Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/22/13
8 a.m. ET: This weekend — and much of the next few weeks — will be dominated by college basketball, but March Madness isn’t limited to just hoops. Some of the finest collegiate hockey players New England has to offer will take the ice tonight at TD Garden for the semifinals of the Hockey East tournament, with the victors earning the chance to play for the conference title on Saturday. There weren’t any upset specials in last weekend’s quarterfinals, with the higher seeds going a combined 8-1 to sweep the four opening-round series. Top seed UMass-Lowell, coming off the first regular season title in school history, punched its ticket to the Garden rounds with a two-game sweep of Maine. They’ll take on a fourth-seeded Providence squad backstopped by freshman sensation Jon Gillies. The matchup will showcase two of the game’s best young goaltenders, as Gillies and River Hawks freshman Connor Hellebuyck rank second and first, respectively, in Hockey East in both goals against average and save percentage. But the marquee event will be the nightcap, as Boston University looks to send coach Jack Parker to his 10th and final Hockey East title game with a win over crosstown rival Boston College. The Eagles’ own legendary coach, Jerry York, is expected to miss the game as he continues to recover from a detached retina suffered last Saturday. UMass-Lowell and PC will get the action underway at 5 p.m., with BC-BU following at 8 p.m. Be sure to check back throughout the day for up-to-the-minute updates leading up to puck drop. Photos via Twitter/@HeightsSports / Facebook/Boston University / Twitter/@HeightsSports / Facebook/Providence College Men’s Hockey
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