Game Previews

Much to play for in a late-season Battle of Comm. Ave

By James Garrison

The No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team (17-10-3, 11-6-3 Hockey East) is set to take on their cross-town rivals the Boston College Eagles (11-16-5, 6-11-3 HE) in the battle of Comm. Ave with games set for Friday and Saturday night. 

The puck will be dropped Friday night at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts at 7:00pm and at 6:30pm on Saturday night at Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. For both the teams, it is their second-to-last weekend series of the regular season. 

This will be the first game for the Terriers since their post-Beanpot layoff of eleven days. Despite the longer than usual layoff, the Terriers are still carrying the emotional weight of the Beanpot games into a rivalry weekend.

“Pretty excited to get back at it, especially in league play, especially versus a cross-town rival,” Terriers Head Coach Albie O’Connell said in his weekly media availability. “Should be a couple of fun environments and a great way to play a cross-town rival towards the end of the year.” 

The two sides met earlier this year for a one game set back in December. The Eagles came back against the Terriers and took the extra point in the shootout in a thrilling game at Agganis Arena. 

Much has changed since then, though, with the two teams trending in opposite directions. The Terriers have won 11 of 12 games since then with only one overtime loss, while the Eagles have only won three games, going 3-11-2. 

Despite their disparate second half records and inverse momentum, the battle of Comm. Ave never disappoints and always holds very tight games, much like Beanpot games. 

Both teams have also welcomed the return of some of their top players from the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Drew Helleson and Marc McLaughlin were both able to play in the Eagles’ series last weekend against Northeastern and expect Jack McBain to be back in the lineup this weekend as well. 

The Terriers will be welcoming goaltender Drew Commesso back into the lineup this weekend after suiting up for Team USA. It is still unclear what the Terriers’ goaltending situation will be with Commesso having traveled this weekend. 

“I think some of it has to do with where Drew’s head is at and where Vinny’s head is at,” O’Connell said. “Just the energy level. That’s a long trip coming back from overseas. I think the travel itself is like a full day.” 

In addition to the classic anticipation for any BC-BU matchup late in the season, the Terriers have much more to play for than just bragging rights. Points will be at a premium this weekend as the Terriers try to jump to the top of the crowded Hockey East standings. 

With only two weekends remaining in the regular season, the Terriers could finish as high as first place or as low as seventh place. BU is currently tied for fifth place with Northeastern and only trail UConn and Merrimack by three points. 

The Terriers will hope to finish in the top-four of Hockey East standings, which will grant them a mid-week bye as well as a home quarterfinal game before the semifinals and final, which will be played at TD Garden. 

Much still has to be determined at the national level for the Terriers. Sitting within the top-sixteen of the national rankings in both the Weekly Poll and the Pairwise would have seemed like a far-off dream for BU back in the months of November and December but has become a reality. 

In order to receive an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, the Terriers will most likely have to beat the Eagles at least once and lose in overtime, and beat Maine twice next weekend at the very least. Currently tied with UConn at fourteenth, there is still much to be played for. 

The long layoff may result in a slow start for BU come Friday, but the team is confident that they will come out strong and ready to play. 

“I think we’re dialed in to what we’re doing,” O’Connell said. “All in all, it’s been a pretty good week so far and we’re hopefully going to have a good practice today and be in the right mindset for tomorrow.”

Coverage for a full weekend of BU, with women’s playoff tilt on Saturday and a weekend series against BC, can be found with recaps posted on the blog, as well as coverage on Instagram and on Twitter @BOShockeyblog.


  1. Nice job James you hit every point of this pivotal series. As you pointed out the teams are heading in different directions but Bc is dangerous they are unpredictable in that they only have 2/12 lines producing and a goalie who is up and down but if you look at there game against Nu in Beanpot and last weekend they can play well and compete with the best when they all come into sync.

    For bu it will be important to get ahead and keep there foot on the pedal. Bc will be pumped for this game bu needs to eliminate that hope they have.

  2. BC has nothing to lose really. so they are playing loose and easy. DC needs to keep us in there until we find our legs

    and i say this every time we play them: can you please beat them at the Ganis. our home record against them is embarrassing

    any thoughts out there on why that is.

    • Tom Ryan once opined that it was because Agannis was such a better rink to play in than Kelley Rink and with better ice so that the very skilled and talented eagles ( for the most part over the last 20 years) relished playing there. i think its probably part that and probably the fact that the Eagles just for the most part have had better teams than the Terriers over the same time span.
      I’m a little worried about tonites’ games since we are coming off a week and a half layoff and mights have lost some of the momentum that the team has built up over that long 13-1 stretch and the fact that BU-BC is always very competitive regardless of the circumstances and the site.

      • No need to worry, Vito. It has been cancelled. As for your concern about the layoff, I think the rest and physical rehabilitation that our guys have been able to get during these two weeks will more than make up for the loss of our momentum.

  3. I heard the flu went through the team so
    Last weekend we Would have been undermanned. So it worked out for us, ironically

    The layoff and the change in game days can not be used as an excuse if they lose.