UNH Complete Game Victory Over BC: Update
DURHAM, NH - On Saturday evening, patience and determination paid off for both UNH and sophomore winger Matt Willows. UNH defeated the Boston College Eagles 2-1 in an electrified Whittemore Center filled to the promenade walls with college hockey fans. Willows scored the first goal of his college career, faking BC goalie Parker Milner with a hesitation move and lifting the puck into the net. The goal put UNH ahead 1-0 with 47 seconds remaining in the second period.
BC tied the game midway through the final period, capitalizing on a misplayed clearing pass in the UNH zone. Senior John Henrion potted the game-winning goal on a power play with 4:48 left in the game. Henrion buried a rebound off a blast from the blueline by second-year defenseman Justin Agosta.
With the split in the home-and-home series, UNH (Overall: 14-4-2; Hockey East: 9-3-1) and BC (Overall: 13-4-2; Hockey East: 10-3-1) ended the weekend with nearly identical records. BC's loses in Hockey East have come against Northeastern, BU, and UNH. UNH has lost to UMass, BU and BC.
15:50 - BC's Best Opportunity:
BC defenseman Michael Matheson picked up a loose puck in the slot in front of BC goalie Parker Milner and made a long-distance pass across the BC blueline and redline to Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau has a tendency to be the first BC player out of the BC zone on breakouts.
Gaudreau gathered the puck just before crossing the UNH blueline. He was a stride ahead of Kostolansky on one side of him and Hardowa on the other.
Gaudreau (given the nickname "Johnny Hockey" on the NESN coverage the night before) carried the puck down the throat of the slot toward UNH goalie Casey DeSmith.
After the game on Friday night, I noted that Gaudreau appears to have a tendency to bring the puck to his backhand when passing or shooting on goal. That's what happened on this breakaway rush. Just past the hashmarks on the faceoff circles, Gaudreau drew the puck from his forehand to his backhand and attempted to lift a backhand shot over DeSmith's glove.
On this occasion, DeSmith was ready for Gaudreau's maneuver. He quickly gloved the puck which was headed for the top corner of the net. A Grade A scoring opportunity and A+ save by DeSmith.
4:40 - UNH's Best Opportunity:
Kevin Goumas pressured BC defenseman Patrick Wey below the BC goalline. Wey attempted a breakout pass to Brendan Silk at the BC blueline.
Senior John Henrion, who had just jumped onto the ice on a line change, stole the puck from Wey and launched a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the right of Milner.
Milner had difficulty making the save with his right leg pad. The puck got past him and dribbled just wide of the post to his right. At that juncture, UNH had 8 shots on goal while BC had 5.
Shots on Goal at the end of the 1st period: UNH 9, BC 10.
Second Period: As soon as the puck dropped to begin the period, UNH sent a message that they'd be applying offensive pressure. On the first shift, Kostolansky stole the puck along the halfboards in the UNH zone and laid a perfect pass to Austin Block just over the redline.
Block carried the puck over the BC blueline and made a nifty backhand, behind-the-back pass to Dalton Speelman rushing down the left wing.
Speelman zipped through the faceoff circle to the right of Milner and snapped a wrist shot which hit the post over Milner's left shoulder.
6:43 - The Blind-Sided, Cheap Shot by Michael Matheson
The turning point in the game happened just after UNH had completed a power play which resulted from a hitting from behind penalty to freshman BC defenseman Michael Matheson. Entering the game, Matheson was the most penalized player on the BC squad with 11 penalties in 18 games. Kevin Goumas had helped UNH move the puck crisply while Matheson was in the penalty box.
Up until that point, the game had been played fairly evenly with UNH holding a slight SOG advantage of 12-11.
Immediately after leaving the penalty box, Matheson took 2 strides, raised his left elbow up, and hit Goumas in the right-side of his head from behind. Goumas had just made a touch pass to Maxim Gaudreault in the neutral zone and was looking toward the center of the ice.
Goumas spun around, with his legs flying out, and dropped forward onto the ice. On his knees, Goumas bent over, and held his head with both hands. After being attended to by the UNH trainer for several minutes, Goumas shakily got up and slowly walked to the bench.
Matheson was penalized with a 5-minute major and kicked out of the game.
The trainer continued to work on Goumas on the bench. Goumas was holding and rubbing the right-side of his neck where it meets the right shoulder.
One minute into the UNH power play, Goumas returned to action. With 2 and 1/2 minutes left on the man-advantage, Goumas was playing the puck along the half-wall and was hit from behind by Kevin Hayes. UNH gained a 2-man advantage.
With a minute and a half left on the 5-on-3, Austin Block fired a quick slapshot from the bottom of the faceoff circle to the right of Milner. The shot hit Milner squarely in the chest and he was obviously in pain. A few seconds later, he covered up a loose puck in the crease then laid on his stomach for about a minute. He appeared to be winded.
Immediately before the 2-man advantage expired, Agosta sent a pass from the top of the slot to Henrion deep in the faceoff circle to the right of Milner. Henrion fired a one-timer which hit the post to Milner's right.
Though the 5-minute major ended without UNH scoring, they reeled off 11 shots on goal.
00:47 - UNH Goal: Matt Willows (1st NCAA goal). Assists: Dan Correale (5th assist of season), Brett Kostolansky (4th assist of season)
The energy line of Correale-Camper-Willows has generated productive shifts for UNH ever since they were created in the victory over Bemidji State. This time out, they provided the biggest lift so far this season.
The play began with Correale poking the puck up the halfwall in the BC zone to Willows. He skated the puck over the redline and chipped it along the boards in front of the UNH bench to Correale.
Correale won the 1-on-1 battle for the puck against defenseman Patrick Wey and skated around him in the corner to the left of Milner. Correale skated along the goalline and dropped a perfect backhand pass to Willows who was wide open at the top of the crease.
Willows dragged the puck laterally to Milner's right, waited for him to go down, and lifted the puck into the upper right corner of the net. UNH 1, BC 0.
Shots on Goal after two periods: UNH 30, BC 13.
Third Period: 12:03 - BC Goal: Brooks Dyroff (1st goal of the season).
The C-C-W line, along with Agosta and Knodel, controlled the puck in the BC end for an extended period. When BC finally gained the puck, they dumped it into the UNH end to the right of Casey DeSmith.
Agosta sent the puck around the dasher behind the net and around the corner to DeSmith's left. Correale stopped the puck along the halfwall; there were no BC players near him.
Correale nonchalantly laid a backhand pass behind him toward the top of the faceoff circle. The puck went behind Jay Camper who was heading out of the zone. The puck lazily floated to an unsuspecting Dyroff near the middle of the slot and he smashed a slapshot over DeSmith's glove. UNH 1, BC 1.
4:48 - UNH Goal: John Henrion (7th goal of the season). Assists: Justin Agosta (7th assist of season), Kevin Goumas (19th assist of season)
With 5 minutes left in the game, Kevin Hayes was penalized for tripping Austin Block who was flying in alone on Milner. Coach Umile sent out the Gaudreault-Goumas-Henrion line along with Agosta and Knodel.
Henrion won the faceoff to the left of Milner. Goumas picked up the puck at the side of the faceoff circle and passed it back to Agosta at the right point.
Agosta passed the back along the blueline to Knodel who returned it to Agosta. He passed the puck to Goumas near the outside hashmarks of the faceoff circle.
Goumas one-timed the pass back to Agosta at the top of the slot and he unloaded a slap shot. Milner made the initial save but left the rebound in the crease. Henrion banged it home for the game-winning goal.
Final Shots on Goal: UNH 39, BC 23.
~ UNH returns to action next Saturday night against Providence College at the Whittemore Center. Providence is currently only 3 points behind UNH in the Hockey East Standing.
~ Video highlights of last night's game courtesy of UNHWildcats.com.