Hockey East roundup: NU, Merrimack draw at home; Providence, BU complete sweeps

Northeastern 0, New Hampshire 0 (OT)
For the first time in the all-time series between the two teams, the Huskies and Wildcats skated to a scoreless tie at Matthews Arena - NU's second home shutout in a row over New Hampshire. NU senior Bryan Mountain pitched his first-career shutout, making stops on all 44 shots he faced in his first start since Jan. 2010, while counterpart Casey DeSmith posted the first blanking of his second season (and the second of his Wildcat career) with 34 saves. Mountain, a Pennsylvania native, posted his first-collegiate shutout, making double-digit saves in each regulation period. Prior to Saturday, the Wildcats, which finish the first month of the season at 4-0-1, had not been a part of a scoreless draw since Jan. 5, 2001. On the other end of the spectrum, Northeastern has skated to just four scoreless draws in its 81-year varsity history with the most previous coming at Boston University on Jan. 6, 2007. NU junior Braden Pimm and UNH senior John Henrion led their respective offenses on the night, taking six shots on goal each. The Huskies return to action next Friday night when they host Merrimack, while the Wildcats remain on the road with a pair of games next weekend, beginning at UMass.



Merrimack 2, Vermont 2 (OT)
Boston native and junior Mike Collins scored both goals for the host Warriors as they took a third point on the weekend series from the visiting Catamounts at Lawler Arena. Merrimack improves to 8-0-3 against Vermont in their last 11 meetings, including a win and tie this weekend. With Collins' two goals, including the equalizer at 6:13 of the third, the Warriors were able to come from behind to capture at least a point for the second straight game. Despite falling short of his first-career victory, rookie Rasmus Tirronen posted a strong 31 saves for the Blue and Gold. UVM scored its two goals in less than a minute's time as junior Pete Massar and sophomore Nick Luukko beat Tirronen in the 15th minute of the middle period. Brody Hoffman, who made yet another start for the Cats, finished with 32 stops.

Providence 3, Maine 0
The Friars clinched their first season series victory over the Black Bears on the strength of Jon Gillies' first-career shutout - a 26-save effort for the Portland, Maine native - at Schneider Arena. With the win, PC captured a home sweep of Maine for the first time since Dec. 5-6, 1997 and dropped the visitors to an astounding 1-6-0 record. Freshman Paul De Jersey set up goals for sophomore Ross Mauermann (his fourth of the year, leading the team) and junior Kevin Hart to set his own career high with two assists. Freshmen John Gilmour and senior Tim Schaller extended their point streaks to three games after cracking the scoreboard for the Friars. Despite the loss, Dan Sullivan posted 39 saves in net for Maine.

Boston University 3, Massachusetts 2
Senior Sean Escobedo capped off his birthday with a rebound goal with 1:22 remaining in regulation, lifting the Terriers to a weekend sweep at Mullins Center. For the second consecutive night, rookie Matt O'Connor turned in an impressive performance with 34 saves, including stops on each of the last 25 he faced. BU fell behind with the first goal for the first time this season as West Roxbury, Mass. native Shane Walsh scored his first-collegiate goal on a power play at 16:49. The Minutemen converted their first penalty shot since Jeff Turner on Feb. 6, 2000 as senior captain Rocco Carzo scored past O'Connor at 1:06 of the second. Propelled by a 15-save second period, UMass sophomore Kevin Boyle posted 32 saves in his first loss of the young season.

Joshua Kummins is the Hockey East beat writer and a weekend editor for SB Nation Boston. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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