BOSTON — Hello and welcome inside TD Garden for the 33rd annual Hockey East Championship, which will pit ― for the first time in league history ― the top-seeded UMass Lowell River Hawks and third-seeded Boston College Eagles.
Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised live on New England Sports Network and streamed on ESPN3 with Alex Faust, Billy Jaffe and Nikki Reyes on the call.
This marks Hockey East’s first title game between the River Hawks and Eagles, but their ninth-ever postseason meeting. The last came here at the Garden in the 2001 semifinal round, with the Eagles winning, 5-1.
Tonight is also the ninth time in league history that the first and third seeds are meeting to decide the champion. The No. 1 seed has won six of those eight games, most recently when Lowell beat Boston University in 2013.
Once again, BC faces a ‘win or go home’ scenario in terms of its NCAA Tournament fate as it plays in its league-record 17th title game. The Eagles kept their slim hopes alive with a 3-2 win over archrival BU, their first win in four head-to-head meetings this season. The River Hawks are making their fifth consecutive and sixth straight appearance in a Hockey East title game.
Lowell senior Michael Kapla is set to play in his 159th consecutive game tonight, a new school record. That is also the longest current streak in the NCAA. Classmate Joe Gambardella has a point in all six of his Hockey East semifinal or championship games after posting an assist in last night’s 5-1 win over Notre Dame.
On the BC side, senior Ryan Fitzgerald posted his first multi-goal game of the season last night. He now has 11 goals on the season.
Here are tonight’s lines:
David Cotton - Austin Cangelosi - Colin White
Matthew Gaudreau - Ryan Fitzgerald - Christopher Brown
J.D. Dudek - Julius Mattila - Chris Calnan
Graham McPhee - Ron Greco - Mike Booth
Jesper Mattila - Scott Savage
Michael Kim - Connor Moore
Luke McInnis - Casey Fitzgerald
RIVER HAWKS (25-10-3)
C.J. Smith - Joe Gambardella - John Edwardh
Jake Kamrass - Nick Master - Ryan Dmowski
Ryan Collins - Connor Wilson - Nick Marin
Colin O’Neill - Ryan Lohin - Kenny Hausinger
Dylan Zink - Michael Kapla
Mattias Goransson - Tyler Mueller
Tommy Panico - Chris Forney