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Hockey East Weekend Roundup: Northeastern Shines as BC Starts Title Defense Slow

Northeastern followed up its 4-2 victory over #19 Merrimack on Wednesday with a bigger win over defending national champion Boston College. Elsewhere, Maine struggled against future conference foe Notre Dame at the Icebreaker and BU got a strong start to its season at home against Providence.

Heading into the first full week of college hockey action, Northeastern had a combined six points in the USCHO poll. By comparison, Merrimack (#19, 120 points) and Boston College (#1, 978 points) had accumulated 183 times as many points, put together.

But that, Huskies' head coach Jim Madigan intimated following his team's second win over a ranked opponent in four nights, a 3-1 victory over the defending national champion Eagles, is why they play the game.

The Huskies figure to have a lot more votes in their favor when the next polls come out, as they sit atop the Hockey East standings with a perfect in-conference record, while Merrimack, Boston College, Providence, and sixth-ranked UMass-Lowell are already unable to stake the same claim.

Northeastern (2-0-0, 4 pts.) defeats #1 Boston College (0-1-0, 0 pts.) 3-1

The Huskies' freshman class didn't come into the season as highly touted as others in their conference, but they've made an impact in their first two games. Kevin Roy (Anaheim Ducks) scored his second-consecutive game-winning goal and Ryan Belonger and Colton Saucerman netted the first goals of their collegiate career, while fellow greenhorn Cam Darcy assisted on the first two goals of the game for Northeastern.

Boston College nearly did themselves in with seven penalties, but they were able to kill them all off, while the Eagles went 1-for-2 on the power play, with Steven Whitney getting the lone marker for BC. The Eagles had won five straight games against Northeastern prior to the loss.

The Eagles travel to Amherst to take on UMass at the Mullins Center on Friday before unveiling their 2012 National Championship banner Saturday night at Conte Forum when they get a return match with Northeastern.

#12 Boston University (1-0-0, 2 pts.) defeats Providence (0-1-0, 0 pts.) 4-2

The path to redemption for the Terriers, whose inconsistent play on the ice has been marred by further inconsistency off of it, began in a good way for BU, who got a goal and two assists from sophomore forward Cason Hohmann and 26 saves from Matt O'Connor to hold off the Friars.

Ryan Ruikka started the scoring for BU before Providence got the next two, with Ross Mauerman scoring in the first period and Paul de Jersey netting the first goal of the second period before Garrett Noonan tied it for BU and Hohmann scored the game-winner late in the third.

BU heads to Durham next Saturday to take on UNH, while Providence plays two at Miami (Ohio).

UNH (2-0-0, 0 pts.) sweeps St. Cloud State (0-2-0)

Dick Umile earned his 500th and 501st career wins behind the bench at the University of New Hampshire with 5-3 and 4-2 wins on Friday and Saturday night over visiting St. Cloud State. UNH was paced by Dalton Speelman, who tallied two goals and two assists over the weekend and Trevor van Riemsdyk, who scored twice and notched one assist. Casey DeSmith stopped 45 of 50 shots on the weekend to backstop the WIldcats to the two wins.

UNH hosts #12 BU on Saturday night next weekend.

#6 UMass-Lowell (0-0-1, 1 pt.) ties Vermont (0-0-1, 1 pt.)

Colin Markison scored with less than nine minutes remaining in the game to pull Vermont into a tie with Lowell, and the score held through overtime to earn each school a point in their opening conference game. Brody Hoffman stopped 37 shots for the Catamounts and Doug Carr saved 27 shots for the RiverHawks.

Lowell travels to Colorado for tilts with Denver and Colorado College next weekend, while Vermont has the weekend off before welcoming Merrimack to the Gutterson Fieldhouse for two games on the final weekend of the month.

#20 Maine (1-1-0) falls to #14 Notre Dame, 1-0; Defeats Army at Icebreaker

The Black Bears couldn't generate any offense against Steven Summerhays, who stopped all 22 shots that he saw in the first game of the Icebreaker, but had a bit more luck against Army, getting five points from their top line, including multi-point efforts from Joey Diamond and Stu Higgins.

Matt Morris stopped 18 shots in the victory, while Dan Sullivan saved 32 of 33 against the Fighting Irish.

Maine hosts St. Lawrence for two games at Alfond Arena next weekend.