While BU's offense was stymied against Lowell, Casey DeSmith and UNH jumped ahead to tie Merrimack for first place.
When all was said and done on Friday night, Hockey East became an all-out logjam with two-team ties segmented atop the standings. Tim Schaller and Stefan Demopoulous had career nights for PC, while Connor Hellebuyck and Martin Ouellette were outstanding in their respective nets.
Providence 6, Northeastern 2
Senior Tim Schaller and sophomore Stefan Demopoulous each had career nights for the Friars as they factored into five of the team's six goals in a 6-2 thrashing of Northeastern at Schneider Arena. Demopoulous tied a career high with two goals, while breaking his previous single-game marks of three assists and five points. Schaller, a Merrimack, N.H. native, posted a career-best four assists, in addition to the opening goal of the game at 8:38. With the win, the Friars extend their unbeaten streak to six games (2-0-4), their longest since 2003, and caught up to Boston College to tie the Eagles for third place with 26 points. The victory also secured PC's first season series victory over the Huskies since 2007-08 as it also won on Nov. 16, 2012 by the same count. For NU, sophomore Josh Manson scored his second goal of the season and in as many games about midway through the second period, while senior Bryan Mountain made 28 stops in taking his seventh loss. Additionally for PC, junior Derek Army now has three points in the last two games and tied a career high with two assists in the contest, while rookie Jon Gillies made 35 saves to open the weekend set in a win.
UMass Lowell 3, Boston University 0
After a scoreless first period, sophomore Scott Wilson broke through at 5:35 of the middle stanza for all the offense the visiting River Hawks en route to a 3-0 victory - a 25-save effort from rookie Connor Hellebuyck for his third shutout of the season. The result marked the first time since a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 20, 2009, that the Terriers were shut out at home. BU’s home winless streak now stands at five games (0-4-1) and is its longest since moving games to campus in 1971. Junior Joseph Pendenza, the game's only multi-point scorer, netted a second-period goal and added an assist on senior captain Riley Wetmore's fluky bounce for a goal at 14:55 of the third. With the season set already secured, UML seeks out its first three-game winning streak over the Terriers since finalizing a four-game stretch on Dec. 1, 2001, when the series shifts to Tsongas Center on Saturday night.
Maine 2, Massachusetts 0
Pre-game on Friday, the Black Bears learned that senior Joey Diamond would miss the series-opening contest at Alfond Arena, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as they improved to 4-0-0 in his absence with a 2-0 shutout of new ninth-place UMass. Junior goaltender Martin Ouellette made 30 saves for the home team as he improved to 7-9-6 and earned his second shutout of the season. In support of the Quebec native, Maine scored both of its goals in the second period, off the sticks of rookie defenseman Ben Hutton and junior Mark Anthoine. Kevin Boyle made 22 saves in net for the Minutemen, while sophomore classmate and North Andover, Mass. native Steve Mastalerz stopped eight shots through the final 20:37.
New Hampshire 4, Vermont 3
Paced by three goals with a man advantage, the No. 5 Wildcats escaped Gutterson Fieldhouse with a 4-3 win over the host Catamounts to win the series opener on Friday night. Senior Austin Block scored a pair of goals from the blue line to pace the victorious offense as it scored a trio on the power play for the first time since Dec. 5, 2010. The Wildcats are now also guaranteed the series win with UVM by virtue of a 4-0 win in Durham on Nov. 10. Casey DeSmith had to make just 11 saves for the duration, including eight in the third period alone, as he improved to a stellar 16-6-4 on the season. On the UVM side, no player chipped in with multiple points, but it took the lead at 1:52 when senior Virginian captain H.T. Lenz found the back of the net for the fourth time this year.
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.