So, I hear tell that there's another hockey game that has the attention of most Puckheads today. But once the dust settles from that one... The top two teams in Hockey East face off this weekend as the 2014 regular season champion Boston College Eagles take on 2013 regular season & tournament champion UMass-Lowell.In addition to being a battle of two top teams in Hockey East, it's also a classic matchup of the nation's #1 offense vs. the nation's #1 defense.
Tonight is BC's second to last regular season home game at Conte Forum, a fact which is profoundly depressing. Tomorrow night, the scene shifts to Lowell, where the Tsongas is sold out.
While BC has already locked up the regular season crown and has all but assured themselves of a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, they still need to keep on the gas to lock down the #1 overall seed, increasing the likelihood that BC stays east (already a virtual lock) and gets to face #16. For Lowell, though, the stakes are considerably higher. If they get swept, they could theoretically fall to 4th in Hockey East depending on out of town results, They are also currently 8th in the PWR, so all games are big for seeding.
BC Roster Notes
Well, McCoshen's back but now Matheson is out (upper body, day-to-day). So expect Linell back on D again.
Game Time: 7:00 PM both nights
TV: BCEagles.com tonight; http://www.goriverhawks.tv/ tomorrow ($)
Radio: WEEI 850 AM and BCEagles.com
Record: BC: 24-4-3..... UML: 20-7-3
KRACH: BC: #1.... UML: #6
BC:136 GF (1st in HEA), 67 GA (t-3rd in HEA), +69 (1st in HEA)
UML:91 GF (5th in HEA), 58 GA (1st in HEA), +33 (2nd in HEA)
Last Time Out: BC swept Vermont last weekend on the road, picking up 4-3 and 5-3 wins. Lowell swept UMass-Amherst 5-3 and 3-2.
Storylines: This is the first time these two teams have met all season, which is yet another example of why this year's Hockey East schedule is so lame. The season's almost over, but this will be our first look at how the two best teams match up. For Lowell, the storyline is in them locking down good seeding in the Hockey East and national tournaments. For BC it's about staying hot and staying at #1. Also, there's the matter of Johnny Gaudreau's 26-game point streak. As we all know, the team is carrying streaks too - 10 straight wins, and 17 straight unbeaten.
Fun Fact: UMass-Lowell is one of seven teams that have participated in every Hockey East season (BC, BU, Maine, UNH, NU, PC).
Players to watch: Connor Hellebuyck is one of the nation's best goalies, with a. 940 sv%. Offensively, Seniors Joe Pendenza (24 points) and Derek Arnold (18 points) are two of the stars, along with sophomore Adam Chapie (21 points). Which.. it's pretty amazing to think that BC's second liners have 25, 23, and 21 points. lol
Will Demko play both games this weekend, or will Billett start a game? Can BC keep its offense firing against yet another stout defensive team? Can Lowell be the team to finally shut down the GAH line?
Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes
Big night. Four other Hockey East matchups:
BU vs. Notre Dame: in a potential preview of the 8/9 matchup in the Hockey East playoffs. Though I think ND routs them and further pins BU into 10th.
Maine vs. Northeastern: just huge for both teams in securing NCAA and league position. They are 4th & 5th respectively and have a decent cushion back to Providence for the bye, but will be battling for #4 and home ice.
Vermont vs. Merrimack: Expect someone to win 0.5-0. And by someone I mean Vermont
Providence vs. UMass: If Providence is going to stop their slide it's going to be against UMass, one would think
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
Lowell Beer Works is truly your only choice here. Not like in the metaphorical "it's so good, there's nowhere else I'd rather go!" way but in the like, why venture into Lowell when you can just go to Lowell Beer Works, it's right next to the stadium. Plus it's a solid bar, just like all of the other Beer Works locations.
Also, Tsongas probably has the best concessions and beer selection of any Hockey East venue. It's certainly just beween Tsongas and Agganis.
Joseph Gravellese -
Before Grant Poindexter pulls a nutty let me just say that I'm not picking a split because I think "BC has to lose a game at some point." I'm picking a split because I think Lowell is one of the five best teams in the nation and if BC had to face them in a 7-game series, I think it would take the Eagles maybe 6 games to finish them off.
BC 5, Lowell 1 tonight - the air raid offense continues at home
Lowell 3, BC 2 tomorrow - but we'll probably be trailing most of the way and score one late to make it close
Grant Salzano -
4-0 BC at home; 3-1 BC away. Picking BC the rest of the way until they give me a reason not to.
Dan Rubin -
"BC 3, Lowell 2," he says, so I'm going to presume this is for both games.
Doesn't it have to end sometime? Is it healthy it should end? I guess two years ago spoke differently...BUT..
AJ Black -
I'm going to tomorrow's night game with my buddy who's a Lowell grad, and will be sitting near the Lowell student section #Pray4AJ
4-2 home; 3-2 road. The streak continues.
BCI Prediction Standings
5 points for a correct prediction, minus one point for how far off you were from the victory margin. i.e., predicting a 4-goal win and it ends up being a 2-goal win = 3 points. Also, 1 bonus point for getting a team's score correct. Enter this week's contest by leaving your predictions in the comments.
Brian Favat won again last week and zoomed past Grant into the lead, picking BC tow in 4-2 and 5-3. He was only off by one goal as the games ended 4-3 and 5-3. Nice work blogfather.
Brian - 4 wins (Week 3 tie, Week 4, Week 6 1/2, Week 14 (tie), Week 17)
Grant - 3.5 wins (Week 5, Week 9, Week 11, Week 12 (tie))
Joe - 2.5 wins (Week 1, Week 7, Week 15 (tie))
AJ - 2 wins (Week 3 (tie), Week 14 (tie), Week 16)
ACal6888: 1 win (Week 10)
giantsfan428: 1 win (Week 8)
Conrad - 1 win (Week 2)
BCEagle74 - 1 win (Week 13)
BCJacket5 - 1 win (Week 6)
JCNG - 1 win (Week 12 (tie), Week 15 (tie))
Leave your thoughts on the series below and see if you can climb up the BCI leaderboard, to win all sorts of fabulous invisible prizes. Actually, you know what, I'm making up a prize, right now. The winner of the BCI prediction game for the season gets a 15 minute interview done by New Guy on BCInterruption Radio at the end of the season. Yes, New Guy, I'm committing your time and your studio technology without your permission. Go Eagles!