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College hockey: BU, BC, Harvard complete quarterfinal sweeps; Lowell forces Game 3

03.11.17 at 11:14 pm ET
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It was déjà vu all over again in the Hockey East quarterfinals at Agganis Arena Saturday night. For the second night in a row, Boston University fell behind Northeastern 2-0 by the middle of the first period. For the second night in a row, BU cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period and then tied the game in the third. And for the second night in a row, the Terriers won on a late (or overtime) power-play goal, sending them to TD Garden for the Hockey East semifinals and ending Northeastern’s season.

In Friday night’s Game 1, BU killed off two late Northeastern power plays to force overtime, then won on a man advantage of their own 3:11 into the extra session when Clayton Keller set up Jordan Greenway.

In Saturday’s Game 2, Bruins prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson drew a hooking call against Garret Cockerill with 1:34 left in regulation, and BU made Northeastern pay. Forsbacka Karlsson threw a shot on goal from the left side of the net, creating a juicy rebound that freshman defenseman Chad Krys buried into a yawning net.

Forsbacka Karlsson was the man of the night. He also scored BU’s first goal of the game on a nice redirect of a Keller saucer pass and assisted on the tying tally when he set up Nick Roberto. On top of all that, he matched up against Northeastern’s top line — which features the nation’s leading scorer in Zach Aston-Reese — for most of the weekend and helped limit their damage about as much as could be reasonably expected, especially Saturday.

“He was huge,” BU coach David Quinn said of Forsbacka Karlsson. “He’s been a little snakebitten in the point department, but when we needed him most, he stood tall. … Jakob not only had three points, but he played well for 200 feet.”

The series wasn’t without controversy, as Northeastern coach Jim Madigan seemed to indicate he had a problem with the penalty call in overtime Friday night, then confirmed that Saturday night when he limited his press conference to a 40-second statement that was mostly focused on “two calls” with which he had a problem.

“My mom told me if you can’t say anything nice about people, don’t say anything at all,” Madigan said. “I can’t talk about this series without two calls that didn’t go our way. For me, that was the difference in the game and in the series. I just don’t want to go there, because I don’t want to risk a future suspension.”

It’s unclear if the second call he had a problem with was the late penalty Saturday or Roberto’s goal, which was upheld after a lengthy offsides review. From this reporter’s perspective, the late penalty call Saturday looked like a clear penalty, the overtime penalty Friday looked like a penalty but one that was maybe a little on the soft side, and the offsides review looked to be about as close as you can possibly get (and it’s worth mentioning that the call on the ice was onsides).

The Huskies had a miniscule shot at an at-large NCAA bid entering Saturday night, but the season-ending loss ends that dream. The most interesting thing to watch now as it relates to Northeastern will be which NHL team signs Aston-Reese. The senior was never drafted and is thus a free agent, and reports have indicated that at least 15 teams have shown interest in him.

The Terriers will now wait for Sunday’s UMass Lowell-New Hampshire Game 3 to find out their opponent in the semifinals. If Lowell wins, they’ll face Boston College. If UNH wins, they’ll face UNH.

-Speaking of UMass Lowell vs. New Hampshire, the top-seeded River Hawks forced a decisive Game 3 by winning 3-1 Saturday night after suffering a surprise 3-1 loss Friday. The series will be decided at the Tsongas Center Sunday at 4 p.m.

Lowell held UNH to one shot in the first period after also allowing just one shot in the third period Friday night, but the game was tied 1-1 after one. John Edwardh gave the River Hawks the lead 3:07 into the second and Ryan Dmowski made it 3-1 later in the period.

The River Hawks are looking to reach the Garden for the fifth straight year.

– Third-seeded Boston College rolled to a two-game sweep over sixth-seeded Vermont, winning 7-4 Saturday night after cruising to a 7-0 smackdown Friday.

The Eagles stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first nine minutes of Game 2, with JD Dudek scoring twice and Connor Moore notching his first goal of the season. Vermont scored a pair of power-play goals later in the period to make things interesting, but then Austin Cangelosi scored two power-play goals of his own in the second as BC regained the three-goal advantage.

The Catamounts cut it to 5-3, but then BC scored two more in the third. Cangelosi had three goals and an assist on the weekend, while Colin White had a goal and four assists. The Eagles will face either BU or Notre Dame in the semifinals next Friday.

For BC, the convincing sweep was a welcome sign after a dreadful finish to the regular season. The Eagles went 0-5-2 from the Beanpot on and weren’t able to clinch an outright Hockey East regular-season title, although they did still grab a share of it (along with BU and Lowell). They also pretty much played themselves out of contention for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament — they’ll most likely need to win the Hockey East championship next weekend in order to make NCAAs.

– Rounding out the Hockey East series, Notre Dame completed a sweep of Providence, winning 5-2 Saturday after cruising to a 5-o victory Friday. The Fighting Irish advance to the Garden in their final season in Hockey East.

The silver lining for the Friars is that they will still most likely get an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, although they’re not a 100 percent lock.

– In the ECAC, top-seeded Harvard completed a sweep of Yale with a 4-3 win Saturday after taking Friday’s opener 6-4. Yale led 3-2 after two periods, but Tyler Moy tied the game 5:46 into the third and Lewis Zerter-Gossage scored what proved to be the winner with a power-play tally 50 seconds later.

Luke Esposito had three goals and an assist on the weekend, Tyler Moy had two goals and three assists, and Sean Malone had a goal and five assists. The Crimson will face either St. Lawrence, Quinnipiac or Clarkson in the semifinals, depending on what happens in Sunday’s Game 3s.

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