Weekly Release: Playoff Picture Tight With Two Weekends Left in League Play
Five Teams in the Hunt for Opening Round Byes; Races for Home Ice Set to Heat Up
Warrior Hockey Player of the Week Nolan Stevens of Northeastern

AROUND HOCKEY EAST: With two weekends remaining in Hockey East regular season play, the playoff picture has begun to take shape. Five teams enter then penultimate week with hopes for an opening-round bye, with Notre Dame (first, 30 points), Boston College (second, 29 points), Providence (third, 27 points), UMass Lowell (fourth, 26 points), and Boston University (fifth, 23 points) all chasing one of the top four seeds. Three of the remaining two-game series on the league schedule will feature two of these teams in the top five slots. Similarly, seeds five through eight will be decided in the coming weeks, with seven teams battling to secure home-ice in the opening round. There remains a multitude of possible outcomes and tie-breakers, a preliminary list of which can be found in the following pages ... Boston College secured the 20th Beanpot title in school history Monday, downing Boston University, 1-0, in overtime off the stick of sophomore Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) ... BU went on to split a crucial weekend series with UMass Lowell, winning 2-1 in overtime Friday night before dropping a 6-3 decision Saturday evening. The split kept the fourth and fifth place teams in a tight battle for an opening round bye ... Notre Dame moved into sole possession of first place in the league standings with a sweep over Maine. The Irish are 13-1-3 over the last 17 contests, dating back to Nov. 28. Notre Dame faces two series against Boston University and Providence which will largely shape the playoff picture ... Providence took four points from UConn in a home-and-home series, propelling the Friars into third-place in Hockey East standings. Rookie netminder Hayden Hawkey (Parker, Colo.) recorded his first collegiate shutout in just his second career start Friday night ... Northeastern continued its hot streak with a trio of wins, first over Harvard, 5-1, in the Beanpot and then with a sweep of UMass in a home-and-home. Sophomore Nolan Stevens (Sea Isle City, N.J.) racked up five points (3g, 2a) in the two wins over the Minutemen ... Vermont took three points from New Hampshire in a two-game set as the two teams jockey for position entering the postseason, now sitting in seventh and eighth with 15 and 13 points, respectively.