AROUND HOCKEY EAST: Merrimack split a road series in Colorado in its return from holiday break, including a 3-2 win over #2 Denver on Friday. Brett Seney (London, Ont.) broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of goals just 44 seconds apart midway through the third period to secure the win for his squad and earned his 100th career point in the process. Craig Patano (Bridgewater, Mass.) stopped 36 shots from the Pioneers offense in the victory ... Providence earned the title of Three Rivers Classic champions, topping Arizona State, 6-0, and Robert Morris, 2-1, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass.) and Josh Wilkins (Raleigh, N.C.) each registered three points against the Sun Devils as the Friars enjoyed goals from six different players in the shutout. In the championship game the next night, Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Kasper Björkqvist (Espoo, Finland) scored the game-winning power-play goal to secure the tournament title over Robert Morris ... The Maine Black Bears returned from the holiday break with a two-game sweep at RPI without starting goaltender Jeremy Swayman (Anchorage, Alaska) who is currently in Buffalo, New York with the U.S. National Junior Team. Maine saw Nolan Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) score twice to open the game and add an assist in a 3-2 win over the Engineers in game one and five different goal-scorers in game two's 5-2 victory. Rob McGovern (Weymouth, Mass.) earned both wins, stopping a total of 63 shots ... Boston College, sitting atop the Hockey East standings, extended their lead over second-place Northeastern with a 2-0 topping of UConn. Ryan Edquist (Lakeville, Minn.), filling in for starting netminder Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo.) while he is with Team USA at the World Junior Championship, pitched a 23-save shutout in his first blank sheet as an Eagle ... Northeastern finished 2017 with a 3-1 win over American International on Saturday. Cayden Primeau (Voorhees, N.J.) made 24 saves for the Huskies to beat the Yellow Jackets. Dylan Sikura (Aurora, Ont.) and Jeremy Davies (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Qué.) were absent from the contest as they claimed victory with Team Canada at the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland. The pair of Huskies were joined by Boston University captain Brandon Hickey (Leduc, Alta.) ... Vermont hosted the Catamount Cup for the tournament's 21st installment last weekend, dropping as a pair of games to St. Lawrence and Harvard while UMass Lowell downed Harvard, 5-2, before falling to St. Lawrence, 3-0 ... New Hampshire fell twice at the Ledyard Bank Classic, falling 3-1 to host Dartmouth and 4-2 to Yale. No one stopped more pucks in the 2017 calendar year than Wildcats' netminder Daniel Tirone (Trumbull, Conn.) who kicked out 1,217 shots last year, 123 more than the next-best goalie.
Brett Seney (London, Ont.) led Merrimack with two goals on the weekend, both coming Friday night in a road win at #2 Denver. The senior forward broke a 1-1 stalemate midway through the third period with a pair of goals just 44 seconds apart, including one on the power play. The second marker was the forward's 100th career point for the Warriors.
Brady Keeper (Cross Lake, Man.) scored the game-winning goal Saturday at RPI as part of a one-goal, one-assist effort while firing eight shots on net. The rookie defenseman helped the Black Bears to a weekend sweep that extended Maine's unbeaten streak to seven games, dating back to Nov. 18.
Hayden Hawkey (Parker, Colo.) stopped 38 of 39 shots he faced on the weekend as Providence earned the Three Rivers Classic tournament title. Hawkey and his battery mates Gabe Mollot-Hill and Jake Beaton combined for a 6-0 shutout of Arizona State Friday before Hawkey kicked out 25 of 26 pucks in a 2-1 victory over Robert Morris
HOCKEY EAST WEEKLY TOP PERFORMERS
Ryan Edquist, BC (So., G; Lakeville, Minn.) Earned his first shutout as an Eagle with a 23-save performance in a 2-0 win over UConn on Dec. 30.
Nolan Vesey, ME (Sr., F; North Reading, Mass.) Had two goals and two assists for four points in a pair of wins over RPI, including setting up both game-winning tallies for the Black Bears.
Rob McGovern, ME (Sr., G; Weymouth, Mass.) Backstopped Maine to two wins at RPI, making 63 saves in the series sweep and allowing just two goals per game. The wins stretched Maine's unbeaten streak to seven games.
Jace Hennig, MC (Sr., F; Port Moody, B.C.) Assisted on both third-period goals in Friday's 3-2 win over Denver.
Cayden Primeau, NU (Fr., G; Voorhees, N.J.) Stopped 24 of 25 shots against American International in a 3-1 Huskies win.
Brian Pinho, PC (Sr., F; North Andover, Mass.) Scored a goal and added two helpers in two games as the Friars claimed the Three Rivers Classic title in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was named tournament MVP for his efforts.