By Mark Fraenkel
The Boston University men’s hockey team (3-2-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East) will travel north to face the University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks (4-2-0, 1-0-0 HE) for its first road conference game of the young season. The Terriers will play at Tsongas Arena on Friday before hosting Lowell on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
This series will be a reunion for senior forward Matt Brown. Brown played for the River Hawks for two seasons before transferring to BU. Head coach Jay Pandolfo said they will approach the game the same way, despite this.
“It’s the same as every week,” Pandolfo said on the midweek media call. “I mean, I’m sure that you know, Brownie himself will probably be motivated maybe a little bit more, but I expect our guys –– it doesn’t matter the situation –– to be ready to play.”
Pandolfo also addressed junior goaltender Drew Commesso’s injury status. While junior goaltender Vinny Duplessis will start on Friday night, Commesso could return as early as Saturday as he’s been practicing this week.
Lowell enters the weekend after a big win against the Northeastern Huskies (3-2-1, 2-2-0 HE) at Matthews Arena last Saturday night. The weekend before, the River Hawks split a two-game series on the road against the Michigan State Spartans (4-2-0, 0-0-0 BIG 10).
After the Northeastern win, Lowell’s head coach Norm Bazin spoke about the quality of the league and how he planned to prepare for the Terriers.
“Every weekend in Hockey East there are good opponents, so I’m not too worried about who the opponent is,” Bazin said. “There are tough opponents every single weekend, and that’s what’s great about our league. Now we’ll watch film [and] we’ll get better next week in practice.”
In the Hockey East standings, BU is currently one point above Lowell. The Terriers are in fourth place with four points, while the River Hawks are tied for fifth place with three points. BU is currently two points behind second-place teams Boston College (2-1-1, 2-0-0 HE) and Northeastern and four points below conference leader the University of Connecticut (6-1-1, 3-1-0 HE).
The Terriers enter the weekend scoring more goals on average than Lowell. Jay Pandolfo’s team scores 4.2 goals on average, while Norm Bazin’s team only scores 3.2 goals per game on average. However, the River Hawks allow on average 1.6 fewer goals per game than the Terriers.
“They play a structured game similar to UConn,” Pandolfo said of Lowell’s playing style. “So we certainly have to be ready.”
The puck will drop at 7:15pm on Friday in Lowell and 7:00pm on Saturday at Agganis. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of the series so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.