Kyle Beattie netted two goals, including the winner 14:06 into the third period, as Maine held off a late New Hampshire rally to pull out a 4-3 win in Durham, N.H.
With UMass losing, the Black Bears (11-17-7, 7-12-7) clinched a spot in the Hockey East tournament.
Maine appeared to blow the game open in the third period. The Black Bears scored three goals in a span of 4:48 to take a 4-1 lead with 5:54 remaining. But the fourth-ranked Wildcats weren’t going down without a fight.
Eric Knodel and Austin Block scored in the final two minutes for UNH (18-9-6, 13-8-5), but the Wildcats couldn’t complete the comeback.
Devin Shore added two assists for Maine and Martin Ouellette made 31 saves.
The Wildcats are in a logjam at the top of the Hockey East standings, 1 point behind leaders Providence and UMass-Lowell. UNH and Maine finish the regular season on Saturday afternoon at Durham.
Merrimack 4, UMass 3 — Connor Toomey scored 1:45 into overtime to propel the host Warriors past the Minutemen, who were eliminated from postseason contention.
Conor Sheary, Rocco Carzo, and Shane Walsh scored in the final 4:01 of the third for UMass (11-19-3, 8-16-2 Hockey East) to send the game to overtime.
Merrimack (15-14-6, 13-10-3) remained sixth in Hockey East with the win. The teams meet again Saturday in Amherst to close out the regular season.
ECAC first round — Brian Hart scored with 2:45 remaining to lift Harvard past host Dartmouth, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game series. Desmond Bergin also scored and Raphael Girard stopped 39 shots to earn the victory. Jesse Beamish scored in the third period for the Big Green (13-12-5). The Crimson (10-17-3) can advance to the quarterfinals with a win Saturday night in Hanover, N.H. . . . Matt Lorito and Mark Naclerio each had a goal and an assist as Brown notched a 3-0 win over visiting Clarkson (9-19-7). Nick Lappin added two assists and Anthony Borelli made 31 saves to record the shutout for the Bears (12-12-6). A win Saturday night in Providence will send Brown into the quarterfinals.
Atlantic Hockey first round — Host Robert Morris (19-12-4) scored three goals in the first period en route to a 4-1 win over Sacred Heart in the first game of a best-of-three series. Eric Delong scored the lone goal for the Pioneers (2-29-4) . . . Canisuis broke open a close game in the third with three goals, beating Bentley, 4-0, in Buffalo, N.Y. Preston Shupe scored twice for the Golden Griffins (14-18-5) and Tony Capobianco recorded 35 saves . . . Josh Mitchell scored with 13 seconds left in the game to push RIT (14-16-5) past visiting AIC, 2-1. The Yellow Jackets (12-16-6) got a goal from Jon Puskar in the third before Mitchell’s heroics.