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Red Hot Hockey Preview: Boston University vs. Cornell at Madison Square Garden

Cornell and Boston University have 15 total NHL Draft picks between the two teams.

College hockey will take over the world's most famous arena on Saturday night for Red Hot Hockey.
College hockey will take over the world's most famous arena on Saturday night for Red Hot Hockey.
Maddie Meyer

New York -- Boston University and Cornell meet in the fourth installment of Red Hot Hockey on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The Terriers are 2-0-1 in the series at the "World's Most Famous Arena."

The two teams have gotten together in New York on odd years since 2007, including the last meeting on November 26, 2011 when Ross Gaudet scored in overtime to lift the Terriers to a 2-1 victory.

Boston University outshot Cornell 35-17 in the 2009 edition of the event, but Big Red goalie Ben Scrivens helped his team salvage a 3-3 tie against the defending NCAA Champions.

Brandon Yip, Pete MacArthur and Joe Pereira each registered a goal and an assist as the Terriers won in 2007 by a score of 6-3.

This year neither team is off to a hot start, but these longtime rivals will surely entertain an expected sell-out crowd. The two teams have been vastly improved the past two weeks. BU and Cornell are a combined 6-0-1 since November 16. Cornell owns a four game winning streak while BU is unbeaten in its last three outings.

Fans should not expect a game with a lot of shots on goal as Cornell ranks second to last in shots on goal per game. Mike Schafer's team has averaged 20.82 shots on target per game with only Alabama-Huntsville averaging less. BU is also in the bottom half of the country in that statistical category with just 28.85 per game.

Cornell does do a very good job of capitalizing on the man advantage. The Big Red have the second best power play percentage in country at 29.6, only behind St. Lawrence. David Quinn's team has been good at staying out of the box, averaging just 10 penalty minutes per game.

Cornell might not average many shots on goal, but it has some players that can burn a defense if given the opportunity. Boston Bruins draft pick Brian Ferlin leads the team with seven goals and six assists while Los Angeles Kings prospect Joel Lowry has six scores and seven helpers. Edmonton Oilers draft pick John McCarron has three goals to go along with his team-leading 10 assists. Cole Bardreau missed six games with an injury, but has registered three goals and three assists in the five games he has played.

Andy Iles will likely start in goal for Schafer's club. The senior from Ithaca owns a career .917 save percentage. Even though he has started all but one game for Cornell this season, he has taken the backseat to freshman Mitch Gillam in terms of notoriety since Tuesday. Gillam became the first goalie in NCAA history to score a goal in his first collegiate game and only the eighth to be credited with a goal.

Boston University has some talent of its own up front, but like Cornell lacks depth in its lower lines. Two defensemen, Garrett Noonan and Ahti Oksanen, are tied for the team lead in scoring with 11 points.

Freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon,  property of the Ottawa Senators, has four goals and six assists to tie for team lead in scoring among forwards. Sophomore Matt Lane has three goals and seven assists after notching only seven points all of last year.

Sophomore and San Jose Sharks prospect Danny O'Regan is off to a little bit of a slow start, but he still leads the team in goal scoring with five. The Needham, Mass. native is one of those special players with offensive creativity that is dangerous every time he touches the ice.

Freshman Nick Roberto is another player to watch out for. His four goals ties him for second on the team, and he is a small, but gritty player that is not afraid to go into the dirty areas to find the back of the net.

Quinn has been going with the hot hand for most of the season, not using a typical rotation. Both Matt O'Connor and Sean Maguire have seen time in net, but expect O'Connor to start Saturday night. The Toronto, Ontario native stopped 55 North Dakota shots last Saturday night to preserve a 3-3 tie.

Breaking Down the Matchup

Boston University Cornell
Record 6-6-1 Overall, 2-3-0 HE 7-3-1 Overall, 4-3-1 ECAC
Head Coach David Quinn (BU '89) Mike Schafer (Cornell '86)
NHL Draft Picks 8 7
Goals Per Game 2.46 (44th) 3.09 (19th)
Goals Against Per Game 2.85 (33rd) 2.36 (13th)
Power Play Percentage 21.1 (17th) 29.6 (2nd)
Penalty Kill Percentage 82.8 (28th) 81.8 (33rd)
Top Goal Scorer Danny O'Regan (5) Brian Ferlin (7)
Team Leader in Assists Ahti Oksanen (9) John McCarron (10)
Starting Goaltender Matt O'Connor (2.80/.926) Andy Iles (2.39/.915)

Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.