Hockey East Weekly: 11/29/11

BOSTON — Hockey East teams had strong success in non-conference play during the Thanksgiving Week, including a pair of victories for Vermont, a trio of conference squads beating Independent foe Alabama-Huntsville and four total wins over ECAC Hockey opponents.

Play will continue with a full slate of league games coming up on Friday and Saturday, including two more regular-season match-ups between No. 2/3 Boston College and No. 13 Boston University to decide the season series.

Without seeing the ice for game action during the past weekend, Merrimack maintained its nearly-unanimous No. 1 ranking as the Warriors head into a weekend home-and-home series with Providence College.

On Wednesday, the Warriors were 6-0 winners over Huntsville as freshman Connor Toomey scored twice.

The conference’s Team of the Week, Northeastern, earned its first victory over a Central Collegiate Hockey Association opponent since the 2009 Dodge Holiday Classic with a 4-1 victory over Michigan on Friday at Yost Ice Arena. Sophomore Cody Ferriero scored a career-best two goals, including the game-winner, earning Co-Player of the Week honors.

The Huskies return to the ice against another CCHA foe this weekend, facing No. 2 Notre Dame at the new Compton Family Ice Arena in a pair of games.

Perhaps the single biggest victory of the week came when the Eagles shocked the college hockey world by pulling a stunning comeback against now-No. 14 Yale at the Ingalls Rink.

The Maroon and Gold scored twice in the final four minutes to take down the Bulldogs by a 3-2 count on Saturday afternoon, including a shorthanded tally from senior alternate captain Barry Almeida. Freshman stopper and Brunswick, Maine native Brian Billett recorded 31 saves to capture the victory in his collegiate debut, earning Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Senior Ross Gaudet’s goal with 2:12 remaining in overtime lifted the other school on Commonwealth Ave., Boston University, to a 2-1 victory in the third installment of Red Hot Hockey on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Senior goaltender Kieran Millan made 23 saves, including a huge save in overtime, to earn his fifth win of the season and keep the Terriers unbeaten against their former ECAC rivals in the clash inside The World’s Most Famous Arena.

BU and BC renew its storied rivalry on Friday night with a nationally-televised contest on CBS Sports Network live from Kelley Rink.

Vermont had a busy three-game week, which saw home wins over Massachusetts and former ECAC rival and travel partner Dartmouth in games at the Gutterson Field House.

UVM earned its first conference victory of the season by defeating rival UMass 2-1 last Tuesday as freshman Kyle Reynolds scored twice and senior Rob Madore made 18 saves. Reynolds was named Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week for his three-point performance during the week.

On Sunday, 12 different Catamounts tallied at least one point and Vermont came back in the third period to earn a 5-3 victory over Dartmouth. Senior Sebastian Stalberg scored twice and was one of three players to record multiple points in the victory.

Despite scoring the game’s first goal off the stick of sophomore Connor Brickley, the Catamounts fell 4-1 on Friday against ranked foe Colgate to open the ECAC weekend set. Madore made 22 stops between the pipes.

The Catamounts return to action this weekend in a weekend series against Maine.

Maine played twice during the elongated holiday week, taking down the U.S. Under-18 Team in an exhibition match as well as a neutral-site victory over Clarkson in Portland.

Spencer Abbott tallied two goals and dished out a pair of assists to lead the Black Bears in Tuesday’s exhibition match, 6-4, while junior Matt Mangene scored the game-winning goal with four seconds remaining in the second period of Saturday’s 4-3 triumph at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

UMass-Lowell sophomore Doug Carr made 20 stops to post his second consecutive shutout in a 3-0 win over UAH on Friday. The night marked the first time the River Hawks have secured back-to-back shutouts since Feb. 8-16, 2007.

UNH’s offense scored 15 times in just two games during the week, including a 9-1 shellacking of UAH on Saturday at home. In the victory, the Wildcats scored nine goals for the first time since a win over Holy Cross on Dec. 8, 2008.

Conference Co-Player of the Week Stevie Moses had a career-best four goals in the victory over a winless Charger squad, resulting in his first-career hat trick for the Wildcats. Moses scored once on Tuesday as the Wildcats were edged 7-6 at Harvard, but John Henrion’s four assists were a career-best and leader for the offensive outburst.

The River Hawks face the Wildcats in a weekend back-to-back series on Friday and Saturday. During Friday’s match at Tsongas Center, the Stanley Cup is scheduled to make an appearance and fans will be able to pose for photographs.

UMass dropped a pair of tough games during the week, including Tuesday’s one-goal loss on the banks of Lake Champlain and followed that with a 4-2 setback at Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon.

Senior T.J. Syner scored the lone goal on Tuesday for the Mass Attack, while they scored twice in the third period on Saturday, including a power-play strike from Michael Marcou. The Minutemen return to action on Friday evening when they take on Bay State rival Harvard at the Mullins Center.

Providence competed in its first in-season tournament since 2007-08, but dropped a pair of games to Miami and Princeton in the Wells Fargo Denver Cup at Magness Arena during the weekend.

Sophomore Derek Army and senior David Brown scored in a 6-2 loss to the Red Hawks, while senior goalie Alex Beaudry made 18 saves and classmate Justin Gates stopped 16 shots for the Friars in the defeat.

Freshman Stefan Demopoulos scored the first goal, but the Friars ultimately fell 3-1 against the Tigers the following night.

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