‘Cats avenge tournament loss versus BU
Despite committing eight penalties, the No. 15 University of New Hampshire men's hockey team was able to overcome its mistakes on the way to a 4-1 victory over the No. 11 Boston University Terriers on Saturday night.
The win moves UNH to 3-0-0 overall, and 1-0-0 in Hockey East action, while BU falls to 1-1-0 overall and 1-1-0 in Hockey East play.
In a rematch of last season's Hockey East quarterfinals - a series which saw the 'Cats nearly upset the Terriers, only to let a three-goal lead slip away as UNH fell to BU in double overtime of game three - BU looked as if it was going to pick up where it left off last season, as senior captain Wade Megan opened up the first period with a Terrier goal 43 seconds into the game to take an early lead.
From that point onward, the game was all about New Hampshire's play both defensively and offensively as the Wildcats scored four unanswered goals and goaltender Casey DeSmith made 24 saves to blow out BU.
It all started for UNH when senior winger John Henrion put one past the Terriers' goaltender Sean Maguire 8:52 into the first period. With that tying goal the Wildcats obtained the momentum, and would overtake the lead a little more than a minute later as junior Nick Sorkin would score with assists coming from Connor Hardowa and Dalton Speelman 9:10 into the first.
"We got right back on our heels after they scored," BU head coach Jack Parker said. "That was kind of a deflator for us."
With a 2-1 lead New Hampshire would end the first period, being outshot 12-9 by BU yet holding onto the momentum as the period came to an end.
The Wildcats did open up the second period on the penalty kill, as senior Austin Block was sent to the box for a two-minute tripping call seconds before the first came to an end.
The second period proved to be the decisive period however, as UNH added two more goals within the first half of the period.
Junior defenseman Eric Knodel would extend the lead to two just 1:30 into the period, scoring a power play goal with an assist coming from senior Kevin Goumas to put the score at 3-1. Then at the 6:42 mark in the second, senior Scott Pavelski would give New Hampshire a three-goal lead with assists coming from sophomore Matt Willows and freshman Dan Correale.
After allowing four goals and making only 10 saves, Maguire was pulled from the net for BU and replaced him with fellow freshman Matt O'Connor, who went on to finish with 15 saves and no goals allowed.
During the period, things started to get physical as well between the two conference foes, with a total of seven penalties - four of which were against the Wildcats - being called during the second period.
A penalty called against Jeff Silengo, a two-minute minor for hooking, caused UNH to go into the third once again on the penalty kill.
In the third period, New Hampshire closed out the Terriers. UNH limited the opposition's opportunities despite committing an additional three penalties - including a five-minute major for head butting and game misconduct call against senior alternate captain Greg Burke - by keeping BU to just two shots over the course of three different power play opportunities.
UNH played well during all facets of the game, applying pressure on BU's goaltenders while stuffing any opportunities the Terriers could muster. The one major drawback for the Wildcats were the eight penalties - all of which were killed by New Hampshire - which was a cause for concern for UNH head coach Dick Umile.
"I think we have a little bit of everything, but we certainly don't want to beat ourselves," Umile said.
The win is a big boost for the Wildcats as they build on a strong performance during the previous week versus St. Cloud State. It was also a chance for some revenge on the Terriers, a thought that was on the mind of DeSmith all week long.
"Payback is certainly sweet," DeSmith said.
UNH will return to action on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against Northeastern University.
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