<
>

Hockey East quarters: BC sitting pretty

3/4/2012

The Hockey East quarterfinals are set, and there's plenty of reasons to like the chances of top seed Boston College.

The Eagles (25-10-1, 19-7-1 Hockey East) closed out the regular season with 11 straight wins to claim their 11th regular-season title and have won four of the last five Hockey East tournament championships. BC will face No. 8 seed UMass, which has lost to the Eagles in the quarterfinals each of the last two seasons.

One thing pointing the way of the Minutemen (13-6-5, 9-14-4) way is that they actually won the season series, 2-1, although both wins came at the Mullins Center. The best-of-three quarterfinals series will be at Conte Forum beginning Friday night.

In the other quarterfinals, No. 2 seed UMass-Lowell will play host to No. 7 Providence, No. 3 BU hosts No. 6 New Hampshire, and No. 4 Maine hosts No. 5 Merrimack.

The River Hawks (22-10-1, 17-9-1) won the season series with the Friars, 2-1-0. UMass-Lowell is 4-1-1 all-time vs. PC (12-18-4, 10-14-3) in league tournament play. This will be the fourth quarterfinal meeting between the two schools with the last coming in 1997, a two-game series sweep for the River Hawks. The series begins Thursday because of a scheduling conflict at Tsongas Arena on Saturday.

BU (21-12-1, 17-9-1) swept the season series with UNH (14-17-3, 11-14-2). The Terriers are 4-2-1 all-time vs. the Wildcats in the Hockey East playoffs. BU and UNH have met only once previously in the quarterfinals, when the Terriers won in 1986.

The matchup of Maine (20-11-3, 15-10-2) and Merrimack (17-10-7, 13-9-5) at Alfond Arena is a rematch of last year's quarterfinal series at Merrimack, which the Warriors swept. Merrimack won in the season series with the Black Bears, 2-0-1.

The BU-UNH and Maine-Merrimack series both begin Friday night.