Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The Boston College vs. Boston University series highlights a big weekend of college games.
What is arguably the best rivalry in all of college hockey -- Boston College and Boston University -- gets some national exposure this weekend.
The best part? Both teams are highly relevant, and it's not the only great action we'll see in this weekend of college hockey.
Fans in my neck of the woods -- Minnesota -- will probably hate me saying that BC-BU is where it's at, but I'm still waiting for Mike Emrick to narrate a DVD about the Minnesota-Wisconsin or Minnesota-North Dakota hockey rivalries.
They just aren't at this level.
Fright night, Agganis Arena (BU's home rink) hosts the 260th meeting between these two legendary hockey programs. BU has won 127, BC 115, and there have been 17 ties. Boston College won all three matchups last year, including an overtime epic in the Beanpot final, and the Eagles haven't lost at Agganis since 2009, a span of four straight BC victories in enemy territory.
Last year, BU won both meetings at Conte Forum -- the Eagles' home rink -- by an aggregate of 10-3.
Both games of this home-and-home series between top ten teams (Boston College is No. 1 and a dominant-looking defending national champion, and Boston University No. 9) will air nationally on NBC Sports Network, with Emrick and Pierre McGuire on the call.
It'll be a great showcase for Hobey Baker candidate Johnny Gaudreau of BC, as well as Panthers draft pick Wade Megan of BU, who has seven goals in 11 games.
They aren't the only key matchups in college hockey this weekend.
UMass-Lowell at No. 2 New Hampshire (Friday) and New Hampshire at UMass-Lowell (Saturday)
The Riverhawks made the NCAA Tournament last year, and were one win away from the Frozen Four before falling to Union in the East Regional final. UML has slipped this season, starting 4-5-1. They are in desperate need of quality wins and Hockey East points, and can take a huge step forward by doing well against the red-hot Wildcats, who are 9-1-2 and playing at a very high level. Of course, with BC and BU swiping all the headlines, coach Dick Umile's latest quality UNH team is virtually forgotten about in Hockey East.
Quinnipiac at No. 7 Union (Friday)
Quinnipiac is off to a 4-0 start in ECAC play, while Union is not far behind in the league standings. The Dutchmen continue to impress on the recruiting trail, but seniors like Kyle Bodie have been leading the way this season. Sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is a draft pick of the Flyers who has the potential to cause problems for more than just the equipment guy who has to stitch that name on a jersey.
Michigan at Ferris State (Friday and Saturday)
Neither team is ranked, but this is a huge weekend series. Ferris State -- a surprise CCHA champion and Frozen Four team last year -- is off to another good start, sitting just a point behind Miami for the league lead. Michigan, meanwhile, is off to a 3-5-1 start in league play. The Wolverines need to get something going, or they'll be left behind in the CCHA's final season.
No. 8 North Dakota at Colorado College (Friday and Saturday)
Last week, the Tigers were stunned at home by Yale, 6-5 in overtime, one night after rallying from 4-0 down to get a 4-4 draw with UNH. Now, they step back into WCHA play to take on UND, a team that hasn't been blowing opponents away, but is as talented and balanced as any in the country. CC has surprised many with its offensive firepower this season, considering it lost star forward Jaden Schwartz early to pro hockey after last season.
No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha at No. 3 Minnesota (Friday and Saturday)
Omaha coach Dean Blais has tormented Minnesota in the past, but the Gophers swept the teams' only series last year in Omaha, helping UNO on a season-ending tailspin that took it out of NCAA Tournament consideration. The Mavericks have been a bit of a surprise this season, while some are actually disappointed by Minnesota's play despite an 8-2-2 record. Neither team has been tested like they will be this weekend, however.
Best of the rest
* NBC Sports Network has a doubleheader Friday, with Wisconsin-Denver following BC-BU. The Pioneers lost twice last weekend, so they'll look to get on track against a Wisconsin team that has only won once. The Badgers do get freshman Nic Kerdiles in the lineup this weekend for the first time, after he served an NCAA-imposed suspension over an amateurism issue.
* After an uneven start, Cornell blitzed Michigan 5-1 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Cornell hosts Clarkson Friday and St. Lawrence Saturday, a great chance to grab some ECAC points.
* Niagara and Quinnipiac are the only teams left in the nation who are still unbeaten and untied in their conferences. While Quinnipiac will probably struggle to stay that way this weekend, Niagara hosts winless Sacred Heart, so the Purple Eagles -- 7-0 in Atlantic Hockey -- stand a good chance to remain perfect.