By Mark Fraenkel
Returning from the Thanksgiving break, the parity within the Hockey East conference was shown once again. Here are the major headlines from the league.
BC and No. 10 Providence Split Two Six Points
After falling to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-7-2, 3-4-1 BIG 10) on Black Friday, the Boston College Eagles (5-5-4, 4-3-3 Hockey East) rebounded with a strong weekend against the league’s second place team, the Providence College Friars (9-3-5, 6-0-5 HE).
On Friday night at Conte Forum freshman forward Cutter Gauthier opened the scoring up for the Eagles with a power play goal in the first period, but the Friars would respond quickly. Sophomore defenseman Richard Guillaume would score a goal less than four minutes later to tie the game at one. That score would hold for the remainder of regulation and the overtime period. The visitors would take the shootout 1-0.
In Providence the next night, junior forward Nick Poisson would score his second goal of the night to tie the game at 2-2 midway through the final period. Sophomore forward Matt Argentina was the hero for Greg Brown’s team on Saturday night scoring the clincher in the shootout.
BC looks to continue their momentum on Friday night when they host the Boston University Terriers (10-4-0, 7-3-0 HE), while Providence looks to rebound from this weekend. They’ll host the Merrimack College Warriors (11-4-0, 7-2-0 HE) on Saturday night.
No. 16 Lowell Takes Shootout From No. 15 UMass
After returning from the Friendship Four, the University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks (9-6-1, 5-4-1 HE) tied the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (7-5-3, 3-5-1 HE) with Lowell taking the extra point in the shootout.
“I thought that was a really good college hockey game,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel told UMassAthletics.com. “Outside of the penalties, not sure why they were so lopsided, I thought it was a pretty even game… The kids battled hard, [sophomore goaltender Luke] Pavicich made a lot of saves. It was a game where I felt like one team would grab momentum for 4-5 minutes and the other team would grab it for a while, but it’s hard to win when we take so many penalties.”
Sophomore forward Taylor Makar opened up the scoring for the Minutemen on Saturday night at the Mullins Center, but, late in the second period, freshman forward Dillan Bentley found the back of the net to tie the game. Senior forwards Carl Berglund and Ryan Brushett each scored in the shootout to give the River Hawks the extra point in the league standings.
Lowell will travel to Hanover, New Hampshire next weekend to play the Dartmouth Big Green (1-8-1, 1-5-1 ECAC), and UMass will host fourth-placed Merrimack on Wednesday night.
No. 12 Merrimack Bounces Back With Firm Win over No. 8 UConn
After falling to the University of Connecticut Huskies (11-4-3, 8-3-2 HE) at Lawler Rink on Tuesday evening, Merrimack responded with a thorough defeat of first-place UConn on Friday in Hartford.
After sophomore forward Chase Bradley scored just over three minutes into the game, Merrimack responded with goals from sophomore forward Matt Copponi, graduate student defenseman Ryan Leibold, and senior forward Ben Brar. Graduate forward Justin Pearson would score midway through the second period, before junior forward Alex Jefferies responded to return the Warriors lead to 4-2. Freshman forward Samu Salminen brought UConn within one, but sophomore forward Mark Hillier would extend the lead back to 5-3. Freshman defenseman Zach Bookman and graduate student forward Jordan Seyfert would tack on goals en route to the final score of 7-3.
UConn returns to action on Sunday when they host BU.
Northeastern Continues Slump At Union
After losing to the Western Michigan Broncos (10-8-0, 4-4-0 NCHC), the Northeastern Huskies (7-6-3, 6-4-2 HE) fell to the Union Dutchmen in Schenectady, NY.
Freshman forward Jack Williams and sophomore forward Justin Hryckowian both scored for Northeastern, but it wouldn’t be enough as junior forward Liam Robertson and senior forward Chris Theodore would shoot the puck past junior goaltender Devon Levi late in the second period and midway through the final period respectively, to give the home team the victory.
Jerry Keefe’s team will travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut on Tuesday to play the Sacred Heart Pioneers (7-7-1, 7-4-1 AHA).