By Mark Fraenkel
As the calendar turns to February, here are the major storylines from around the league.
UConn Beats Yale But Falls To Quinnipiac In Connecticut Tournament
The University of Connecticut Huskies (16-8-3, 10-6-2 Hockey East) beat the Yale Bulldogs (3-14-4, 2-10-2 ECAC), but fell to the Quinnipiac Bobcats (20-3-3, 12-2-0) in the Connecticut Ice championship.
On Friday night, graduate forward Justin Pearson lit the lamp midway through the opening period and junior forward Ryan Tverberg scored another to give the Huskies an early 2-0. Freshmen Matthew Wood and Samu Salminen, along with blueliners Roman Kinal and Jake Veileux also scored en route to the 6-1 win.
In the championship game, Quinnipiac’s senior forward Skyler Brind’Amour gave the Bobcats the lead at 5:52 in the first period. Pearson would tie the game at one with a goal midway through the period, but graduate forward Ethan de Jong would give the lead back to Quinnipiac with 100 seconds to play in the opening frame.
UConn would take the lead back late in the second period when Salminen scored at 18:30 followed by junior forward Hudson Schandor’s goal with 23.5 seconds left to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead.
de Jong would respond for the Bobcats with a goal early in the third period and graduate defenseman Jake Johnson won the tournament for the Bobcats with one of his own at 15:29 of the third period.
UConn will return to Hockey East play this weekend when they travel to Boston for a Friday night matchup against the Northeastern Huskies (12-9-3, 10-4-2 HE).
Merrimack Splits With UVM
The Merrimack College Warriors (16-10-1, 11-6-0 HE) split with the University of Vermont Catamounts (9-14-3, 4-11-1 HE) this weekend in Burlington– a less than ideal outcome for Scott Borek’s team.
After going down 2-1 at the end of the first period, Merrimack’s senior forward Ben Brar scored twice and junior forward Alex Jefferies tapped in another in the second period to give the Warriors a 4-2 win on Friday night.
On Saturday night, with about 15 minutes to play in the first period, sophomore forward Isak Walther scored to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Jefferies would once again score for the Warriors to tie the game in the second period.
Graduate defenseman Robbie Stucker was the overtime hero for UVM. His goal came 43 seconds into the extra period.
Merrimack returns to action with games on the road against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (7-18-1, 2-13-2 HE) and University of Maine Black Bears (11-12-2, 5-8-1 HE) on Friday and Sunday.
Vermont will host the Providence College Friars (12-9-6, 7-5-5 HE) on Sunday.
Lowell Defeats UMass
The University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks (15-9-1, 9-5-1 HE) defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (9-13-3, 6-5-1 HE) 1-0 on Friday night at the Tsongas Center.
Freshman forward Dillan Bentley scored the lone goal in the second period en route to the win for the River Hawks.
Sophomore goaltender Luke Pavicich made 36 saves in the loss for Amherst while Lowell’s Gustavs Davis Grigals made 28 saves and picked up the win.
Norm Bazin’s team will return to action next weekend with games at home against the Boston College Eagles (9-9-5, 5-6-4 HE) and UNH.
UMass will look to rebound with a game against Providence on Friday.