No. 1 Men's Hockey Edged 3-2 by No. 7 Boston U.
URHAM, N.H. – John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) recorded two points apiece for the top-ranked University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team, but the Wildcats couldn't overcome a three-goal deficit in Thursday night's 3-2 Hockey East loss to seventh-ranked Boston University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which entered the game with an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1) that started Nov. 4, is now 11-2-2 overall and 8-2-1 in Hockey East. BU, which had lost the first two games of the season series to the Wildcats, improves to 9-5-0, 7-4-0.
Henrion finished with a goal and an assist while Sorkin tallied two assists. Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games when he pulled the Wildcats within 3-1 at 14:05 of the second period. Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.), who was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Month for November earlier this week, made 24 saves.
BU's Cason Hohmann had a multiple-point effort with two assists while goalie Matt O'Connor stopped 31 shots in a game that had 15 minor penalties and 13 power plays. The Terriers were 0-for-4 with the man advantage while UNH converted 1 of 9 power-play chances.
BU recorded an 11-10 shot advantage in the opening period and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. On a rush up-ice, Matt Grzelcyk's initial slap shot from the left point was stopped by DeSmith but Wade Megan, positioned at the left post, jammed the rebound into the net. Cason Hohmann's outlet pass through the neutral zone set up the tally.
UNH was whistled for tripping at 6:08, but a Terriers' skater was sent to the box at 6:36 and 7:22, which led to a 5-on-3 Wildcats' power play for 28 seconds. Despite maintaining possession in the offensive zone, New Hampshire did not record a shot on goal during that two-skater advantage and then O'Connor turned aside both UNH shots on the continued man-up advantage.
After one goal and six penalties in the opening stanza, the teams combined for three goals and seven penalties in the second. The Terriers extended the lead to 3-0 on goals at 4:01 and 8:03. Hohmann, who corralled the head-man pass from Garrett Noonan, led a 2-on-1 rush down the left wing. He found Sahir Gill skating down the slot and Gill tucked a close-range backhander past DeSmith to give the visitors a two-goal advantage.
Thirty seconds later on a UNH rush, Casey Thrush (Easton, Md) was alone in the slot and blasted a shot wide of the cage. One minte later on a delayed penalty against BU, Sorkin was positioned at the left doorstep and swept a shot off the post.
Boston U. increased the lead to 3-0 at 8:03. On a faceoff to DeSmith's right Wesley Myron drew the puck back to the slot and Ahti Oksanen's quick shot deflected off Sam Kurker into the cage.
New Hampshire pulled within 3-1 at 14:05 on the aforementioned Goumas power-play goal. Henrion initiated the scoring sequence with a pass deep on the left side to Sorkin, who snapped a pass across the low slot and Goumas one-timed a shot into the open right side.
On another Wildcats' power play with 4:30 remaining in the second period, the initial shot by Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) from the high slot was stopped by O'Connor. Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) gathered the puck off the right post and, while falling to the ice, pushed a shot towards the net that O'Connor smothered.
In the closing minute, BU's Matt Nieto snapped a shot from the slot off the left post.
The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 3-2 at 11:54 of the third period. Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) fired a shot from the right point that was going wide but rebounded off O'Connor's leg pads back to Agosta. His second shot was blocked in front and caromed to the left side, where Henrion rifled a shot into the net.
BU whistled for interference at 17:53. Following successive timeouts by the Wildcats and Terriers, DeSmith exited the game in favor of an extra skater with 1:26 remaining. O'Connor turned aside Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) moments later and the Terrier cleared the puck the length of the ice with 35 seconds to play.
UNH reentered the attack zone with 23 seconds on the clock and Goumas' booming, screened slap shot was stopped by O'Connor. The Wildcats controlled possession off the ensuing faceoff but were unable to get a shot in the closing 13 seconds.
BU has a 12-10-5 record at the Whittemore Center since the building opened in 1995-96. No other Hockey East team has a winning percentage on UNH's home ice.
New Hampshire returns to action Dec. 30-31 in a tournament at Dartmouth College. The Wildcats play the host team Dec. 30 (7 p.m.). UNH's next home game is Jan. 5, 2013 against Rensselaer (7 p.m.). Tickets for that home game and all UNH home games are available online at www.unhwildcats.com.