Reading, MA – It was just another Friday night in Hockey East action across New England. The second to last night of the regular season was packed full of athletic saves, highlight-reel goals, and shocking outcomes, just like the previous 22 HEA nights on each school’s schedule. Parity has been a god-send to the conference this season, and Friday wasn’t any different.
Boston College held on for a 2-1 win over the Massachusetts Minutemen on a night UMass could have clinched the championship. Meanwhile, across town, the Northeastern Huskies demolished the Merrimack Warriors 6-1 at historic Matthews Arena. The two teams had 41 points in second place. The win put the Huskies firmly in second place with the possibility of still over-taking Massachusetts for the HEA trophy.
The Vermont Catamounts pulled off the upset against the Connecticut Huskies in Hartford, CT, a hundred miles away. The 5-3 win meant that UVM wouldn’t finish in last place for the third straight season while UConn missed out on three points to climb up in the overall standings. Elsewhere, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks downed the New Hampshire Wildcats 6-3 in Durham, NH putting UML in third-place overall before the last game of the season. Not surprisingly, the Boston University Terriers dispatched the Maine Black Bears at Alfond Arena in Orono, ME, by a 5-1 score.
The penultimate day in Hockey East wouldn’t look the way it does without the play of these three players in Friday night’s games. These are the PuckingOff Three Stars of the Night in Hockey East.
Erik Dop, Graduate Transfer Student, Boston College Eagles, Goalie
The former Bowling Green Falcon has carried the load for the Eagles all season, starting 29 of BC’s 34 games. It’s been a rocky season for Dop and the Eagles, but last night was the second straight win for BC. The 5′-10″ Lewis Center, Ohio native, was instrumental in holding off UMass as he turned back 25 of 26 Minutemen shots. No sequence was more significant than when the time was ticking off the clock in the third period, and the UMass net pulled for an extra attacker. UMass fired off five shots in the final thirty seconds that Dop turned aside; the biggest was a toe save on Garrett Wait at the left post with roughly ten seconds remaining. The Eagles are heating up at the right time, and Dop is finally settling into the groove of his new surroundings.
Sam Colangelo, Sophomore, Northeastern Huskies, Forward
The Stoneham, MA product had two goals and an assist to power the Huskies. Colangelo got the primary helper on the Huskies’ first goal to open the scoring in the first period. His shot beat Merrimack goalie Zacahry Borgiel and trickled towards the goal line, where Jack Hughes helped in it. The 6′-3″ Anaheim Ducks prospect’s tenth goal of the year in the second period put the Huskies ahead 4-1 when he beat Borgiel with a shot. His second goal came in the third period to cap off the evening’s scoring 6-1. Colangelo beat Borgiel when he fired off a shot on a one-on-four against the Warriors for his eleventh goal.
Porter Schachle, Freshman, Vermont Catamounts, Forward
The 6′-4″ Wasilla, Alaska native has come on strong as the season winds down for the Burlington, VT. school. On Friday, the Catamounts got two goals and an assist from Schachle in their 5-3 win over UConn. Schachle helped the Cats win their second straight game. Schachle tapped in a rebound of a Robbie Stucker shot for his first goal to give the Cats the lead. He assisted UVM’s next goal, a Will Zapernick one-timer, to put Vermont ahead 2-1. The freshman blocked a shot at the blue line and raced on Darion Hanson to seal the win. The unassisted goal in the third period was the difference in Vermont’s first Hockey East road win of the season.
Jack McBain, Senior, Boston College Eagles, Forward
The Minnesota Wild prospect scored the game-winning goal in the third period to topple UMass. The Power-Play goal clinched home ice for the Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs on Wednesday against UNH. The 6′-4″ Toronto, Ontario native recently returned from China after participating in the Winter Olympics with Team Canada. As I looked through my pictures from the game, McBain was in most of them. He was everywhere, blocking shots, taking hits, giving checks, and winning face-offs.