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Hockey East roundup: UNH's DeSmith, NU's Rawlings post shutouts; Maine grabs first league win

New Hampshire 4, Vermont 0
There has been no such thing as a sophomore slump for UNH's Casey DeSmith as he turned in another stellar performance to top the border rival Catamounts at Whittemore Center. The Rochester, N.H. native posted 27 saves in net, while senior Austin Block scored twice to pace the Wildcats to their sixth win in eight games this season. Block, a Thousand Oaks, Calif. native, has established a career-high with seven goals in his final campaign, topping off an output which has been upped each year. With the victory, DeSmith and the Wildcats post their second blanking in as many games as it comes off the heels of another by the same score last Sunday at Maine. DeSmith has posted back-to-back shutouts in net for the Wildcats, marking the first time that feat has occurred since Kevin Regan blanked Providence in straight games during the 2007 Hockey East quarterfinals. He also posted his first-career assist on the opening goal by classmate Grayson Downing 5:27 into the proceedings. The Wildcats head back on the road next Friday for the start of a four-game road swing, beginning at UMass-Lowell. UVM looks to return to winning ways when it hosts Boston University and Northeastern next weekend.

Northeastern 3, Alabama-Huntsville 0
Sophomore Ludwig Karlsson scored twice and senior Chris Rawlings pitched his tenth-career shutout with 20 saves in a much-needed victory over the winless Chargers at Matthews Arena, curbing the Huskies’ five-game winless streak. With the win, Rawlings passed Brad Thiessen and took over the school’s all-time shutout record with ten. Additionally, the Huskies also surpassed the 50-shot plateau for the first time since Jan. 17, 2004 at Providence. Karlsson’s two goals, coming at 17:13 of the first and 5:57 of the third, gave him points in just the second game of his season, all in the last three games. Junior Braden Pimm scored NU’s first goal on a nifty backhand just 13:06 into the game, beating a stellar UAH fourth-year goaltender John Griggs (51 saves). The victory came in the first head-to-head meeting between the Huskies and Chargers and was the first win against a first-time opponent for NU since defeating Quinnipiac in 2002. The teams return to the rink on Sunday to conclude the series, after the Huskies were able to pick up a victory in just their second non-conference opener in the last six tries.

Maine 4, UMass-Lowell 3
Bowdoinham, Maine native and freshman Kyle Williams redirected Mike Cornell's shot into the back of the net for his first-collegiate goal at 11:10 of the third period as the Black Bears finally earned their first conference win of the season on road ice at the Tsongas Center. Maine, which now stands at 2-9-0 on the season (1-5-0 Hockey East) snapped a seven-game slide with the victory to avenge UML's 2-1 win on Friday. Junior Derek Arnold of the River Hawks scored the first goal of the contest on a man-advantage redirect play with Joseph Pendenza 10:09 into the first period. Rookie Devin Shore, a highly touted Dallas Stars draft pick, gave Maine a two-goal lead at 8:42 of the second period - the first of his career, coming on a rebound in front of junior Doug Carr's net. However, the River Hawks were not done as senior Riley Wetmore and Pendenza scored to tie the score in the latter half of the middle frame, before Williams was the hero for junior Martin Ouellette (27 saves) and the Black Bears. Maine looks to carry the momentum into next Friday's home date with rival UMass at Alfond Arena, while UML welcomes New Hampshire to town on Friday as well.

Connecticut 3, Merrimack 1
The future Hockey East foe Huskies scored two late goals in the third period in a statement victory over the Warriors at Lawler Arena. Senior Sean Ambrosie notched the game-winning goal at 3:50 of the third, while adding an assist earlier in the period. Merrimack drops to 23-2 in the lifetime series with UConn, losing for the first time since 2005. MC broke through with the first goal of the game at 11:26 of the middle frame as sophomore Kyle Singleton followed up an initial shot with his second of the season on a delayed penalty call. However, that was all the Warriors could muster off of comeback winner Garrett Bartus, who made 30 saves in just his second triumph in seven early decisions during his senior season. Sophomore Rasmus Tirronen was the hard-luck loser as he made 21 saves in falling to 1-3-1. With its first loss to an Atlantic Hockey foe since Oct. 24, 2006 (Holy Cross) headed to the rear view, Merrimack returns to action next Friday at Boston College's Kelley Rink.

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