DURHAM, N.H. – Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 32 saves in his first collegiate start but the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team was defeated 2-1 by 11th-ranked Boston University in Thursday night's Hockey East action at the Whittemore Center.
UNH lost its third consecutive game to fall to 6-9-2 overall, 4-7-1 in Hockey East and 6-3-0 at home. BU, which completed the season series sweep of the Wildcats, is now 9-5-1, 7-4-1. The Terriers were the first Hockey East team to sweep the Wildcats since BU did so in the 1996-97 season.
DeSmith made double-digit saves in both the first (11) and second (14) periods, and he stopped all seven shots in the final frame. BU netminder Kieran Millan finished with 28 saves, including 11 in the second stanza.
New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead at 4:32 of the first period. Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, British Columbia) intercepted a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone, hesitated at the blue line to avoid an offsides call and fired a shot from the right faceoff dot that Millan stopped with his leg pads. Greg Burke (Lee, N.H.) corralled the rebound in the slot and snapped a shot inside the left post to score his third goal of the season.
In the ninth minute, UNH's Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) struck a low, hard shot from the right point that was redirected in the slot by Burke but stopped by Millan. The rebound once again went to the low slot, where John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) quickly redirected a shot on goal that Millan snared.
BU, which recorded an 11-9 first-period shot advantage, nearly tied the score with 1:30 remaining in the opening stanza when Wade Megan's shot from the high slot beat DeSmith but ricocheted off the left post.
The Terriers controlled play early in the second period to build a 2-1 lead. Megan scored a power-play goal into an open-side net at 4:54 to tie the score. Alex Chiasson led 2-on-1 rush with a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone to Megan on the left wing. Megan's return pass across the slot trickled past a UNH defenseman and Chiasson stopped at the right doorstep to maneuver around DeSmith. He shoveled the puck towards the net and Megan tapped it across the goal line. Alexx Privitera, whose sliding effort blocked UNH's shorthanded rush at the other end of the ice, was also credited with an assist.
BU went in front 2-1 at 7:51 – before UNH registered a second-period shot. From the inner-left circle, Sahir Gill slipped a pass across the slot to Corey Trivino, who lifted a shot into the open right side of the net. Chris Connolly also assisted on the tally, which was Trivino's 11th of the season.
In the 11th minute, Chiasson side-stepped a UNH defender in the right circle and advanced towards the near post, where his close-range bid targeted for the upper corner was gloved by DeSmith.
UNH generated offensive pressure – and five shots -- during its fourth power play of the game, which started when a Terrier was sent to the penalty box for tripping at 11:49. In the 13th minute, a Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) slap shot deflected off BU's Ryan Ruikka but Millan quickly raised his glove to make the catch save.
The Terriers carried that one-goal lead and 27-20 shot advantage into the third period. In the fourth minute of the final frame, UNH's Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) quickly advanced the puck with a pass from mid-ice to Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) at the blue line. Moses skated to the left circle and centered a pass to Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.), who deked but was unable to beat Millan with a shot between the legs.
With four minutes remaining in regulation, Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) advanced along the right wing and left a drop pass for Henrion, whose one-timer towards the right post was caught by Millan.
The Wildcats called time out with 53.1 seconds on the clock and pulled DeSmith in favor of an extra skater with 37 seconds to play. BU kept the 'Cats at bay, however, and did not allow a shot the rest of the way.
UNH finished 0-for-5 on the power play. BU converted 1 of 2 power-play opportunities.
New Hampshire returns to action Dec. 30 at home against Brown University. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7p.m.