NO. 11 MEN’S HOCKEY EDGED 3-1 BY NO. 2 BOSTON U.
DURHAM, N.H. – Kieran Millan made 29 saves to backstop the second-ranked Boston University men’s ice hockey team to Saturday night’s 3-1 victory against 11th-ranked University of New Hampshire in Hockey East action at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which entered the home-and-home series vs. the Terriers with a seven-game unbeaten streak, is now 11-8-4 overall and 7-6-3 in Hockey East. BU completed the weekend sweep of the Wildcats and continued its success at the Whittemore Center – the Terriers are the only league team with a winning mark (9-7-5) here – to improve to 18-5-1, 11-5-1.
New Hampshire trailed 1-0 at the start of the third period, but carried 25 seconds of a power play into it. BU won the opening faceoff and prevented the ‘Cats from generating an attack. In the fifth minute, a loose puck rolled to the high slot and UNH’s Matt Campanale (Chester Springs, Pa.) blasted a shot that Millan blocked with his glove, and a teammate cleared the puck from the low slot. Thirty seconds later, Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) maneuvered from the left circle to the slot, where his backhander was turned aside by Millan’s left leg pad.
In the ninth minute, Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) centered a pass from behind the net to Greg Collins (Fairport, N.Y.), but his close-range bid was also stopped by Millan.
Less than a minute later, UNH generated a shorthanded rush when Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) intercepted a pass and sent a pass up the left side for James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.). He carried the puck into the zone and centered to the cutting Sislo, but Millan was once again in position for the save.
That same UNH duo combined to tie the score, 1-1, at 12:57 when van Riemsdyk, again from the left boards, centered the puck to a cutting Sislo for the goal. Jamie Fritsch (Odenton, Md.) was also credited with an assist.
Boston University regained the lead 25 seconds later when Vinny Saponari’s pass across the low slot found Chris Connolly alone at the left post. Colby Cohen initiated the scoring sequence.
With UNH on its sixth power play of the night, a Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) slapshot from the high slot was stopped by Millan. The rebound went to the right side and a diving effort from Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) sent the puck wide of the near post with 4:30 remaining.
BU’s Chris Higgins was stoned by UNH goaltender Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) at the left doorstep with 40 seconds to play, and Foster exited the game in favor of an extra skater with 28 left on the clock.
The Terriers’ Matt Gilroy quickly moved the puck out of their defensive zone and Jason Lawrence carried the puck into the left circle. He saucered the puck past a UNH defenseman and Higgins redirected a shot into the open net with 15 seconds remaining to secure the win.
Foster finished with 15 saves for UNH.
BU skated to a 1-0 lead in the first period by netting a power-play goal with 48 seconds remaining in the opening stanza. Kevin Shattenkirk collected John McCarthy’s pass from the left corner in front of the net and beat Foster with a low shot. Colin Wilson was also credited with an assist.
In the opening minutes of the period, BU’s Chris Connolly snuck behind the defense at the blue line and his wrister from the left circle was snared by Foster’s glove. The Terriers had another scoring chance in the seventh minute while shorthanded. On an odd-man rush, Shatternkirk corralled a deflected pass in the slot but was turned aside by Foster.
With UNH on its second power play of the night, a Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) shot from the right faceoff dot caromed off the near post at 11:20. Less than five minutes later, Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) had a shorthanded rush down the right side and blasted a shot that ricocheted off Millan’s right arm and left post.
In the closing seconds of the first period, a Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, British Columbia) screened shot from the right point was turned aside by Millan, who also foiled Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) off the rebound at the right doorstep.
UNH generated an 11-4 shot advantage in the scoreless second period. In the eighth minute, Thomas Fortney (Webster Grove, Mo.) was denied in the slot and Alan Thompson (Gilford, N.H.) was also stopped off the rebound at the top of the crease. Midway through the stanza, Butler collected the rebound from his shot at the right circle and backhanded a pass across the slot. Millan slid across the crease to make the save against Collins at the left post.
With BU on the power play in the 16th minute, Wilson’s shot from the right circle handcuffed Foster, but the UNH defense cleared the puck from the crease.
For the second time in as many periods, the Wildcats threatened in the waning seconds. Paul Thompson, alone in the left circle, one-timed a crossing pass on net, but Millan once again slid across the crease to preserve BU’s one-goal lead.
New Hampshire returns to action Jan. 30 at home against the University of Vermont. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.