Preview: Maine men’s hockey vs. BU

Posted March 15, 2012, at 7:21 p.m.

Hockey East semifinals

NO 11. MAINE vs. NO. 5 Boston University

Time, site: Friday, 8 p.m., TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records: Maine 22-12-3, BU 23-13-1

Series, last meeting: BU leads 56-47-12, Maine 3-1 on Jan. 28

Key players: Maine — LW Spencer Abbott (20 goals, 39 assists), C Brian Flynn (17 & 29), RW Joey Diamond (23 & 21), RW Matt Mangene (15 & 16), D Will O’Neill (1 & 27), D Ryan Hegarty (2 & 11), G Dan Sullivan (21-9-3, 2.51 goals-against average, .910 save percentage); BU — RW Alex Chiasson (14 & 29), LW Matt Nieto (14 & 26), C Chris Connelly (14 & 26), C Sahir Gill (12 & 18), D Adam Clendening (3 & 26), LW Wade Megan (19 & 9), D Garrett Noonan (16 & 10), G Kieran Millan (20-12-1, 2.49, .926)

Outlook: Maine has never lost to BU in five meetings in the Hockey East semifinals. Maine is 4-0 on neutral ice this season. BU is 35-16 at the TD Garden since it replaced the Boston Garden in 1995. Millan is coming off a career-high and Hockey East Tournament record 68-save performance in the 5-4 double overtime win over New Hampshire in the third game in their best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series. Millan leads all BU goalies in career wins against Maine (8-5-2, 2.50, .911). Sullivan is 2-1-1, 2.26 and .931 against BU. Connolly is BU’s leading scorer against Maine (6 & 9 in 16 games) while Abbott is the Black Bears’ top scorer against BU (7 & 4 in 16 games). BU has received 26 goals from its defense corps, led by Noonan’s 16. Maine will have to match BU’s intensity and physical play and the forwards will have to backcheck relentlessly because BU’s defensemen are so active offensively. Effective back pressure could also lead to transition chances for Maine.

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