UConn men’s hockey is the 4-seed in the Hockey East Playoffs and will host the 5-seeded Boston University Terriers in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. the XL Center. The Huskies finished in a three-way tie for fourth place with BU and Merrimack but own the tiebreaker.
After splitting with Vermont in its final regular season series, UConn needed help to clinch home ice in the quarterfinals. In order to get the 4-seed, last place Maine had to beat the Terriers in regulation while Northeastern had to take down the Warriors in regulation.
The Black Bears blasted BU 8-1 on senior night but the battle between the Huskies from Boston and Merrimack came down to the wire. Northeastern needed a regulation win to become Hockey East regular season champions but were locked in a 0-0 tie. The game seemed destined for overtime until Aidan McDonough scored a game-winner with 9.6 seconds left.
As a result, Northeastern won the regular season title and UConn received the 4-seed. BU will be the 5-seed and Merrimack will drop to the 6-seed — the first team without a bye to the quarterfinals.
The Terriers could be without one of their top players in Saturday’s matchup, too. With less than two minutes left in the loss on Saturday, Jay O’Brien (10 goals, 11 assists in 22 games) was ejected after a scuffle in front of Maine’s net. If the incident is determined to be a fight, Hockey East may suspend him for one game — which would be the quarterfinal against UConn.
During the regular season, the Huskies went 2-1-0 against BU. The Terriers claimed a pair of 2-1 wins at the XL Center — the latter of which came in overtime — while UConn won 5-1 at Agganis Arena in Boston back in October.
The Huskies have hosted three postseason games during their first seven seasons in Hockey East. Last year, UConn fell 6-1 to Providence at Freitas Ice Forum and in 2016, it dropped a pair of one-goal decisions in a first round series to Vermont. The Huskies are 0-9 in the Hockey East Playoffs while head coach Mike Cavanaugh has yet to win a postseason game in 11 tries.
By earning the 4-seed, UConn tied its highest-ever finish in Hockey East. The Huskies also came in fourth place last year and been in the top five in four of the last five seasons.
The game will not air on linear television. Instead, a live stream will be available on CollegeSportsLive.com.