BOSTON, MA—David Van der Gulik scored two goals, the second coming at 14:20 of the third period, as the Boston University hockey team battled back for a 3-3 overtime tie against visiting University of New Hampshire on Thursday night.
It was the Terriers’ ninth tie of the season as they are now 9-15-9 overall and 5-13-5 in Hockey East action, while the Wildcats are 18-11-6 overall and 10-7-6 in the league.
The Terriers had hoped for a win as it would have assured them a playoff spot in the Hockey East playoffs, which begin next weekend. Instead, they must wait either for a UMass win or tie over Northeastern on Friday night or their return trip to New Hampshire on Saturday night. Should UMass beat or tie Northeastern on Friday night, the Terriers will make the playoffs for the 20th straight year. If Northeastern should defeat the Minutemen, then the Terriers must beat the Wildcats on Saturday. If the Terriers lose to or tie the Wildcats, and Northeastern sweeps UMass, then the Terriers are eliminated from the post-season tournament.
In Thursday night’s game, New Hampshire jumped to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Patrick Foley (9:14) and Mark Kolanos (11:32). Foley’s goal came when his shot from just outside the blue line went off the leg of Terrier defenseman Tom Morrow and eluded the outstretched glove of Sean Fields (16 saves).
Kolanos upped the Wildcats’ lead as Foley won the faceoff at the right circle and got the puck back to the right point where Kolanos’ shot went off Fields’ pads.
However, the Terriers came back to cut the deficit in half when Van der Gulik scored at 18:14 of the first period. His shot from the slot found the far left corner of the goal. The assists went to Dan Spang and Brad Zancanaro. It marked the first goal B.U. had scored against Wildcat goalie Mike Ayers in 272 minutes and 38 seconds dating back to last season.
“I am not happy to give up a goal, but I was happy the streak is over with,” said Ayers, who finished the game with 31 saves.
The Terriers, who outshot the Wildcats 7-3 in the first period, dominated play in the second period outshooting UNH by a 22-6 margin. However, the Terriers got just one shot past Ayers and it was off Spang’s stick at 9:04 of the period. As was the case with the Wildcats’ second goal, the Terrier score came off a winning faceoff. Gregg Johnson battled for the faceoff and got the puck back to Spang at the left point. His shot beat Ayers for the equalizer.
New Hampshire took the lead again at 3:35 of the third period on a goal by Justin Aikins. Kolanos gave the puck to Aikins at center ice. He then carried it into the Terrier zone and went from left to right when he let go a backhand that beat Fields.
That set the stage for Van der Gulik’s equalizer at 14:20.
“Van der Gulik is a great player for us,” said Terrier head coach Jack Parker. “He is going to be a helluva player in this league.”
The game-tying play was set up on a pretty pass from the right faceoff circle by Jekabs Redlihs. The puck went between the legs of a UNH defenseman to Van der Gulik who was coming in from the left faceoff circle. The pass hit him in stride and he slipped the puck into an open end of the UNH goal. Frantisek Skladany also earned an assist on the play.
“This is a tough way to make a living,” Parker said after the game. “We wanted to come away with a win tonight, but I loved how hard we played, and how smart we played.
“I also liked how we fought back from being down,” the coach went on. “We finally scored against Ayers. In fact, we scored three goals and that’s a big night.
“We closed the door on a good offensive team,” said Parker. “We were thorough tonight. We want to go into the playoffs feeling good about ourselves, and after tonight we should feel better about ourselves.”
“I liked how we played in the first and third periods,” said UNH coach Dick Umile, whose team is in fourth place in the league standings, just one point behind third-place UMass. “In the second period, I told the kids to back off, and that was a mistake.
“You have to give B.U. credit,” the coach continued. “They played hard, and they had a good effort.
“But, we’ll take the point,” concluded Umile. “Now, hopefully, we will be successful on Saturday night.”