Josh Myers scored the winning goal for Merrimack as it defeated UMass at Lawler Arena for the seventh time in a row.
Merrimack and New Hampshire finished the shortened weekend slate in a tie for second place in the Hockey East standings. The Warriors were 4-2 winners at home over UMass.
Merrimack 4, Massachusetts 2
The No. 20 Warriors won their third consecutive game and their sixth in the last eight, using a second empty-netter in a row from junior Mike Collins in the final 50 seconds as insurance in a 4-2 victory over the Minutemen at Lawler Arena. With the victory, Merrimack picks up two more crucial Hockey East points and ties New Hampshire for second in the league standings. The Minutemen now remain without points in the last seven trips to Lawler Arena with their last win coming by a 4-2 score on Mar. 8, 2008. Sophomore Josh Myers netted his first goal since Dec. 1, 2012 - a 2-1 win over Providence - to give the Warriors the 3-2 lead with just over five minutes to play. In addition to scoring the empty-netter for his 15th goal of the season, Collins assisted on the game-tying strike from sophomore Quinn Gould in the second period to ensure his tenth multi-point outing of the season. For the Minutemen, junior Branden Gracel posted his team-leading 13th goal and 26th point of the year on the shorthand with 14 seconds left in the first period. Merrimack held an 18-3 shots advantage against UMass sophomore netminder Kevin Boyle in the first period (41-18 for the game), but the score was tied 1-1 at that point. Next Friday, the Warriors welcome first-place and fifth-ranked Boston College to Lawler Arena for their first head-to-head meeting since a 4-3 BC win at home on Nov. 16, 2012. UMass faces Alumni Cup rival UMass-Lowell in a home-and-home duel next weekend.
New Hampshire 3, Providence 3 (OT)
Veteran Scott Pavelski forced overtime with 3:26 remaining but the No. 4/5 Wildcats got no further in a 3-3 tie with Providence at Whittemore Center. Friar rookie Jon Gillies made 41 saves to salvage the tie and help his squad earn their third of a possible four points in Durham this season, after 6-5 win on Jan. 19. PC clinched at least a season series tie with UNH for the first time since 2005-06 and went consecutive road games in Durham without a loss for the first time ever. The result was also PC's third consecutive tie, sixth draw overall, and ninth overtime game this year (surpassing its mark of eight last year and 12 in 2010-11). In addition to Pavelski, sophomore Grayson Downing and freshman Dan Correale also scored for the Wildcats, while Downing added a second point via an assist. Rookie Nick Saracino beat UNH sophomore Casey DeSmith (39 saves) twice in the third period, while adding an assist on John Gilmour's first-period goal to pace the Friars. The teams return to action on Wednesday night, concluding their home-and-home set at Schneider Arena.
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.