Boston University, coming off a tumultuous semester break with the loss of two of their top five forwards, seized sole possession of first place in Hockey East with a 4-3 win over host Northeastern.
The BU win snapped an eight-game unbeaten streak for the Huskies (8-8-3; 4-8-2 Hockey East), while the No. 6 Terriers (12-6-1; 10-4-1 HE) have won nine of their last 11.
The Huntington Hounds, sporting new jerseys with pink highlights to support the fight against breast cancer, surged to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Alex Tuckerman and Ludwig Karlsson. But the Terriers came roaring back with four unanswered goals, including two by Wade Meagan, through the two-minute mark of the third.
Karlsson got the Huskies to within one with his second of the night at 16:53 of the third, but a series of late undisciplined penalties cost Northeastern, and BU goaltender Kieran Millan (31 saves) didn't let another puck get past him.
The loss kept Northeastern, which has had tremendous success outside the league with wins over Michigan, Notre Dame and Minnesota, mired near the bottom of the Hockey East standings.
On Saturday, the Terriers travel to Cambridge to face off against Harvard in interleague play, while Northeastern heads around the corner to tackle Boston College at Fenway Park.
Massachusetts 4, Boston College 0
Minutemen coach Donald "Toot" Cahoon hoped last week's overtime win against Vermont at Fenway Park would jump-start his squad's moribund season, and UMass made good on that promise on Friday, blanking the No. 4 Eagles before 5,823 fans at the Mullins Center in Amherst. UMass defenseman Conor Allen opened the scoring at 6:18, and his tally proved to be the game-winner, as Minuteman goaltender Steve Mastalerz stopped all 35 BC shots. The Minutemen chased BC starting goalie Brian Billett after T.J. Syner's goal at the 9:58 mark of the middle stanza made it 3-0. With the win, UMass (8-8-5; 4-6-4 HE) remains undefeated at home this season, going 6-0-3, while the Eagles (13-8-1; 9-5-1 HE) look to rebound on Saturday at Fenway Park against Northeastern.
Union 2, Harvard 0
At Fenway Park, Union's Matt Bodie tallied a power-play goal with four seconds left in the second period, and the goal held up as the winner as the No. 14 Dutchmen (11-5-6; 5-2-3 ECAC) tagged Harvard (4-5-6; 3-4-4 ECAC) with a loss. Union's Kelly Zajac got the insurance marker at 5:37 of the third, and Dutchman goaltender Troy Grosenick stopped all 18 Harvard shots. The Crimson's Steve Michalik kept the game close, with 30 saves, but Harvard couldn't overcome its Fenway power outage. The Crimson host BU on Saturday.
Merrimack 6, Maine 2
In a rematch of last season's Hockey East quarterfinal match-up, the Warriors defended their home ice, taking a convincing win against the Black Bears. Seniors Ryan Flanigan (four points), Jesse Todd (three points) and Karl Stollery (three points) led the way for Merrimack (12-4-4; 8-3-2 HE), which scored the game's first four goals. Maine (10-8-2; 7-7-1 HE) cut the lead in half, 4-2, on goals by John Parker and Spencer Abbott, but Warriors goaltender Joe Cannata (24 saves) held the fort over the game's final 24 minutes. The teams meet again Saturday at Merrimack's Lawler Arena.
Vermont 3, UMass-Lowell 2 (OT)
The struggling Catamounts (5-15-1; 2-11-1 HE) got a much-needed boost when Anthony DeCenzo struck for gold at 2:12 of overtime, giving Vermont the win over the visiting River Hawks (12-6-0; 7-5-0 HE). Vermont spotted the No. 10 Hawks a 2-0 lead after two periods, but third-period strikes by Colin Markison and Sebastian Stalberg sent the game into overtime.