March 10, 2012

BC squeaks by, UML stays alive in Hockey East action

By Jesse Connolly

After UMass-Lowell and Providence got things rolling on Thursday night, the other six teams to qualify for the Hockey East Tournament got their opening-round battles underway on Friday night. 

BC's Barry Almeida squeaks by UMass forward Troy Power. (Dave Arnold Photography) 

Here’s a roundup of all the action:

Boston College takes Game 1

On paper, a lot of things went right for UMass in their battle with top-seeded BC in the Hockey East Quarterfinals on Friday. In the second period, the Minutemen allowed just three shots by the Eagles. Unfortunately for UMass, two of the shots found the back of the net.

Pat Mullane opened the scored at 17:46 of the middle frame and captain Tommy Cross tallied 39 seconds later to put BC ahead, 2-0. A goal by Steven Guzzo cut the Eagles’ lead in half, but goalie Parker Millner shut them down the rest of the way.

BC now leads the series 1-0. UMass will look to stay alive when the two teams square off again on Saturday night at 7 o’clock.

UNH stuns BU in 2OT

New Hampshire deserves plenty of credit for their return to respectability in the second half of the regular season. Their hopes of continuing that roll in the Hockey East Tournament got off to a good start on Friday night.

Grayson Downing scored two minutes into the second overtime session, giving No. 6 UNH a 3-2 win over No. 3 Boston University. Goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped 32-of-34, including all 18 shots he faced from the start of the third period on.

The Wildcats leads the series 1-0 and will look to close out the Terriers on Saturday at 4 o’clock when they meet again at Agganis Arena.

Lowell narrowly stays alive against Providence

After a resurgent season that saw them finish in second place in Hockey East, UMass-Lowell narrowly avoided getting swept by No. 7 Providence. After falling 5-3 at Tsongas Arena on Thursday, the River Hawks needed overtime to pull out the win on Saturday night.

Zach Kamrass tallied 11:29 into the extra session to keep Lowell alive in the tournament. River Hawks netminder Doug Carr was superb after allowing two quick goals in the second period. He stopped all 16 shots he faced in third and over time.

The two teams will have off Saturday before squaring off in the third, deciding tilt on Sunday at 4 o’clock.

Maine’s relentless attack powers win over Merrimack

After securing home ice for their opening-round series in the final weekend of the regular season, No. 4 Maine dispatched No. 5 Merrimack on Friday night. The Black Bears fired 41 shots on goaltender Joe Cannata over the course of the tilt, 17 of which came during the second period after Merrimack tallied in the opening frame.

Joey Diamond and Kyle Beattie scored 4:14 apart in the middle frame. Netminder Dan Sullivan stopped everything Merrimack threw his way from there on out.

The series will resume on Saturday night at 7 o’clock.