Terriers, Wildcats Face Off in Hockey East Semifinals on NESN, NBCSN

Terriers, Wildcats Face Off in Hockey East Semifinals on NESN, NBCSN

March 20, 2015

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BOSTON - The top-seeded Boston University men's ice hockey team continues its quest for the Hockey East title on Friday (March 20) when takes on eighth-seeded New Hampshire in the semifinal round of the league tournament. The game, which will be broadcast live on NESN and NBCSN, will start at 8 p.m.

UMass Lowell and Vermont will meet in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. and the two winners will face off for the tournament championship on Saturday (March 21) at 7 p.m.

BU and UNH split their season series, as each team won in its own rink during a home-and-home weekend on Feb. 13-14. After the Terriers earned a 6-3 win in the opener, the Wildcats held on for a 4-3 victory the following night that ended up being the start of an eight-game win streak. BU has won nine of the past 15 meetings but UNH has come out on top in five of the past seven.

The league rivals have met 10 times in the Hockey East tournament. BU is 6-3-1, including wins in two of their three semifinal meetings, which took place in 1993 (W, 2-0), 2005 (L, 5-2) and 2006 (W, 9-2). They last met in the 2012 quarterfinals at Agganis Arena, with BU winning in three games, including two that went to double overtime.

New Hampshire is one of the hottest teams in the country, having won nine of its past 10 games. The Wildcats pulled off a 2-1 overtime victory at second-seeded Providence on Sunday in the third game of their quarterfinal series.

Sophomore Tyler Kelleher ranks tied for sixth amongst Hockey East players in points this season with 41 on 17 goals and 24 assists. Seniors Grayson Downing (21g, 15a) and Matt Willows (19g, 16a) have added 36 and 35 points, respectively, and Andrew Poturalski (14g, 14a) is one of only six Hockey East rookies to have at least 28 points.

Freshman Daniel Tirone, who joined the team at the semester break, has started in goal in each of UNH's past 15 games, winning 11. He has a .960 save percentage and a 0.97 goals-against average in the past nine games since facing the Terriers.

Friday's tilt features the top five goal-scorers in Hockey East play this season. Junior Ahti Oksanen led the league with 16 goals while classmate Danny O'Regan and freshman Jack Eichel tied for second with 14. Senior Evan Rodrigues and UNH's Willows tied for fourth with 13 apiece.

Rodrigues has eight points (3g, 5a) in 13 career games versus the Wildcats and sophomore Robbie Baillargeon has six points (1g, 5a) in just four games against UNH. Junior goaltender Matt O'Connor has made five starts against the Wildcats and has a 2.89 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage against them.

Eichel was named Hockey East Player and Rookie of the Year on Thursday at the league's annual banquet, becoming just the third freshman in conference history to pull off the feat. Head coach David Quinn was named Hockey East Coach of the Year to complete a sweep of the major awards for BU.

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