By Mark Fraenkel
November wrapped up with some great matchups both in league play and in non-conference play. Here are the major storylines around Hockey East heading into the month of December.
UMass Has A Successful Trip To Belfast
The University of Massachusetts Minutemen (7-5-2, 3-5-0 Hockey East) had a successful trip to Northern Ireland over the break. Greg Carvel’s team defeated the University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks (9-6-0, 5-4-0 HE) in the first round of the tournament before tying and falling in overtime to the No. 4 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-1-3, 6-0-0 ECAC) in the final.
Freshman forward Kenny Connors scored two goals to give UMass a 2-0 lead into the beginning of the third period on Friday. Lowell’s freshman defenseman TJ Schweighardt would score midway through the third, but it wouldn’t be enough and UMass would advance to the championship game.
Quinnipiac scored two power play goals to maintain a 2-1 lead through much of the third period in the championship game. With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, freshman forward Michael Cameron would find the back of the net to tie the game. The Bobcats would take the trophy in the shootout, but the result will count as a tie for NCAA purposes.
In the consolation game against the Dartmouth Big Green (1-6-1, 1-3-1 ECAC), the River Hawks would go down by three goals in the first period. Norm Bazin’s team responded with three unanswered goals from senior forwards Zach Kaiser and Carl Berglund, as well as freshman forward Nick Rheaume. In overtime, Sophomore forward Stefan Owens shot the puck past freshman goaltender Cooper Black to give Lowell the consolation win.
The River Hawks and Minutemen will have a rematch at the Mullins Center on Friday night.
Notre Dame Splits On The Road Against BU And BC
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-7-2, 3-4-1 BIG 10) traveled to Boston to play games against two of Hockey East’s premiere programs.
On Wednesday, the visitors from South Bend, Indiana fell to the Boston University Terriers (8-4-0, 5-3-0 HE). Freshman defenseman Lane Hutson scored two goals in the 5-2 victory.
On Black Friday, Notre Dame would bounce back against a surging Boston College Eagles (5-5-2, 4-3-1) team. Junior forward Trevor Kuntar and junior defenseman Eamon Powell would give BC a 2-1 lead early in the second period, but two goals from sophomore forward Tyler Carpenter, and goals from senior forward Jesse Lansdell and graduate defenseman Ben Brinkman would give the Fighting Irish a 5-2 win.
“I think we scored two momentum goals in that game that gives your team life and… kind of dictate some momentum over the game a little bit in your favor,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said in an interview with the Boston Hockey Blog. “I thought we did a really good job in the third. And I thought once we scored that third goal, I thought we played with a lot more confidence and you know, and then it led to us getting that empty net or at the end. But you know, all in all, I was really pleased with our performance as the game progressed on Friday night,” he added.
Boston College would rebound quickly. Greg Brown’s team traveled to Providence, Rhode Island for a midweek matchup with the Brown Bears (3-7-1, 1-6-1 ECAC) where they picked up a 4-2 win. In their first trip to Meehan Auditorium since 2014, two goals from junior forward Nikita Nesterenko and goals from freshman forwards Andre Gasseau and Cutter Gauthier would be more than enough for the victory. This weekend, the Eagles will compete in a home-and-home series with the Providence College Friars (9-3-3, 6-0-3 HE).
BU will return to action with a home-and-home series with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (3-11-1, 0-9-1 HE) this weekend.
Providence Falls To Brown In Mayor’s Cup
After beating the St. Lawrence Saints (5-7-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) 4-3 on Friday night, PC fell to the Bears in the crosstown rivalry.
Assisted by junior forward Chase Yoder, senior defenseman Max Crozier would give the Friars a 1-0 lead in the first period. Three unanswered goals in the second period would put Brown ahead 3-1 heading into the final period, and despite a late third-period goal from freshman defenseman Austen May assisted by senior forward Partick Moynihan and senior forward Parker Ford, the Bears would hold on to win the Mayor’s Cup.
No. 8 UConn Stumbles Against Cornell But Rebound In Midweek Win Over No. 12 Merrimack
A hat-trick from Cornell Big Red (6-4-0, 4-2-0 HE) freshman forward Dalton Bancroft helped the team from Ithaca win big against the University of Connecticut Huskies (11-3-3, 8-2-2 HE) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Sophomore goaltender Logan Terness allowed six goals and made 24 saves in the loss.
After the loss, the Huskies traveled to North Andover and beat the Merrimack College Warriors (10-4-0, 6-2-0 HE) 3-1 in a Tuesday night matchup. Junior forward Alex Jefferies opened up the scoring in the first period for Merrimack at Lawler Rink. But, three unanswered UConn goals from freshmen forwards Samu Salminen and Jake Percival and an additional goal from junior forward Nick Capone would lift the Huskies over the Warriors.
UConn will have a rematch against Merrimack at home on Friday night before hosting BU the following Sunday.