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Weekend Preview
March 19, 2009
CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND KICKS OFF FRIDAY NIGHT ON NESN
~No. 1 seed Boston U. faces No. 6 BC; No. 2 Northeastern takes on No. 5 UML~

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The semifinals are on Friday night
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WAKEFIELD, Mass. -- The 25th Anniversary Hockey East Championship begins Friday evening at the TD Banknorth Garden with a 5pm matchup between No. 2 seed Northeastern and No. 5 seed UMass-Lowell. The second game will feature cross-town rivals No. 1 seed Boston University pitted against No. 6 seed Boston College. The Eagles and River Hawks have defied the odds, as no team lower than a four seed has made it to the Garden since 2004. NESN will be airing both semi-final matches live on Friday, along with Saturday’s title game, live at 7pm.

Northeastern owns its season series with UML, 3-0, as the teams last met on Feb. 28 at Tsongas Arena, where the Huskies earned a 3-1 victory. Nick Schaus (Orchard Park, N.Y.) scored the lone River Hawk goal in the loss, while NU blue liner David Strathman (Tempe, Arizona) notched two assists in the win. Husky netminder Brad Thiessen (Aldergrove, B.C.) made 32 stops on the night. UMass-Lowell is coming off a two-game sweep of Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, while Northeastern defeated Massachusetts in three games at home.

UML defenseman Maury Edwards (Rocky Rapids, Alb.) leads all blue liners in scoring with 25 points in league play, while teammate Kory Falite (Billerica, Mass.) has been clutch for the River Hawks, scoring all four of his game-winners in Hockey East action. Thiessen has amassed a league-best .932 save percentage on the year, while racking up 25 wins overall, one of only three goalies in the nation to reach the milestone. This game marks the 14th time the teams have met in the Hockey East Tournament, while UML owns the 10-3-0 all-time series. The teams last met in the 1988 quest for the title, although it was a two-game, total goals series, so the Huskies advanced despite a 1-2 loss and 3-1 victory.

The Eagles and Terriers will meet once again at the Garden, an event that has occurred often during their storied rivalry. BU has owned this season’s series 2-0-1, while the teams last met on Jan. 17 at Agganis Arena. BU earned a 5-2 victory behind a three-assist performance by rookie blue liner David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass.). Three other defensemen tallied goals in the win, while BC netminder John Muse (East Falmouth, Mass.) had a 41-save effort in the loss. BU is coming off a best-of-three win over Maine at home in the quarterfinals and is unbeaten in 18 of its last 19 games, while BC is on a three-game win-streak and most recently swept New Hampshire in the quarterfinals on the road. BU’s Colin Wilson (Winnipeg, Man.) leads the league in assists (35) and overall scoring (49), while BC’s Brock Bradford (Burnaby, B.C.) leads Hockey East in goals with 25. Terrier rookie Kieran Millan (Edmonton, Alb.) has earned a league-best 1.90 GAA so far this year. BU and BC have met ten times in the HE tournament, with BU leading the series 7-3. The last time the teams met in the semi-finals was during the 2007 tournament, when the Eagles earned a 6-2 victory over the Terriers. In the only other semi-final matchup between the teams, the Terriers earned the 6-5, double overtime victory in 2003.

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