Reading, MA – The first round of the Hockey East playoffs was Wednesday night. This year, unlike previous seasons, it’s a one-and-done deal instead of a best-of-three weekend series. Three teams advanced, while three schools started the retool for next year.
TIn Chestnut Hill, MA, the Boston College Eagles outlasted the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 4-3 in overtime to set up a date with the number one seed Northeastern Huskies Saturday at 7:30 pm at Matthews Arena. Marc McLaughlin‘s second goal of the game was the difference-maker.
Meanwhile, in North Andover, MA, the Merrimack College Warriors toppled the visiting University of Maine Black Bears 6-2. The Warriors continued to get offensive output from their top line of Steven Jandric, Max Newton, and Alex Jeffries. Newton had a pair of third-period goals to break it open. The Warriors will venture a few exits down 495 to face rival UMass-Lowell at Tsongas Center Arena Saturday at 4:40 pm.
In Providence, RI, the University of Vermont Catamounts made it interesting before succumbing to the Providence College Friars 2-1. Providence outplayed Vermont and dominated the game from start to almost the finish. Goals by freshman Cody Monds and sophomore Brett Berard paced the Friars in earning a rematch against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen at the Mullins Center Saturday at 7:00 pm. Massachusetts knocked off PC in the semis of last season’s tournament.
Marc McLaughlin, Senior, Boston College Eagles, Forward
McLaughlin has been a force, not just all season but throughout his BC career. Having appeared in all 32 games so far, the senior from North Billerica, MA, sits on the 21-10-31 stat line. His 21 goals lead all Eagles. He is the first BC player in three seasons to reach the 20-goal plateau. He popped two in to defeat UNH and keep the Eagles season alive.
Tyler Ward, Senior, University of New Hampshire Wildcats, Forward
Ward, who struggled to open the season, has found his stride since Thanksgiving. The 5′-10″ Kamloops, British Columbia native, has had 22 points since then. He leads the Wildcats in points with an 11-16-27 line. His hat-trick in Wednesday’s 4-3 OT loss to the Eagles was the entirety of the UNH attack. The visitors put 47 shots on goal, with Ward topping the list with 13.
Gabe Carriere, Sophomore, University of Vermont Catamounts, Goalie
Carriere turned aside 38 of 40 shots in the Catamounts 2-1 loss to the Friars in Providence. UVM only offered up 18 shots of their own. According to advance stats Carriere allowed one goal in 26 Grade A chances for a .963 save percentage. He kept the conference’s fourth-best power-play scoreless in the Catamounts ‘do or die’ season finale.