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Hockey East roundup: Merrimack ties season set with Northeastern; UMass, BC win late

Merrimack 5, Northeastern 2
The Warriors evened the season series with the host Huskies, using five goals from defensemen to earn the win at Matthews Arena. Junior captain Jordan Heywood led that charge with a pair of first-period goals – within a span of about ten minutes – to get on the scoresheet for the first time this season. Heywood became the first Merrimack defenseman to score two or more goals in a game since Karl Stollery recorded a hat trick at RIT on Jan. 1, 2011. Huskies sophomore Ludwig Karlsson also cracked the goal column for the first time this year, tying the game with a power play, one-time strike at 17:54 of the opening period. Rookie Kevin Roy’s pesky play around the goal all night long paid off with a score at 14:17 of the third period – his third of the season for the Hounds. In his second straight start, senior Bryan Mountain made 27 saves for NU, including double-digit totals in the first and third stanzas. Merrimack junior Sam Marotta turned aside 23 shots and earned his fourth victory of the season in five decisions. With the series shifting to Lawler Arena on Saturday, the Blue and Gold look to take the set against the Huskies with another victory.

Massachusetts 2, New Hampshire 1 (OT)
Senior defenseman Darren Rowe scored the game-winning goal on the power play at 3:08 of overtime to lift the Minutemen to the home win at Mullins Center, handing UNH its first loss of the season as it fell to 4-1-1 and 2-1-1 in league play. Five different UMass players tallied the teams' six points, including two assists for junior Conor Allen. Rowe's goal - a wrist shot off an assist from freshman West Roxbury, Mass. native Shane Walsh - was his third of the season and was the only special teams goal in the contest from either side. Sophomore Kevin Boyle's 25 saves were enough to lift the Minutemen and earn himself a second win, while fellow second-year netminder Casey DeSmith of the Wildcats made 34 saves and was the tough-luck loser. Both teams return to action on Sunday afternoon as UMass heads to Boston College and UNH is on the road at Maine.

Boston College 4, Maine 2
The Eagles used late-game heroics from sophomore Johnny Gaudreau as he scored the game-winner on a power play with 4:52 left at Alfond Arena. Senior alternate captain Steven Whitney potted an empty netter with 11.4 seconds remaining to seal the victory, which snapped a three-game losing streak in Maine's building and was the Eagles' first at Orono since Nov. 30, 2009. With goals on the evening, Gaudreau and Whitney have each posted at least a point in all six games, while senior captain Pat Mullane – the Hockey East October Player of the Month – saw his scoring streak snapped at five games. BC posted three man-advantage goals on six chances, marking the second consecutive game the Eagles have scored three times in that situation. Maine was paced by freshman Will Merchant and sophomore Connor Leen, who posted second-period goals in the defeat. BC senior Parker Milner posted an 11-save second period and 28 total stops in the contest to improve to 5-1-0 on the season. Maine junior Martin Ouellette's 19 saves were not enough as he fell to his second loss.

Providence 3, Vermont 2
At 4:19 of the third period, rookie phenom Mark Jankowski netted the game-winning goal to propel the visiting Friars past the Catamounts to open a two-game weekend series at Gutterson Fieldhouse – their third win in as many games and their first away from Schneider Arena this season. The win lifted PC to a four-game winning streak over Vermont for the second time ever and the first since 1969. With Brandon Tanev netting the first goal and assist of his career, 13 different Friars have at least one goal on the year and 18 Friars have notched at least a point – an impressive number this early in the season. In what was UVM's home opener in Burlington, freshman Jacob Fallon and junior Connor Brickley scored power-play goals to pace the Catamount offense. Jon Gillies made his seventh consecutive start in the Friar net and posted his first career road win, stopping 23 shots. Fellow rookie Brody Hoffman one-upped Gillies in the Vermont net, but suffered a loss.

North Dakota 4, Boston University 2
Despite goals from freshmen Danny O'Regan and Ahti Oksanen, the Terriers dropped the weekend opener to perennial national power No. 5 North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D in front of 11,589. Connor Gaarder scored each of UND's first three goals, while Rocco Grimaldi's empty-net strike sealed the win for the hosts. Junior Clarke Saunders posted 20 saves in its goal for North Dakota, quieting the Terrier offense in their first road game at a WCHA foe since Minnesota on Jan. 3, 2004. The Terriers are 0-6-1 in their last seven meetings with UND on the road but hope to turn that fate around in the series finale Saturday.

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