MAINE vs. No. 1 BOSTON COLLEGE, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Time, site: Friday, 7 p.m., Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Saturday, 7 p.m., Whittemore Center, Durham, N.H.
Records (entering Friday night’s games): Maine 3-2-1 (3-1 Hockey East), BC 7-1 (5-0 HE), UNH 2-4-1 (1-3 HE)
Series, last meeting: BC leads 58-40-9, BC 4-1 on Jan. 16; Maine leads UNH 56-48-5, UNH 5-4 on Feb. 5
Key players: Maine — C Brian Flynn (3 goals, 6 assists), LW Spencer Abbott (3 & 5), RW Joey Diamond (3 & 3), D Matt Mangene (1 & 5), D Will O’Neill (1 & 4), G Martin Ouellette (1-2, 2.98 goals-against average, .882 save percentage), G Dan Sullivan (2-0-1, 2.28, .914); Boston College — C Bill Arnold (6 & 6), LW Chris Kreider (6 & 5), C Pat Mullane (2 & 8), LW Johnny Gaudreau (5 & 4), D Brian Dumoulin (2 & 6), D Tommy Cross (0 & 6), G Parker Milner (7-1, 2.24, .920); UNH: C Nick Sorkin (4 & 3), RW Stevie Moses (2 & 3), C Mike Borisenok (2 & 1), RW John Henrion (2 & 0), D Damon Kipp (1 & 1), D Brett Kostolansky (0 & 0), G Matt DiGirolamo (2-3, 3.84, .867)
Outlook: The Black Bears have gone winless in their last eight visits to Conte Forum (0-7-1) and the Whittemore Center (0-8). Despite losing four of its top five scorers off last year’s 30-8-1 team, Boston College is averaging 4.50 goals per game, which is third best in the country. The Bears are going to have to limit BC’s time and space with the puck and stay out of the penalty box. BC’s power play is 8-for-35 (22.9 percent). BC rolls four lines and they can all score. They are dangerous on rush or on the forecheck.
UNH lost its top four scorers off last season’s 22-11-6 team and goal scoring was a problem early as the Wildcats scored just one goal in their first three games. But they have scored 14 in their last four games and are 2-1-1 in those games including a current three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1). As always, Maine will have to adapt to the Olympic-sized sheet at the Whittemore Center, which is 15 feet wider than Maine’s Alfond Arena. Diamond has 5 & 2 in seven career games against BC and Flynn has 3 & 4 in 10. Flynn and Abbott each have 3 & 5 against UNH. Maine will have to get some production from its power play and its secondary scorers this weekend because Maine’s top line of Abbott-Flynn-Diamond will have to deal with some efficient checking lines since the home team gets the last line change.