November 23, 2013

College Wraparound: BU wins rare battle with North Dakota

By Joshua Kummins

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk buried his third goal of the season for BU Friday. (Dave Arnold Photography)

BOSTON -- Agganis Arena played host to a pair of fierce national powers on Friday night as the Boston University Terriers (6-6-0, 2-3-0 Hockey East) welcomed in the No. 14/15 University of North Dakota (4-6-1, 3-5-0 NCHC) for the first of a weekend series.

The Terriers, who were facing a team from the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference for the first time since its formation, found the back of the net twice in the first period and did not look back in a 3-1 victory.

BU opened the scoring just 9:14 into the first period as Cason Hohmann finished off a 2-on-1 by going short side on UND netminder Clarke Saunders for his third goal and ninth point of the season. Stellar second-year Danny O'Regan (Needham, Mass.) doubled the Terrier lead on the power play at 17:15, knocking one just over the goal line.

After the teams played to a scoreless middle stanza in which NoDak held an 11-9 shots advantage, BU freshman Kevin Duane (New Canaan, Conn.) put another home on the man-advantage, backhanding a rebound into the net off an initial shot from sophomore Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass.) for his third score of the season.

UND ruined sophomore the shutout bid of Matt O'Connor with 2:30 left in regulation as Rocco Grimaldi wristed one past the sophomore from the top of the circle, but that was as close as it would get as the Terriers jumped back to the .500 mark heading into the back half of the series on Saturday night.

O'Connor finished the evening with double-digit saves in each period, equating 37. Since the outset of the 2008-09 season, BU has now had a Canadian start in goal for each of the last 212 games.

The contest was UND's first on the BU campus since the 2008 IceBreaker Tournament, but this marks the second year in a row the teams have met. The Terriers earned their first win in eight attempts in Grand Forks last November.

UMass Lowell 1, Notre Dame 0

Junior Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.) scored the lone goal of the contest at 15:46 of the first period and sophomore Connor Hellebuyck made 40 saves as the No. 11/13 River Hawks (9-4-0, 3-1-0 Hockey East) shut down the No. 6 Irish (8-4-1, 2-2-1) at the Tsongas Center in the first meeting between the two schools in any sport. A cool note from Hockey East: Hellebuyck has more career shutouts (eight) than losses (six) and has averaged a shutout every four starts.

Northeastern 5, Merrimack 2

The Huskies' (7-5-0, 2-4-0 Hockey East) freshman class recorded eight points, including a pair of goals and an assist from Dalen Hedges in the first of a weekend set against the Warriors (3-7-1, 0-4-1) at Lawler Arena in North Andover. Hedges paced the offense with three points, while sophomore Kevin Roy posted two goals himself, allowing him to become the 56th player in NU history to record 50 points in his first two seasons of college hockey. With the win, NU emerges from North Andover with two points for the first time since Dec. 4, 2010. Merrimack scored both of its goals on the power play, from Vinny Scotti and Quinn Gould.

New Hampshire 3, Providence 2 (OT)

Junior Matt Willows scored just 15 seconds into overtime - his second goal of the evening - as the No. 20 Wildcats (7-5-1, 5-2-0 Hockey East) downed the No. 20 Friars (9-2-1, 5-2-0) in the first half of a big two-game series on the road at Schneider Arena. PC's Nick Saracino, who has amassed seven goals and 11 total points in seven career games against the Wildcats, provided a helper on the Friars' first strike of the game, by sophomore Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.), at 6:28 of the third. The big news of the night was PC sophomore goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) leaving the game after two periods with an apparent left leg injury.

Vermont 3, Massachusetts 2

Adam Phillips and Steven Iacobellis each scored goals before the Mullins Center faithful could practically settle into their seats, but the Catamounts (4-5-1, 3-4-0 Hockey East) scored a trio unanswered to steal two crucial league standings points away from the host Minutemen (3-8-2, 1-5-2). Senior defenseman Nick Bruneteau's goal at 14:10 of the third was the clincher as sophomore Brody Hoffman made 21 saves for his first win of the season.

Yale 5, Colgate 2

The No. 9 Bulldogs (5-1-2, 3-0-2 ECAC Hockey) were paced by a pair of goals from senior Jesse Root in an easy win over the host Raiders (6-7-1, 4-3-0) at Starr Rink in Hamilton, N.Y. It was an impressive night for Groton School product Mike Doherty as he found the back of the net midway through the second period and added a pair of assists to pace the Elis, which were backed by 18 saves from Alex Lyon.

Cornell 4, Brown 1

Junior Matt Lorito scored the lone goal of the game for the Bears (3-4-1, 1-3-1 ECAC Hockey) on a first-period penalty shot against the Big Red (5-3-1, 3-3-1). Rookie Tyler Steel made 23 saves in defeat for Brown at Lynah Rink.

Quinnipiac 3, Princeton 0

Senior Kellen Jones became the 21st member of the Bobcats (12-1-1, 6-0-1 ECAC Hockey) to record 100 points at the Division 1 level, putting home a pass from twin brother Connor on the power play at 8:22 of the second period for the lone goal QU would need in a 3-0 win at Princeton's (2-8-0, 1-6-0) Hobey Baker Rink. Via QU sports information director Ken Sweeten, the twins become the fifth set of brothers in NCAA history to tally 100 career points each while playing together and the first since St. Lawrence's Pete and Tim Lappin in 1988. Senior Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.) and freshman Sam Anas also scored goals as the Bobcats extended their NCAA-best unbeaten streak to 13.

Sacred Heart 6, Army 5

The Pioneers (3-8-0, 2-3-0 Atlantic Hockey) scored three times, including twice on the man-advantage, in the third period to down the host Black Knights (1-9-0, 1-6-0) at West Point's historic Tate Rink. Brooks School product Mitch Nylen scored the first of SHU's three unanswered in the final stanza, while junior Drew George netted the winner. For Army, junior Josh Richards (Lee, N.H.) scored a season-high two goals, while classmate and fellow New Englander Mac Lalor (Needham, Mass.) also found the back of the net.

Holy Cross 2, Robert Morris 1

Junior Mike McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) potted the game-winner at 5:21 of the third period as the Crusaders (3-8-0, 3-3-0 Atlantic Hockey) improved to .500 in conference play by edging past the Colonials (1-8-1, 1-3-1) in Pittsburgh. Junior Matt Ginn made 35 saves to earn the win in goal, adding to his career total of 1,941, which is now second to Tony Quesada '06 in Holy Cross' Division 1 history.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins