BOSTON -- Good evening and welcome inside TD Garden for the semifinal round of the 2016 Hockey East Tournament. In the late game on this Friday night, top-seeded Boston College faces the hottest team in college hockey ― its local rival Northeastern ― for the third time this season.
Faceoff is set for 8 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on New England Sports Network and across the country on NBC Sports Network.
The Eagles were the only Hockey East team taken to three games in the quarterfinals, but avoided extending their Garden drought to three years. Junior Ryan Fitzgerald capped off Sunday's decisive contest against Vermont with his 22nd goal of the season at the 9:47 mark of overtime, lifting BC to a chance to play for its record 12th league championship.
BC earned the top seed in Hockey East for the 13th time as it posted 35 points during the regular season. The Eagles enter this weekend with just two losses in their last 19 games, both of which have come in the last four outings.
Goaltender Thatcher Demko was named Hockey East Co-Player of the Year at last night's league awards banquet. The junior led Hockey East in GAA (1.78), save percentage (.938), and shutouts (10) during the regular season en route to becoming the first Eagle goalie to earn an All-Star nod since John Muse in 2011.
The Huskies are rolling into tonight's game unbeaten in 20 of their last 21 games, good for the nation's best winning percentage (.905) in that span and the longest streak in program history.
Northeastern's 12-game winning streak is currently the longest in college hockey and dates back to the Beanpot consolation game on Feb. 8, while its unbeaten streak begun on Dec. 19.
NU swept Maine out of Matthews Arena with a pair of overtime victories to open the tournament, but took to the road in the quarterfinals and posted 3-1 and 6-4 wins last weekend at Notre Dame. Senior captain Kevin Roy is Hockey East's Co-Player of the Week after he scored two goals and two assists against the Fighting Irish, while his eight points in postseason play lead the conference.
Before this past weekend, NU had not won back-to-back games in the quarterfinal round since coming back for a three-game series victory over UMass in 2009.
These two teams played their conference home-and-home series back in December with BC picking up three of four points. NU has only lost once since closing that set with a 4-3 loss to the Eagles on Dec. 6.
Here are tonight's lines:
Nolan Stevens - John Stevens - Zach Aston-Reese
Dylan Sikura - Adam Gaudette - Mike McMurtry
Kevin Roy - Brendan Collier - Sam Kurker
Lincoln Griffin - Tanner Pond - Patrick Schule
Dustin Darou - Matt Benning
Colton Saucerman - Eric Williams
Jarrett Fennell - Garret Cockerill
- - J.D. Dudek
- Austin Cangelosi -
Adam Gilmour - Zach Sanford - Alex Tuch
Travis Jeke - Matthew Gaudreau -
- Casey Fitzgerald
Teddy Doherty -
Michael Kim - Scott Savage