MEN'S HOCKEY EDGED 2-1 BY #1 BOSTON U. IN NCAA REGIONAL FINALS

Box Score | Quotes | Dick Umile Audio(mp3) - Greg Collins Audio (mp3) | Video Highlights
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Jason Lawrence scored a power-play goal with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to lift No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Boston University to a 2-1 victory against 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire in Sunday’s Northeast Regional final of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

UNH, the region’s third that advanced out of the first round with a 6-5 overtime win vs. North Dakota, ends its season at 20-13-5. BU, which captured the Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles in 2009 and had defeated Ohio State (8-3) on Saturday, is now 33-6-4 will be making its first national semifinal appearance since 1997.

The score was tied, 1-1, at the start of the third period. UNH went on its third power play of the game at 5:40 and moments later, Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) wristed a shot from the left circle that caromed off the near post.

In the ninth minute, UNH’s Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) fired a shot from the right circle that was turned towards the slot by BU goaltender Kieran Millan. The puck caromed off Sislo, who was charging down the slot, and hit the left post. Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) then fired a shot from deep on the left wing that was blocked by a BU defenseman.

In the 11th minute, Jamie Fritsch (Odenton, Md.) ignited a UNH transition attack with a long outlet pass to Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.). Thompson carried the puck down the right wing and, after entering the offensive zone, sent a crossing pass that Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) redirected wide left of the cage.

The Wildcats generated a 2-on-1 rush in the 16th minute in which Sislo skated down the right wing and snapped a wrist shot from the circle that Millan snared with his glove.

BU had a dangerous scoring bid with three minutes remaining when Brandon Yip collected a loose puck in the left circle and sent a one-timer on net that was enveloped by UNH goalie Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.).

New Hampshire was whistled for a minor penalty at 19:14, and the Terriers capitalized to break the 1-1 tie at 19:45. Lawrence swept a shot from the left circle past Foster, and the puck deflected off a UNH skater into the open net. Chris Higgins and Colby Cohen were credited with assists.

UNH called time out at that point and returned to the ice with Foster pulled in favor of an extra skater. The Wildcats pushed the puck into the offensive zone, but Boston University iced the puck with 3.5 seconds on the clock. After BU called a timeout, LeBlanc drew the faceoff in the left circle towards the boards, and Kapstad’s last-second shot was blocked by a BU skater high behind the net.

Lawrence was named Most Outstanding Player of the Northeast Regional. He was joined on the All-Regional Team by teammates Millan, Nick Bonino and Matt Gilroy. UNH’s Kapstad and LeBlanc were also selected to the team.

Millan finished with 27 saves, including 12 in the first period. Foster made 11 of his 21 saves in the opening stanza.

Boston University skated to a 1-0 lead in the first period. In the opening minute, UNH generated a 2-on-1 rush in which James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) carried the puck down the right wing and snapped a wrist shot from the circle wide of the far post.

BU responded with a scoring opportunity in the third minute when Foster surrendered a rebound on Luke Popko’s shot from deep on the right wing, but the UNH goalie then denied Steve Smolinsky at the right doorstep.

In the fifth minute, BU maintained pressure by intercepting a clearing attempt at the blue line. Higgins then collected a loose puck in the slot, turned and fired a low shot turned aside by Foster’s stick.

Less than four minutes later, van Riemsdyk once again generated a dangerous scoring chance on a wraparound at the left post. Millan yielded a rebound and Sislo, as he was losing his balance at the top of the crease, pushed a shot on net that was covered by Millan.

The Wildcats produced pressure on its first power play of the game (at 8:30). Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) was turned aside at the right post, and just seconds later his redirection from the right doorstep was also blocked by Millan.

Boston University took a 1-0 lead at 13:43 on a goal by Corey Trivino. The Terriers controlled possession on an offensive zone faceoff and Vinny Saponari centered the puck from the left corner to the slot, where Chris Connolly’s shot was knocked down by Foster. Trivino corralled the rebound, however, and swept the puck into the open right side.

UNH generated two more scoring opportunities in the closing minute of the first period. Sislo, off a feed from behind the net, released a quick shot from the right faceoff dot that Millan stopped with his leg pads, and then he covered the puck in the crease with Wildcats crashing the net.

In the last 10 seconds, LeBlanc skated alone down the slot, pulled the puck to the left and was denied by Millan from close range.

UNH opened the second period with 1:56 remaining on a power play, but BU’s penalty kill unit kept the ‘Cats without a shot in that span.
New Hampshire pulled even, 1-1, at 5:52 on a goal by Butler. Greg Collins (Fairport, N.Y.) initiated the scoring sequence from the defensive zone with an indirect pass off the left dashers. LeBlanc collected the puck in the neutral zone, maneuvered around a defenseman in the left circle and fired a low shot that Millan turned away with his left leg pad. Butler, charging in from the right side, tucked the rebound inside the unguarded right post.

The Wildcats threatened to take the lead in the 15th minute, when Kapstad’s slap shot from the left point caromed off van Riemsdyk in the low slot to Sislo, who was stoned at the right doorstep.

The Terriers generated multiple scoring chances in the last two minutes of the second stanza. With two minutes remaining, Zach Cohen’s wraparound chance at the left post ricocheted high off Foster’s stick to the top of the crease, where van Riemsdyk punched the puck back to the neutral zone.

One minute later, Higgins jousted with a defenseman down the slot and saw the puck trickle wide left of the post. With 45 seconds to go, BU had a quick counterattack in which Colin Wilson broke alone down the slot and fired a shot wide left. The Terriers went on the power play shortly thereafter and Saponari lifted a shot from the inner-left circle high of the cage.

This game marked the end of UNH careers for seniors Collins, Thomas Fortney (Webster Groves, Mo.), Fritsch, Kapstad, Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) and Alan Thompson (Gilford, N.H.).

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