Shootouts produce trophies for UMass-Lowell, BU

Shootouts are not the norm in college hockey, particularly for schools out east. But this weekend, they twice translated to trophies for Hockey East teams.

1. UMass-Lowell plays comeback kids at inaugural Friendship Four

Wild and wooly is the only way to explain UMass-Lowell’s championship at the inaugural Friendship Four tournament in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Friday night it was Ryan McGrath forcing overtime before Dylan Zink won the semifinal game over Northeastern in overtime. In Saturday’s final, C.J. Smith buried a rebound with 38 seconds left to tie things against Brown, 5-5. And after a scoreless overtime, Zink again was the hero scoring the only shootout goal in what was a first-class event in Belfast (more on that on Thursday).

2. BU rallies to take Harkness-Kelley Cup in shootout at MSG

The bi-annual Red Hot Hockey event at Madison Square Garden featured a great comeback by Boston University, overcoming 2-0 and 3-2 deficits before Matt Lane scored the winner in a sudden death round. The tie and shootout win improves the Terriers to 3-0-2 in the marquis event. Connor LaCouvee continues his strong play in goal for the Terriers, improving to 5-2-3.

3. Still difficult to gauge how strong Merrimack is

Just when you think it is safe to proclaim Merrimack as the upstart story of the season, they struggled to a 4-0 loss at home against a Union team entered the game with just one win in its last eight contests. The Warriors have still impressed throughout the first half of the season but now have the same number of wins (six) as ties and losses combined (four and two, respectively) which may leave some wondering just how strong this team is.