Hockey East playoff update: BC, UML atop standings, NU on verge of elimination

UMass-Lowell celebrates following an overtime victory over Northeastern earlier in the season.

UMass-Lowell had reason to celebrate Friday night as they downed Merrimack 4-0. UMass-Lowell and BC could be on the verge of clinching home ice if results break in their favor the rest of the weekend.

Boston College, UMass-Lowell, New Hampshire, Boston University, Providence and Merrimack, the top six teams in Hockey East, have all clinched playoff spots. All six of those teams can finish no lower than sixth in the league standings.

BC can clinch home ice with a win tonight combined with a BU loss to UVM and a Merrimack loss to UMass-Lowell. UML can clinch home ice with a win Sunday at Merrimack combined with a BU loss to UVM.

Vermont can finish anywhere 7th-9th while Maine and UMass-Amherst can finish anywhere from 7th-10th in the standings. Northeastern can finish 8th through 10th. The Huskies situation is very precarious. The magic number for the Huskies elimination is 2 points. In other words, if Northeastern loses tonight night at Maine, Jim Madigan's team will be home for the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

Maine has a golden opportunity to pick up two points and possibly move into 7th place with a win at home tonight. UVM and UMass both have road games at BU and UNH respectively.

Jeff Cox covers college hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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