Hockey East Saturday Night Recap: BC, BU punch tickets to Garden; UNH ties series with PC

John Quackenbos

Boston College and Boston University punched their tickets to the Hockey East semifinals next Friday night at TD Garden and will meet each other in the late game. With a 4-1 win, UNH forced a Sunday afternoon Game 3.

Boston College 4, Vermont 1

The Boston College Eagles won their 18th straight game in the Hockey East quarterfinals since 2004 as Parker Milner made 16 saves and four skaters found the back of the net in a 4-1 victory over visiting Vermont at Kelley Rink. Senior Pat Mullane, senior Steven Whitney and sophomore Johnny Gaudreau each tallied one goal and one assist for the victorious Eagles as they improved to a perfect 8-0-1 over the Catamounts in the last nine meetings. Matt White scored the lone goal for the Catamounts at 13:06 of the third period, while rookie Brody Hoffman concluded his season at 11-18-6, making 29 saves. Eagle head coach Jerry York was again absent from the bench as he suffered a second detached retina of the right eye. He is likely to undergo a second surgical procedure to correct the issue. Associate head coaches Greg Brown and Mike Cavanaugh took charge and led BC to its 21st semifinal round and the team's ninth in a row.

Boston University 5, Merrimack 3

Senior Ben Rosen gave third-seeded BU its first lead of the game at 5:11 of the third period and the Terriers never looked back en route to a 5-3 victory over Merrimack at Agganis Arena that clinched their first quarterfinal series sweep since 2006. Merrimack broke through with its first goal of the series with a minute remaining in the first period, thanks to sophomore Shawn Bates, but Matt Nieto's 100th-career point tied it for the Terriers just 91 seconds into the second frame. The tally allowed Nieto, a Long Beach, California native, to become the third Terrier since 2000 to hit the plateau before the end of his third season. Junior Mike Collins put the Warriors back up 4:32 into the middle period with his 17th goal of the season, but just his third in the final 13 games. From that point, BU scored four of the final five goals, including strikes in the waning minutes of the second from sophomore Cason Hohmann and Reading, Mass. rookie Sam Kurker, a St. John's Prep product. Sean Maguire made 39 stops for the Terriers as he helped the team complete a perfect five-game season sweep of the Warriors. On the flip side, junior Sam Marotta finished the game with 31 saves and concluded the season with a 12-7-0 mark.

New Hampshire 4, Providence 1

The No. 7 Wildcats evened their quarterfinal series at Schneider Arena on Saturday afternoon as sophomore Matt Willows scored his first-career hat trick and classmate Casey DeSmith made 38 saves in goal for his second-ever postseason victory. Junior Kevin Goumas posted assists on all three of Willows' goals, including the first two combined on both sides in the contest at 15:19 of the first period and 1:45 of the second. Freshman Nick Saracino scored the lone Providence goal as he found the back of the net on the power play at 3:32 of the middle stanza - a goal that also included the first-career assist by PC goaltender Jon Gillies, who made 20 saves between his pipes. With the win, UNH forces a deciding third game in the 4-5 series for the eighth time in the last 16 years. Sunday afternoon's game is set for 4:30 p.m. in Providence and will again be televised by NESN, concluding PC's first home playoff series since 2003.

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

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