Boston College and Boston University renew acquaintances this weekend with a home-and-home Hockey East series that could have even greater meaning than the typical meeting between these two longstanding rivals.
Jerry York is sitting on 998 career coaching victories following last weekend's win and tie against Providence College. An Eagles sweep would mean York would reach 1,000 wins on enemy ice at Agganis Arena Saturday night. Terrier fans would loathe nothing more than seeing York pick up that milestone victory in their rink.
A BU sweep would launch the Terriers right back into contention for first place in Hockey East. The Terriers are riding a high, fresh off a two-win weekend that included a comeback victory over top 10 Harvard and a lopsided demolishing of lowly UMass.
There are quite a few factors that should go into which of these behemoths comes out on top in this series, but goaltending could play a key role. Thatcher Demko has returned to practice and is expected to get the start Friday night, but will he be up to his usual tricks between the pipes? If he is, the Eagles hold a monumental advantage in the goaltending category. While Sean Maguire has played better of late, he is still prone to giving up soft goals for the Terriers.
The two teams have very similar possession numbers, but BC has the edge in scoring depth up front. The Eagles have three legitimate scoring lines. All three could be the first line for most any other team in the league.
What will be interesting is to see what BC line David Quinn tries to match up with his line of Matt Lane centering Ahti Oksanen and Jordan Greenway. The trio have the best plus/minus numbers of all BU forwards and possession numbers to boot. Oksanen's innate ability to win battles and control possession especially along the walls is uncanny. Greenway has really progressed and has seen key time on the penalty kill as a result.
- Boston College (12) and Boston University (9) combine for 21 of the 59 NHL Draft picks on Hockey East rosters.
- Each team won on the road in last year's series. BU won 5-3 at Conte Forum and BC won 4-2 at Agganis Arena.
- BU sophomore defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Brandon Hickey had six shots and goal and three assists in two games against the Eagles last season. Fellow sophomore Nikolas Olsson (1-2--3) also had three points against BC last season.
- BC sophomore and Minnesota Wild draft pick Alex Tuch had two goals and two assists in his first two career games against BU.
A series split is the easy call here. There will be no going out on a limb. BC wins 4-2 Friday night before BU returns the favor on home ice to salvage a split with a 5-4 win.