March Madness on ice starts this week with conference tournaments getting underway.
In Hockey East, top seed UMass Lowell, No. 2 Boston University, No. 3 Boston College and No. 4 Notre Dame all earned byes.
No. 5 Providence will host No. 12 UMass on beginning Friday at 7:05 p.m. in the best-of-three series. The two programs ended the regular season in a home-and-home series, as the Friars swept the Minutemen. Last season, Providence advanced to the semifinal round in the TD Garden, losing in triple overtime to UMass Lowell, while Massachusetts lost in the first round against Boston University.
No. 6 Vermont will host No. 11 Maine beginning Friday at 7 p.m. The Catamounts went 1-0-1 against the Black Bears in a two-game home series in November. No. 7 Merrimack will play host to No. 10 New Hampshire, also on Friday. The Wildcats claimed a 1-0-1 record in two home games over the Warriors in 2016-17, including a 6-2 win on Oct. 29 and a 3-3 draw on Nov. 13. The pairing is a rematch of the 2016 Hockey East Opening Round, where New Hampshire was tripped up by Merrimack in a three-game series.
Finally, No. 8 Northeastern will host No. 9 UConn in their first postseason meeting. Northeastern swept UConn, 2-0-0, on Feb. 17-18. Northeastern is the defending 2016 Hockey East Tournament Champion, while UConn looks to advance past the opening round for the first time in program history.
A look at the other tournaments getting underway:
Harvard earned the top seeding in the tournament and along with No. 2 Union, No. 3 Cornell and No. 4 St. Lawrence earned a first-round bye.
Getting underway this week starting Friday in the best-of-three series are:
- No. 12 Brown at No. 5 Quinnipiac, 7 p.m. ET
- No. 11 Rensselaer at No. 6 Clarkson, 7 p.m .ET
- No. 10 Colgate at No. 7 Princeton, 7 p.m. ET
- No. 9 Dartmouth at No. 8 Yale
Bemidji State, which won the MacNaughton Cup as the regular-season champions, will be the top seed in the tournament. Michigan Tech is No. 2, Minnesota State is No. 3 and Bowling Green needed a final-weekend series sweep to grab the fourth and final home ice slot.
Here's how the quarterfinals will play out in the best-of-three series starting Friday:
- No. 7 Lake Superior State at No. 2 Michigan Tech, 7:07 p.m. ET
- No. 5 Ferris State at No. 4 Bowling Green, 7:07 p.m. ET
- No. 6 Alaska at No. 3 Minnesota State, 8:07 p.m. ET
- No. 8 Northern Michigan at No. 1 Bemidji State, 8:07 p.m. ET.
Canisius, which wrapped up its regular season on a 15-game unbeaten streak, earned it's first Atlantic regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Also getting first-round byes heading into this weekend's tournament were Air Force (No. 2), Army (No. 3), Robert Morris (No. 4) and Holy Cross (No. 5). Robert Morris and Holy Cross will face off next weekend in the quarterfinals while No. 1 Canisius will host the lowest remaining seed.
- No. 6 RIT will play host to No. 11 Niagara
- No. 7 Mercyhurst will play host to No. 10 AIC
- No. 8 Bentley will play host to No. 9 Sacred Heart
Postseason tournament begins March 10-12
Big Ten Hockey
Postseason tournament begins March 16-18