A pair of impressive streaks will be on the line on Sunday evening as No. 11/12 Boston University hosts archrival and top-ranked Boston College for the first time this season at Agganis Arena to help conclude an exciting weekend in Hockey East.
The Commonwealth Avenue rivals have met 258 times with the Terriers holding a 127-114-17 advantage, having won close to 53 percent of the time. BC holds a narrow 15-13-2 advantage in the last 30 head-to-head meetings in the series.
Last season, BU held a 2-1 advantage in the Hockey East regular-season series, but the Eagles were able to knot the full score with a victory in the Beanpot title game as junior Bill Arnold scored the overtime winner for a 3-2 win.
BU has not seen an opponent appear more on its schedule than the Eagles in the long and storied history of the program with Northeastern the next closest at 215 meetings to date. In fact, BU began hockey competition in 1917-18 and its lone game came against BC - a stunning statistic that speaks volumes to the rivalry dubbed as "The Battle of Comm. Ave."
The Terriers have won four of their last five games, including three during the team's four-game road swing that concluded on Friday with a 3-1 win at Merrimack. BU has been unable to upset Boston College with a No. 1 ranking since Jan. 27, 2006 - a close 4-3 win at Kelley Rink.
Sophomore Cason Hohmann has had quite a start for BU and has already eclipsed his point total from all of last season with three goals and nine total points, as well as holding a tie for the national lead with a +10 rating.
One of the most "feel good" stories in the league this year is that of Terrier rookie blue liner Matt Grzelcyk, who hails from Dorchester and is a Boston Bruins draft pick following his time with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He is the only freshman in the nation that is averaging at least an assist per game and is tied with teammate and Needham, Mass. native Danny O'Regan for second in the league in points by a rookie with seven.
However, the real story has been between the pipes with another rookie Matt O'Connor, who has solidified himself as a legitimate top choice with a perfect 5-0-0 record. No other goaltender in college hockey has as many wins without a setback as the Toronto native and he has already been named co-Rookie of the Month after his first as a collegian.
On the flip side, the Eagles come in defending their national championship from April and holding wins in each of their last seven games and 26 of the last 27 contests. The nation's top-ranked squad took on its greatest challenge to date with a 3-1 victory over Notre Dame on Friday at Kelley Rink. With a 7-1-0 record, BC has not lost since opening the season with a 3-1 setback at Northeastern.
Sophomore Johnny Gaudreau scored two more goals in the contest, including the game-winner at 16:30 of the second period, and now leads the team with six on the season. Additionally, senior captain Pat Mullane was named October's conference Player of the Month with a league-best eight points in five games.
After carrying the Eagles to a national title last season, senior Parker Milner has been very strong again out of the gate with a 1.86 goals-against average and .934 save percentage - both among the top four marks in Hockey East.
As a team, BC holds a tie for the conference lead in offense with 3.25 goals per-game, while its defense is tied for fourth in the nation and has allowed less than two scores on average. The Eagles are also owners of the nation's best power play (32.3 percent) and combined special teams rate.
Face-off is set for 5 p.m. Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley will have the call for the New England Sports Network's live television coverage.
Joshua Kummins is the Hockey East beat writer and a weekend editor for SB Nation Boston. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.