UNH Comeback vs BU Falls Short
BOSTON, MA - After salvaging a tie against UNH on Friday night, the BU Terriers entered Saturday's game with extra incentives. They needed a victory over the Wildcats to keep pace with UMass Lowell in the battle for fourth place in Hockey East. At stake is the fourth and final bye in the opening round of the Hockey East Playoffs. In addition, it was Senior Night at Agganis Arena.
Six minutes into the first period, BU took advantage of a tripping penalty on freshman Marcus Vela as senior captain Matt Grzelcyk converted on the power play. Grzelcyk flipped a harmless looking shot toward the net and the puck bounced between Danny Tirone's legs.
With seven minutes left in Period 1, senior Danny O'Regan scored his 4th goal of the home-and-home series. He was left uncovered on the goal line to Tirone's right and one-timed a Shane Switzer pass from the point. BU outshot UNH 12-5 in the opening stanza.
Midway through the second period, the Wildcats dug a deep hole when Harry Quast was penalized for slashing and Matt Dawson joined him in the penalty box a minute later on a cross-checking call. UNH weathered the 5-on-3 and was just 11 seconds away from killing off the man advantage when Bobo Carpenter cleaned up a rebound.
A minute later, UNH was on the verge of letting the game get completely away from them when Andrew Poturalski was whistled for an elbowing penalty. Fortunately, they were able to kill off BU's fourth power play of the game. Shots on goal in the second period were a lop-sided 18-5.
Credit UNH for coming out of the locker room with intensity and hustle in the third period. The Wildcats were able to pressure BU with aggressive fore-checking. Freshman Ara Nazarian gathered a loose puck at the bottom of the face off circle to BU goalie Connor LaCouvee's left and sent a pass out to sophomore defenseman Cameron Marks at the point. Marks snapped a wrister toward the net and Nazarian knocked the rebound home as he was being knocked to the ice. It was Nazarian's 7th goal of his freshman season.
A little over three minutes later, sophomore Shane Eiserman rushed the puck through center ice and down into the faceoff circle to LaCouvee's right. He dropped a pass back to Cameron Marks streaking toward the top of the slot. Marks fired a wrist shot over LaCouvee's right shoulder and pulled the Wildcats to within one goal.
With just under two minutes left in regulation, UNH pulled Danny Tirone for an extra skater. As this rinkside video shows, UNH maintained puck possession deep in the BU zone for most of the remainder of the game and generated a few legitimate scoring chances:
UNH outshot BU 11-4 in the final period but did not get the equalizer. The one point the Wildcats earned at the Whittemore Center on Friday night turned out to be an important one. Although they lost 2-3 at Agganis Arena, they maintained their one-point lead in the race for 8th place in Hockey East. If the season ended today, UNH would earn home-ice in the opening round of the Hockey East Playoffs. The win by BU drew them into a tie with UMass Lowell for fourth place.
Next weekend, UNH plays it's final two games of the regular season - a home-and-home series against UConn. They will enter the games 1 point behind 7th place Vermont, 1 point ahead of Merrimack, and 2 points ahead of UConn and Maine.
Here are the video highlights of the 2-3 loss courtesy of BU Athletics: