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.
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.
#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.