Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Little More Payback: UNH Beats BU 3-1 At Agganis - UPDATED

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - UNH came into Agganis Arena for the first time since their double overtime loss to BU in last years' Hockey East Quarterfinals. The Wildcats' determination was evident in their dominant play in the first period. UNH (Overall: 8-1-1; Hockey East: 6-1-1), ranked #5 in the nation, came away with the win over the #11th-ranked Boston University Terriers (Overall: 6-4-0; Hockey East: 5-3-0). UNH has now won both contests this season against BU.

Between The Lines

The Forward Lines & Defensive Pairings
~ Starting Lineup: Dalton Speelman (LW)- Grayson Downing (C) - Austin Block (RW); Trevor van Riemsdyk (LD)- Connor Hardowa (RD).
~ Forward Lines: Goumas-Sorkin-Henrion; Thrush-Silengo-Willows; MacDonald-Pavelski-Gaudreault; Defensive Pairings: Kostolansky-Agosta; Knodel-Pesce.
~ With starting center Greg Burke (left shoulder) and sophomore Jay Camper (concussion precautions) out of the lineup, Coach Umile successfully reassembled the forward lines.
~ Downing stepped up to center and Block moved up to right wing on the first line.
~ Sorkin moved from the 3rd line center to the 2nd line and Henrion dropped down from the 1st line.
~ Silengo moved from right wing to center on the 3rd line and sophomore Matt Willows was added at right wing.
~ Finally, freshmen Maxim Gaudreault and Collin MacDonald were added to right and left wing, respectively, on the 4th line with Pavelski centering.

Game Summary

First Period:
UNH dominated much of the territorial play in the first period with tenacious forechecking. There were stretches when BU was unable to break out or clear the puck out of their own zone.
In an effort to overcome UNH's forechecking, BU tended to attempt long passes out of their zone. It wasn't working well for them.
On their first shift of the night, Nick Sorkin and his linemates Goumas and Henrion effectively cycled the puck in the BU corner.
Sorkin appeared to be playing with a little extra jump in his stride. By the midway point of the 1st period, Sorkin had thrown 3 body checks.
On freshman Maxim Gaudreault's first shift of the game, he stole the puck in the neutral zone, raced past a BU defender, and fired a shot on goal. Gaudreault had 2 SOG in the game.
About 6 minutes into the game, Casey DeSmith was tested. He made an initial save on his knees and stopped the rebound shot in his chest. Shots on goal at that point were 6-5 in favor of UNH.
With less than 9 minutes left in the 1st period, Kevin Goumas (2nd goal of season) manufactured a play similar to his steal and goal at the Frozen Fenway. Goumas stole the puck just inside the BU blueline, flew in between the faceoff circles, and buried a wrister past BU goalie Matt O'Connor. Start to finish, it was a flashy, unassisted effort. In order to fire a forehanded shot, the left-shot Goumas had to reach across his body while skating to his right.
A few minutes later, freshman Maxim Gaudreault, playing in only his 4th NCAA game, scored his first college goal. The play began with second-year defenseman Justin Agosta snapping a shot from the top of the circle to the left of O'Connor. He made the initial save but left the rebound in the crease. Gaudreault, positioned to O'Connor's right just outside the crease, pounced on the puck and fired it home. Official time of the goal was 14:10.
With 16 seconds left in the period, Kevin Goumas committed the first of a few UNH penalties which may not have been necessary. In this instance, a BU defenseman was carrying the puck out of his zone, Goumas reached around him and was called for hooking. It was a judgement call by the referee but probably the correct decision.
UNH outshot BU 20-12 in the first period - an accurate reflection of UNH's territorial edge.

Second Period:
BU began the period with a man advantage for a minute and 44 seconds. UNH effectively killed the penalty without allowing a shot on goal.
Last season, BU had the most potent power play in Hockey East play, scoring on 26% of PP opportunities. So far this season, BU is in the middle of the pack and UNH is the best penalty kill team. UNH has only given up 1 short-handed goal in league play.
Over the first 10 minutes of the second period, UNH was penalized three times resulting in 3 BU power plays.
From my vantage point, the validity of those three penalty calls looked like this:
17:37: Matt Willows for boarding - appeared to be a solid hit which did not cause the BU player to hit his head against the boards or crumple to the ice.
13:23: Nick Sorkin for tripping - a close call.
12:02: Austin Block for hooking - a legitimate call but Block may not have needed to do it since the action was along the half-boards.
UNH did a remarkable job killing off this series of three BU powerplays. They did not allow a SOG when Willows was in the penalty box.
With Sorkin in the penalty box, BU did not have a SOG. When Block was penalized, BU had a 5-on-3 advantage for 40 seconds. They only managed 1 SOG.
UNH killed off the remaining minute and 20 seconds of the BU powerplay only allowing one more SOG. Sophomore Casey Thrush was effective in harassing the BU puck carrier. With BU swarming around the slot in front of DeSmith, Thrush made a diving poke check to clear the puck out to the blueline.
In between their power plays, BU was able to crank up their offense. They were more effective in counteracting UNH's forechecking by skating the puck out of their zone.
With 15:20 remaining in the second period, Casey DeSmith's historic run of 3 consecutive shutouts came to an end. DeSmith made an initial save on a shot from the faceoff circle to his left but the rebound fluttered to his right. DeSmith tried to recover by sliding across the crease but Danny O'Regan was there to poke home the rebound.
Prior to BU's only goal of the night, DeSmith had not allowed a goal for just over 200 minutes of competition.
With a little less than 4 minutes remaining in the second period, Nick Sorkin was penalized again, this time for for slashing.
UNH had gotten into a pattern of hacking away at BU puck carriers in the second period. Often times it was effective but eventually, aggressive stick-to-stick contact is going to lead to penalties.
UNH killed off the final BU power play of the second period without allowing a shot on goal. Speelman, Goumas, and Block did a stellar job. Over the final minute of the BU power play, UNH effectively kept the puck away from them.
By the end of the second period, BU had caught and surpassed UNH in shots on goal. BU: 29 SOG, UNH: 24 SOG.

Third Period:
The initial portion of the 3rd period involved attacks and counter attacks. Seconds after the puck was dropped, DeSmith made a blocker save which floated the puck up in the air.
About 2 minutes into the period, freshman defenseman Brett Pesce made a nifty end-to-end rush, deking around a couple of BU players.
At the 3:12 mark, UNH was penalized yet again - the 6th UNH penalty of the night. This time, Gaudreault was called for tripping. It was a marginal call at best.
20 seconds into the power play, a BU forward attempted a pass to an open player to the left of Casey DeSmith. Captain Connor Hardowa made a nice play deflecting the pass up into the netting.
Seconds later, DeSmith made a stellar save flashing his skate out to redirect the shot.
With 33 seconds remaining on the initial penalty, Austin Block was called for holding. It was another borderline call but BU found itself with a 5-on-3 advantage. UNH killed off the 2-man advantage.
BU wasted most of the 5-on-4 advantage with a slashing penalty of its own. It was the first BU penalty of the game.
With the teams playing 4-on-4, BU had a 2-on-1 rush into the UNH zone but Dalton Speelman broke up the play with a poke check. Shortly after, Hardowa disrupted another BU rush by creaming the puck carrier into the half boards.
About 10 minutes into the final period, Kevin Goumas was skating behind the play in the BU end and a BU player appeared to hook him up under his arm pit/shoulder. No penalty was called, probably because the puck was already up ice. Goumas was clearly in a lot of pain and slowly left the ice. However, he went back out on his next shift.
With 7 minutes remaining, BU was penalized for the second time giving UNH a full, 2-minute power play. Although the UNH power play unit moved the puck smartly, they were not able to get a clear shot on goal.
With 5 minutes left, Goumas executed a quick spin move between the faceoff circles and got off a quick slap shot. At that juncture, BU held a 42-31 SOG advantage.
With BU pressing with 2 minutes left, the puck got loose behind DeSmith's net but Jeff Silengo effectively back-checked and gained control of the puck.
With a minute to go, BU pulled their goalie. A BU player shot from the top of the slot but Grayson Downing swatted the puck away with his glove.
Seconds later, DeSmith made perhaps his biggest save of the game. Yasin Cisse was just to the left of DeSmith, below the faceoff circle, and fired a high shot. DeSmith jumped up slightly and made the save with his shoulder.
With the final seconds ticking away, Kevin Goumas (3rd goal of season) gathered the puck in the UNH zone, skated it end-to-end, and deposited it into the empty net.
In the final period Casey DeSmith made a total of 17 saves - some of the remarkable variety.
Final Shots on Goal: UNH 35, BU 46.

UNH Stars of the Game

#1 Star - Kevin Goumas
~ Goumas finished the game with 2 goals and a +/- rating of +2. His ability to steal pucks and swiftly skate the puck around opposing players makes him one of the most exciting players in Hockey East.

#2 Star - Casey DeSmith
~ In two games against BU so far this season, DeSmith has given up only 2 goals. Over these 2 games, DeSmith has faced a total of 71 shots and has made a save on 69 of them.
~ DeSmith's goals against average in Hockey East games is a ridiculously low 0.86.

#3 Star - Maxim Gaudreault (pronounced go-DRO’)
~ With two veteran forwards out of the lineup, freshman Gaudreault stepped up. He scored his first NCAA goal and played a physical, tight-checking game.

Points of Interest

~ In the first period, UNH effectively shut down the talented BU squad. As a result of a lop-sided number of penalties called on UNH, BU was allowed to get back into the game. It will be interesting to see if UNH can successfully play it's aggressive team defense against other high-skill teams without drawing so many penalties.
~ Coach Umile has to be pleased with how his forwards were able to compensate for the loss of Greg Burke and Jay Camper. This may be one of the deepest UNH teams in recent memory.
~ Video Highlights


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