Around Hockey East: UNH wins the Border Battle, Merrimack sweeps BU  


Teams continued to battle for playoff position as UMass Lowell and Merrimack picked up vital points that could go a long way in determining playoff matchups. 

UNH stays hot; sweeps the Border Battle 

It was a big rivalry weekend up north as New Hampshire went to battle against UMaine. The two teams put on a show Friday night in front of a sold-out Whittemore Center, as Wildcat fans participated in the white-out tradition known as “White Out the Whitt.” Maine struck first on the power-play courtesy of sophomore Nolan Renwick. UNH responded with a power-play goal of their own from freshman Kristaps Skrastins. Junior Didrik Henbrant put Maine back in the lead midway through the third period. New Hampshire’s captain Chase Stevenson stepped up and redirected a shot from the blue line into the net to knot things at two shortly after. Buffalo Sabres draft pick Stiven Sardarian’s slow approach in the shootout and the efforts of goaltender David Fessenden gave the Wildcats the extra point. Saturday was a goalie duel between Maine’s Victor Ostman and UNH’s Tyler Muszelik who is also a Florida Panthers draft choice. Ostman and Muszelik made 27 and 29 saves, respectively, as both were perfect through 65 minutes of play. Muszelik prevailed thanks to Stevenson scoring in the shootout. It was Muszelik’s first collegiate shutout, and he was recognized as Hockey East Rookie of the Week. New Hampshire will look to complete the season sweep as they will travel to No. 16 UConn on Saturday afternoon. Maine will host Boston College for a series.  

No. 5 Boston University loses third and fourth games in a row versus No. 20 Merrimack  

On Friday night at Merrimack, the home squad got out to a 3-0 before BU’s offense made any noise. Sophomore Matt Copponi, senior Jordan Seyfert and grad student Mick Messner scored for the Warriors. Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Jay O’Brien scored a power-play goal for the Terriers. Messner capped off the game with an empty-net goal. Junior Zachary Borgiel made 38 saves in the win. The series shifted back to Agganis Arena on Saturday, and Merrimack got out to an early 2-0 lead behind goals from Copponi and Messner. BU stormed back in the second with two power-play goals from Chicago prospect Ryan Greene and Montreal prospect Lane Hutson. Senior Matt Brown also found the back of the net in the second. Senior Ben Brar put the Warriors on his back as he scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals. The referees on Saturday were very busy as they called 14 penalties and three game misconducts. No. 17 Merrimack has another massive series against No. 19 UMass Lowell. No. 9 BU will look to get back into the win column when they travel to Vermont. 

No. 18 UMass Lowell and Providence split the weekend 

Providence picked up the extra point on Friday, having won the contest in overtime. New York Rangers draft pick Brett Berard sniped a shot into the top corner of the net on the power-play to give the Friars an early lead. Freshman Nick Rhéaume answered 25 seconds later to tie the game up at one. Providence’s power-play struck again when Parker Ford put his squad ahead. Lowell got a late opportunity on the man advantage and Filip Fornåå Svensson tied it up with 55 seconds remaining in regulation. Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Chase Yoder was the hero in overtime. Boston Bruins prospect Philip Svedebäck stopped 31 shots in the win. Lowell got revenge on Saturday at Tsongas Arena. Sophomore Owen Cole found the back of the net and Brehdan Engum scored his first collegiate goal. Bennett Schimek pulled the Friars within one. Lowell was able to hold on from there for the win. The River Hawks picked up four of the six available points this weekend and jumped over UConn for fourth place in Hockey East. Graduate student Jon McDonald was Hockey East Defender of the Week after he compiled three assists in two games. No. 19 UMass Lowell will look to close the gap with No. 17 Merrimack who currently sits in third place in Hockey East. Providence will have the weekend off. 

Boston College takes care of UMass Amherst  

The Eagles were riding high coming into this series after they got a huge win against Boston University and came out of the gates hot on Friday. They scored five goals in the first period and chased Luke Pavicich from the game. UMass used all three goaltenders as each of them played a period. Thirteen different Eagles recorded a point in the 7-3 win. Minnesota Wild prospect Nikita Nesterenko led the way with a hat-trick and added an assist. Boston prospect Oskar Jellvik had a goal and two assists. Graduate student Matt Koopman had two goals and LA Kings prospect Kenny Connors had a power-play goal in the loss. It was a lot closer on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst. Freshman Mike Cameron opened the scoring in the first period for the Minutemen. BC scored three unanswered goals, Boston prospect Trevor Kuntar scored twice, and Connor Joyce scored as well. BC will travel to Maine this weekend and UMass will take on No. 15 Northeastern. 

Levi records 15th career shutout as No. 16 Northeastern defeats Vermont  

Northeastern’s offense consisted of NY Rangers prospect Riley Hughes, sophomore Matt Choupani and San Jose Sharks prospect Cam Lund. Vermont outshot the Huskies 42 to 25, but Buffalo Sabres top prospect Devon Levi continued his tear as he kicked out all 42 shots. He was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Week for the second week in a row. No. 15 Northeastern will look to stay atop Hockey East as they battle UMass Amherst. Vermont will host No. 9 BU. 

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