Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Hockey East's marquee programs made big statements in the first full weekend of conference action.
Merrimack beats, ties Vermont
After 40 minutes on Friday night, it was neck-and-neck between the Warriors and the Catamounts, but Merrimack used a strong third period to skate away from Vermont, taking two points and their first Hockey East win of the season. Jordan Heywood's first goal of the season at 15:16 of the final frame was the game-winner, and Merrimack went on to notch two more power play goals in the final minute to win, 6-3. The Warriors got three points on three assists from Mike Collins and a goal and two assists from Rhett Bly, and Sam Marotta saved 29 shots for the win.
On Saturday, the Catamounts scored twice in 34 seconds in the second period to take a 2-1 lead, but couldn't hold onto the advantage as Mike Collins's second goal of the game and fourth of the season brought the score even, where it stayed through overtime. Rasmus Tirronen saved 31 shots for the Warriors, as he avoided a loss in his third straight game.
Maine vs. Providence
Maine's struggles continued to manifest themselves as they fell again on Friday night, allowing two Providence goals in the first 5:03 of the final period to fall 3-2. Steven McParland's first goal of the season proved the decisive marker for the Friars, who got their first in-conference points with the win. John Gillies (Calgary Flames) saved 29 shots and Drew Brown had a goal and an assist for Nate Leaman's squad. Martin Oulette (Columbus Blue Jackets) saved 24 shots in his first loss of the season.
The struggles for the Mainers continued on Saturday night, with the Friars getting two past Dan Sullivan in the first period and not looking back en route to a 3-0 victory. Ross Mauermann's fourth goal of the year opened the floodgates for Providence, which also got markers from Shane Luke and Kevin Hart en route to their second straight victory. Gillies stopped 26 shots to earn the first shutout of his collegiate career.
#11 UNH beats, ties #15 Northeastern
In three games heading into this weekend's action, UNH hadn't scored fewer than four goals. They continued that trend on Friday night, winning a 4-3 decision against the Huskies while getting production from up and down the roster, but in their first game away from the Whittemore Center, Dick Umile's squad ran into a mountain - specifically, Bryan Mountain, Northeastern's 5'7" senior goaltender, who stopped all 44 shots that he saw in regulation en route to a 0-0 draw. Casey DeSmith stopped 34 Northeastern shots, a night after stopping 20 shots in Durham.
John Henrion scored the game-winning goal at 19:07 of the third period on Friday night, after Austin Block and Kevin Goumas each had a goal and an assist to pace the Wildcats. Northeastern had nine players on the score sheet, but none from the re-figured second line of Cam Darcy, Kevin Roy (Anaheim Ducks) and Ludwig Karlsson.
#13 BU sweeps UMass
On Friday night at Agganis Arena, the Terriers didn't let UMass get close. On Saturday night in Amherst, they spotted the Minutemen a two-goal lead before battling back to capture a four-point weekend.
BU got three goals from its top line on Friday, including two and an assist from Cason Hohmann, and got markers from Wade Megan (Floriday Panthers) and Matt Nieto (San Jose Sharks) as well as the game-winner from senior Sean Escobedo.
Matt O'Connor stopped 56 shots on the weekend for his second and third wins of the season.
#1 Boston College sweeps Lowell
It looked like the top two teams at the beginning of Hockey East's season were in for a tie for most of Friday night's battle at Tsongas Center until Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) found Kevin Whitney early in the third period to give the Eagles the only goal that they'd need on the night as Boston College won, 1-0. The Eagles killed off four Lowell power plays and won despite not earning a single man-advantage themselves.
The story was different, but the result the same on Sunday afternoon in Chestnut Hill, where the Eagles got three-point efforts from Kevin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), Bill Arnold (Calgary) and Teddy Doherty as well as goals from Gaudreau, Pat Mullane and Destry Straight to skate past the RiverHawks by a 6-3 margin. Three of Boston College's goals (including both of Whitney's) came on the power play, while Lowell got two tallies on the man-advantage. In all, 14 penalties were called, nine of them on Lowell - a far cry from Friday night's meticulous effort. Scott Wilson (Pittsburgh Penguins) netted one of Lowell's three goals, with Michael Colantone and Derek Arnold getting the others. Parker Milner made 25 saves to get the win.