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Hockey East Friday Night Recap: Tirronen Backstops Merrimack; BU Rallies

Matt Dewkett

Merrimack 2, UMass Lowell 1

There was no doubt who the No. 1 star was of Friday's Hockey East game at Lawler Rink. Senior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen shielded 51 shots from the back of the Merrimack net as he guided his team to a 2-1 win over a reeling Lowell squad.

Chris LeBlanc scored a first period breakaway goal and freshman Marc Biega pushed home a Brian Christie rebound in the second period. That was all the scoring the Warriors would need as Tirronen only allowed a third period tally from UMass Lowell senior Adam Chapie.

Including the championship game of the Mariucci Classic that the River Hawks won 3-1, Norm Bazin's team has outshot Merrimack, 96-39, over the past two games between the two teams. Merrimack will look to squash Lowell's offense while UML looks to solve the Tirronen riddle in the series finale at Tsongas Center Saturday night.

Boston University 9, Massachusetts 5

UMass took a 4-3 lead over BU with 15:07 to play in the third period, but the Terriers scored six times in just over 12 minutes to close out the game. The third period explosion was reminiscent of BU's opening night 8-1 win at UMass which saw the scarlet and white score six times in the third period to break open a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Senior left wing Evan Rodrigues tied a school record with six assists while freshman sensation Jack Eichel had two goals and two assists. Junior Ahti Oksanen recorded a hat trick while classmate Danny O'Regan lit the lamp once and freshman defenseman Brandon Hickey scored twice. Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk also scored for the host Terriers.

It was yet another inept defensive performance for the Minutemen who have given up 80 goals in 16 conference games. UMass received goals from five different scorers and Brandon Montour continued his hot streak with two assists. Freshman Henry Dill gave up all nine goals while kicking aside 39 shots.

For the first time since the 1997-98 season (17 years) the Terriers will head into the Beanpot with fewer than five losses, according to BU Sports Information Director Brian Kelley.

New Hampshire 5, Notre Dame 2

The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-2 win over the Fighting Irish. Andrew Poturalski and Matt Willows each scored twice and Warren Foegele found the back of the net once. Freshman Danny Tirone made 24 stops.

Vince Hinostroza had a goal and an assist and Mario Lucia also scored for Notre Dame, a team that has now lost three straight. Saturday's series finale is scheduled to be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Connecticut 2, Maine 1 (OT)

Freshman Spencer Naas' 11th goal of the season was the difference as the Huskies upended the Black Bears with just 20 seconds left in overtime. Senior Cody Sharib gave UConn a 1-0 lead in the second period before Maine junior captain Devin Shore sent the game to overtime in the third.

As has become a familiar storyline, Rob Nichols kept UConn in the game. The sophomore stopped 41 of 42 shots en route to the win. The two teams will now travel south to play the final game of the series Sunday at the XL Center in Hartford.

Boston College 3, Providence 2

See Joshua Kummins' full recap here


Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.