Saturday, January 12, 2013

#4 UNH Falls to #2 BC

For the opening 13 minutes of their first matchup of the 2012-13 season, UNH (Overall: 13-4-2; Hockey East: 8-3-1) got the better of Boston College (Overall: 13-3-2; Hockey East: 10-2-1) in territorial play, shots on goal (7-3), and on the scoreboard (1-0). However, 5 unanswered goals by BC over the remainder of the first period and in the second period put the game out of reach. BC's top two lines, including former Northeastern University recruit Johnny Gaudreau, generated the bulk of the offense. Breakdowns in UNH's defensive coverage were costly.

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); Casey DeSmith (Goalie)
~ Forward Lines: Goumas-Burke-Henrion; Correale-Camper-Willows; Thrush-Pavelski-Gaudreault; Defensive Pairings: Kostolansky-Agosta; Knodel-Pesce.
~ The UNH lineup was nearly identical to the RPI game. The first two forward lines remained in tact as did the three defensive pairings.
~ The Correale-Camper-Willows line moved from the fourth line up to the third line
~ Freshman Maxim Gaudreault replaced Jeff Silengo on the line with Casey Thrush and Scott Pavelski.

Scoring Details

First Period:
11:06 - UNH Goal: Jay Camper (2nd goal of the season).
Assist: Matt Willows (4th assist of season).

Freshman defenseman Brett Pesce initiated the scoring play. He carried the puck from the UNH blueline through the neutral zone, weaving his way around BC defenders. Just before crossing the BC blueline, Pesce backhanded the puck around the dasher to the right of BC goalie Parker Milner.

BC defenseman Patrick Wey gathered the puck in the corner and skated it behind the BC net. Matt Willows forechecked Wey, stole the puck and quickly fed Camper at the top of the crease. Camper one-timed the puck just over Milner's left pad. UNH 1, BC 0.

6:31 - BC Goal: Kevin Hayes (6th goal of the season).
Assists: Bill Arnold, Destry Straight.

UNH had its first serious defensive breakdown of the game. Hayes carried the puck across the center of the UNH blueline. Both Pesce and Eric Knodel were in position in front of Hayes. Knodel attempted to poke check the puck away from Hayes which allowed Bill Arnold to slip into the UNH zone along the right wing. Hayes passed to Arnold who gained a step on Pesce and carried the puck behind the UNH net.

Some of the goals UNH has allowed since the Dartmouth game have come in similar situations with an opposing forward controlling the puck behind the UNH net. Once again, the UNH defense was not able to effectively cover a player left open in the low slot.

Arnold circled around the net to the right of goalie Casey DeSmith, then centered a pass intended for Straight in the low slot. Knodel and a back-checking Grayson Downing sandwiched Straight, preventing him from banging home the pass. However, that left Hayes wide open as he entered the low slot. Dalton Speelman might have been in a position to cover Hayes but was moving away from the net apparently preparing to break the puck out of the UNH zone.

The centering pass by Arnold slipped past the covered Straight but went right to Hayes who beat DeSmith with a one-timer high over DeSmith's glove. Game tied UNH 1, BC 1.

2:18 - BC Goal: Pat Mullane (9th goal of the season).
Assists: Johnny Gaudreau, Steve Whitney.

UNH's second line of Goumas-Burke-Henrion did an effective job of pressuring BC deep in the BC end but got caught too deep when Henrion tried to bang home a rebound left by Milner. The puck bounced to Mullane who quickly head manned the puck to Whitney breaking out of the BC zone on the right wing. This lead to a 3-on-2 BC break through center ice. All 3 UNH forwards were behind the play and unable to catch up.

Whitney flipped a pass just over the stick of a back-checking TvR to Gaudreau. He broke between TvR and Connor Hardowa through the faceoff circle to the left of DeSmith.

Hardowa tried to reach out and poke check the puck away from Gaudreau but could not reach it. Without looking behind him, Gaudreau flipped a back-hand pass just over Hardowa's stick to a trailing Pat Mullane. Greg Burke had nearly caught up to Mullane but was a stride behind him. Mullane beat DeSmith to the stick side with a one-timer from the hashmarks of the faceoff circle. BC 2, UNH 1.

Shots on Goal for the 1st period: UNH 11, BC 9.

Second Period:
14:59 - BC Goal: Johnny Gaudreau (12th goal of the season).
Assists: Destry Straight, Parker Milner.

BC goalie Parker Milner caught UNH on a slow line change. He passed the puck up to Straight at the BC blueline. Gaudreau was hovering around the redline. Eric Knodel had come onto the ice on a line change and was in position but Brett Pesce was just coming off the UNH bench.

Straight advanced the puck to Gaudreau breaking into the UNH zone behind Knodel. Pesce was several strides behind Gaudreau and very nearly caught up to him. Gaudreau carried the puck down the slot and lifted a backhand shot just beyond the reach of Pesce.

Casey DeSmith was, uncharacteristically, slightly out of position leaving a small opening between himself and the post to his left. Gaudreau's backhand beat DeSmith high to the glove side. BC 3, UNH 1.

4:17 - BC Goal: Pat Mullane (10th goal of the season).
Assists: Johnny Gaudreau, Steve Whitney.

The Greg Burke line with Knodel at left defense and Pesce at right defense were controlling the puck in the BC zone. Burke dug the puck out behind the BC net and tried to center a backhand pass. The puck deflected off the back of the net. Mullane gathered the puck behind the goal line and threaded a pass between Henrion and Goumas to Gaudreau who was breaking out of the zone. Gaudreau touch-passed the puck to Whitney.

Whitney on the right wing and Gaudreau up the middle advanced through center ice with Knodel and Pesce in position in front of them. Whitney tried to break around Knodel at the faceoff circle to the left of DeSmith but Knodel effectively poke checked the puck to the backboards.

Whitney fell down and Gaudreau gathered the puck in the corner. Kevin Goumas, who was backchecking, was a few strides away from Gaudreau and that was all the room he needed. Gaudreau centered a pass to Mullane who had snuck in behind John Henrion. Mullane beat DeSmith over his blocker with a one-timer. BC 4, UNH 1.

:15 - BC Goal: Bill Arnold (9th goal of the season).
Assist: Kevin Hayes.

With the final seconds of the second period ticking away, Kevin Hayes harmlessly dumped the puck into the UNH corner to the left of DeSmith. Knodel back-handed the puck off the end boards to Hardowa who advanced the puck to Camper near the UNH blueline.

Hayes stole the puck from Camper and skated into the faceoff circle to the right of DeSmith. Hayes broke around Knodel and started to skate behind the UNH net. Hayes centered a pass to Arnold in the low slot. Arnold was slightly out of the reach of a back-checking Camper. Arnold knocked the puck up over DeSmith's left shoulder. BC 5, UNH 1.

Shots on Goal at the end of two periods: UNH 20, BC 17.

Third Period:
Junior UNH goaltender Jeff Wyer replaced Casey DeSmith who had made 12 saves on 17 shots over the first two periods.

Coach Umile also sent out a new, second line combination with Kevin Goumas at center, Maxim Gaudreault at left wing and Henrion on right wing. Goumas had not played center in the previous game against RPI. Before that, Goumas seemed to thrive at center which gave him plenty of room to maneuver the puck in the offensive zone.

19:23 - UNH Goal: Kevin Goumas (9th goal of the season).
Assists: Brett Pesce (2nd assist of season), John Henrion (6th assist of season)

UNH capitalized on a fortunate bounce just seconds into the final period. The Goumas line was on the ice with Pesce at right defense and Knodel at left defense. Henrion won a faceoff at the dot to the left of goalie Milner. Henrion drew the puck back to Pesce at the right point. Pesce skated the puck to the middle of the blueline and sent a wrister toward the net.

Pesce's shot deflected off the right hand of Gaudreault who had raised his stick and hand as a shield against the rising shot. The puck dropped in front of Goumas who snapped a wrister over Milner's glove hand. BC 5, UNH 2.

UNH outshot BC 13-8 in the final period and got back to playing a tighter team defense. However, they were not able to get another one past Milner.

Final Shots on Goal: UNH 33, BC 25.

Points of Interest

~ In the first half of the season, UNH's team defense was among the best in all of NCAA Division I. During the middle portion of the first matchup against BC, UNH forwards were less effective at back-checking and covering plays down low in the UNH zone. Look for defensive play to tighten up in the rematch at the Whittemore Center.

~ Johnny Gaudreau, who seriously considered committing to UNH, is obviously a unique talent. His performance so far this season with BC and with Team USA in the World Junior Championship has been excellent. If last night's game is any indication of Gaudreau style, then he seems to have a preference for passing and shooting the puck with his backhand. He's extraordinarily proficient at this but it also might telegraph a strategy for defending against him. He may be like the elite basketball player who tends to drive and shoot to one side. Perhaps UNH would be more effective defending against Gaudreau if they focused on his backhand.

~ UNH star goalie Casey DeSmith was a little bit off his game last night. He, along with the UNH defense, gave up the most goals in a single game this season. Look for DeSmith to bounce back, as he often does.

~ The rematch between UNH and BC at the Whittemore Center Saturday night has been sold out for days - even with the students on semester break. The Whitt will, no doubt, be rocking.

~ Video highlights from last night's game.


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