By: Dan Shulman
Boston University Men’s Ice Hockey vs. UMass-Lowell (Hockey East) February 12-13, 2016
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: All-Time Series – BU leads 71-25-9
Location – Lowell, MA; Mascot – Riverhawks; This Year’s Record – 17-6-5 (10-4-4 HEA), 9-2-3 at home; Fun Fact – UML and BU have met in three Hockey East Championship Games since 2009.
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, two of Hockey East’s top teams will battle for a playoff bye as UMass-Lowell takes on Boston University in a home-and-home series.
BU was riding a six-game unbeaten run when the Terriers fell to Boston College on Monday in the Beanpot Final. The Terriers held the nation’s third-best scoring offense to just one goal in over sixty minutes of hockey, but fell 1-0 in overtime.
UMass-Lowell is coming off a disappointing weekend following a tie against Northeastern last Friday and a loss to New Hampshire on Saturday. Both games were played at Tsongas Arena in Lowell and ended the Riverhawks’ season-long five-game home stand.
BU and Lowell last met in the Hockey East Championship Game last season, when the Terriers defeated the Riverhawks, 5-3. BU jumped out to a 4-1 lead after two periods and held off to claim the Lamoriello Trophy. The win ultimately ousted Lowell from the NCAA Tournament.
This season, UMass-Lowell is led by sophomore C.J. Smith and senior Adam Chapie. Smith has scored 13 goals and recorded 17 assists this season. The sophomore forward is a team-high +15 and has taken 98 shots on goal.
Chapie has 11 goals and 16 assists so far this season and has taken a team-worst 47 PIM. Smith is second on the team with 42 PIM.
Defensively, Dylan Zink has been the one of the best players for Lowell this season. Aside from his six goals and 11 assists, Zink has taken 72 shots on goal and is a +9 this season. The junior also leads the team with 31 blocked shots this season.
In goal for UMass-Lowell should be Kevin Boyle. A transfer from UMass-Amherst, Boyle has shined in his senior season for Lowell, posting a .935 SV% and a 1.73 GAA along with six shutouts in 27 games.
On the other side, Boston University is led by seniors Ahti Oksanen and Danny O’Regan. Oksanen has scored 14 goals along with 16 assists and leads the nation with 144 shots on goal. O’Regan has a team-high 22 assists along with 10 goals, five coming on the power play.
On defense, Charlie McAvoy has been a solid two-way player all season. The freshman has scored twice and added 12 assists in 26 games. He has also blocked 33 shots this season.
In net for BU will be Sean Maguire. The senior has been hot as of late and boasts a .927 SV% and a 2.19 GAA in 16 games.
Puck drop on Friday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. and can be heard live on WTBU. Saturday night’s faceoff at Tsongas Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.
In crunch time, every game is a must win. If the Terriers can sweep this weekend, they will put themselves in a top four spot in Hockey East. Following a heartbreaking loss in the Beanpot, BU will be hungrier than ever for a win. Barring a slow start on Friday, the weekend should be a positive one for BU, and an opportunity to earn at least three points in Hockey East.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Score First
UMass-Lowell is deadly when scoring the first goal, and make it difficult for opponents to play from behind. The Riverhawks are 12-1-4 when striking first, so it is crucial for BU to get the first goal in both games.
- Get Stronger Throughout
UML is a team that gets a little weaker through every period, with the third being their worst offensive period. BU needs to keep a fast-pace through the duration of both games this weekend.
- Beat Boyle
The Terriers need to get pucks past Riverhawk goaltender Kevin Boyle this weekend. Lowell only allows an average of 1.71 goals per game, and only scores about 3.00. BU needs to have two strong offensive outputs to beat Lowell.