Men's Hockey

Hockey East Changes Playoff Format; Top-Eight Qualify, Bottom-Three Eliminated

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Hockey East will change its playoff format for the upcoming 2018-19 season, according to sources. The league’s athletic directors voted this week to eliminate the first round of the Hockey East playoffs, meaning that the top-eight teams in the regular-season standings will qualify for the tournament and the bottom-three teams will be eliminated.

The quarterfinal format will remain the same, with teams seeded 1-4 hosting teams seeded 5-8 in best-of-three series. The tournament will then move to single-elimination semifinals and finals at TD Garden, per the existing format.

Last year, Hockey East qualified all 11 teams to the league tournament, with the top-five programs receiving first-round byes and a first round contested between teams 6-11 in the standings. Previous to that, when Notre Dame was in the league, Hockey East qualified all 12 teams.

This new format was last used by the league in 2012-13, when it had 10 teams. Essentially, the league is moving back to the format it used prior to its expansion in 2013 with UConn, and then Notre Dame.

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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