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Union at Boston University: Pregame Notes and Line Combinations

Pregame notes and line combinations before No. 1 Boston University hosts Union in the first-ever meeting between the teams Saturday night on Agganis Arena's tenth birthday. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON -- On the tenth anniversary of Agganis Arena's opening, top-ranked Boston University welcomes in defending national champion Union on Saturday night for the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network (and across Canada on TSN2) with Dan Parkhurst and Ken Hodge on the call.

According to Union's game notes, the teams have played a combined 3,865 hockey games all-time but tonight marks their first head-to-head game. Union is in the midst of its 72nd varsity season (24th at the Division 1 level) while BU is playing its 93rd.

BU closed the first half as the top team in both national polls and has already surpassed its overall and league win totals from a season ago. Its last outing was a 5-1 win at RPI on Dec. 13, 2014, a game in which senior Evan Rodrigues handed out three assists.

Freshman Jack Eichel will not play despite his return from captaining Team USA at the World Junior Championship so junior Danny O'Regan, one of just six Division 1 skaters with a dozen goals, will center the top unit in his place. Sophomore Robbie Baillargeon and freshman Nikolas Olsson are both back in the lineup after nine-game absences.

Union took third place in last weekend's Frozen Holiday Classic in Bridgeport, Conn. and enters with wins in three of its last four games. A 3-1 win over Sacred Heart last Sunday followed a 3-2 setback to UConn in the semifinal. The Dutchmen are 11-1-0 against Hockey East foes since Dec. 2012.

Five Dutchmen hail from the state of Massachusetts, including sophomore leading scorer Mike Vecchione of Saugus whose 24 points are the most in ECAC Hockey. North Chelmsford native Ryan Scarfo was named conference Rookie of the Week twice in December, including this week after he scored two goals in Union's last victory.

Tonight is the first game of 2015 for both teams and will mark just the second time BU has welcomed a non-conference opponent to Agganis as the defending national champ. After Denver won its second straight title, the Terriers hosted the Pioneers on Nov. 25, 2005 and earned a 1-0 win on the strength of Dan Spang's goal and 31 saves by Carson Gillespie.

Here are tonight's lines:

DUTCHMEN (10-7-1, 3-4-1 ECAC)

Matt Wilkins - Mike Vecchione - Spencer Foo
Roman Ammirato - Eli Lichtenwald - Nick Cruice
Ryan Scarfo - Max Novak - Daniel Ciampini
Kevin Shier - Mark Bennett - Sam Coatta

Jeff Taylor - Noah Henry
J.C. Brassard - Nick DeSimone
Connor Light - Charlie Vasaturo

Alex Sakellaropulos
Colin Stevens

TERRIERS (11-3-2, 7-1-2 Hockey East)

Ahti Oksanen - Danny O'Regan - Evan Rodrigues
Nikolas Olsson - Robbie Baillargeon - Cason Hohmann
A.J. Greer - Matt Lane - Nick Roberto
Chase Phelps - Mike Moran - J.J. Piccinich

Matt Grzelcyk - John MacLeod
Brandon Hickey - Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby - Brien Diffley

Matt O'Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia