March 16, 2014

College Wraparound: Gaudreau makes history, keeps Eagles kicking

By Joshua Kummins

Boston College junior Johnny Gaudreau celebrates one of his goals in Saturday's 4-2 win over Notre Dame. Gaudreau had four points in the win, which set up a decisive Game 3 between the Eagles and Irish on Sunday. (Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Johnny Gaudreau continued his magical season Saturday, and just when his Boston College Eagles needed it most.

Gaudreau scored two goals and added two assists to move to 69 points for the year as BC beat Notre Dame 4-2 to force a deciding third game in their Hockey East Quarterfinal series.

The Eagles (26-6-4) bounced back from Friday night's blowout loss to tie the series with the Fighting Irish (22-13-2) at Kelley Rink. Gaudreau factored into all four BC goals, and extended his point-scoring streak to 31 games, tying Paul Kariya's Hockey East record. The 69 points are also the most by a BC player since Marty Reasoner in 1997-98.

After the Irish took an early lead off a Bryan Rust wrister just 39 seconds into the game, the Eagles found a groove. Gaudreau found Patrick Brown midway through the first period to tie it, and a pair of Notre Dame penalties set up Gaudreau’s first goal of the game with 2:21 to go in the first period. BC never trailed again in the game.

Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) made it 3-1 BC about six minutes into the third period, and Gaudreau wrapped the victory up with his second goal of the night about 90 seconds later.

Vince Hinostroza cut the Eagle lead to 4-2 with 3:42 to go, but the Irish couldn’t get any closer as BC forced Sunday’s series clincher. The teams return to Chestnut Hill at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon with BC playing its first winner-take-all quarterfinal game since 2004. NESN will broadcast the game.

Northeastern 5, New Hampshire 4

Northeastern and New Hampshire went back and forth on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center, but the Huskies cracked the scoreboard in overtime to send their Hockey East quarterfinal series to a deciding third game. Freshman Mike Szmatula scored a rebound between the circles 3:39 into overtime to lift the fifth-seeded Huskies to a 5-4 win. The victory snapped NU’s nine-game winless skid in Durham as it had not won on UNH’s home ice since Nov. 16, 2007. Kevin Roy had two goals for the Huskies, including the one that sent the game into overtime with seven seconds to go in the second period. Tyler Kelleher, Justin Agosta, Nick Sorkin and Grayson Downing had the goals for UNH.

Vermont 3, UMass Lowell 2 (OT)

Freshman Mario Puskarich scored his Hockey East rookie-leading 19th goal of the season 5:36 into overtime, sending the Catamounts (20-13-3) and River Hawks (22-10-4) into to a deciding third game at the Tsongas Center. Vermont scored a controversial goal 5:53 into the third to take a 2-1 lead after Derek Arnold was called for high sticking, though Vermont’s Caylen Walls was felled by a puck to the face and not Arnold’s stick. But the River Hawks struck back less than two minutes later to tie it. UVM will look to become the second No. 7 seed in three years to pull off an upset of UMass-Lowell, after Providence pulled it off in 2012. Senior Joe Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) also scored for UML.

Providence 4, Maine 2

Two goals in the first and second periods, including a pair from second-year Nick Saracino, lifted the Friars (21-9-6) to the Hockey East semifinals with a second-consecutive victory over the Black Bears (16-15-4) at Schneider Arena. Sophomore Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) made 36 saves in the contest to improve to 18-7-5. With the win, PC became the first team to punch its ticket to TD Garden with a two-game sweep, and will be part of the semifinals for the second year in a row.

Quinnipiac 5, Yale 3

The Bobcats (24-8-6) advanced to next week’s ECAC semifinals in Lake Placid, N.Y., by completing a two-game sweep of the Bulldogs (17-11-5) at High Point Solutions Arena. Freshman Sam Anas scored the first and last goals of the night for QU, while senior Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.) posted the game-winner 4:40 into the third period. Freshman John Hayden (Greenwich, Conn.) scored two of the Bulldogs’ three goals in their final game of the season.

Union 4, Dartmouth 2

Thanks to two goals in the third period, the top-seeded Dutchmen (26-6-4) completed a weekend sweep of the Big Green (10-20-4) for the second consecutive year in the ECAC quarterfinals at Messa Rink. Junior Brandon McNally (Saugus, Mass.) and sophomore Tim O’Brien scored first-period goals to put Dartmouth ahead, but Union scored the last three goals in the game to take victory. Big Green sophomore Charles Grant made 27 saves in defeat. In the win, rookie Mike Vecchione (Saugus, Mass.) opened the scoring for the Dutchmen and added a pair of assists.

Canisius 5, Bentley 4 (2OT)

Kyle Gibbons scored 6:59 into the second overtime as the seventh-seeded Golden Griffins (15-20-3) completed a four-goal comeback to knot their Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series with the host Falcons (19-13-4) at a game apiece at Ryan Arena. Bentley (19-13-4), which received a goal and two assists each from senior Brett Gensler and junior Alex Grieve, led 4-1 after 40 minutes but will have to win the deciding game on Sunday night to advance to the league semifinals in Rochester, N.Y., for the first time since 2009.

Mercyhurst 4, Holy Cross 1

The top-seeded Lakers (21-12-7) completed a weekend sweep of the No. 8 Crusaders (14-22-3) in Erie, Pa., despite Holy Cross freshman Mike Barrett’s 12th goal of his freshman season and 32 saves from third-year Matt Ginn. The Crusaders fired 46 shots on Mercyhurst goaltender Jimmy Sarjeant, but were shut out of the net for over 50 minutes to open the game. Senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt set a Crusader program record by playing in his 151st (and final) career game.

Robert Morris 3, Connecticut 2

Sophomore Tyler Cooke (Warwick, R.I.) and junior Trevor Gerling each scored, but the Huskies (18-14-4) were ousted from the Atlantic Hockey playoffs with a close home loss to the Colonials (17-17-5) at Freitas Ice Forum. In the final effort of his excellent career in a Connecticut uniform, senior goaltender Matt Grogan made 29 saves.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins