The Hockey East Semifinals have arrived and for the first time since 2013, Boston College is back at the Garden. Providence, UMass Lowell, Boston College and Northeastern all come in to TD Garden with belief that they can win the league crown, in what has the potential to be the most wide open conference tournament in years.
Here's your game day info:
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, Mass. (capacity: 17,565)
TV: This gets a little confusing so pay attention. For viewers in New England, Game 1 between Lowell and PC will be broadcast in its entirety on NESN starting at 5 PM. Game 2 between BC and Northeastern will start on NESN at 8 PM, but at 9 PM the game will switch to NESN+ when the Bruins game begins. For viewers outside of New England, the entire tournament will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra and the Live Extra App will be streaming the games. However, it's unclear if these streams will be blacked out in New England due to NESN's broadcast rights. When we find out, we'll update this post.
Radio: The BC game will have an online radio stream at www.bceagles.tv and will be broadcast on WEEI 850 AM. You can listen to the UML/PC game on ESPN New Hampshire, 900 AM/1250 AM, or online at ESPN NH's site.
#4 seed UMass Lowell Riverhawks (23-8-5)
#2 seed Providence College Friars (27-5-4)
Game Time: 5 PM
Storyline: This semifinal features the two coaches, UML's Norm Bazin and PC's Nate Leaman, who took over their programs before the 2011-12 season and immediately transformed their teams' fortunes. Providence, the defending national champion, is probably the slight favorite to win the conference title, coming in as one of the country's hottest teams. Lowell is surely feeling good after sweeping BU out of the quarterfinals.
Despite their national title, PC is looking for their first HEA crown since 1996. Like PC, UML is a 2-time HEA champ, winning in 2013 & 2014.
#6 seed Northeastern Huskies (20-13-5)
#1 seed Boston College Eagles (26-6-5)
Game Time: 8 PM
Storyline: Northeastern has lost just one game in calendar year 2016, the Beanpot semifinal vs. BU. They've been on fire otherwise, culminating in a sweep of #3 Notre Dame last weekend in South Bend. Not only are they still alive in the HEA tournament, they've remarkably given themselves a pretty solid chance of making the NCAA tournament as an at large bid even if they don't win the league title this weekend. Their chances get a lot better, however, should they beat BC on Friday. The Huskies are always carrying the burden of history with them in to TD Garden, with no Hockey East titles to their name since 1988.
BC leads all schools with 11 HEA titles, but have not performed well in this tournament in the last three years and will be looking to return to their previous Garden glory. To do so, they will need to play a lot better than they did last weekend, as they just barely survived the Hockey East quarterfinals against Vermont by the skin of their teeth, thanks to a game 3 overtime goal by Ryan Fitzgerald.