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Weekend Preview
January 9, 2009
NO. 9 BC AND NO. 10 VERMONT FACEOFF IN NESN SEASON OPENER FRIDAY
~UMass/UNH and Merrimack/NU play home and home sets~

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Dean Strong and the Vermont Catamounts host Boston College on NESN Friday night.
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WAKEFIELD, Mass. -- The first full weekend of league play in 2009 his highlighted by the matchup of No. 9 Boston College and No. 10 Vermont, which will air on NESN at 7:30 Friday night, beginning with the pre-game show “Face-Off Live” at 7 p.m. No. 13 New Hampshire has a home and home series with Massachusetts over the weekend, as do Merrimack and No. 4 Northeastern. Maine heads south to No. 2 Boston University while UMass-Lowell heads to Providence.

UVM is riding a four-game win-streak, while the Eagles head to Burlington having split their weekend exhibition series at the University of New Brunswick. The teams are ranked second and third in the league in offensive production, as BC is averaging 3.31 goals per game, while Vermont is scoring 3.24. BC will look to captain Brock Bradford (Burnaby, B.C.) for offensive consistency, as he ranks fourth in the nation with 1.44 points per game. Peter Lenes (Shelburne, Vt.) plays a similar role for the Catamounts, ranking fifth in the league with 1.18 points per game.

The Terriers will host Maine on Saturday night, in a game that will be a showdown between the best offensive and defensive teams in Hockey East, respectively. BU is averaging 3.72 goals per game, while Maine’s defensive core and solid goaltending have given them a 2.05 GAA. The Terriers will see the return of offensive leader Colin Wilson (Winnipeg, Man.), who was in Ottawa playing for Team USA in the World Junior Championships, alongside teammate Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and three other Hockey East athletes. The Terriers have won their last four and are unbeaten in their last seven.

UMass will first host the Wildcats on Friday before the teams head to Durham on Saturday. UNH will return its leading scorer from World Juniors as well, in James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.), who ranks second in the country with 1.53 points per game. The ‘Cats are also riding a four-game win streak and have amassed 14 goals in their last two contests. The Minutemen are coming off a third place finish at the Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H. and will look for offense from James Marcou (King Park, N.Y.), who is tied for third in the league with 1.17 points per game.

Merrimack heads to Boston on Friday night, playing Northeastern at Matthews Arena before the Huskies play in North Andover on Saturday. The Warriors are coming off a third place finish at the UConn Holiday Classic in Storrs, Conn. The Huskies have won five of their last seven and after second place finish at the Dodge Holiday Classic in Minneapolis, Minn.

Providence will host UMass-Lowell on Saturday evening, marking the Friars’ first game of 2009, having been on break since their 4-3 win over Brown on Dec. 9. The River Hawks participated in the inaugural Shillelagh Tournament in Hoffman Estates, Ill. over the holiday break, losing a pair of 2-1 games to Minnesota-Duluth and Union.

HOCKEY EAST WEEKLY NOTES:

At 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, NESN presents the television premiere of 25 Years of Hockey East - A Tradition of Excellence, a one-hour documentary that highlights the league’s most memorable moments from the past 25 years produced by Moody Street Pictures in conjunction with Star Games. This one-hour special chronicles the storied history of one of college hockey’s most successful leagues. Narrated by Tom Caron, this documentary highlights some of Hockey East’s most memorable moments over the past 25 years. The program includes candid and exclusive commentary with some of the marquee players, coaches and administrators who have helped make Hockey East one of college hockey’s most entertaining conferences.

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