The two highest-scoring teams in Division 3 hooked up for a home-and-home series over the weekend, but only one of them did the high scoring.
When players skated off the ice at Raymond J. Bourque Arena on Saturday, the final tally was a lopsided one: Thirteen goals (and two wins) for the University of New England, two goals (and no wins) for Endicott.
The results were noted. Endicott (14-6-2, 8-6 CCC) dropped out of the USCHO.com top 15, while UNE (16-5-1, 10-4) was inserted at No. 13.
Freshman Austin Morgan continued his hot stretch. He had a goal and assist in Friday’s 6-2 home win, then scored back-to-back goals in the 7-0 blanking on Saturday. With at least one goal in each of his last four games, the Michigan native now has a 10-9-19 line on the season.
First-line center Brady Fleurent (Biddeford, Maine) added a pair of assists onto his Division 3-leading point total of 39. His 26 assists rank fourth.
The Nor’easters lead the nation in goals (116), goals per game (5.27) and power-play goals (32). The wins moved them into second place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, one point behind Salve Regina (14-6-2, 10-3-1).
Equally as impressive was a defense that allowed just two goals all weekend to an Endicott team averaging 4.83 a game. And this came one week after an ugly defensive showing, conceding 10 goals in a weekend split with Wentworth.
Goalie Ben Churchfield made 28 saves in Friday’s win, then registered his third shutout of the season by turning aside 19 shots on Saturday.
It was a costly set for Endicott, which went from challenging for first place in the CCC to dropping out of the top four. Coming into the weekend, the Gulls had only lost one game since Thanksgiving.
With games remaining against Wentworth (two) and Western New England, Endicott can still collect points, but would need some help to finish in the top two and earn a bye into the conference tournament semifinals.
Curry (13-6-3, 8-4-2) and Nichols (10-10-2, 8-5-1)) are the other teams in the mix for a top-two finish. The first round of the tournament is on Feb. 20.
Team of the Week
Slumping since the calendar turned to 2019, with a 2-5-2 record and locked in a tight MASCAC race, the Panthers won two games they absolutely needed to win last week, both in overtime.
On Thursday, JR Barone’s breakaway goal gave Plymouth a 4-3 win over Worcester State, a game that saw the team get the power play cranked up, with Matt Volonnino scoring two of the three man-up goals.
In Saturday’s 4-3 win over Fitchburg State, it was Drake Longaker ending things in OT. The wins boosted the Panthers (12-6-3, 9-3-2 MASCAC) back into first place — by one point over UMass-Dartmouth — with four games remaining in the regular season.
Player of the Week
Matt Creamer (Warwick, R.I.), soph., F, Conn. College
The Camels (6-13-1, 2-11-1 NESCAC) swept Tufts over the weekend for their first league wins of the year, and Creamer factored in five of the six goals.
The Selects Academy product scored twice and set up another goal in Friday’s 4-0 win at Tufts, and had a goal and an assist the next day in a 2-1 win at home. Both games he scored the game-winning goal and he now has a team-high seven tallies.
With four games remaining, the Camels moved to within two points of eighth-place Bowdoin for the final league playoff berth.
Games of the Week
UMass-Boston at Babson, Friday, 7 p.m.
Babson at UMass-Boston, Saturday, 4 p.m.
The NEHC will be the first New England league to wrap up conference play this weekend. Because it couldn’t protect a one-goal lead in the final seconds at Hobart last weekend, seventh-ranked UMB (17-5-1, 13-2-1) still needs to collect one point to secure first place.
Second-place Babson (15-5-3, 10-3-3) trails the Beacons by four points and would need to sweep the weekend to forge a tie. Surging Norwich (16-4-3, 11-4-1) also begins the weekend four points out of first, and plays at home this weekend against No. 15 New England College and Southern Maine.