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College Hockey:
Weekend recap: Feb. 4-5

There were two big winners in Hockey East last weekend.  Make that huge winners.

New Hampshire swept archrival Maine, 6-3 and 5-4. The back end of that sweep came perilously close to a loss with an off-balance Gustav Nyquist hitting the post on an empty net after outracing  goaltender Matt DiGirolamo to the puck. That would-be go-ahead goal for Maine would have come with 45 seconds left. 

Having dodged that bullet, UNH got the win with 16 seconds remaining on a Paul Thompson backhander from below the goal line, banking it in off goaltender Shawn Sirman’s pads.

It doesn’t get much better than sweeping a weekend (and season) series against a nationally ranked opponent and having the victim be your archrival and have the wins vault you into first place.

Merrimack came awfully close to topping UNH’s big weekend, though, and in some respects may have done just that.  The Warriors topped Northeastern in overtime, 4-3, on Friday night after erasing 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. They then dispensed with the drama one night later, crushing Massachusetts, 11-2.

The wins didn’t come against archrivals like UNH’s did, but the overtime win came with just 29 seconds remaining.

Besides, the Warriors didn’t just solidify their positioning for home ice, picking up four points on fifth-place Maine, they also moved into a third-place tie with Boston University.  And since they hold a game in hand over the Terriers, they’re now arguably Hockey East’s third place team.

You don’t have to consult the media guide to know that this is unquestionably the latest in the season Merrimack has been able to make that claim.

Boston College and Boston University both won their lone games on the weekend, their light schedules coming as a result of Monday’s Beanpot games.  BC shut out Massachusetts, 5-0, while BU topped Massachusetts-Lowell, 3-1.

Both the Eagles and Terriers lost ground in the standings, BC falling out of a tie for first and BU into a tie for third, but they were giving games in hand so there was no big surprise there.

Vermont also had to be happy with its weekend, taking three of four points against Providence, following a 1-1 tie on Friday with a 7-1 explosion one night later.

That win was a big one not only in terms of its lopsided nature but it also because it acted as a five-point game. With Vermont entering the weekend one point behind Providence in the race for the final playoff berth, the win gave the Catamounts two points, denied two to the Friars, and also gave Vermont the playoff tiebreaker.  (The two teams had tied the two previous head-to-head contests.)

Conversely, Providence was a more than modest loser on the weekend despite taking one of four points.

Northeastern and Lowell both lost singletons as noted above.

UMass lost twice, taking it on the chin for a collective margin of 16-2. Ouch!

Maine, however, had the most to gain or lose on the weekend.  As a result, the Black Bears have to be considered the “biggest” loser on the weekend.  They’re now five points out of home ice contention and have dropped to a tie for 23rd in the PairWise.

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  • Living in the now

    As a UNH fan it’s always great when the team beats Maine. And this year, it was great to sweep the season series by winning two of the games in exciting fashion, an OT win by a freshman (Silengo) at the ugliest hockey venue in Hockey East, Alfond, and the final game in the series with 15.3 seconds on the clock and the goal scored by Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist/winner Paul Thompson!
    However, what gave me the greatest pleasure was that because of Paul Thompson’s goal, a NH bred player, the totally obnoxious Maine fans were finally silenced into submission and them realizing that their team is a lower tier team in Hockey East this year. Sure, they can carry around signs that they’ve won two Frozen Fours or that every venue is “Our House” but when you come right down to it, what has their team done for them lately, 2010 – 2011? In the team’s last 5 games they’re 0-3-2. If I remember correctly that’s a whopping 2 points out of 10!
    Face it Maine fans, your team has a long road ahead of it. And, the way your team is playing right now, you’ll be silenced many more times this season. Don’t live on past glories, live in the present. Oh yeah, that’s hard to do when your team has a hard time WINNING!

    • Chris

      That’s a lot of boasting over a team that has accomplished nothing so far this season

      • well outta the gate

        what has any team accomplished so far this year? but you have to get to the dance in order to dance right?

    • Anonymous

      Firstly, Maine’s long road has to start with a new coach. As long as Whitehead is behind the bench, this team will be second-rate. Secondly, as far as obnoxious goes, nothing can compare to the UNH fans at Orono last year, just sayin’

  • Chris

    Hey University of No Hardware, Yes it was a big weekend series to win over the black bears but UNH has still done NOTHING this season yet. Umile may even win the HE crown (just like last year) but BC owns the wildcats in the post season 2001, 2008, 2010 NCAA CHAMPIONS. Regan was a stud and UNH wasted that opportunity in 2008

    • Bharvey13

      A win over BC, a season sweep over Maine, 2 out of 3 against BU, a win at Miami(OH), a win at Cornell, and a tie against Michigan. what do all of these teams that UNH has played have in common?

      all were top-10 teams when they played UNH (except Maine, but you throw out records in the border war).

      That doesn’t sound like nothing to me. Even the loss to Dartmouth isn’t looking so bad as Dartmouth has beaten former number 1 Yale and continues to improve each week.

      • chris

        Will anyone but Umile remember those W’s after the champion is crowned in April?

      • UNH on Fire

        Type your comment here.Bharvey13 – you are doing ver ywell unti lthe last paragraph. UNH has had an excellent star tto the season, long way to go still, but Dartmouth has lost to Yale 3 times this year and have not beaten them. Despite this they have been playing well. The UNH loss to them will have little impact on them.

  • The Captain

    As a die hard wildcat fan, I agree that UNH’s season success will be judged upon what they do in March. HE regular season titles are nice but haven’t amounted to anything as of late. Growing up in the great state of Maine, I’ve heard the old University of No Hardware cry too many times to count. It’s warranted-yes, but I second the notion of living in the present. As of today, Umile’s squad will most likely be dancing as a #1 in their home state avoiding a matchup with the Eagles while the Black Bears will be out snowmobiling in Orono. As far as I’m concerned, Bears fans can continue with their favorite no hardware chants, but if I were a black bear I’d be more concerned with my hockey team who has not been to the NCAA tournament in 3 years looking to be 4. The Maine program is steadily falling off the college hockey map as they struggle to recruit against the Boston Powerhouses with better programs, coaches, and facilities. Believe me Bears, I enjoy seeing Maine come tournament time – they are/were a staple of college hockey. But take a good look in the mirror and evaluate this year’s team and your program as a whole as of today – not the past. On a side note, the Northeastern Huskies WILL win the Beanpot for the first time since 1988. Go NU!

  • Abc

    If the high seeds win this week it will work out great for the final five attendance. UMD vs UM in Thursday night game with the winner playing Nodak in the Friday night game.

    • Anonymous

      It would be CC vs UM and UNO vs UMD if all the home teams won.

      • Siouxbetcha

        No, Abc is right. #3UNO vs #6 CC and #4UMD vs #5UM if all the home teams win.

  • Mesteveo

    How can CC be ahead of UM in the Pairwise? Doesn’t make sense. someone explain

    • Siouxbetcha

      UM wins the individual comparison over CC, however CC has 15 overall comparisons to UM’s 13.

  • bigskyvikes

    I dont care, just cant wait to get there, hockey hockey hockey!!! GO SIOUX!!

  • Jeffffyb

    CC played and won more games against tougher competition. That’s why they’re ranked higher than the Gophers. Check out the Pairwise Rankings.

  • Guest

    This article would be better if they knew the name of BSU’s coach, it’s Tom Serratore…Frank is his brother.

  • Cyanwinters

    In a way, I kind of feel bad for that AIC radio guy.

  • Holterlori

    wonderful pics. how does one get a copy of a picture? there is a picture of my son with Paul Broten standing out on the ice during the ceremony that I would love to have a copy of. thanks,
    Lori Holter

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