A lot of eyes were on the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, Nov. 8. However, there was another battle being held that same night, a battle between two Hockey East teams both unbeaten in the previous four games: the No. 3 Boston College Eagles representing the home party, and the UNH Wildcats, representing the road party.
Despite being down 3-0, the Wildcats completed a three-goal comeback late in the second and third period. A flash of power play brilliance from Matias Cleland pulled the Wildcats even with the Eagles at 15:51 in the third period. The ‘Cats ultimately could not finish the job as JD Dudek and Colin White secured a 5-3 victory for the Eagles, improving their overall record to 9-2-1, while handing the Wildcats their first loss in Hockey East.
“Just disappointed because the guys battled back in the third period to get it tied up,” head coach Dick Umile said following the loss. “Disappointed in the fact that we ended up losing the game.”
The Wildcat comeback was sparked by an even-strength goal from Liam Blackburn, his third of the season, off the hands of fellow freshman Brendan van Riemsdyk to make the score 3-1 at 15:24 in the second period.
The next two goals came on the man advantage, a significant improvement to last weekend when the Wildcats went 3-16 on the power play.
Jason Salvaggio crashed the net and buried a rebound chance given by Michael McNicholas to bring the Wildcats to within one. Cleland ripped a shot that went off the crossbar and into the net that tied the game at three. The Wildcats finished the night with a 33 percent power play efficiency, better than the 18.7 percent efficiency of last weekend.
“Falling behind 3-0 doesn’t help, but credit to the guys for battling back,” Umile said. “[They] got the game tied up with an opportunity to win it, not lose it. But we ended up losing [it] so disappointing.”
The Wildcats, for the sixth time this season, failed to strike first in the scoring column. The Eagles took advantage of an elbowing call from Shane Eiserman, and Chris Brown gave Boston College a 1-0 lead on its first power play chance on the evening. Casey Fitzgerald and Matthew Gaudreau each added even-strength tallies to extend the Eagles’ lead to three.
Although he allowed four goals against, UNH goaltender Danny Tirone had a solid outing against a top-ranked offense. Tirone saved 26 shots overall, including three big saves in the third period to keep the comeback momentum in the Wildcats’ favor. Umile admires Tirone’s, and the team’s determination to keep playing and give themselves a chance to tie the game.
“They’re a team that’s done it before, they’ve done it several times this season already,” Umile said. “We know they have that character, that ability, they are a never-quit team.” “The way they
The loss brings the Wildcats to a .500 record of 4-4-1, including a 2-1 record in Hockey East, good for a share of second place in the conference standings. UNH once again welcomes a program for the first time in history to the Whittemore center on Friday, Nov. 11 when the Arizona State University Sun Devils make their way to the Whittemore center. The following night, the Wildcats welcome back the Merrimack College Warriors for game two of their conference series. Both matchups begin at 7 p.m.