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Weekend preview: The stormy present

March 10, 2016

The Lowell River Hawks (21-8-5, 12-6-4 HE) vs. the Boston University Terriers (21-10-5, 12-6-4 HE)

7:30 p.m. Friday at the Tsongas Center, Lowell, M.A.

Lowell finished tied fourth in Hockey East with 28 points in 22 games, and Boston University finished tied for fourth in Hockey East with 28 points in 22 games.

Last three games

Lowell – 3-1 vs. Boston College, 1-3 at Boston College, 4-2 vs. Amherst
Boston University – 5-4 vs. Amherst, 2-1 (ot) vs. Amherst, 0-1 at Notre Dame

Prior Meetings

Lowell trails Boston University 72-26-9 all-time

Season Series

Lowell and BU split the season series 1-1

Top Scorers

Lowell:
C.J. Smith – 34GP, 14-19-33 (22 GP, 5-12-17 HE)
Adam Chapie – 33 GP, 14-17-31 (21 GP, 8-8-16 HE)
Joe Gambardella – 34 GP, 6-24-30 (22 GP, 2-15-17 HE)
Dylan Zink – 33 GP, 10-12-22 (22 GP, 7-6-13 HE)
A.J. White 34 GP, 10-12-22  (22 GP, 8-7-15 HE)

Boston University:
Danny O’Regan – 36 GP, 16-26-42 (22 GP, 10-18-28 HE)
Ahti Oksanen – 36 GP, 15-21-36 (22 GP, 10-15-25 HE)
Matt Lane – 36 GP, 14-14-28 (22 GP, 7-9-16 HE)
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson – 36 GP, 9-19-28 (22 GP, 6-13-19 HE)
Jordan Greenway – 36 GP, 5-20-25 (22 GP, 4-14-18 HE)

Goaltending

Lowell:
Kevin Boyle (20-8-5) – 33 GP, 1,951:56, 1.84 GAA/.932 SV% (22 GP, 1292:28, 1.62 /.941 HE)
Christoffer Hernberg (1-0-0) – 2 GP, 99:00, 1.21 GAA/.941 SV% (1 GP, 39:09, 1.53/.929 HE)

Boston University:
Sean Maguire (13-6-1) – 22 GP, 1263:47, 2.18 GAA/.928 SV% (14 GP, 774:30, 2.25/.925 HE)
Connor LaCovee (8-4-4) – 17 GP, 915:36, 2.75 GAA/.904 SV% (11 GP, 552:37, 2.71/.904 HE)

Team Stats

Lowell:
Overall (34 games) – 105 goals for (3.09/gm), 63 goals against (1.85/gm). Power play 27/139 (19.4%, 3 SHGA), penalty kill 101/118 (85.6%, 4 SHGF)

 

Hockey East (22 games) – 58 goals for (2.63/gm), 37 goals against (1.68/gm). Power play 13/86 (15.1%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 63/75 (84.0%, 2 SHGF)

Boston University
Overall (36 games) – 120 goals for (3.33/gm), 91 goals against (2.53/gm). Power play 28/128 (21.9%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 120/146 (82.2%, 2 SHGF)

Hockey East (22 games) 75 goals for (3.41/gm), 56 goals against (2.55/gm). Power play 20/88 (22.7%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 78/96 (81.2%, 2 SHGF)

Outlook

This series was decided two weeks ago when Lowell took the four seed on tie breakers. Lowell has been incredibly strong at home this season, more so against the tops of Hockey East.

In their five home games against the other top four teams in the league (Boston College, Providence, Notre Dame and Boston University), Lowell has amassed a 4-0-1 record and has outscored those opponents by a combined 17-8.

BU, on the other hand, hasn’t fared well on the road against the best of the conference. In their five games away from Harry Aggains Arena against the aforementioned teams (plus Lowell), the Terriers are 1-3-1 and have been outscored 10-15. Perhaps more troubling for BU, they’re just 2-4-3 in all games played against BC, PC, ND and Lowell – which includes home games, away games and the inevitable loss in the Beanpot finals.

Lowell comes into the weekend having split with Boston College before enjoying their well-earned bye week. The River Hawks handed BC only their second league loss of the year in the 3-1 season finale victory. It was an important win for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is the resulting home ice in the quarterfinals. It was a measuring stick game against the best team in the conference and a bona fide national championship contender that is sure to have instilled confidence in the team moving toward the post season.

Last weekend Boston University was tasked with cutting the throat of the sacrificial lamb that is the Amherst Minutemen. While ultimately prevailing, the two game sweep was closer than it had any right to be. The Terriers needed overtime to avoid a humiliating game one loss and, sadly for the rest of Hockey East, Bobo Carpenter spared BU from that particular fate with his second goal of the game 9:34 in the extra period. You might think a trip to the brink of the unthinkable would energize BU the following night, but someone forgot to tell Amherst. The antithesis of the OT game the night before, the two teams devolved into a shooting gallery that BU ultimately won 5-4. If you’re a supporter of BU hockey, all the way from Dave Quinn to one of the faceless masses in scarlet and white, you have to be concerned with the play of your team heading into the quarterfinals.

Both teams seem almost assured of making the NCAA tournament regardless of how this weekend plays out. The possibility of improving seeding and the hope of staying close to home in the NCAA regionals lie ahead as spoils for the victor. If the tie breakers had shaken out differently and this series were being played at Aggains, we think predicting a winner would basically be a coin flip. But in the friendly confines of the Tsongas Center and in front of the best fans in Hockey East, we’re confident that Lowell will be booking their trip to the Boston Garden next weekend.

Go Lowell

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