This weekend marked the final weekend of regular season games before the teams battle it out in the playoffs. Boston University were crowned the regular season champions this weekend. Hockey East also announced their award winners for the month of February.
Vermont earns comeback win versus UNH
The Wildcats hosted the Catamounts on Thursday night at the Whittemore Center. UNH got out to a 2-0 lead behind a power-play goal from sophomore Liam Devlin and an even-strength goal from senior Kalle Eriksson. It was all Vermont after the first period as they went on to score three unanswered. Goals were scored by first-year Massimo Lombardi, sophomore Simon Jellus and Isak Walther (Nashville). Junior goaltender Gabe Carriere made 35 saves in the win and was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Week. New Hampshire finished 10th in Hockey East and will travel to Providence on Wednesday as a part of the play-in round.
No. 7 BU sweeps Providence
It was a high-scoring game on Friday night as the Terriers took down the Friars 6-4. A combined five goals were scored in the first period. 11 different Terriers recorded at least a point and five players had multiple points. The Hutson brothers, Lane and Quinn, each scored twice. Brett Berard (NY Rangers) had a goal and an assist in the loss. The teams also combined for 15 penalties, all in the first and third period. Saturday’s matchup was not nearly as eventful. Senior Sam Stevens assisted on fellow senior Jamie Armstrong’s goal and then scored a goal to give the Terriers a 2-0 lead. Lane Hutson (Montreal) assisted on both goals. There was no more scoring after that as Drew Commesso (Chicago) stopped all 39 shots for his second shutout of the season in the 2-0 victory. Stevens was named Hockey East Co-Player of the Week with UConn’s Justin Pearson. Lane Hutson was also named Hockey East Rookie of the Week for the sixth time this season. Hutson finished the regular season with 43 points, which led the NCAA in points for a defenseman and had the most points by a defenseman since the 1990-91 season. No. 5 BU earned the top seed in Hockey East and will find out who their opponent is after Wednesday’s slate of games. Providence finished seventh in the standings and will host UNH on Wednesday.
UMass sweeps Maine on the road for the first time since 2010
It was a 1-1 tie heading into the third period on Friday after a UMass goal from Scott Morrow (Carolina) and a Maine goal from junior Lynden Breen. UMass then outscored Maine 4-1 in the final frame. Taylor Makar (Colorado) scored twice, first-year Owen Murray had his first collegiate goal and senior Cal Kiefuk had the empty-net goal. Breen scored Maine’s only other goal. Cole Brady (NJ Devils) made 29 saves in the win. The Minutemen completed the sweep the following day with a 4-3 victory. Kiefuk potted two goals, Morrow had a goal and an assist, Lucas Mercuri (Carolina) scored as well and senior Reed Lebster had three helpers. Sophomore Nolan Renwick scored for the Blackbears and seniors Ben Poisson and Jakub Sirota each had a goal and an assist. Sirota got engaged during the senior night ceremony. Maine outshot Massachusetts 38 to 14 but Brady was able to hold strong in between the pipes. Morrow was named Hockey East Defender of the Week. The Blackbears finished sixth in Hockey East and will host Vermont while Massachusetts finished ninth and will travel to Boston College. Both games will be played on Wednesday.
No. 15 Northeastern and UMass-Lowell split weekend series
Each team defended home ice well in this series. On Friday in Lowell, the Riverhawks won 3-1. Sophomore Gabe Blanchard (one goal, two assists), seniors Brian Chambers (one goal, one assist) and Carl Berglund (one goal) led the Riverhawks to victory. Sophomore Matt Choupani’s 10th goal of the season served as the Huskies lone goal in the loss. Northeastern had an offensive explosion the next night at Matthews Arena. 13 different Huskies recorded a point and seven players recorded multiple points. Sophomore Justin Hryckowian had a three-point night, Aidan McDonough (Vancouver) scored his 20th goal of the season and senior Alex Mella scored his first collegiate goal on senior night. Lowell got offense from Chambers, sophomore Owen Cole, and first-year Mitchell Becker (first career goal) in the 7-3 loss. With the loss, Lowell dropped to fifth in the standings and will travel to Toscano Family Ice Forum to take on No. 19 UConn on Saturday at 4 p.m. No. 15 Northeastern finished third in Hockey East and will find out who their opponent is after Wednesday’s games.
No. 16 Merrimack takes care of Vermont
Vermont traveled to Merrimack on Saturday and the Warriors defeated the Catamounts 4-1. Merrimack goals were scored by Alex Jefferies (NY Islanders), seniors Ben Brar, Hugo Esselin and first-year Zach Bookman. Vermont’s lone goal was scored by Joel Maatta (Edmonton). No. 14 Merrimack finished as the runner-up to BU in the standings and Vermont finished last in the standings and will travel to Maine.
Hockey East Awards for February
Player of the Month: Maine’s Lynden Breen (six goals and four assists)
Defender of the Month: New Hampshire’s Damien Carfagna (four goals, 10 blocked shots)
Goaltender of the Month: Northeastern’s Devon Levi (261 saves, .953 save percentage)
Rookie of the Month: Boston College’s Cutter Gauthier (three goals, seven assists)