UConn men’s hockey will close out the regular season with a single game against the Providence Friars on Friday at Freitas Ice Forum, Hockey East announced. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m.
This matchup will have major postseason implications. The Huskies are holding onto fourth place in the Hockey East Power Index — a formula which determines the league standings this season — by .02 points over Providence. The winner will more than likely earn the fourth seed — and with it, home ice — in the conference tournament.
Sixth-place Northeastern (.92 points back from UConn) may have a chance to jump both schools and finish fourth if it beats Boston College and UConn-Providence doesn’t finish in regulation. The top five seeds all receive a bye into the quarterfinals.
The Huskies and Friars have faced off twice this season. UConn claimed a 2-0 win at home back on Dec. 28 while Providence earned a 4-0 win at Schneider Arena on Feb. 12. The Huskies are coming off a split with Maine while the Friars picked up a win and a tie against Northeastern last weekend.
In addition to seeding for the league playoffs, there are also NCAA Tournament implications on the line for UConn. At least three Hockey East schools have made the field each year since the 2008-09 season and with a selection committee deciding the at-large bids this season instead of a computer, the conference’s reputation as one of the top conferences in the nation will likely play a major factor.
While a fourth-place finish would likely put the Huskies in the mix to make the field, they also need to become eligible. The NCAA requires teams to have a record of .500 or above to receive an at-large bid. Currently, the Huskies are 9-10-2. By beating Providence on Friday, UConn would need only need to win one game in the Hockey East Playoffs to secure a .500 record.