MAINE vs. BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Time, site: Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 30-0-2 (17-0-1 HE), BU 21-6-2 (14-4-1 HE)
Series: Maine leads 22-18-1
Key players: Maine – LW Paul Kariya (21 goals, 51 assists), C Jim Montgomery (17 & 47), RW Cal Ingraham (34 & 27), C-RW Chris Ferraro (18 & 20), D Chris Imes (7 & 16), G Mike Dunham (17-0-1 record, 2.38 goals-against average, .901 save percentage), G Garth Snow (13-0-1, 2.00, .919); BU – C David Sacco (20 & 26), RW Doug Friedman (12 & 18), LW Jay Pandolfo (11 & 19), C Steve Thornton (14 & 13), D Kaj Linna (1 & 21), G J.P. McKersie (6-0-1, 3.56, .879), G Scott Cashman (8-2-0, 2.74, .909)
Outlook: The top three scorers for each team are linemates. Maine was ranked No. 1 in the country in the latest polls and BU was fifth in both (Albany Times Union and WMEB). Maine is 9-0-1 in the last 10 meetings with BU at the Alfond Arena. BU broke the loss skein last season by rallying from a 4-0 deficit to tie Maine 4-4. McKersie backstopped the tie by relieving Cashman and blanking the Bears (17 saves) over the last two periods and the OT. Maine is unbeaten in its last 45 games at the Alfond Arena (41-0-4) and has gone 44 games without a regular season loss, home or away (40-0-4). Maine is also 30-0-3 in its last 33 games against Hockey East opponents. BU is 18-2-1 in its last 21 games.Sacco leads the country in game-winning goals with eight. Maine and BU are ranked first (6.40) and fourth (4.97) in the nation, respectively, in scoring and are first (2.30) and seventh (3.00) in goals allowed. The key questions to the series are: Can Maine weather BU’s intense forechecking pressure? Can BU avoid neutral ice turnovers that Maine transforms into transition opportunities (3-on-2s, 2-on-1s)? Who will get the better goaltending? Which team will have better control of its emotions?