By Scott Jarosz ’21
As the regular season comes to a close, the race for the top spot in Hockey East is beginning to heat up. As it currently stands, University of Massachusetts-Amherst leads the league with a conference record of 16-5, followed by Providence College with a record of 13-7-2 in conference play. Following those two are University Massachusetts-Lowell and Northeastern University who are tied for third, only one point behind the Friars.
While the Minutemen lead both UMass-Lowell and Northeastern by five points and PC by four points, they are far from being locked in to win the 2019 Hockey East title. In order to win Hockey East, a team must be in one of the top eight spots in the standings, then win three consecutive games in the Hockey East tournament.
With the Hockey East being one of the most competitive leagues in the nation, it is no simple feat for even the best team to complete a clean sweep in the tournament. Despite currently being in second place, Providence College hockey will come out on top of the tournament as the 2019 Hockey East champions.
PC has been a consistently dominant presence in Hockey East throughout the 2018-2019 campaign. Currently ranked #8 in the United States College Hockey Online.com polls, the Friars have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with.
The team has been consistent overall, currently posting a record of 19-9-5 and 13-7-2 in Hockey East play. The Friars have also been able to get the job done at home, posting a record of 7-3-3 at Schneider Arena this season. Also, the team boasts a number of wins over highly-ranked opponents. Some of the Friars’ impressive victories include a win over #16 Miami (OH), back-to-back wins over #8 Northeastern, back-to-back wins over #10/11 UMass-Lowell, and most recently, a thrilling 3-2 victory over #2 UMass-Amherst on home ice. PC is currently on a three-game winning streak, which it is certainly capable of extending through the remainder of the regular season and into the Hockey East tournament.
Hayden Hawkey ’19 has been an outstanding presence in net for PC and just recently became the all-time wins leader at PC with 65. His consistency, along with the return of forward Vimal Sukumaran ’20 to the lineup, and widely distributed goal-scoring throughout the season make PC a team that nobody in the Hockey East will want to play come tournament time. For these reasons, PC will be the team that claims the title of 2019 Hockey East champion.