By Mark Fraenkel
As October wraps up and a jam-packed November of hockey commences, here are the recent major storylines from the last weekend of Hockey East play.
Merrimack Upsets UMass
Coach Scott Borek and the Merrimack Warriors (4-3-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) had a great weekend series against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (5-5-1, 1-1-0 HE). The Warriors fell in overtime on Friday night and defeated the Minutemen in overtime the next night.
On Friday night, Merrimack’s junior forward Alex Jefferies found the back of the net in the third period to send the game to overtime. In the overtime period, UMass’ sophomore forward Taylor Makar responded with a goal to win the game for the Minutemen.
“We were fortunate tonight,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel told UMassAthletics.com. “I thought for two periods Merrimack out-competed us and we started to play in the third.”
The next night, senior forward Reed Lebster opened up the scoring for the Minutemen. But, with less than one minute to play in regulation, Merrimack’s senior forward Mac Welsher shot one past junior goaltender Cole Brady to send the game to an extra period. In overtime, senior forward Ben Brar sent the puck across the goal line to win the game for the Warriors in front of their home crowd in North Andover.
After sweeping the nationally-ranked Denver Pioneers (6-2-0, 2-0-0 NCHC) and the Union Dutchmen (3-6-1, 1-1-0 ECAC) the past two weekends, UMass will try to get back on track next weekend with a home-and-home series with the Providence College Friars (4-2-1, 2-0-1 HE).
Merrimack plays a Thursday-Saturday home-and-home series with the Boston College Eagles (2-2-1, 2-1-0 HE).
Providence Ties And Beats UNH
After losing in both regulation and overtime to Denver last weekend, Providence rebounded against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (3-4-1, 0-4-1 HE).
Freshman forward Morgan Winters and sophomore defenseman Colton Huard opened up the scoring for the Wildcats on Friday night in Durham. Trailing 2-0, senior forward Craig Needham and junior forward Chase Yoder would score for the Friars sending the game to overtime.
After five minutes of overtime, the game went to a shootout. In the shootout, Providence’s junior forward Brett Berard was the only player to score.
In Providence, the next night, two goals from freshman forward Jaroslav Chmelar would help the Friars beat the Wildcats 3-1. New Hampshire has a home-and-home with the Northeastern Huskies (4-2-2, 3-2-1 HE) next weekend.
Northeastern Hits A Bump In The Road At Maine
In a two-game set in Orono, Maine, the University of Maine Black Bears (2-4-1, 0-1-1 HE) took Jerry Keefe’s team to overtime on Friday night before falling to the Huskies on Saturday night.
Senior forward Riley Hughes and graduate student forward Jakov Novak opened up the scoring for Northeastern on Friday night. Down 2-0, the Black Bears responded with goals from freshman forward Killian Kiecker-Olson and junior forward Donavan Villeneuve-Houle. Maine would win the shootout with goals from Kiecker-Olson and senior forward Ben Poisson.
The Huskies responded the next night with a 4-1 win. Senior forward Aidan McDonough scored two goals while sophomore forward Matt Choupani and Novak each added one in the route to victory.
Maine travels to Hartford next weekend for two games with Mike Cavanaugh’s University of Connecticut Huskies (7-1-1, 4-1-0 HE).
UConn Pulls Away From BC
Junior forward Colby Ambrosio opened the scoring for the Eagles on Thursday night in Hartford. UConn’s senior defenseman Harrison Rees responded with a goal in the second period. Junior forward Hudson Schandor would give the Huskies a 2-1 lead in the third period.
Two goals from junior forward Ryan Tverberg and an additional goal from graduate student forward Adam Dawe gave UConn a 5-1 win.
The Huskies stand on top of Hockey East at the moment with 11 points. Northeastern is one point behind in second place, while Providence is in third place with eight points.