Hockey East Weekly: 11/21/11

BOSTON — It was an exciting day in Hockey East history as little Merrimack College was ranked No. 1 in both national college hockey polls for the first time in program history, despite having the week off.

The Warriors, owners of the nation’s only undefeated record at 8-0-1, entertain Alabama-Huntsville on Wednesday night at Lawler Arena in their only game of the holiday week. Elsewhere, No. 15 Boston University and Northeastern each earned four points on the weekend.

This week will be a busy one for Hockey East teams with the lone break from game action coming on Thursday when most have their attention set on turkey and football, so that is understandable.

Northeastern pulled off the surprise of Friday night, topping Providence by a 5-2 count on the road at Schneider Arena to end PC’s 4-0-1 unbeaten stretch at home. Junior Steve Quailer registered a goal and assist for the Huskies, while goaltender Chris Rawlings had to make just 19 saves in the victory.

On Saturday, the Huskies returned to Matthews Arena and scored a 5-2 victory over Vermont during the University’s Homecoming. Rookie forward Ludwig Karlsson scored two goals in the contest and earned league Player of the Week honors for his efforts during the weekend.

The native of Stockholm, Sweden is riding a career-best, three-game goal streak, leading the Huskies to their first four-point weekend since Jan. 7-8 against UMass-Lowell. NU returns to action on Friday at No. 11 Michigan.

In its only game of the weekend on Friday, PC’s goals were scored by senior Daniel New and rookie Ross Mauermann. Beaudry made two saves for the Friars before being pulled early on, while senior Justin Gates made 19 stops in relief as he was credited with his first loss of the season.

The Friars will face Miami and Princeton in the Wells Fargo Denver Cup this weekend at Magness Arena. This week, the host Pioneers are ranked No. 10 in the nation. The tournament begins a stretch of four road games in the next five for PC.

BU scored a pair of wins this weekend at Agganis Arena, beating Vermont and New Hampshire to extend its winning streak to three games.

Four different Terriers scored goals in Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Catamounts, while senior Grant Rollheiser made 31 saves for the Terriers to earn his second win in as many starts this year. Rookie Blake Doerring, who was not even listed on the UVM line chart, scored a goal and an assist in the victory.

In UVM’s Saturday contest at Northeastern, sophomore Matt White scored the lone goal.

BU won its fourth-straight meeting against UNH, 4-1, on Saturday as four different Terriers lit the lamp and senior captain Chris Connolly added a pair of assists in the victory. Freshman Trevor van Riemsdyk scored his first-collegiate goal in the loss.

BU’s Kieran Millan returned on Saturday, making 33 of 34 saves to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors in the league this week.

The Wildcats fell out of the polls this week with the loss, despite toppling UMass-Lowell on Friday, 5-0. Senior Matt DiGirolamo earned his third-career shutout with 31 saves. UNH, winners of its last five home games at Whittemore Center, extended its overall unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) in the win over the River Hawks.

Freshman Casey Thrush scored his first-collegiate goal and an assist on Friday, earning Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week honors for the Wildcats for the first time this year.

UNH travels across the Charles on Tuesday to face local foe Harvard at Bright Center and returns home after the holiday to face Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday. BU travels to The Big Apple on Saturday night for the third-ever Red Hot Hockey game against Cornell at Madison Square Garden.

The Catamounts have a busy week ahead, which begins with their annual pre-Thanksgiving match with rival Massachusetts at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Tuesday. The teams have met two days before Thanksgiving every year since 1996.

They return home from the holiday with non-conference home games against Colgate and Dartmouth on Friday and Sunday.

In their lone game of the weekend, No. 5 Boston College suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 setback to No. 2 Notre Dame on Friday at the newly-dedicated Compton Family Ice Arena. After starting the season with at least four goals in eight of the first nine games, BC has scored two or fewer in each of the its four contests.

BC freshman Johnny Gaudreau notched the game-tying score with 2:10 left in the third period to send the game to an extra period, but Bryan Rust snapped the stalemate with 1.1 seconds left in overtime to seal the victory.

The Eagles, coming off their first overtime loss in their last eight attempts, will return to action on Saturday afternoon at No. 8 Yale.

Maine and UMass skated to a 2-2 tie on Friday at the Mullins Center with Steven Guzzo coming back for the tying goal in the third period. Senior Brian Flynn and sophomore Mark Anthoine scored goals in the draw and Dan Sullivan recorded 35 saves in net for Maine, which returns to action Wednesday night with an exhibition contest against the U.S. Under-18 Team.

The Minutemen fell 4-0 against Commonwealth rivals UMass-Lowell at the Tsongas Center on Saturday. Sophomore goaltender Doug Carr stopped a mere 16 shots for his first-ever shutout, snapping a five-game losing skid against their sister school.

Chad Ruhwedel scored a goal and two assists for UML, which hosts Alabama-Huntsville on Friday afternoon. UMass travels to ECAC foe Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon in a NESN-televised game.

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