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Hockey East roundup: Friday night sees pair of close victories and dramatic finishes too

Boston College 4, Merrimack 3
Senior alternate captain Steven Whitney scored twice, including the game-winning goal at 12:38 of the third period as the Eagles came back from three goals down to top the Warriors at Kelley Rink in the first contest of the season between the two squads. Merrimack scored three times within 4:38 in the second period after a scoreless opening stanza, but the Eagles responded with three of their own in 5:14 to tie the score before sealing the deal in the third. Whitney, a Reading, Mass. native, potted the first and last goals of the contest for the Maroon and Gold, including the game-sealer at 12:38 of the third. Sophomore Johnny Gaudreau has at least one point in all ten games so far this season as he notched a pair of helpers to Whitney. Highlighting the Warrior offense was freshman John Gustafsson's first-collegiate goal, opening the scoring 3:15 into the middle stanza. Warriors junior Sam Marotta recorded a season-high 38 saves in the losing effort, while Parker Milner earned his ninth win in a row with 23 saves for the Eagles. BC, which returns home next Saturday afternoon to host Dartmouth, improved to 24-0-2 in its last 26 home games against Merrimack. The Warrior senior class did not earn a victory over four years at BC as the remaining two games of the season series come at Lawler Arena in North Andover and have not emerged winners from Chestnut Hill since Oct. 31, 1997. The Eagles enter next week's contest with a nine-game winning streak and wins in 28 of the last 29 since January.

New Hampshire 3, UMass-Lowell 0
Sophomore Casey DeSmith made 23 stops between the Wildcat pipes as he blanked the host River Hawks at Tsongas Center for his third shutout in as many games - a first by UNH since 1928-29 - and his fourth of the season. Sophomore Trevor van Reimsdyk posted a goal and an assist for UNH as he paced the offense in its third consecutive win, improving to 7-1-1. DeSmith, the Granite State boy from Rochester, has a streak of 178:52 of scoreless hockey and needs just under four minutes more of shutout hockey to break the program record, previously set in 1968-69. Sophomore Grayson Downing and senior Austin Block scored goals for the 'Cats in the final nine minutes of regulation to equal the final score against UML junior Doug Carr (23 saves). Both teams are in action away from home on Sunday with UML traveling west to Amherst and UNH heading into Boston's Agganis Arena for an afternoon contest.

Providence 6, Northeastern 2
Junior Derek Army posted his first-career hat trick and freshman Mark Jankowski scored a goal and two assists as the Friars handily downed the Huskies at Schneider Arena, snapping a five-game winless streak (1-2-3) in the series. Army became the first PC skater to post three goals in a game since Tim Schaller on Nov. 4, 2011 against Vermont, scoring all three of his goals in the final 40 minutes. Two of the North Kingstown, R.I. native's three goals came in the third period, completing the first hat trick of the season in Hockey East. Senior Chris Rawlings (10 saves) and junior Clay Witt (17) each surrendered three goals for the Huskies, while junior Cody Ferriero and senior Vinny Saponari posted a pair of power-play goals. Saponari is in the midst of a career-best five-game point streak as a Husky. Additionally, Senior center Garrett Vermeersch assisted on each of the Husky goals in his first multi-point contest of the season. Former Husky recruit Jon Gillies did in his original squad with 22 saves as he improved to a respectable 5-4-1 on the season. The Huskies continue a busy weekend of travel with a Sunday night contest at Vermont, while the Friars have the rest of the weekend off before a quick turnaround to play Quinnipiac on Tuesday.

Boston University 6, Vermont 2
Six different goal scorers hit the back of the net and rookie Sean Maguire made 29 saves in his first-collegiate victory in the opener of UVM's two-game weekend at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Senior Wade Megan and sophomore Alexx Privitera each recorded a goal and an assist with Megan's strike with 1:29 left in the opening period proving to be the game-winner. Junior Garrett Noonan and sophomore Cason Hohmann both continued their strong starts with a pair of assists each to pace the BU attack. Vermont received a combined 19 saves from rookie goaltenders Brody Hoffman (10) and Billy Faust (9), while Chris McCarthy and Pete Massar posted the Catamount goals in their fourth defeat of the campaign. The Catamounts stay in Burlington on Sunday for their first match with Northeastern this season.

Massachusetts 2, Maine 2 (OT)
Junior Conor Allen provided a flair for the dramatic as he knotted the score with 1:08 remaining in regulation at Alfond Arena. With an extra attacker on, Allen secured a point for the Minutemen after falling down by two goals less than halfway through the first period, thanks to senior Mark Nemec and sophomore Jake Rutt. Redshirt sophomore Steven Guzzo also scored his third of the season for the Minutemen and is also tied for the team lead with six points. Neither team was able to score during the five-minute overtime period as the teams settled by splitting the two crucial Hockey East points in the first meeting between the border rivals this season, with two more to come to close February at Mullins Center.

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