Last Saturday's loss at now-No. 14 Northeastern was certainly not the way the No. 3 Boston College Eagles wanted to start the new season in Hockey East but they will get right back to work with hopes of turning things around in a pair of games this weekend.
The Eagles, which entered the season with at least a share of first place in both national polls, hit the road and head to Amherst on Friday night as they take on Massachusetts for the first time this season. They return home to face the Huskies for the second time in a week on Saturday, while raising the 2012 Frozen Four champion banner to the Conte Forum rafters before the game.
BC rode a 19-game winning streak into the new season but the Huskies had other ideas, handing the Eagles their first loss since suffering a pair of losses in Maine on Jan. 20-21, 2011.
Senior captain Pat Mullane enters the weekend with 97 points for his career and seeks to become the first Eagle (and 99th of all-time) since current Columbus Blue Jacket Cam Atkinson '11 to reach the century mark. The Wallingford, Conn. native tallied an assist on the lone goal on Saturday, setting up classmate Steven Whitney.
With hopes of breaking the 8,000-fan mark for the ninth time in Mullins Center history, UMass hosts the Eagles in the annual Operation 8K game in Amherst. The Eagles dropped two of the three regular-season meetings between the clubs last season, but had the last laugh in a tough two-game sweep in the Hockey East quarterfinals at Kelley Rink last March.
Led by reigning Rookie of the Week Kevin Roy, who has scored both game-winning tallies thus far, the Huskies look to capture the season series on Saturday with their first road victory in Chestnut Hill since March 7, 2008. Before Saturday's game, the Eagles will celebrate their fifth all-time Frozen Four title and the third in a handful of seasons.
On Oct. 29, 2010, BC raised its most previous banner before a 3-2 victory over Merrimack that saw Mullane score the winning goal on the power-play just over five minutes into the final period.
No. 11 Boston University makes the short jaunt north to No. 15 New Hampshire on Saturday night in the third and final league game of the weekend. Both teams are coming off successful opening weekends and will lock together in a rematch of last year's quarterfinal series at Agganis Arena, which saw the host Terriers advance in three games on Alex Chiasson's winner in the second overtime period.
BU remains the lone Hockey East team with a winning record (11-8-5) on the road at the Whittemore Center, as well as a 101-47-19 mark in the all-time series between the rivals.
Maine, which is one of just three teams in the league with a perfect penalty kill through three games, returns to the Alfond Arena in search of its third and fourth wins in as many games against an ECAC foe this weekend when it takes on St. Lawrence. The Black Bears turned in a record-setting performance in Saturday's 4-3 win over Army, registering 54 shots on goal - the most by a Black Bear team since creating 61 in the 2004 Hockey East Championship victory over UMass, which they won in three overtimes.
Junior Dan Sullivan has been very sharp for Maine, sporting a 1.53 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in two starts. He looks to continue the Black Bears' success in the all-time series against the Saints, which currently sits at 11-4.
No. 10 UMass-Lowell is on a Rocky Mountain high this weekend as they face a pair of perennial western powers in No. 7 Denver and No. 19 Colorado College. The River Hawks dropped a point at home on Friday, skating to a 1-1 tie with Vermont, despite a goal from junior Josh Holmstrom to open the contest.
Merrimack is making the farthest trip in college hockey this weekend, facing off in a pair of games in the Alaska Goal Rush Tournament. The Warriors, which split their first two games against Union and Northeastern, are playing in Fairbanks for the first time since 1995 when they swept a series from the Nanooks. So far this year, the Warrior sophomore class has accounted for five of the team's six goals, including Josh Myers, who has scored twice with three total points.
Providence, which opened its season with a blowout win over Sacred Heart and a tough road loss at BU's Agganis Arena, will be tested on the road this weekend as it takes on No. 4 Miami (for the seventh and eighth times in history) in a pair of games at Oxford's Goggin Ice Arena.
With Friday's 8-2 win over the Pioneers, the Friars posted their most goals since Oct. 23, 2009 and moved to 4-0 against SHU in the all-time series between the border rivals. In the victory, sophomore Ross Mauermann picked up where he left off last year, scoring a career-best three points, including his first goal of the year.
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