Hockey East notebook: BC clinches regular-season title, Black Bears roll
The No. 1 Boston College hockey team remained unbeaten over its past 17 games, beating No. 16 Vermont 5-3 on Saturday night. Brian Billett made 35 saves in net to pick up the victory.
It was a well-rounded effort for BC (24-4-3, 15-1-1 Hockey East), which had 10 different players register at least a point. The win clinched the Hockey East regular-season title and guaranteed a No. 1 seed in the upcoming Hockey East Tournament. Johnny Gaudreau, Chris Calnan and Scott Savage led the way with a goal and assist each.
Calnan kicked off the scoring at 18 minutes, 18 seconds in the first period, converting a short-handed breakaway to give BC a 1-0 lead. With 36 seconds left in the period, Bill Arnold put home a rebound to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead after one.
Vermont (15-11-3, 7-9 HEA) came out firing in the second, and Nick Bruneteau put the Catamounts on the board 2:07 into the period. But the close score was short-lived, as goals from Eagles first-liners Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes put the Eagles comfortably ahead 4-1 going into the third.
BC has not lost since the day after Thanksgiving. Its only blemish in that time was a 3-3 tie with Providence.
The win completed a weekend sweep of Vermont, as the Eagles won a close one 4-3 on Friday night.
Summerhays, Irish blank Providence
Goaltender Steven Summerhays made 36 saves as No. 15 Notre Dame shut out No. 12 Providence 3-0 on Saturday night. The shutout was Summerhays’ sixth of the season.
It was a wire-to-wire win for the Irish (17-12-2, 6-9-2 HEA) as it led for virtually the whole game. David Gerths scored his first goal of the season 5:59 into the first period to give ND the lead for good. Bryan Rust tacked on a power play goal in the second to give the Irish a two-goal cushion, and Jeff Costello iced the game with an empty-net goal late in the third.
The ND defense turned in an impressive effort, and shut down forward Ross Mauermann of PC (15-9-6, 7-7-2 HEA), who has 18 goals and 15 assists in 30 games for the Friars.
The win capped an important weekend for the Irish as they put some distance between themselves and Massachusetts for eighth place in the Hockey East standings. They picked up another point on Friday night when they tied PC 2-2.
ND will travel back east next weekend, when Boston University hosts them for a pair of games starting Friday night at 7:05 p.m. PC will play UMass in a home-and-home series, starting Friday at 7 p.m. in Providence.
Black Bears continue roll, top Merrimack
No. 17 Maine won for the fourth time in five games as it topped Merrimack 3-2 on Saturday night in Orono, Maine. Connor Leen scored with 28 seconds left in the third period to give the Black Bears a dramatic victory.
Senior goaltender Martin Ouellette stopped 23 shots on the night to pick up the win for Maine (15-10-3, 9-5-2 HEA). He’s been a workhorse for the Black Bears this season, playing 27 of 28 games and compiling an impressive save percentage of .933, tied for fifth in the country.
It was a scrappy effort from Merrimack (7-18-3, 2-12-2 HEA), a team that has struggled this season. After a power play goal from Mike Collins tied the game at 2-2 with less than 10 minutes to play, it appeared the Warriors would at least squeeze a point out of the game. But Devin Shore’s blast was tipped home by Leen in the final minute and the Black Bears hung on to avoid the upset.
Ross Gienieczko can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @RossCollegian.