DANBURY, Conn. – The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Hockey League has announced the seeds and schedule for the 2016 ECAC Northeast Championship, with the first round slated to begin on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Endicott (15-8-2, 11-4-1 ECAC Northeast) will be the tournament's top overall seed following a strong close to the regular season. The first-year varsity program rattled off a four-game win streak to end the year en route to claiming the regular-season crown over Nichols. The Gulls will receive a bye into the semifinals as the top seed, and will host the lowest-remaining seed in semifinal action on March 2.
Nichols College (16-9-0, 11-5-0 ECAC Northeast) captures the second seed following a solid showing in 2015-16, and will host seventh-seeded Becker College (10-14-1, 6-9-1 ECAC Northeast) in the first round on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Hawks secured their playoff berth with two wins in the season's final week, including a convincing 7-2 win over Western New England University on the last day of the regular season. The Bison held the advantage in head-to-head play this season with a 2-0 mark against Becker.
Salve Regina University (14-10-1, 9-6-1 ECAC Northeast) will be the tournament's third seed, setting up a first-round meeting against No. 6 Johnson and Wales University (11-10-4, 7-6-3 ECAC Northeast). The Seahawks posted a perfect 2-0 record against their in-state rivals this season, but JWU enters the postseason fresh from a dramatic, 5-4 overtime victory over Nichols on the final day of the campaign. The two teams will tangle in the first round on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 3:10 p.m. at Salve Regina.
The tournament's final quarterfinal matchup will pit two schools separated by less than three miles. No. 4 Suffolk University (13-9-2, 8-6-2 ECAC Northeast) will host its Boston-based rivals, Wentworth Institute of Technology (9-14-2, 8-7-1 ECAC Northeast) who will be the fifth seed. While the Rams and Leopards proved evenly matched in the regular season, splitting the two head-to-head meetings, the pairing features two teams with differing late-season fortunes. Suffolk had just one triumph in its last five regular-season outings, while Wentworth comes roaring into the playoffs as winners of six of its last seven. The Rams will be the host school in the matchup, with date, time and location still to be determined.
Following the first round, the semifinals will be played on March 2, with the championship game scheduled for March 6 on the campus of the highest seed remaining in the tournament.
FULL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
First Round: Saturday, Feb. 27
No. 2 Nichols vs. No. 7 Becker – Saturday, Feb. 27, 4:40 p.m. | Levy Rink, Harrisville, R.I.
No. 3 Salve Regina vs. No. 6 Johnson & Wales – Saturday, Feb. 27, 3:10 p.m. | Portsmouth Abbey Ice Arena, Portsmouth, R.I.
No. 4 Suffolk vs. No. 5 Wentworth – TBD | TBD
Semifinals: Wednesday, March 2
No. 1 Endicott vs. Lowest Remaining Seed – TBD | Raymond J. Bourque Arena, Beverly, Mass.
Second-Highest Remaining Seed vs. Second-Lowest Remaining Seed – TBD |
Final: Saturday, March 6
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed – TBD |
(Release courtesy of ECAC Northeast Communications)