Lowell, Mass. -- No. 9 UMass Lowell blew a two-goal third period lead, but scored a goal with .2 seconds to play in regulation to avoid a possible overtime with in-state rival UMass.
Freshman Evan Campbell scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season to stake the River Hawks to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, but Adam Phillips and Conor Sheary scored power play goals in the first half of the third period to even the score.
That set the table for Joe Houk's heroics as the final horn blew. The defenseman had creeped into the goal mouth area and backhanded home a rebound off a A.J. White shot. Joe Pendenza picked up the other helper on the game-winning goal.
The win allowed Norm Bazin's team to stay four points ahead of Maine and New Hampshire for the second spot in the Hockey East Standings. The River Hawks are the only team with a mathematical shot of catching Boston College for the regular season crown, although that could also be nullified Saturday night.
Eagles hang on at UVM
Boston College is a win away from clinching the Hockey East regular season championship after Friday's 4-3 victory over Vermont at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington.
Senior captain Patrick Brown scored the game-winner for the second game in a row, as his third period tally from freshmen Ryan Fitzgerald and Austin Cangelosi stood up as the difference.
Johnny Gaudreau scored a power play goal 30 seconds into the second period to give the Eagles their first lead of the game after falling behind 1-0 in the opening frame. H.T. Lenz scored for Vermont while Cangelosi evened the score for the Eagles in the first period.
Brown scored his first marker of the night 11 seconds to play in the second period to give BC a 3-1 advantage heading to the final 20 minutes. Pete Massar scored two minutes into the third period to bring the Catamounts within one, but Brown answered with his second of the night 33 seconds later.
Vermont freshman Mario Puskarich scored his 14th of the season with the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, but Kevin Sneddon's club could not draw the equalizer.
BC's star freshman Thatcher Demko won the battle of the rookie goaltenders making 26 saves on 29 shots. Michael Santaguida turned away 23 of 27 for UVM.
Jerry York's club played the game with heavy hearts, wearing a sticker on their helmets in honor of Dick Kelley, the legendary Sports Information Director at BC.
Black Bears continue dominance at Alfond
Maine and Merrimack played a tight checking affair Friday night at Alfond Arena in a game that certainly was advantageous for the more physical and less skilled Warriors, but it was the home team that came out on top.
Ryan Lomberg scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season and was assisted by Devin Shore on both. Vinny Scotti scored for the visiting Warriors who have won just once on the road all season.
Martin Ouellette only made 23 saves, but several were quality opportunities from the Warriors that he turned aside. Red Gendron's team improved to 11-1-0 on home ice and remained in a tie for third place in Hockey East with archrival New Hampshire. However, Maine has two games on hand.
Wildcats outlast Terriers
Matt Willows scored twice, including on the game-winner as New Hampshire skated past Boston University, 4-3, on Friday night at the Whittemore Center.
Dan Correale, Eric Knodel and Willows had first period tallies as the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the visitors from Boston, but Evan Rodrigues scored with eight seconds to play to cut the UNH lead to two before the first intermission.
Danny O'Regan scored 8:53 into the second period to make it a ballgame, but Willows added his second of the night a little less than three minutes later to regain the two-goal lead for his club.
BU freshman Robbie Baillargeon scored the only goal of the third period, but David Quinn's team could not draw even, despite a frantic push with the goaltender pulled in the final minutes.
In a rare occurrence this season, the Terriers out shot their opponent, holding a 40-27 advantage in shots on goal. UNH junior goaltender Casey DeSmith was up for the challenge stopping 37, including 13 in the final period.
Fighting Irish, Friars Tie
Despite outshooting Notre Dame, 49-28, all Providence could muster out of Friday's game was a 2-2 tie with their new conference foes. It was the second consecutive game where Friars shooters were stymied by an opposing goalie.
Providence held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes on a late goal from defenseman John Gilmour. T.J. Tynan evened the score for Notre Dame 6:04 into the second period on a nice sequence with passes from Vince Hinostroza and Mario Lucia.
Sophomore Sam Herr gave Jeff Jackson's club a 2-1 lead 12:38 into the third period, but the Friars answered right back with a goal by Nick Saracino just over a minute later.
The 47 saves made by Notre Dame senior Steven Summerhays was 11 more than his next highest total of the season. He has only faced over 30 shots three times all season as the Fighting Irish tend to play a puck possession game where they limit scoring chances from the opposition.
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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.