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Saturday, February 25, 2012
Hockey: BC routs Providence for sweep

By Brion O'Connor

There's little doubt about the blue-chip hockey talent on Jerry York's Boston College roster. Add a killer instinct, and the Eagles could be unbeatable down the stretch. Just ask Providence coach Nate Leaman.

After the Eagles tagged the Friars (12-16-4; 10-12-3 HE) with a 3-0 loss in Providence on Friday, No. 2 BC (23-10-1; 17-7-1 HE) returned home on Saturday and ruthlessly dispatched Leaman's squad by a 7-0 margin to sweep the home-and-home series.

BC's Steven Whitney got the Eagles rolling with his 11th of the season just 29 seconds after the opening faceoff, and the BC essentially put the game away with two strikes within 11 seconds by Danny Linnell and Bill Arnold, starting at 13:02 of the first.

Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau each registered two goals, and senior Barry Almeida rung up a four-point night (goal, 3 assists). Eagles goaltender Parker Milner, who got the shutout on Friday, shared Saturday's whitewash with senior Chris Venti.

The win gives the Eagles a 2-point edge in the Hockey East standings over archrival Boston University with just two league games remaining next weekend.

NOTEBOOK
No. 5 Boston University 3, Vermont 2 OT
Vermont simply hasn't been able to get it done. After losing to BU (20-11-1; 16-8-1 HE) by a 5-0 margin on Friday, the Catamounts (6-25-1; 3-21-1 HE) were poised to gain a weekend split when Terrier Wade Megan tied the game with only 95 seconds remaining in Saturday's rematch. And at the 3:02 mark of the overtime session, Terrier Alexx Privitera's goal stuck a fork in Vermont's season, capping the comeback and giving BU a 3-2 win. The victory allowed BU to stay within two points of league-leading Boston College, while Vermont is assured its first last-place finish since joining Hockey East in 2005.

No. 7 Lowell 2, No. 12 Merrimack 2 OT
On Friday, after the No. 12 Merrimack Warriors (16-9-7; 12-8-5 HE) took a 5-2 decision against the No. 7 River Hawks (20-10-1; 15-9-1 HE), Warrior Jesse Todd predicted a much closer game in the rematch. He was right. The two squads skated through 65 minutes on Lowell's Tsongas Center, but couldn't determine a winner, knotting 2-2 after overtime. Twice Mike Collins gave Merrimack the lead, and twice Lowell battled back to tie, the final tally coming off the stick of Josh Holmstrom with three minutes to play. The stalemate prevented Merrimack from keeping pace with Maine for the fourth and final home playoff spot in Hockey East, while Lowell lost ground to front-runners BC and BU.

Massachusetts 4, New Hampshire 2
The Massachusetts Minutemen (12-15-5; 8-13-4 HE) kept their playoff hopes alive after gaining a weekend split with a 4-2 victory over guest New Hampshire (14-16-3; 11-13-2 HE). The win allowed Donald "Toot" Cahoon's squad to draw even with Northeastern for the eighth and final playoff spot in Hockey East with two games remaining.

No. 10 Maine 7, Northeastern 1
On Friday, the Northeastern Huskies (12-15-5; 8-13-4 HE) poked the Maine Black Bears (19-11-3; 14-10-2 HE), collecting a 4-2 win at Matthews Arena. Saturday, Maine poked back hard, racing out to a 3-1 first-period lead before coasting to a convincing 7-1 win on Huntington Avenue. Maine's Spencer Abbott and Joey Diamond, who each tallied two goals, paced the Black Bears.

Harvard 3, Clarkson 2
After staking Clarkson a 2-0 lead, the Crimson (10-8-11; 8-5-9 ECAC) rallied behind two third-period goals to take a 3-2 decision from the Green Knights (15-15-6; 9-9-4 ECAC), enabling Harvard to complete a weekend home sweep over ECAC Hockey foes. The sweep assured Harvard home ice when the ECAC playoffs get under way.