Some opening notes on this week’s action: This was the first weekend of the season where there were no out of conference games. All the series were sweeps.
No. 14 Providence earned a massive sweep against No. 5 UMass
The Friars took down the Minutemen 7-4 in front of a raucous crowd at Schneider Arena in Providence this past Friday. Providence got out to a 4-0 lead and were able to weather the comeback attempt. Boston Bruins prospect Riley Duran had a hat-trick and New York Rangers prospect Brett Berard, the son of the 1995 NHL Draft No. 1 overall pick Bryan Berard, had two goals and an assist. LA Kings prospect and October’s Hockey East Rookie of the Month, Kenny Connors, had a goal and an assist. His teammate and Ottawa Senators draft pick Tyson Dyck also contributed a goal and an assist. On Saturday in Massachusetts, the home team held a 3-1 lead thanks to Quincy, MA native Mikey Adamson’s first NCAA goal. Providence’s captain Parker Ford led the comeback with a goal and an assist in the period. Berard completed the sweep as he netted the game winner in overtime. Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick and team captain Max Crozier had three assists this weekend and was named Hockey East Defender of the Week. The Friars jumped up into the top-10 in the national ranking for the first time this season, as they were tabbed No. 9. UMass was pushed out of the top 10 and is now ranked No. 11. Both teams will have another big test this weekend, as the No. 9 Friars will battle No. 7 UConn and the Minutemen get set to take on No. 14 Boston University.
No. 16 Northeastern sweeps UNH
The Wildcats continue to struggle against Hockey East opponents, dropping their fifth and sixth contests in a row this past weekend. The Huskies beat UNH 6-2 at Matthews Arena in Boston on Friday. Sophomore Justin Hryckowian was the star of the night as he recorded his first career hat-trick and added an assist. Vancouver Canucks prospect Aidan McDonough also had a four-point night, as he provided a goal and three assists. The Wildcats were then shutout the next night on home ice. Hryckowian stayed on fire as he potted two goals and Canadian Olympian Devon Levi set a Northeastern record with his 12th career shutout. After lighting it up all weekend, Hryckowian was named Hockey East Player of the Week. UNH will hope to snap their losing streak as they travel to Vermont to take on the Catamounts. The Huskies are now tied with UConn for the top spot in Hockey East. No. 15 Northeastern won’t have to travel far, as Boston College is next on the schedule.
No. 17 UMass-Lowell shutouts UVM
The Riverhawks’ defense was suffocating this weekend, as they kept the Catamounts off the scoreboard all weekend. The Catamounts had a party in the penalty box on Friday as they took nine penalties. The Riverhawks made them pay for their errors as they cashed in on the power-play three times en route to a 4-0 victory. Jake Stella, a transfer from American International College, scored his first two goals as a Riverhawk. Goaltender Henry Welsch was not very busy as he only faced 11 shots. The next day, Welsch continued to defend the cage as he made 25 saves. Alternate Captain Zach Kaiser and senior Ryan Brushett provided the offense. Welsch was fittingly named Hockey East Goaltender of the Week. The No. 16 Riverhawks will have some time to celebrate their stellar defensive performance as their next game is not until Nov. 15 versus Boston College. Vermont will look to get back on the scoresheet as they host a UNH team desperate for a win.
Merrimack sweeps Boston College
The Warriors and the Eagles kicked off the weekend on Thursday, as the home squad prevailed 3-1. New York Rangers prospect Hugo Ollas was only beaten by the Eagles once – courtesy of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Eamon Powell’s power play tally. Sophomore Mark Hillier led the offense for Merrimack as he set up two goals. The teams got a day off before they battled again at Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon. Merrimack once again got the best of their opponents, as they won 5-2. NY Islanders draft pick Alex Jeffries and Swede Filip Forsmark both recorded a goal and an assist. Junior Zachary Borgiel backstopped the victory with 27 saves. Boston College will hope to end their three-game losing skid, but it won’t be easy as they will have to go through Northeastern this weekend. Merrimack’s hard work is starting to pay off as they have been ranked for the first time as they are now No. 19. They’ll look to extend their three-game win streak as the Maine Blackbears come to town for two games.