Hockey East Semifinal Preview: Boston University vs. Boston College

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Storied rivals Boston University and Boston College will meet in the second Hockey East semifinal on Friday night at TD Garden. The Commonwealth Avenue foes will be meeting for the 262nd time ever with this being the fourth of the year.

No. 3 Boston University (20-15-2, 15-10-2 Hockey East) at No. 2 Boston College (22-10-4, 15-9-3 Hockey East)

Friday, March 22 (8 p.m. on NESN & NBC Sports Network)
- at TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
-

After a quarterfinal sweep of Vermont at Kelley Rink, the second-seeded Boston College Eagles look to close a perfect Hockey East Tournament career for their seniors with two more wins on Friday and Saturday at the TD Garden.

In the way of that goal, however, is a familiar foe in the No. 3 Boston University Terriers as they find a way to match with their Commonwealth Ave. archrival for the fourth time, but the first since the Eagles unknotted the season series with a 5-2 home win on Dec. 1.

"It’s a great weekend, and we’re playing BU which always brings a lot of intensity," said BC associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh, who will co-lead the bench with Greg Brown in Jerry York's absence to a recurring eye issue. "Anytime we play BU it’s always a fun game to be a part of."

BC ousted No. 7 Vermont with 4-2 and 4-1 victories in the quarterfinals to improve to 14-0 in the Hockey East Tournament over the last four seasons.

Sophomore Johnny Gaudreau had another strong weekend for the Eagles, leading the way with a pair of goals and an assist. In four wins and a tie with UVM this season, the Carneys Point, N.J. native scored five goals and six assists, with six of those 11 points (2-4=6) coming in a career outing to close the regular season in a 7-2 road win on March 9.

On Thursday night at the annual Championship Awards Banquet at Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Gaudreau took home Hockey East Player of the Year honors, becoming just the fourth underclassman in league history to win the award.

Senior Pat Mullane has shined on the big stage in the conference tournament over his career as he has posted six goals and 16 career points in the Hockey East playoffs, just two away from cracking the top ten all-time.

The big news for the Terriers is the return of junior defenseman Garrett Noonan, who has missed four games after separating his shoulder on an awkward fall at Northeastern on March 8. In his absence, senior Matt Ronan was spotted from time-to-time and was the last available player to dress.

"We don't have any depth," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker, who is in his 40th and final year, during Tuesday's media teleconference. "We’re playing three lines and spotting a fourth line and we don’t have any extra players... We’re playing 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-4 as far as the lines are concerned so they’re not sitting too long."

Thanks to their fourth and fifth victories in as many games this year over Merrimack, the Terriers advanced to the Garden for the 11th time in 12 years and have now won at least one game in 21 consecutive league tournaments, a streak nearly twice as long as any other Hockey East school.

Forward Danny O'Regan and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk were both named to the conference All-Rookie Team, the only twosome from any league school to receive the honor.

O'Regan, a Needham native and St. Sebastian's product, leads all Hockey East rookies with 18 assists and 27 points in league play. He is attempting to become the first freshman to lead BU in scoring since 1989-90.

BU leads the all-time series between the sides, 128-116-17, but the Eagles hold a 10-8-1 clip since the start of 2008-09.

Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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