HEA Roundup: Vermont, Northeastern Extend Series with OT Wins
CHN Staff Report
Rookie Mario Puskarich scored the team-leading seventh game-winning goal five and a half minutes into overtime to give Vermont a 3-2 win over Massachusetts-Lowell and force a Game 3 of their Hockey East quarterfinal series.
The win also kept Vermont's NCAA hopes alive.
Vermont collected its 20th win of the season and improves to 20-13-3 (10-10-0 HEA). Puskarich tied the NCAA lead in game-winning goals and tallied his 19th of the season overall. UVM went 2-for-3 on the power play, scoring its first two goals with the man advantage.
"We battled hard. Lowell did a tremendous job putting a lot of pressure on us certainly in the first half of the game," Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. "As the game wore on, we started to get our legs underneath us and find ways to come out of our zone. It's a game of inches and we were fortunate to come out ahead. It could have gone either way."
Northeastern did likewise, getting a goal from Mike Szmatula 3:39 into overtime to defeat New Hampshire and keep its season alive.
Kevin Roy had a penalty-shot goal to make it a 2-2 game before UNH scored twice to regain the lead. But the Huskies, in a wild second period, got those two back, including another from Roy with seven seconds left in the period.
Boston College defeated Notre Dame, 4-2, to extend the series to a third game.
“I thought the differences from (Friday) night were the officiating and obviously BC’s top line played like the top line in college hockey,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said.
“There was no flow in the first period with all the penalties and that was the difference in the game. That’s where the whole tempo of the game was established. I thought that our power play really hurt us. It gave them momentum when they scored off of it and had a couple of good rushes. But give them their due; a big part of it was who was on the ice killing penalties too. It was those top line guys.”
Jackson emphasized that he was not complaining about the calls, per se.
“We have to play with discipline," Jackson said. "I just think they should be called the same way both ways in my opinion. I don’t know why we change officials from one game to the next when the officials have a good feel for the series. That’s just my thought process but it’s not my decision.”
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Providence got a pair of goals from Nick Saracino as it defeated Maine, 4-2, and swept the series, advancing to Boston for the third straight season.
Maine finished its first year under Red Gendron at 16-15-4.