Vermont seals up right to host playoff game with win vs. No. 7 Mass.-Lowell
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Vermont skated past Massachusetts-Lowell 3-2 on Saturday in the Hockey East regular-season finale on senior night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts close the season at 18-12-3 (10-10-0 HEA), while the River Hawks fall to 21-9-4 (11-6-3 HEA).
Vermont earns the seven-seed in Hockey East and will host 10-seed Massachusetts at Gutterson Fieldhouse next Friday in the first round of the playoffs. The Catamounts will be hosting a home postseason game for the first time since 2009.
The Catamounts jumped out to a 1-0 lead just under nine minutes into the contest. Connor Brickley pushed the puck into space along the boards where Anthony DeCenzo gained control at the right circle. DeCenzo skated toward the net and dished the puck to the top of the crease where Brickley one-timed it past goalie Connor Hellebuyck's right pad. Nick Luuko picked up the other assist on the tally.
Vermont extended its lead to 2-0 just five seconds later, with the quickest back-to-back goals in program history, breaking a record set back in 1968 by Jack Semler, who scored two goals in a span of eight seconds. Chris McCarthy won the faceoff clean to his left to Brendan Bradley. Bradley slid a pass back to Rob Hamilton, who sent a cross-ice pass to Michael Paliotta. Paliotta skated toward the center ice line near the boards and fired a wrist shot that beat Hellebuyck blocker side. Hamilton and Bradley picked up assists on the play.
After UMass-Lowell tied the game at 2, the Catamounts regained the lead a little more than a minute later with a goal from Mario Puskarich. He gained control of the puck down low in the offensive zone and skated between the faceoff cirlces. Puskarich fired a wrist shot just under Hellebuyck's glove inside the right post to give UVM a 3-2 lead. Caylen Walls and McCarthy picked up assists on the goal, which proved to be the game winner.
No. 2 Minnesota 2, Penn State 1
MINNEAPOLIS -- Saturday was senior night at Mariucci Arena in more ways than one. Not only was it the final home game for five Golden Gopher players, it was those seniors who ultimately delivered performances that sparked a 2-1 victory for Minnesota against Penn State.
Michael Shibrowski, who started in net for the second time this season, stopped 26 shots for a career high and kept the Gophers in a position to win throughout the game. At the other end of the rink, fellow senior Tom Serratore notched the game-winning tally late in the third period.
With a win in the final game at Mariucci Arena this season, the Gophers improved to 15-1-3 at the venue this season -- one loss at Mariucci Arena is the fewest in a season in the facility's 20-year history.
No. 3 Union (N.Y.) 3, Brown 0
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Union (N.Y.) closed its regular season with a 3-0 win against Brown in an ECAC Hockey matinee from Meehan Auditorium. The Dutchmen recorded back-to-back shutouts this weekend for the first time since February 1998. Rick Bennett's squad also finished with a 12-0 record against Ivy League opponents this season.
In addition, Union extended its unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1) while setting a program record for conference wins (18) and points (37) in a season.
Freshman Alex Sakellaropoulos made 26 saves to record his first collegiate shutout. Sakellaropoulous was making his first start since defeating top-ranked St. Cloud State on Dec. 13.
Union was held off the scoreboard until 7:09 left in regulation when Kevin Sullivan dropped a pass to Daniel Ciampini in front of the crease. Ciampini one-timed a shot for his 17th goal of the season.
Minutes later, Daniel Carr joined Ciampini atop the team goal-scoring chart with his 17th marker, finishing a shot from inside the right circle off an assist from Matt Wilkins. Carr has scored in consecutive games and stockpiled five goals in his past six games.
Alaska-Fairbanks 5, No. 4 Ferris State 3
FAIRBANKS, Alas. -- Alaska-Fairbanks used a three-goal third period, including two in the final four minutes to upset fourth-ranked Ferris State 5-3 and earn its third consecutive Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep.
The Nanooks (16-12-4, 13-11-2 WCHA) extended their win streak to six games and have now won eight of their past nine outings as they punched their ticket to the postseason with the victory against the Bulldogs (23-9-3, 18-6-2 WCHA). Alaska now sits tied for third place with Michigan Tech at 28 points with two games left to play while Ferris is tied for the top spot with Minnesota State at 38 points.
Senior center Cody Kunyk was named Ravn Alaska Nanook of the Game after scoring one goal and adding two assists to move into 14th place all alone on the program's scoring list with 128 points (56-72—128).
Fellow senior left wing Colton Beck scored once and assisted on another score to help Alaska to its first series sweep of a top-five team since Jan. 18-19, 2013, when it beat Notre Dame twice in South Bend, Ind.
Kunyk and Beck's freshman linemate, right wing Marcus Basara tied Beck with a team-best two assists in the victory as all three first-line forwards produced a +3 plus/minus rating.
It was the sixth win in a row for junior goaltender Sean Cahill, as he improved to 8-3-1 on the season with 21 saves on 24 shots faced. His penalty-kill unit was outstanding all night, as Cahill never faced one shot on any of Ferris' four power plays as the Nanooks finished the weekend 9-for-10 on the PK.
Other goal scorers for Alaska Saturday included junior defenseman Trevor Campbell, freshman left wing Brandon Morley and junior left wing Garrick Perry.
No. 5 St. Cloud State 3, No. 10 North Dakota 1
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- St. Cloud State (19-8-5, 13-6-3-0 NCHC) regained a share of first place in the National College Hockey Conference with a big 3-1 win against North Dakota (19-10-3, 14-8-0-0 NCHC) on Saturday before a sold-out crowd of 5,745 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
The victory pushed SCSU's conference point total to 42, which moves them back into a tie for first place in the league with North Dakota. The victory also clinched home ice in the first round of the NCHC playoffs for the Huskies, which will begin with the best of three series on March 14-16 at the Brooks Center in St. Cloud. Next weekend, the Huskies will have a chance to win the regular season NCHC title when they travel to Colorado College for a two-game set on March 7-8. On the same weekend, North Dakota will host Western Michigan.
As the teams head into the final weekend of league play, Nebraska-Omaha sits in third place with 39 points and is the only team along with UND that can now finish ahead of SCSU in the regular-season standings. In the current Pairwise rankings (as of March 1), the Huskies were ranked fifth after the win against UND.
No. 8 Quinnipiac 1, Clarkson 1
POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Quinnipiac played to a 1-1 tie at Clarkson in its final regular-season game of the 2013-14 season. The Bobcats, who clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming ECAC Hockey tournament, head to the postseason with a record of 22-8-6 overall and 12-6-3 in league play while Clarkson goes to 18-14-4 overall and 11-9-2 in ECAC Hockey action.
With the tie, and Colgate's win against Dartmouth, Quinnipiac will be the No. 3 seed in the upcoming ECAC Hockey tournament.
Clarkson's Pat Megannety gave the Golden Knights the lead in the closing minutes of the first period with his third goal of the season. Megannety skated down the right side of the inside into the Bobcats' defensive zone and then into the face-off circle to the left of Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig. Garteig wore the puck off his chest, sending it over his should and off the boards. Joe Zarbo picked up the puck behind the Quinnipiac goal and redirected to the opposite side for Megannety who tipped it past Garteig to give Clarkson a 1-0 lead.
With less than two minutes to play in the second period, Connor Jones scored in the closing seconds of a power play to tie the game at 1-1. Matthew Peca picked up a loose up in the neutral zone just above the blue line in Quinnipiac's defensive zone. Peca fed Sam Anas who carried the puck all the way down the right flank. Anas cut across the Clarkson defensive zone to the slot where he fired a backhanded shot on goal. The puck bounced off the chest of Golden Knights' goalie Steve Perry before Connor Jones tipped it in the goal as he was crashing on the net.
Boston University 4, No. 9 Northeastern 2
BOSTON -- Sophomore Matt Lane recorded the first two-goal game of his career to help Boston University post a 4-2 victory at Northeastern on Saturday evening and complete a weekend home-and-home sweep of its crosstown rival.
Freshman Doyle Somerby broke a 2-2 tie with his first career goal to earn the game winner and sophomore Mike Moran also added a goal. Sophomore Matt O'Connor turned in a strong 39-save performance to help the Terriers earn their first road win of the season.
With the win, the Terriers improve to 10-20-4 overall and 5-12-3 in Hockey East play. They will enter the league tournament as the No. 9 seed and will visit No. 8 seed Notre Dame on Saturday.
Lane opened the scoring on a power play when he sent home a rebound from the foot of the right circle just 5:13 into the contest.
The Huskies, however, responded with goals from senior Braden Pimm and freshman Zach Aston-Reese to take a 2-1 lead just past the middle of the second.
Less than three minutes after Northeastern went ahead, Lane created a breakaway for himself and took full advantage of it, backhanding the puck past NU netminder Clay Witt to make it a 2-2 affair.
The Terriers held on to the momentum and Somerby gave them the lead for good soon after at the 16:10 mark. Fellow freshman Tommy Kelley picked up an assist on the play.