The Boston College Eagles scored four unanswered goals spanning the second and third periods and went on to hand the University of Maine a 6-3 setback Friday night at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
The Eagles, now 17-13-3 overall and 17-6 in Hockey East, clinched the regular season title.
UMaine, which lost 5-0 to Boston College last Saturday night, fell to 16-13-4 and 10-10-3.
The teams will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday.
With Merrimack’s 4-1 win over the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, the Black Bears will finish either fifth or sixth in Hockey East depending upon Saturday night’s game.
The Black Bears would finish fifth and earn a first-round bye for the playoffs if they earn at least a tie on Saturday night. If not, the University of Connecticut would finish fifth and UMaine would wind up sixth and host the last-place team in a best-of-three first-round series next weekend.
Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi staked the Black Bears to a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the first period as he skated onto a pass from Mitch Fossier and beat Boston goalie Joe Woll from the left faceoff circle.
But Logan Hutsko tied it 39 seconds into the second period, and graduate student defenseman Kevin Lohan scored his first two goals of the season later in the period to give the Eagles the lead for good.
Casey Carreau expanded the lead in the third period before Emil Westerlund pulled one back for UMaine.
But JD Dudek responded 2:53 later, and the Eagles added a five-on-three power-play goal by Casey Fitzgerald before Patrick Shea scored a consolation goal for the Black Bears with 5:51 left.
Hutsko tied it by making a nice move around UMaine defenseman Brady Keeper, cutting across the top of the crease and beating Jeremy Swayman with a backhander.
Lohan scored 5:28 later when his centering pass from behind the UMaine net deflected into the goal off a UMaine stick.
Lohan made it 3-1 with 5:35 left in the period with a shot from the high slot off a Michael Kim feed.
Carreau expanded the lead 3:15 into the third period before Westerlund got a piece of a Brendan Robbins shot 2:20 later.
But Dudek was set up nicely by David Cotton, who put a cross-ice pass on his stick, and he converted to restore the three-goal lead.
Woll finished with 32 saves for the Eagles while Swayman wound up with 29.
“We had a good start to the game,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “Then we gave up a couple of quick ones in the second period although one was an accident, it went off one of our defensemen right into the net. Then we were down 3-1 after two.
“We had a boatload of great chances in the second period but didn’t finish them off,” Gendron added. “In the third period, we turned the puck over in the neutral zone and they countered with a two-on-one and we didn’t play that perfectly [making it 4-1].”
He said the upside was that we “hung with it and continued to battle.
“But we certainly have to be better on Saturday night,” he said.
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