A quick look at the Hockey East standings entering Friday night showed just how important this weekend’s home series would be for the No. 14/15 Vermont Catamounts (15-10-3, 7-8-0 Hockey East).
UVM jumped off to a fast start in the opening stanza and scored late in the third, but the Boston College Eagles (23-4-3, 14-1-1) scored goals at both ends of the second period for a 4-3 victory at the Gutterson Field House.
The Eagles are now 15-0-1 in 16 games since a Nov. 29, 2013 loss to Holy Cross and would lock up the Hockey East regular season title with a win Saturday.
The top-ranked team in the nation had some early struggles in the first period and surrendered the opening goal of the game to UVM at 9:46. Senior captain H.T. Lenz scored his fourth goal of the season, a quick strike that beat BC rookie Thatcher Demko.
Evening the score was a fast task for the Eagles, however, as freshman Austin Cangelosi picked up a dangerous carom on the doorstep at the 13:27 mark. An initial shot off Ian McCoshen’s stick set up the Floridian native for his first goal marker since Jan. 21 at Merrimack.
Johnny Gaudreau made it a 25-game point streak just 30 seconds into the second, posting up in front and putting a rebound past UVM freshman Mike Santaguida on the man-advantage. Senior captain Patrick Brown redirected freshman Steve Santini’s shot to give BC a 3-1 lead with 11 seconds remaining in the middle stanza.
Just two minutes into the third period, Pete Massar cut the Catamount deficit as he rushed by the defense and flicked the puck past Demko. BC responded just 23 seconds later on Brown’s second goal of the night and fifth in three games.
Stellar freshman Mario Puskarich put UVM within one with 18 seconds remaining in regulation, but it was Demko’s 26-save effort that pushed the Eagles to the win.
Notre Dame 2, Providence 2 (OT)
Sophomore Nick Saracino’s goal at the 13:49 mark of the third period lifted the No. 9 Friars (15-8-6, 7-6-2) even with the visiting Irish (16-12-2, 5-9-2) in the team’s first-ever Hockey East meeting at Schneider Arena. Notre Dame senior Steven Summerhays stopped 47 of the 49 shots he faced in the draw.
New Hampshire 4, Boston University 3
The Terriers (8-17-4, 3-9-3 Hockey East) posted 40 shots on goal but junior New Yorker Matt Willows scored twice and junior Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 37 stops in goal to lead the Wildcats (17-15-1, 9-8-0) to a Whittemore Center win. Rookie Robbie Baillargeon (Enfield, Conn.) scored and assisted on BU's other two goals in defeat.
UMass Lowell 3, Massachusetts 2
Senior defenseman Joe Houk scored with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation as the No. 7 River Hawks (20-7-3, 10-4-2 Hockey East) eked out an exciting win at the Tsonas Center, their ninth in a row over the rival Minutemen (8-18-4, 4-10-3). UML gas now hit the 20-win mark for the third consective season for the first time in the school's Division I history.
Maine 2, Merrimack 1
Ryan Lomberg broke a 1-1 deadlock with his second goal of the night at 11:26 of the second period and the Black Bears (14-10-3, 8-5-2) never looked back, taking the first of two weekend Hockey East games with the Warriors (7-17-3, 2-11-2) at Alfond Arena. Freshman Chris LeBlanc (Winthrop, Mass.) assisted on Merrimack's lone goal of the night, his sixth point in as many games.
Quinnipiac 4, Yale 0
The college hockey inhabitants of Whitney Avenue convened on Ingalls Rink Friday night to rematch the 2013 Frozen Four national title game, but it was all Bobcats (21-5-5, 11-3-3 ECAC Hockey) this time around. Michael Garteig made 33 stops for his NCAA-high fifth shutout of the season in goal, while senior captain Cory Hibbeler scored and posted two assists as No. 4 QU downed its rival Bulldogs (12-8-4, 7-7-3).
Harvard 1, Clarkson 0 (OT)
Sophomore Jimmy Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) scored the lone goal of the game with 14 seconds remaining in overtime as the Crimson (9-12-3, 5-9-3 ECAC Hockey) upset the No. 14/15 Golden Knights (17-12-2, 10-7-0) on the road at Cheel Arena. Junior Steve Michalek (Glastonbury, Conn.) pitched a 31-save shutout to avenge a Nov. 9 loss to CU in Cambridge.
Princeton 3, Brown 2
Sophomore Mark Naclerio (Milford, Conn.) and junior Matt Lorito scored in the middle stages of the second period for the host Bears (9-12-3, 6-10-1 ECAC Hockey), but the Tigers (5-19-0, 4-13-0) jumped ahead two minutes later to win on the road at Meehan Auditorium. Freshman Ben Foster (Darien, Conn.), PU's lone local, scored at 5:07 of the middle stanza.
Dartmouth 3, St. Lawrence 1
In his first action since going down with a leg injury nine games ago, senior captain Tyler Sikura notched two assists to lead the Big Green (5-16-3, 4-12-1 ECAC Hockey) to a big road win at historic Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y.
Bentley 6, Army 1
After falling behind 1-0 after the first period, the Falcons
(15-10-4, 13-5-4 Atlantic Hockey) scored five times in the second
to coast to victory in West Point, N.Y. Bentley's top line of Brett
Switzer (0-3-3), Alex Grieve (2-0-2) and Brett Gensler (0-3-3) led
the way offensively, and senior Branden Komm made 21 saves for the
Holy Cross 3, Connecticut 1
Senior Derek Kump (Falmouth, Maine) made 20 stops for his second victory in a row as the Crusaders (9-17-3, 8-11-3 Atlantic Hockey) downed the host Huskies (15-10-4, 12-7-3) at Freitas Ice Forum. Assistant captain Adam Schmidt scored a goal and an assist for Holy Cross.
Sacred Heart 5, American International 4 (OT)
Rookie Justin Danforth scored at 3:31 of overtime, and tied a career-high with three points, to lift the Pioneers (9-20-0, 8-14-0 Atlantic Hockey) over the Yellow Jackets (9-19-1, 8-13-1) at Olympia Ice Center. SHU led 4-2 after 40 minutes of play, but Jon Puskar and Dan Clairmont scored to tie the score for the home team with under three minutes to go.