Quinn Gould’s winning goal nine minutes into the third period lifted Merrimack to a 4-2 victory over New Hampshire on Friday night in North Andover as the Wildcats missed a prime opportunity in the race for a Hockey East bye.
Rasmus Tirronen stopped 23 shots for the last-place Warriors (8-20-3, 3-14-2).
Casey DeSmith made 24 saves before leaving for the final 63 seconds as the Wildcats went for the equalizer.
New Hampshire (18-16-1, 10-9-0) entered the game tied for fifth in the conference (20 points) with Providence, which won Friday. Only the top five seeds receive bye weeks in the Hockey East tournament, which starts next weekend and will include all 11 teams.
Merrimack’s Justin Mansfield opened the scoring at 6:24 of the second period; Brian Christie doubled the lead nearly five minutes later on a power play.
The Wildcats cut into the deficit early in the third on a power-play strike by Brett Pesce, then tied the game at 2 on Dalton Speelman’s goal at 8:01.
The deadlock didn’t even last 60 seconds. Gould potted the winner before Connor Toomey iced things with an empty-net goal with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Providence 4, Maine 2 — The visiting Friars never relinquished an early lead, strengthening their hopes of securing a bye while putting a dent in the Black Bears’ hopes of one.
Tanev Brandon started the scoring with a goal at 12:32 of the first and Noel Acciari scored 30 seconds into the second to stake Providence (18-9-6, 10-7-2) to a 2-0 lead.
Blaine Byron cut into the lead with a goal at 9:52, but Providence answered with goals from Nick Saracino and Trevor Mingoia.
The Black Bears (15-12-4, 9-7-3) had 21 points and a hold on the No. 4 seed entering the night. Maine dropped to fifth, 1 point ahead of UNH.
UMass-Lowell 1, Vermont 0 — Joe Houk pushed across the winner at 4:45 of overtime, helping the visiting River Hawks clinch home ice for the Hockey East quarterfinals as the second seed.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 25 shots he saw for UMass-Lowell (21-8-4, 11-5-3). Chris Maniccia and Ryan McGrath assisted on Houk’s winner.
The Catamounts (17-12-3, 9-10-0) got 29 saves from Brody Hoffman. They remain tied with Notre Dame for the seventh spot with 18 points.
Union 2, Yale 0 — Colin Stevens made 49 saves as the visiting Ducthmen (23-6-4, 17-3-1 ECAC) shut out the Bulldogs (14-9-5, 9-8-4).
Harvard 2, Colgate 1 — Phil Zielonka scored at 6:28 of the third to lift the visiting Crimson (10-14-4, 6-11-4 ECAC) past the Raiders (16-12-5, 12-6-3).
RPI 3, Brown 0 — Jacob Laliberte’s score ignited a three-goal third period for the visiting Engineers (14-13-6, 8-8-5 ECAC), who got 34 saves from Scott Diebold in a win over the Bears (11-14-3, 8-12-1).
Hockey East quarterfinals — Haley Skarupa and Kristyn Capizzano each had two goals and two assists as top-seeded Boston College (26-5-3) spotted UNH (9-23-2) the first goal before running away, 8-1, in Conte Forum. The Eagles lead the best-of-three series . . . Brittany Esposito scored unassisted with 1:01 remaining in regulation and Chloe Desjardins made 26 saves as host Northeastern (19-13-2) defeated UConn (9-24-2), 2-1.
ECAC quarterfinals — Second-seeded Harvard (21-5-4) was shocked in double overtime, losing to Yale (9-14-7), 3-2. Janelle Ferrara’s score at 17:33 of the second OT was the difference in Game 1 of the three-game series . . . Quinnipiac (12-5-9) got two first-period goals from Shiann Darkangelo and held on for a 5-0 win over St. Lawrence (13-18-3) in Hamden, Conn. . . . Jamie Lee Rattray scored twice as host Clarkson (26-4-5) took a 2-0 win over Dartmouth (9-19-1). Erica Howe stopped all 15 shots she saw for the Golden Knights.
Princeton 57, Yale 46 — T.J. Bray had 19 points and six rebounds and the Tigers used the game’s only significant scoring run to pull away, hurting the Bulldogs’ Ivy title hopes.
The score was tied, 36-36, with nine minutes to go when Princeton (16-8, 4-6 Ivy League) scored 10 straight for a 46-36 lead with 6:03 left.
Yale (14-11, 8-3) drops two games behind Harvard for first place in the Ivy League.
Brown 76, Penn 67 — Steven Spieth scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Bears win in Philadelphia.
Brown (15-10, 7-4 Ivy League) remains tied with Columbia for third place and are just a game behind second-place Yale.
Tony Hicks tossed in 25 points to lead Penn (7-16, 4-5).
Columbia 84, Dartmouth 72 — Alex Rosenberg scored 31 points — missing only one shot — to lead the Lions (18-10, 7-4 Ivy League) over the Big Green (9-16, 2-9) in Hanover, N.H.
Providence 74, Seton Hall 69 — Bryce Cotton scored 17 of his 24 points in the second half to lead the Friars (19-10, 9-7 Big East) over the cold-shooting Pirates (14-15, 5-11) in Newark.
Cotton, averaging 21.6 points and 5.8 assists per game, is trying to become only the fifth player from a major conference to average 20 or more points and five or more rebounds in a season since 2002.
Harvard 70, Cornell 66 — Christine Clark scored 18 points to help the Crimson (18-7, 8-3) recover from a 15-point deficit in Ithaca, N.Y.
Princeton 85, Yale 63 — In New Haven, the Tigers (18-6, 19-1) won their eighth straight game in keeping their Ivy League lead over Penn at one game.
Penn 70, Brown 54 — Kara Bonenberger’s season-best 22 points lifted the Quakers (18-6, 8-2) to a home win and a half-game lead over Harvard for second place.