The Wildcats and the Boston University Terriers went toe-to-toe in a physical Hockey East doubleheader over the weekend.
Both games came down to the final shots in the final seconds, but ultimately UNH failed to capitalize and earned only one out of a potential four Hockey East standing points. UNH tied BU at home on Friday night, 3-3, then lost on the Terriers’ home ice on Saturday night by a 3-2 score.
“The guys found a way to get [Friday’s game] tied up so I give them credit for that,” head coach Dick Umile said. Despite the team’s resilience, Umile was not pleased with the defensive play. “The way we played in our own end at times was not good.”
The first period of Friday night’s game was physical and fast. BU controlled the offensive tempo with 12 shots on goal, neither team could gain an edge, and the period ended scoreless.
The Terriers came out of the intermission firing, led by senior forward Danny O’Regan. Twelve seconds into the second period, a quick entry into the offensive zone gave O’Regan a chance in the slot that he used to give BU a 1-0 lead. O’Regan struck again on the power play, giving the Terriers a two-goal lead halfway through regulation, but the Wildcats would not go down easily.
Jamie Hill started the climb back with a nifty backhand goal off of a feed from Harry Quast to cut the deficit to one. The Wildcats then took advantage of a power play opportunity, and Michael McNicholas buried a shot to tie the game.
The action-packed second period set the stage for an exciting third frame. O’Regan completed the hat trick by scoring his third goal late in the third period. It looked as though the Terriers had sealed the win, but assistant captain Maxim Gaudreault had other plans.
Gaudreault tied the game at 3-3 to force overtime. The Terriers fired five shots in the overtime period, but Tirone stood tall and UNH escaped with the tie, salvaging a single point in the conference standings.
“[Tirone] kept us in that game that’s the reason we even had a chance to tie that game,” Gaudreault said. “Hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow night and hopefully not have to put as much pressure on him.”
Unfortunately for UNH, BU came out prepared at the Agganis Arena on Saturday night during its senior night, and the ‘Cats couldn’t overcome their nationally ranked opponent. UNH had a weak start on Saturday, and the Terriers cruised out to an early 3-0 lead with goals from Matt Grzelcyk, O’Regan and Bobo Carpenter.
It didn’t seem as if the Wildcats had an answer, but then the third period came around.
The ‘Cats once again clawed their way back with two goals coming early in the third. Freshman Ara Nazarian scored a goal, as did Cameron Marks, his first goal of the season, putting UNH back into the game.
“[Matias] Cleland made a great play to start the rush and I saw an opening,” Marks said. “I had an opening for a shot, so I thought I’d shoot it and it went in.”
The Wildcats had a two-man advantage late in the game. BU sent a man to the penalty box, then the ‘Cats pulled Tirone to give them a six-on-four advantage with 30 seconds remaining. The ‘Cats couldn’t cash in, though, and the game ended 3-2, Terriers.
Home ice advantage for the Hockey East standings will come down to the final two regular season games against the UConn Huskies, who currently trail the Wildcats by two points in the standings.
UNH will honor its seniors on Friday night, as they play their final regular season game at the Whittemore Center. The puck drops at 7 p.m.