.
Boston College owns the first tiebreaker over the Friars. UConn owns the tiebreaker over BC. UConn and Providence tied their season series, so we’d move to the second tie-breaker, which is conference wins and wouldn’t be able to be calculated until all games are concluded. In the event of a three-way tie, the teams would finish UConn, BC and then Providence.
Things aren’t set for the bottom half of the tournament seeding, either. Obviously whichever team loses out in the three-way race above will end up as the fifth seed. New Hampshire has a one-point lead on Maine, though Maine owns the tie-breaker between the two. The Wildcats host Boston College while Maine heads to Vermont, who are guaranteed the eighth seed.
So the only game set for the Hockey East tournament is Northeastern hosting Vermont.
These teams have already entered their tournament. LIU defeated St. Michael’s and Saint Anselm took down Post to advance. Sacred Heart took the regular season crown and will host the semi-final and final games this weekend. Sacred Heart will face LIU and Franklin Pierce will play St. Anselm on Saturday. The conference championship game is Sunday at 4 pm EST.
Wisconsin has a three point lead on Minnesota heading into the final weekend. The Badgers play at Minnesota Duluth while the Gophers host Minnesota State. In the WCHA, wins are worth three points. Wisconsin owns the head-to-head series against the Gophers and clinch at least a share of the title with a win on Friday. Minnesota plays their second game on Saturday, which the Badgers don’t finish out until Sunday. If Wisconsin doesn’t get three points on Friday, they’ll know exactly where they stand when they hit the ice for the final game of the regular season. If the teams end up with the same number of points, they’ll be named co-champions, but Wisconsin would get the number one seed in the tournament and the first week bye because of the tiebreaker. Whoever ends up second will host St. Cloud State in the first round of the WCHA tournament.
Ohio State and Minnesota Duluth are currently tied in third in the WCHA with 40 points each. Ohio State hosts St. Cloud State this weekend. UMD owns the tiebreak with OSU, so if they end up tied, the Bulldogs would get the third seed. The seeding here is pretty important for UMD, who would need to earn the WCHA’s autobid in order to make it to the NCAA tournament. Making a run in the WCHA tournament would be much easier if they start off playing Minnesota State as the three seed than if they have to beat Bemidji State as the four seed.