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UMass tight end Jean Sifrin goes undrafted in NFL draft, signs with Indianapolis Colts as undrafted free agent -

Saturday, May 2, 2015

UMass men’s lacrosse topped by Towson in CAA title game -

Saturday, May 2, 2015

UMPD investigating burglary in Washington Hall -

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Marty Meehan’s appointment as UMass president comes as little surprise -

Saturday, May 2, 2015

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to A-10 championship with 12-3 win over George Mason -

Friday, May 1, 2015

Not done yet: UMass men’s soccer’s Matt Keys and hockey’s Troy Power still pursuing pro dreams after graduation -

Friday, May 1, 2015

UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan elected president of UMass system -

Friday, May 1, 2015

UMass men’s lacrosse upsets No. 1 seed Fairfield to advance to CAA championship -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walk-off home run sinks UMass softball in pitching duel with UConn -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

UMass rowing looks to defend A-10 title Saturday in New Jersey -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

UMass search committee names two finalists for system president -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Senior Columns 2014-2015 -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Krauthammer critiques Obama doctrine -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

UMass Baseball goes into weekend on a major skid -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

‘Mad Men’ remains the best of the best -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

UMass men’s lacrosse set for rematch with Fairfield in CAA tournament -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Minutemen drop 11th straight -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

‘While We’re Young’ meditates on age, experience, and authenticity -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The photo man -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

UMass Fly Fishing Club brings the sport to the next generation -

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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Minutemen focusing on this weekend, not HE tournament

At this point, very little is certain when it comes to this year’s Hockey East Tournament.

For the eight seeds that can be claimed, none are completely secured, and five are still open. Fighting for those five spots are six of the seven remaining teams in the conference – Providence is the only school to be eliminated from contention.

Currently, the odd-team-out of those six heading into the final weekend of the regular season is the Massachusetts hockey team.

With a weekend set at Maine (16-13-3, 13-10-2 HEA) – one of the three teams to clinch a playoff birth, along with New Hampshire and Boston College, who also clinched home ice – it will be a tall order for the Minutemen (16-16-0, 11-14-0, HEA).

“[Maine will] be fighting as hard as we’ll be fighting,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “They’re fighting for home ice, and they know that is such a big part of success in the playoff structure. Three out of four series usually go to the home ice team. There’s always the exception to the rule, but it’s a huge advantage.”

Currently one point behind eighth-place Merrimack, UMass will need at least two points over the weekend and a sweep of the Warriors in a home-and-home with the Friars to move up and clinch a berth in the tournament, which begins next weekend with the quarterfinals.

At the top of the conference stands UNH in first and BC in second, who play a home-and-home set starting on Friday. With three points separating the two schools, there is the possibility of the two swapping places, but neither has to fear falling out of the top two spots, with BC holding a four-point cushion on third-place Maine and the head-to-head tiebreaker.

After the top two seeds, the rest of the conference could pan out much differently after the weekend. Trailing Maine in fourth place and currently in position for the final home-ice seed is UMass Lowell, followed by a three-way tie for fifth place between Boston University, Northeastern and Vermont.

While the Black Bears can only drop as low as fifth place, UML could drop from a home-ice seed to not even making the tournament. BU could drop out of the playoff picture as well, but could also climb as high as third place. The Huskies, Cattamounts and Merrimack are in similar positions, as BU, with the possibility of claiming home ice, could only claim the fourth and final home-ice seed, but still be at risk to not make the tournament at all.

The Warriors may covet the home ice with the nation’s best home record (12-3-0), while playing to a 2-13-1 record on the road.

Of the teams still alive, UMass is the only squad without a chance of claiming a top-four seed. But with the standings so close, the Minutemen could jump as high as sixth if it were to sweep the Black Bears over the weekend and get help from other teams.

But Cahoon and the rest of the Minutemen are more concerned with just getting his team prepared for this weekend and getting into the Hockey East Tournament, rather than focusing on how high of a seed they can get.

Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at jlarnard@dailycollegian.com.

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