This is a big weekend for Hockey East men’s teams with nonleague matchups

Much of that may be attributed to nonleague play, during which the 11 Hockey East teams went simply 55-41-8 for a .567 profitable proportion.

“Having a great nonleague record has been the reason why in years past when we’ve gotten four or five teams in, it was because we had a winning percentage of .600 or higher,” stated Connecticut trainer Mike Cavanaugh.

The numbers have been in particular dire in opposition to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (3-6, .333) and the Big Ten (1-6-2). The NCHC would cross directly to ship 5 teams to the NCAA event, whilst the Big Ten had 3, with Michigan incomes a No. 1 seed and Minnesota a No. 2 seed.

It’s a pattern that Hockey East wish to opposite. Already this season, the teams are off to an 11-4-1 get started, relatively at the back of the NCHC (14-4-1) and the Big Ten (10-3-1).

Which is why this weekend’s agenda may function a litmus check. No. 13 UMass welcomes No. 1 Denver at Amherst, a conflict between the final two nationwide champions. No. 9 Boston University will hit the street to stand No. 6 Michigan, and No. 11 Ohio State will tackle No. 17 UConn at Hartford. Each collection shall be two video games starting Friday.

“I think it’s really important,” stated first-year BU trainer Jay Pandolfo. “I think there’s no question Hockey East as a whole would like to see us do better against some of the other leagues. I don’t think it’s gone as well in the last couple of years.”

Denver leads the best-ever collection with the Minutemen, 5-1, however UMass gained essentially the most high-stakes assembly, an time beyond regulation victory within the 2019 Frozen Four over the NCHC energy.

“I think it’s a fun weekend,” stated UMass trainer Greg Carvel. “There’s a little bit of a story line for our series, and a little bit of a history between our two programs. So the first thing is you want your team to play well and try to find a way to win games, but the next thing for me is how important it is to get teams to the NCAA tournament.”

Carvel joked that possibly Denver’s flight can be behind schedule, however that didn’t seem to be the case, because the Pioneers tweeted out a picture from a observe at Agganis Arena Wednesday evening.

While UMass and BU have every performed only one sport, UConn is off to a 4-0 get started after sweeping Vermont and Union the primary two weeks for this system’s very best get started since 1975-76. Chase Bradley and Nick Capone have 3 targets every already.

But the Huskies are winless in six tries in opposition to Ohio State, having long past 0-4-2.

“We’re certainly excited with the start we’ve had, but we also know we have a real formidable opponent this weekend,” stated Cavanaugh. “They’re deep from top to bottom. They’re ranked No. 11 for a reason. We’re going to have to play our best to be successful.”

The contention between BU and Michigan is significantly deeper, relationship again to 1950, with the Wolverines proudly owning a 17-13 edge within the collection. This will mark the Terriers’ first travel to Ann Arbor since November 2016, when the colleges break up a two-game collection.

“We’re trying to go in there and be competitive and come out on the right end of it,” stated Pandolfo. “It’s a great challenge for us and a great challenge for our league.”

Tributes to Ciocco

There will be a reception for the family of Josh Ciocco at Salvatore’s Italian Restaurant in Lawrence Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. Ciocco was entering his fifth season as an assistant coach at Merrimack when he died unexpectedly earlier this month at age 38.

Ciocco’s playing career included four seasons at New Hampshire from 2003-07; he served as captain his senior year.

UNH will play at Merrimack later that night, and there will be a tribute to Ciocco before the game for his contributions to both programs.

There had been some consideration to Merrimack postponing its opening road trip last weekend, but the Warriors decided to play, dropping the season opener at St. Lawrence, 3-1, before rebounding with a 3-2 win at Clarkson.

After his club swept Vermont last weekend. Northeastern coach Jerry Keefe opened his postgame press conference Saturday night with a message about the Merrimack team.

“I’m not sure what their result was [Saturday], but they’re winners no matter what in my book, and I give coach [Scott] Borek, his coaching staff, and all those players a lot of credit,” said Keefe. “We were all pulling for them.”

Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.

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