AROUND HOCKEY EAST: Playoff positions began to come into focus last weekend, as Boston College and Providence secured opening round byes in the Hockey East playoffs for the second consecutive year. The Eagles clinched the bye with a sweep of league foe Vermont while the Friars twice downed Notre Dame to earn their spot in the quarterfinals. Both schools will host on-campus series March 11-13 ... Northeastern also clinched a playoff spot, as the Huskies ensured they will finish sixth in the league standings with a pair of wins over UConn last weekend. Northeastern will host the opening round series March 4-6 at Matthews Arena against the impending No. 11 seed ... With two byes locked down, three teams are still in the hunt for the final two byes. Boston University, UMass Lowell and Notre Dame are still in search of a bye into the quarterfinals but one of those three programs will fall to the fifth spot and host the No. 12 seed in the opening round ... An intriguing upcoming weekend will feature series between Boston College (14-1-5 HEA, first) and UMass Lowell (11-5-4 HEA, t-fourth) and Boston University (11-5-4 HEA, t-fourth) and Notre Dame (14-4-2 HEA, third). Boston College can secure the No. 1 overall seed with two more points while Notre Dame needs one point to clinch an opening round bye. UMass Lowell and Boston University are in a deadlock for fourth place and the final bye ... In the bottom half of the standings, Vermont, New Hampshire, Merrimack and Maine are in mathematical contention for the seventh slot, but each may finish as low as 11th in the final table. Vermont and Merrimack are poised to square off this weekend while New Hampshire and UConn will meet twice ... Massachusetts remains in position to claim a seed as high as No. 10 entering a weekend homeand- home series with Providence ... The Hockey East Tournament will culminate with the 32nd annual championship weekend to be held at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, March 18 and 19. For tickets to the championship and complete playoff information, visit HockeyEastOnline.com/HEAChamps
Danny O'Regan, BU (Sr., F; Needham, Mass.) racked up four goals on 15 shots in a three-point weekend against New Hampshire, including all three Terriers goals in a 3-3 overtime stalemate Friday night, his second career hat trick.
Ryan Ruck, NU (Fr., G: Coto de Caza, Calif.) collected two wins over UConn in a home-and-home series, picking up 1.50/.928 numbers. The four points in league play secured the No. 6 seed in the Hockey East playoffs for the Huskies.
Nick Ellis, PC (Jr., G; Millersville, Md.) posted 1.49/.947 numbers in a sweep of the Irish, stopping 54 of 57 shots en route to helping the Friars clinch an opening round bye.
HOCKEY EAST WEEKLY TOP PERFORMERS
Ryan Fitzgerald, BC (North Reading, Mass.) Recorded his fourth game with at least three-points this season with two goals at Vermont Saturday.
Jordan Greenway, BU (Fr., F; Canton, N.Y.) Registered three assists to help BU take three out of four points in league play.
Matt Grzelcyk, BU (Sr., D; Charlestown, Mass.) Scored a goal and added two helpers in BU's penultimate weekend of league play.
Max Letunov, UConn (Fr., F; Moscow, Russia) Dished out three assists on the weekend to set two UConn Div. I rookie records. He three helpers pushed his season point total to 36 (15g, 21a) to and set Husky freshman marks for most points and assists in a season in Div. I.
Steven Swavely, Maine (Sr., F; Reading, Pa.) Scored four points (1g, 3a) in a weekend split with Merrimack.
Daniel Perez, Maine (Fr., F; Bloomfield, N.J.) Netted the overtime game-winner against Merrimack Saturday night.
Nick Master, UML (Fr., F; Broomall, Pa.) Recorded four points (3g, 1a) in two non-league wins, including at hat trick Tuesday night at AIC.
Brett Seney, MC (So., F; London, Ont.) Paced the Warriors with four points (2g, 2a) in a split at Maine. He sent Saturday's game into overtime with the tying goal with less than a minute left in the third period. He is currently riding a six-game point streak.
Hampus Gustafsson, MC (Jr., F; Ljungby, Sweden) Posted three points (2g, 1a) in the weekend split, including a power-play tally.
Drew Vogler, MC (Fr., G; Florissant, Mo.) Stopped 30 of 33 shots against Maine Saturday, posting .909/2.97 numbers.
Kevin Roy, NU (Sr., F; Lac-Beauport, Que) Potted three goals and added an assist in two wins over UConn, helping NU lock up the No. 6 seed.
Patrick Schule, NU (Fr., F; Queens, N.Y.) Netted his first collegiate goal Friday night at UConn.
Brandon Tanev, PC (Sr., F; Toronto, Ont.) Found the back of the net twice against Notre Dame this weekend, including his league-leading fifth game-winning marker Saturday night.
Mario Puskarich, UVM (Jr., F; Fort Myers, Fla.) Collected his team-leading 26th point Saturday with a goal against No. 2 BC, and fired 10 shots on net in the two games.