BOSTON - Defenseman Tyson Teplitsky's end-to-end rush at 11:43 of overtime propelled top-seeded New Hampshire to a 1-0 victory over fifth-seeded Boston University before 16,763 at the FleetCenter in Saturday's championship game of the 2003 Hockey East Tournament. Teplitsky's backhander deflected past Terrier Sean Fields and gave the Wildcats their second-consecutive league tournament title.
In stark contrast to the two semifinal games which saw 20 goals between them and scores of 5-4 and 6-5 (OT), neither team was able to crack the scoreboard in regulation of the championship tilt.
Boston University (24-13-3) carried play in the opening period, showing no signs of fatigue after playing the longest semifinal in Hockey East Tournament history (85:00) the previous night. The Terriers out-shot the Wildcats, 12-5, and continually kept play in the UNH zone, but was able to generate any quality scoring opportunities in the first 20:00.
New Hampshire (25-7-6) played a role-reversal in the second period, dominating play and out-shooting the Terriers, 14-4. UNH had two prime scoring opportunities, both stopped by Fields. At 11:25, Sean Collins fed Steve Saviano who one-timed a shot from the right face-off circle. Jim Abbott had an open net at 13:55, but his shot from the doorstep of the crease was picked out of the air by Fields, who was sprawled on the ice. Both squads successfully killed penalties in the final four minutes of the stanza.
UNH continued to apply strong pressure to open the third as the line of Lanny Gare - Josh Prudden - Colin Hemingway posted a flurry of five shots on one shift. The Wildcats out-shot the Terriers 12-4 in the third for a 31-20 advantage at the end of regulation.
BU had its best scoring chance of the night with 4:00 remaining in regulation. Kenny Magowan came down the left wing and got off a far-angle shot which Wildcat netminder Michael Ayers saved. With the net open on the far side, the rebound kicked directly to Frantisek Skladany streaking in from the slot, but the puck skipped over his stick to negate the scoring chance.
New Hampshire applied mounting pressure in overtime, out-shooting the Terriers 12-4 in the extra session.
Ayers made 24 saves and moved his record to 24-7-6. He recorded the first shutout in Hockey East Tournament championship-game history. Fields finished the game with 40 saves and moved his record to 23-12-3.
Fields was voted the William Flynn Most Valuable Player by the media. He recorded 86 saves during the championship weekend, while allowing only six goals during the championship weekend. Joining Fields on the 2003 Hockey East All-Tournament Team were teammate Justin Maiser; UNH's Garrett Stafford and Steve Saviano; and UMass's Thomas Pöck and Stephen Werner.
Boston University goaltender Sean Fields was voted the William Flynn Most Valuable Player by the media. He recorded 86 saves during the championship weekend, while allowing only six goals during the championship weekend.
Joining Fields on the 2003 Hockey East All-Tournament Team were defensemen Garrett Stafford (UNH) and Thomas Pöck (UMass); and forwards Justin Maiser (BU), Steve Saviano (UNH) and Stephen Werner (UMass).
New Hampshire is the league's first back-to-back tournament champion since Boston College, which won the 1998 and 1999 postseason titles.
Boston University made its first appearance in the championship game since 1997, when it defeated UNH - 4-2 - for its fifth title.
The Terriers were also the first team to play three overtime sessions in one tournament.
The game was the first shutout in championship game history and the only 1-0 win in championship history. Ironically, New Hampshire was also involved in both shutouts in semifinal history (BU 2, UNH 0 in 1993 and UNH 4, BC 0 in 1997). The only other 1-0 game in tournament history was in the 2001 quarterfinal round when Boston College defeated Merrimack.
The two teams remained scoreless for the game's first 71:43, marking the longest a championship game has gone without a goal. The previous record was 43:11, set by Boston College and Maine in 2000. Maine went on to win that game, 2-1. The game was also the first 1-0 championship game decision in tournament history.
Tim Lamoriello, son of Hockey East founder and current New Jersey Devils CEO, President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, presented head coach Dick Umile and captain Patrick Foley the Lou Lamoriello championship trophy in an on-ice, post-game ceremony.
Hockey East drew a record 34,328 fans during the two-night tournament, surpassing the previous record set at the 2002 championship (32,805). Friday night's sell-out attendance of 17,565 was the best single night attendance figure in tournament history.