It’s been a constant not only this season, but through his whole career; junior goalie Mike Robinson is either locked in or is off his game based of his performance early on.
In Friday’s bid at Boston College, the latter was the case. The Eagles netted their first goal just 59 seconds into the game, with first-year wing Mike Hardman scoring his 11th goal of the season.
The bleeding did not stop as BC scored again just four minutes later, this one an unassisted goal from first-year defenseman Marshall Warren, his sixth of the year.
The Wildcats were able to buckle down a bit in the second period, finding a way to prevent BC from scoring despite giving up three power plays. UNH’s penalty kill had been a success up to this point as they were 1-for-1 on the penalty kill in the first period.
There were a few scares in the second, with sophomore forward Jack McBain missing a great chance where he slid in front of Robinson and delivered a wrist shot into the UNH goalie’s chest.
BC dominated possession in the period, with UNH struggling to show any cohesion passing-wise. UNH was also at fault with multiple whiffs on legitimate scoring chances and defensive stops.
Junior wing Charlie Kelleher took a puck to the leg at the end of the period, which worked to keep him out of Saturday’s affair in Durham.
Come the third period, UNH kept gaining momentum leading to a goal from sophomore wing Angus Crookshank, where he tapped a rebound into the stick-side of the net. Helping on that goal was a screen set by senior defenseman Anthony Wyse. UNH head coach talked about Wyse’s contributions to the offensive side of the puck. “He’s a big guy that can skate, and when he gets going it’s hard to stop,” he said. “That’s what you saw on our goal… He just kind of hacked and wacked around the net and that’s what you have to do to beat Spencer (Knight).”
Souza expressed the importance of scoring as the season nears its end.
“We hung around. But one goal is not going to get it done, I don’t care who you’re playing.”
They were still in contention after Friday’s game, but the Wildcats were eliminated before puck drop Saturday. Northeastern, who had been on a massive skid over the past few weeks, won their last game of the season locking them into the Hockey East playoffs.
In Saturday’s game BC got off to another quick start scoring twice in the first period.
The first of which came seconds after a successful BC penalty kill where junior wing Logan Hutsko scored on a one-timer assisted by senior center Julius Mattila and McBain.
The second goal came five minutes later when Hardman tipped one past Robinson; assisting were first-year forwards Alex Newhook and Matt Boldy.
The Wildcats came back with a vengeance in the second period, with Crookshank netting a power play goal just eight seconds into the period.
Senior forward Justin Fregona followed that by scoring his first goal of the season on a tip-in after a lengthy UNH possession.
The Wildcats entered the third period trailing 3-2, then senior forward Liam Blackburn tied it up with another tip-in from Knight’s stick-side. Fregona and sophomore center Jackson Pierson were credited with the assists, marking Fregona’s first assist and second point of the season.
That score would lead to an overtime period, which held controversy as UNH thought they scored a game winner, but it was called back due to goalie interference, an issue that plagued the team down the stretch.
The Wildcats ended the season 15-15-4, good for ninth in the Hockey East, just two points out of the playoffs.
Despite the tie and elimination, Souza was proud of his team’s effort. “Finding out right before puck drop that you weren’t going to have a chance to continue your season after tonight, then going out there with that type of effort against a really good team is a testament to the seniors and each and every kid in that locker room,” he said. “They played their hearts out.”