Hockey East Friday Night Recap: BC heads to Beanpot on high note; Merrimack ends Lowell's streak

Walter Rossini

In the final game before Monday's Beanpot Tournament, Boston College jumped back onto the winning track, while Boston University and Northeastern fell again. Merrimack was a home victor by a close margin, breaking UMass-Lowell's great 11-game unbeaten streak.

Boston College 4, Vermont 1

Senior Parker Milner pitched a 38-save performance and four different Eagles found the back of the net in a 4-1 victory at Kelley Rink for BC's first home win since Jan. 11 against UNH and the team's fifth in as many games in the head-to-head series with the Catamounts.

UVM fell for the sixth time in seven games, but rookie Brody Hoffman made 26 saves in the contest, including reaching double-digits in the third period.

The game was also significant for the victors as it marked the return of rookie defenseman Michael Matheson (three shots, no points) after a two-game absence due to injury.

After UVM defender Anders Franzon scored just 4:14 into the first period and sent the Catamounts to the first intermission with a 1-0 lead, but BC senior Pat Mullane and sophomore Quinn Smith each found the back of the net in the middle stanza to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

In the third, the Eagles flew away with a 12-8 shots on goal advantage, as well as two more goals from senior Steven Whitney and sophomore Johnny Gaudreau. With 16 goals this season, including 11 in the final period, Whitney has tied his single-season career high that he established during his 39-point junior year last season.

Merrimack 1, UMass-Lowell 0

Junior Mike Collins was held off the scoresheet for the third game in a row, but the Warriors clinged to a 1-0 lead at Lawler Arena after Justin Hussar's goal at 7:40 of the third period and never looked back en route to breaking an 11-game unbeaten streak of the River Hawks. In his sixth straight start, junior Sam Marotta made stops on all 25 shots he faced in his second shutout of the season. The Boston native, Collins was scratched from the scoresheet for the first time in a Warrior victory since a season-opening victory on Oct. 6, 2012 at Union. It also marked just the second league game in which he did not register at least an assist. With the win, which was also head coach Mark Dennehy's 100th at the school, the Warriors jump into a tie with Providence for the final home-ice spot with 20 points.

New Hampshire 3, Northeastern 1

The host Huskies used a goal from senior captain Vinny Saponari in his fifth consecutive game with a point, but that was the lone blemish against UNH sophomore Casey DeSmith in a 46-save masterpiece, resulting in a 3-1 Wildcat win in Matthews Arena. Junior Kevin Goumas remained atop the point scoring chart as he posted two more assists to add to his league-leading total of 22, while sophomore Grayson Downing, junior Eric Knodel and senior John Henrion each scored for the visitors. With an assist on Saponari's goal, Kevin Roy closes the night as the nation's leading scorer among freshmen with 27 points.

Massachusetts 5, Boston University 1

The Minutemen cruised to their fourth win over a nationally-ranked foe with a 5-1 win over the Terriers at the Mullins Center, thanks to an impressive two-goal, two-assist performance by junior Michael Pereira. Linemates Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary chipped in with one goal and three points each to help the Mass Attack as it remained comfortably in seventh place in the league. Junior Colin Shea registered a pair of assists for the second multi-goal game of his career and in the last three weeks. Sophomore Kevin Boyle sparkled in the net for the Minutemen, making 19 saves in his eighth win of the year. On the BU side, Boyle's lone blemish came off the stick of senior Ben Rosen, as he scored shorthanded at 15:38. Rookie Sean Maguire was strong in net with 23 saves, despite dropping to 6-4-0.

Maine 2, Providence 2 (OT)

Senior Joey Diamond scored both Black Bear goals in less than a span of five minutes in the third period as Maine came back for a crucial league point in a 2-2 draw with visiting Providence at Alfond Arena. Thanks to Northeastern's loss, Maine jumps into a tie for ninth place and a game in hand with UMass-Lowell on Sunday. After rookie Mark Jankowski and junior Derek Army put the Friars up 2-0 by the 6:30 mark of the final stanza, Diamond, a Long Beach, N.Y. native beat Jon Gillies (28 saves) on the shorthand and a man-advantage for the tie. Maine's Martin Ouellette kept the Black Bears in the game, making 31 saves, including nearly half (14) in the third period.

Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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