Hockey East Weekly: 10/10/11

BOSTON — Led by Hockey East Rookie of the Week Johnny Gaudreau and his four-point performance, the Boston College Eagles now own the top spot in both national polls after a pair of wins at the IceBreaker Tournament in Grand Forks, N.D.

Five Eagles were named to the IceBreaker All-Tournament Team after a 6-2 victory over host North Dakota in the title match, which saw Gaudreau light up the scoresheet with a goal and three assists against the Sioux.

In the opening round, Chris Kreider led the Maroon and Gold with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Michigan State. Before Friday, the Eagles and Spartans had not met since the 2007 Frozen Four Championship in St. Louis.

The Eagles take on No. 3 Denver in their home opener on Friday night at Kelley Rink before trekking north for a showdown with traditional rival UNH at Whittemore Center the next evening.

In the lone game of Sunday’s college hockey schedule, Maine senior and conference Player of the Week Brian Flynn scored a goal and four assists as the Black Bears disposed of Northeastern by a 6-3 count.

The No. 17 Black Bears opened the season on Friday night with a 2-1 loss at the hands of No. 13 Merrimack and the Lynnfield, Mass. native Flynn continued his team-best streak of 114 consecutive games played over the weekend.

Senior puckstopper Joe Cannata made 22 saves as Merrimack won its first game at the Alfond Arena in 22 tries, heading into Saturday’s home opening game with Army.

Before a week-long hiatus from game action, Maine will hit the road this weekend for a two-game series with the No. 6 Sioux at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

In its lone game of the weekend, No. 8 Boston University dispatched No. 15 New Hampshire, 5-0, on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. Five Terriers scored multiple points in their first season-opening shutout since 1997.

Senior goalie Kieran Millan made 35 saves and tied 2004 graduate Sean Fields for first all-time with 62 career wins in a Terrier sweater, while pitching his sixth-career blanking. With that effort, he captured the season’s first Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week Award.

BU travels to Schneider Arena on Friday night for what will be Providence College’s home opener, and will return to Agganis Arena for a match with Denver on Saturday.

Also on Friday, UNH travels to Northeastern’s Matthews Arena before their Whittemore Center home opener with top-ranked BC.

The Huskies opened their season on Friday night with an exciting 3-3 tie with Massachusetts that featured a late tying goal from sophomore Braden Pimm, knocking home a loose puck with just two ticks left on the clock in the third period.

A trip north to Orono on Sunday proved less lucky, but second-year defenseman Anthony Bitetto scored his first goal of the season and junior Vinny Saponari lit the lamp for the first time as a Husky.

In Friday’s game on St. Botolph Street, the Minutemen skated to their first season-opening tie since 1918 and were led by Medford, Mass. native Conor Sheary’s two assists. Rookie Kevin Boyle made 29 saves in his first-ever college game.

UMass welcomes local foe Bentley to Mullins Center on Friday and heads south to Providence on Saturday.

Vermont skated in its annual Green and Gold scrimmage on Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse and will open the new season with an exhibition skate against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Friday.

UMass-Lowell’s Norm Bazin era began with a 3-3 tie against defending Canadian national champion New Brunswick on Saturday at the Chelmsford Forum, which saw senior Michael Budd chip in with two assists.

The Riverhawks jump back to their roots over the weekend as they take on Minnesota State in a pair of games this weekend in Mankato.

UML has only played five previous games against the Mavericks, but won its first-ever National Championship over then-named Mankato State in 1979 during its dominant Division II era.


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