BOSTON -- There were no Hockey East league points on the line Saturday night at Matthews Arena but the 18th-ranked University of Vermont Catamounts (12-8-3) still managed to pick up the pace and coast to a win.
UVM scored all four of its goals in the third period, including two from senior co-captain Chris McCarthy, en route to a 4-1 win to salvage a weekend split with the previously-surging and No. 11 Northeastern University Huskies (14-7-3).
“It kind of looked like deja vu from the previous two games (against NU),” Catamount head coach Kevin Sneddon said confidently to open his post-game press conference. “I think the game was far more even than last night. It had a real good pace to it and I thought both teams were making some great plays.”
The loss halts NU’s perfect January after it began the month with four straight victories for the first time since 1981.
“The way we came out, I don’t think we were emotionally or mentally invested to start the third period,” Huskies head coach Jim Madigan said. “They just jumped on us. … We didn’t manage pucks well in the neutral zone and they just took advantage. It exploded right there.”
The sides traded some excellent chances in the first period, but NU junior Clay Witt and UVM freshman Mike Santaguida were equal to the task with stops on all 22 combined shots.
Husky sophomore Kevin Roy just missed on what was likely the golden opportunity, just missing a connection with rookie John Stevens on the crease in the waning minutes of the stanza.
Witt opened the period with another strong stand to the Catamount attack before the home team found the back of the net first at 17:31 of the second. Roy led a rush up ice before sophomore Mike Gunn centered a pass for rookie Dalen Hedges for his seventh goal of the season on a self-follow. Santaguida was screened by a sea of bodies on the play, but the Ontario native tucked one low.
On the play, Roy extended his point-scoring streak to seven games to tie a season and career-long mark.
Coming into the night, the Huskies were 10-0-2 this season when leading after two periods. Apparently the visitors from Burlington do not care about statistics as they scored three goals in the first 3:14 of the final stanza to take command.
“Between the second and third, we just said, ‘Hey, we need to find a way’ and challenged them a little bit,” Sneddon said. “Good teams find a way to win hockey games and they responded right out of the gate. … Then I thought we stole all the momentum.”
Just 15 seconds in, McCarthy fed a pass across to rookie Mario Puskarich in the low circle for the tying goal upstairs on Witt. Freshman Tom Forgione (South Burlington, Vt.) put the Cats ahead by a 2-1 clip at the 2:11 mark on a nearly identical play.
McCarthy, who ultimately found the twine three times on the weekend and five in his last four games at Matthews Arena, was fortunate to get a lucky bounce on UVM’s third goal 3:14 in as he poked a dribbling loose puck behind Witt for his tenth goal of the season, padding a career-high. He brought himself within three points of the 100-career plateau, sealing the deal with a coast-to-coast empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining.
“(We were told) to just keep shooting,” McCarthy said. “Luckily, we got some bounces there and Santa stood on his head a couple times.”
Boston College 7, Maine 2
Senior Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) recorded his first-career hat trick and two assists and junior Johnny Gaudreau wowed the crowd with five assists as the third-ranked Eagles (16-4-3, 10-1-1 Hockey East) cruised to an easy win over the rival Black Bears (11-8-3, 4-7-0). Hayes’ trick was BC’s second of the season and marked a career-best effort for him, while Gaudreau extended an 18-game point streak.
UMass-Lowell 3, Boston University 1
Recent weeks have been a struggle for the Terriers (7-13-2, 2-7-1 Hockey East) and the early departure of sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen to a knee injury could potentially hurt more than the two-goal setback to the tenth-ranked River Hawks (15-6-2, 5-3-1). Junior Terrence Wallin’s goal 7:41 into the second period turned out to be the game-winner and was his first this calendar year for UML. BU sophomore Sean Maguire kept the visitors in the game throughout but totaled 18 of his 39 saves in the first.
Providence 7, Colorado College 2
The Friars (14-5-5) used a five-goal explosion in the second period to close out a weekend trip to the Tigers’ (2-16-4) World Arena on a positive note. Second-year centerman Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) started the onslaught with a goal on the power play midway through the middle period while posting two assists. With the win, its most convincing since a ten-goal outburst against AIC Oct. 19, PC finished non-conference play at 8-1-4.
Merrimack 6, Quinnipiac 3
The No. 5 Bobcats (18-4-5) fell victim to defeat against a Hockey East team for the first time in eight games this season as the Warriors (6-11-3) earned a win at Lawler Arena, behind a pair of strikes from sophomore Brian Christie. Despite QU’s seven-game unbeaten streak going away, stellar freshman Sam Anas posted two goals and defenseman Devon Toews had as many helpers.
Union 3, New Hampshire 1
36 saves from junior goaltender Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) were not enough as the No. 17 Wildcats (13-12-1) dropped a second game in a row to the sixth-ranked Dutchmen (15-4-3) at Whittemore Center. Freshman Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) netted UNH’s goal.
Clarkson 3, Brown 2
Sophomore Mark Naclerio (Milford, Conn.) scored yet again, as did Massimo Lamacchia, but the Bears (15-7-2, 8-2-0 ECAC Hockey) dropped a one-goal decision to No. 14 Clarkson (7-7-3, 4-5-1) at Cheel Arena. Bruins prospect Ben Sexton notched an assist for the Golden Knights.
Cornell 1, Dartmouth 1 (OT)
The Big Green (3-13-3, 2-9-1 ECAC Hockey) and No. 12 Big Red (9-4-4, 5-3-2) needed overtime for the sixth time in their last ten head-to-head meetings, but two goals were all that could be mustered in a stalemate at Thompson Arena. Sophomore Connor Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) scored his first-collegiate goal for Dartmouth.
Colgate 4, Harvard 2
The Raiders (11-9-3, 7-3-1 ECAC Hockey) survived a late push from the host Crimson (5-10-3, 3-7-3) but held on for a win at Bright-Landry Hockey Center in the finale of Harvard’s stretch of five straight games as the home team. Sophomore Kyle Criscuolo scored both Crimson goals. Colgate skated four Massachusetts natives in the game, including freshman Derek Freeman (Newburyport) and junior Brendan Corcoran (Milton) who had assists.
Yale 4, St. Lawrence 2
Freshman John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn.) scored twice and posted an assist as the Elis (9-4-4, 4-3-3 ECAC Hockey) answered the bell after a Friday loss and proved their No. 8 national ranking by doubling up the host Saints (8-12-2, 2-6-2) at Appleton Arena.
Bentley 4, Canisius 1
At Buffalo State Sports Arena, the Falcons (12-8-2, 10-3-2 Atlantic Hockey) were paced by sophomore Andrew Gladiuk’s two goals in opening a six-game road stretch with a convincing win over the Griffs (8-12-1, 7-6-1).
Holy Cross 3, Niagara 2
Junior Tommy Dwyer’s (Ridgefield, Conn.) tally with 2:18 remaining in regulation broke a 2-2 deadlock and lifted the Crusaders (6-15-2, 5-9-2 Atlantic Hockey) to a sweep of the Purple Eagles (5-14-3, 5-7-3) at Dwyer Arena. Matt Ginn made 38 saves in what was his 45th consecutive appearance in net for Holy Cross.
Connecticut 3, Mercyhurst 3 (OT)
The Huskies (10-7-4, 8-4-3 Atlantic Hockey) wiped away a three-goal deficit over the final two periods to salvage a point for the second night in a row against the Lakers (13-9-4, 11-1-3) at MU Ice Center. Senior Billy Latta scored a power-play goal at 17:07 of the third to earn the tie.
Air Force 4, Sacred Heart 0
Sophomore Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) made 28 saves in goal but the Pioneers (6-18-0, 5-12-0 Atlantic Hockey) were shut down in Colorado Springs for their sixth loss in seven games.
Robert Morris 5, American International 2
Nick Campanale and Chris Porter notched goals for the Yellow Jackets (6-15-1, 5-9-1 Atlantic Hockey) but suffered defeat at the hands of the host Colonials (6-13-3, 6-6-3) at 84 Lumber Arena in Pittsburgh.