On Tuesday, the preseason Hockey East coaches’ poll was released and for the second consecutive year, UConn was picked to finish seventh, with 39 points.
UMass Lowell (five first-place votes), Boston University (two), Providence (two), Boston College (one) and Northeastern (one) were the first-place vote-getters and compose the top five of the conference.
Boston University (90 points) took home the top spot. The Terriers and Huskies each won their road games against each other last year and due to the new scheduling format, will play three games this season, beginning with a weekend home-and-home on Oct. 20 and 21. The third is at the XL Center on Feb. 16.
UMass Lowell (88 points) is right behind them after winning the league last year. UConn took three of the four points up for grabs in 2016-17, getting a win on the road and a home tie. Their series is on Nov. 17-18.
At 83 points, Providence is third. The Friars dominated the Huskies in both of their games last season and will play again this year on Jan. 18 and 20.
Boston College (75 points) grabbed fourth place after a season where the Eagles missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. They took both games from UConn last year with the rematches coming Nov. 7, Dec. 30 and Feb. 2, with two coming at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill.
Rounding out the top five was Northeastern (72 points) after they barely beat out UConn last year for a top-eight spot, allowing them to host the first-round playoff series between the two teams. The Boston Huskies were 4-0-0 against the ones from Storrs in 2016-17 and they renew the battle for Husky supremacy in a split home-and-home on Nov. 28 and Feb. 9.
Vermont (54 points) finished sixth in Hockey East last season and is projected by the coaches to finish sixth again this year. The teams split their home-and-home series last year, with each winning their home game in fairly dominating fashion. The Catamounts come to Hartford on Nov. 3-4, while UConn heads north to Burlington on Nov. 21.
New Hampshire (37 points) is eighth and right on the Huskies’ heels. UConn swept the Wildcats on the final weekend of the regular season. The two teams will play a home-and-home series on Jan. 26-27 this season.
At 29 points, Merrimack finished ninth. The teams battled to 2-2 ties in each of their matchups last season. Their series this season is a home-and-home on Jan. 5 and 13.
Maine and UMass each finished with 19 points and tied for 10th.
Maine and UConn split their series in 2016-17, which took place in Bridgeport and at Fenway Park. The teams open against each other in Orono on Oct. 6-7.
UMass and the Huskies will play three games after UConn took three of the four available points last year. They will play Dec. 1 in Amherst and Dec. 5 and Feb. 22 in Hartford.
The conference also announced the necessary changes to the playoff structure with the departure of Notre Dame to the Big Ten. As opposed to last year, where the top four finishers got a bye to the quarterfinals, the top five will now get that right, with the four and five seed playing each other.
The sixth, seventh and eighth-place teams will host the 11th, 10th and ninth-place finishers respectively in a best-of-three series. They will be re-seeded and the first-place team will host the worst remaining team in the quarterfinals.