Around Hockey East: Merrimack stays hot, no Irish luck for the UMass schools

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Around Hockey East: Merrimack stays hot, no Irish luck for the UMass schools 

Thanksgiving week in the sports world is predominantly known for American football, but the Hockey East made its case for a different sport over the holiday. Last week, its teams combined for 14 games, including games in Belfast, Ireland, and Nashville, Tennessee. 

No. 13 Merrimack extends win streak to seven games vs. Holy Cross 

The Warriors began the busy Thanksgiving week with another win. They cruised to a 5-1 victory, as five different players had multi-point outings, including Ottoville Leppanen with two goals and an assist. Merrimack was ranked No. 12 in the most recent rankings. 

No. 11 BU takes care of Notre Dame 

Lane Hutson continued his remarkable freshman campaign with two tallies and was named Hockey East Player of the Week. Hutson was also Hockey East Rookie of the Week last week. Senior Matt Brown had a goal and two assists. Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Drew Commesso made 28 saves in the win. 

Third-period comeback propels No. 8 Providence past St. Lawrence  

Freshman Austen May potted two goals and was named Hockey East Defender of the Week. Captain Parker Ford’s goal early in the third period stood as the game winner.

Notre Dame wins ‘Holy War on Ice’ 

The Fighting Irish continued their Boston tour with a trip to Conte Forum to take on the Boston College Eagles. BC got goals from Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Eamon Powell and Boston Bruins draft pick Trevor Kuntar, but then gave up four unanswered goals in a 5-2 loss. 

Disappointing Tennessee trip for No. 18 Northeastern 

The Huskies were scheduled to play No. 15 Western Michigan University at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, but a water main break caused the arena to be closed and the game was unfortunately moved to the Nashville Predators’ practice arena. Vancouver Canucks Aidan McDonough had two goals and an assist, but it was not enough as WMU’s Ryan McAllister had three assists; he now leads the nation with 29 points. The Huskies fell apart in the third period and gave up three straight goals in the 6-4 loss. Northeastern stayed put in the rankings and will take a trip to New York to take on Union College this weekend. 

Maine gets back on track against AIC 

The Maine Black Bears had not played a game in two weeks, and the extra time off proved to be beneficial. 11 different players recorded a point in the dominant 5-1 home win. Junior Lynden Breen had two goals and Luke Antonacci scored his first NCAA goal. Maine will travel to Vermont this weekend in hopes of continuing its winning ways. 

No. 8 Providence upset in the Mayor’s Cup 

Two of Rhode Island’s premier schools, Providence and Brown, faced off last Saturday in the annual Mayor’s Cup, which has been played sporadically since 1927 and consistently since the 1985-1986 season. Brown went into the always-tough Schneider Arena and got a massive road win. Crozier and May scored for the Friars in the loss. Providence dropped back to No. 10 in the rankings and has a home-and-home with Boston College coming up. 

UNH drops another one 

The Wildcats traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to take on Holy Cross, which has also struggled this season. Winnipeg Jets draft pick Harrison Blaisdell gave New Hampshire the lead midway through the third but they were only able to hold on to that lead for 23 seconds. Senior Nick Hale won it in overtime for the Crusaders. Cy LeClerc had the other goal for UNH in the 3-2 loss. The Wildcats will push ahead, with No. 9 BU is next. 

UVM splits with RPI 

Vermont’s power-play unit was clicking on Friday night, as they were responsible for two goals — including one from Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Robbie Stucker. But Eric Gotz was the hero, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. On Sunday, special teams once again played a big factor as the Catamounts gave RPI a five on three power play and the Engineers scored what stood as the game winning goal. Jacques Bouqout scored Vermont’s lone goal. The Catamounts host Maine this weekend for a two-game series. 

Boston College takes down Brown 

The Eagles traveled to Rhode Island and earned a non-conference victory. Minnesota Wild prospect Nikita Nesterenko had two goals, while Philadelphia Flyers top prospect Cutter Gauthier had a goal and an assist in the 4-2 win. BC has a tough task ahead as they get set to take on No. 10 Providence. 

Friendship Four 

UMass-Lowell and UMass-Amherst were fortunate enough to play overseas last week as they took part in the annual Friendship Four in Belfast, Ireland. It was the first time the tournament was played since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two Hockey East schools were accompanied by No. 4 Quinnipiac University and Dartmouth College. All games were played at SSE Arena Belfast. 

No. 14 UML upset by No. 17 UMass 

The Minutemen won the battle of the Massachusetts schools, as Kenny Connors was a one-man show on offense and Luke Pavicich turned away 32 shots in the 2-1 victory. Freshman T.J. Schweighardt scored his first collegiate goal for Lowell in the loss. The two teams will get another chance to battle next Saturday at Amherst. Pavicich was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Week, and Connors was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week. 

No. 14 UMass-Lowell earns comeback OT win vs Dartmouth 

In the consolation game of the Friendship Four, Dartmouth jumped on the Riverhawks and held a 3-0 lead after the first. Zach Kaiser (1 goal, 1 assist) and LA Kings prospect Ben Meehan (two assists) helped their squad get it back to even. Stefan Owens’ first of the season came at the right time in the overtime period. Lowell dropped back to No. 16 in the most recent rankings. 

No. 4 Quinnipiac earns shootout win vs No. 17 UMass 

Colorado Avalanche draft pick Taylor Makar had a goal, and freshman Michael Cameron’s goal late in the third period tied the game at 2. The Bobcats made the Minutemen pay when they took penalties, as they scored both goals on the power-play. Quinnipiac got the extra point and the tournament win in a shootout. The Minutemen moved up to No. 15 in the newest rankings. 

Hockey East Standings 

  

  

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