Hockey East: Pair of pre-Thanksgiving contests on the table Tuesday night

Who said college hockey had to be saved for the weekend?

In an annual tradition, border rivals UMass and Vermont meet on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in a key game in the Hockey East league standings. Additionally, Providence hosts Quinnipiac at Schneider Arena in a battle between a pair of up-and-coming programs in the southern half of New England.

After hosting and emerging victorious in the first match last season, the Catamounts return the favor and visit Mullins Center for the 7 p.m. start. The teams enter the contest coming off of polar opposite results, however, as UMass took a Sunday contest on the chin to UMass-Lowell at home, while UVM disposed of visiting Northeastern with a late goal.

The Minutemen have grabbed both of their league wins at home, beating New Hampshire and Providence, but stand just 3-5-1 overall. Both of UVM's wins have come in November as it currently stands at 2-4-2, after starting just 0-1-2.

Despite dropping the holiday contest last Thanksgiving week, the Minutemen were victorious in the last meeting between the teams on Jan. 20 as UMass alum Danny Hobbs netted his first and only hat trick as a Minutemen to lead the offense in a come-from-behind 4-3 win at Mullins Center. Junior Conor Allen scored the game-winner in the final four minutes of the contest.

Thanks to a pair of goals from junior Chris McCarthy and 33 saves from rookie Brody Hoffman, UVM edged Northeastern by a 3-2 count in Sunday's game, snapping a four-game losing streak to the visitors.

The Friars and No. 18 Bobcats will be meeting for just the fifth time in history at Schneider Arena where the host squad looks for its fourth win in as many home games this season. On Friday, junior Derek Army scored a hat trick to lead PC to a 6-2 win over Northeastern and earn a share of the Hockey East Player of the Week award with UMass-Lowell senior Riley Wetmore.

In the last head-to-head meeting between PC and Quinnipiac, Army had a goal and an assist as part of a 5-2 win on Dec. 11, 2010.

Joshua Kummins is the Hockey East beat writer and a weekend editor for SB Nation Boston. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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