Things weren’t looking great for Hockey East’s hottest team, Connecticut, as the game approached the waning second of regulation.
Trailing, 2-1, after UMass’ John Leonard scored his second goal of the game and 26th of the season with 10:57 remaining, the Huskies provided late game fireworks as Marc Gatcomb tied the game with 1:31 left and Kale Howarth tallied again with 8.7 left, giving UConn its fourth straight win and eighth in their last nine Hockey East contests.
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) February 29, 2020
The win pulls UConn into a tie for second with UMass, while the loss ends the chance for UMass for the number one overall seed. That will belong to Boston College, which was idle on Friday. Though both UConn and UMass can clinch a share of the regular season title, the Eagles win all possible tie breakers, which clinches the top overall seed in the Hockey East tournament.
UConn and UMass are now a point ahead of Maine, which did not play on Friday, and UMass Lowell, which rallied late to tie New Hampshire, both of whom are tied fourth place and the final home ice spot in the playoffs.
Michigan 2, Minnesota 2 (F/OT, Michigan wins shootout)
Four different teams entered Friday with the possibility of winning the Big Ten regular season title and earning a first round bye in the playoffs. And by the conclusion, thanks to a victory in a sudden death shootout by Michigan over Minnesota, the top seed is clinch by the only team not in action, Penn State.
The Nittany Lions began the night with a four-point lead over Minnesota and Ohio State and a six-point lead over Notre Dame. Penn State completed its regular-season a week ago, and the remaining teams had just two games left.
All three teams who needed points on Friday, failed to do enough. Ohio State fell to Wisconsin and Notre Dame lost to Michigan State.
When Minnesota got third-period goals from Jackson LaCombe and Brannon McManus, they kept their hopes for the top seed alive. But Jake Slaker’s goal in a sudden-death shootout after the teams had played without a winner for 70 minutes, gave the Wolverines the extra point in the Big Ten standings.
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) February 29, 2020
Minnesota can still grab a share of the regular-season title but lose the tie breaker to Penn State, giving the Nittany Lions the top seed when the Big Ten playoffs begin next weekend.
No. 1 Cornell 5, St. Lawrence 0
Max Andreev scored just 1:49 into the game and Cornell never looked back, scoring twice on the power play to earn a 5-0 victory over St. Lawrence.
Combined with Clarkson’s 1-1 tie against Colgate, Cornell clinches the Cleary Cup, given to the regular season champion in the ECAC.
It’s the third straight ECAC title for the Big Red.
As a result of our win tonight against St. Lawrence and Clarkson's tie against Colgate, Cornell has won the 2019-20 Cleary Cup! pic.twitter.com/iwj6cgppaU
— Cornell Hockey (@CUBigRedHockey) February 29, 2020
Goaltender Matthew Galajda needed just 19 saves to earn the shutout.
No. 3 North Dakota 3, Western Michigan 1
Matt Kiersted registered a goal and an assist and Adam Scheel made 26 saves as North Dakota returned to winning ways and moved a step closer to capturing the NCHC regular-season title.
— UND Insider (@UNDinsider) February 29, 2020
A win on Saturday in the back-end of the two-game series against Western Michigan will clinch the title for North Dakota.
The Fighting Hawks held a 2-0 lead until Western Michigan’s Dawson DePietro narrowed the gap to 2-1 with 15:25 left. But North Dakota’s Westin Michaud’s tally with 1:42 left killed any hope of a comeback, giving North Dakota the much-needed victory.