Off of a three-game road swing, the Boston University men’s hockey team will return to Agganis Arena Friday to face No. 12 University of Massachusetts Lowell before the weekend series shifts to Lowell Saturday.
Coming into the weekend, the River Hawks (13-6-4, 7-3-3 Hockey East) sit fourth in Hockey East with 17 points, while BU (8-8-5, 5-4-4 Hockey East) sit close behind with 14 points in sixth place.
Umass Lowell is a familiar opponent for the Terriers, as BU met the River Hawks five times in the 2018-19 campaign and once already this season, which ended in a 3-3 tie at Lowell. Now matching up again three months later, though, these squads look much different than back in late October.
Since their last trek to Tsongas Center, the Terriers have added junior forward Logan Cockerill and freshman forward Sam Stevens, both who missed the first matchup due to injuries. Lowell will also be introduced to a pair of BU midseason additions with freshman forward Wilmer Skoog, who has two goals in the four games with BU, as well as freshman netminder Ashton Abel, who has appeared in two of BU’s last three games.
With BU’s return to health, freshman forward Jamie Armstrong is the only Terrier left on the injury report. BU Head Coach Albie O’Connell confirmed in an interview on Thursday that Armstrong will not suit up this weekend.
“We’ve got enough [guys] to pick from right now.” O’Connell said. “It’s not like we need to rush anyone back, so we want to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go.”
On Lowell’s bench, senior goaltender Tyler Wall was recently nominated for the Hobey Baker Award having posted a 13-4-4 record in 21 starts with a 1.96 goals against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts. The veteran keeper has been supported by an emerging cast of River Hawk newcomers, as freshman forwards Carl Berglund, Andre Lee and Matt Brown lead the team in points this season.
O’Connell said he’s taken notice on Umass Lowell’s youth movement.
“They’re led by some younger guys,” O’Connell said. “They’re getting a little bit more seasoned, just watching them.”
With both teams re-entering Hockey East play last weekend, the Terriers and River Hawks traded opponents between Friday and Saturday night with meetings against Merrimack College and Boston College respectively. BU beat Merrimack 3-2, and Lowell followed suit with a 6-4 victory, while both squads were toppled the Eagles by narrow score lines of 3-2 for Lowell and 4-3 for BU.
Going into another critical weekend in the conference, O’Connell said the Terriers have to focus on playing well at both Agganis Arena and Tsongas Center.
“We’ve just got to focus on playing a good game at home,” O’Connell said. “Then, getting up there on the road and playing a good road game and trying to have a good weekend.”
Puck drop on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., while Saturday’s game will begin at 6 p.m. Friday’s game can be watched on CBS All Access, and NESN will carry Saturday’s contest.
Be sure to join the Boston Hockey Blog’s live blog for in-game coverage straight from both games, with Friday’s live blog here and Saturday’s live blog here.