DURHAM, N.H. — For Boston University, the good news was that the Terriers managed to keep the nation’s leading scorer — UNH captain Darren Haydar — off the scoresheet until well after the game was decided.
The bad news was that the Wildcats have a few other guys who can light the lamp, showing why they have the nation’s top offense.
In a game expected to be a tough, defensive matchup between two of Hockey East’s best teams, the Wildcats took a 3-0 first-period lead on the way to trouncing the Terriers 6-1 in front of 6,501 fans at the Whittemore Center.
Colin Hemingway scored the game’s first two goals, while Lanny Gare, Josh Prudden, and Mick Mounsey added two helpers apiece for the Wildcats (18-4-2, 10-2-2 Hockey East), who now average 4.95 goals per game — one goal short of averaging an even five per game. Brian McConnell scored the lone goal for the Terriers (14-6-2, 8-4-2 Hockey East).
“I told the team when they came in that it was one of the best games they played all season from start to finish,” UNH coach Dick Umile said.
It was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Terriers and also marked the most goals the team had surrendered since a 6-2 loss against Boston College on March 5, 2000.
“That was an old-fashioned whooping,” Terrier coach Jack Parker said. “Once they got the first two goals on two turnovers by us, we just wilted, and they just kept coming at us… . It could have been 12-1.”
“Our philosophy before the game was to pull a [New England Patriots] coach Belichick — take away what they do best,” Parker said. “So we tried to take away number 20 [Darren Haydar].
“That was the only thing that worked half-decent tonight,” Parker added. “He didn’t score until we stopped doing that in the third period… Hemingway didn’t notice.”
The UNH faithful had to wait a little while for the ritualistic fish to be flung on the ice, but the Zeta Chi frat brother got to the slimy deed at 7:57. Playing four-on-four, Terrier co-captain Chris Dyment tried to thread a pass up the middle, but Colin Hemingway intercepted it and wound up beating Sean Fields high on the glove side with a 20-footer.
Less than two minutes later, Hemingway beat Fields in an almost identical fashion — a sharpshooter’s wrister high to the glove side after receiving a nicely lofted pass from his own end.
“He’s got a great glove, but that’s kind of my go-to move,” Hemingway said. “I saw a little opening; I’m happy they went in.”
The Terriers finally came to life with five minutes left in the period but couldn’t capitalize. Then UNH went up 3-0 with 59.4 seconds left in the period. Josh Prudden held the puck nicely in the right-wing faceoff circle before dishing to freshman blueliner Tyson Teplitsky creeping in from the point. Teplitsky’s wrister eluded the heavily screened goaltender to cap off a period that featured much more Cat than dog — even though the shots were even at ten apiece.
Perhaps a more telling stat was eight BU turnovers in the first 20 minutes, while the Wildcats only coughed up the puck three times.
“I thought our guys forechecked extremely well,” Umile said. “We were trying to create turnovers — I think we generated that — but then when you get the puck you’ve got to do something with it. That’s exactly what happened.”
In the second period, the Terriers had a great chance to make it a game when two Wildcat minors gave them a five-on-three advantage for over 90 seconds. They made the most of it.
After McConnell set up Miller down low — forcing a diving save by Michael Ayers, his best of the game thus far — the Terriers scored on a mirror-image setup, as Miller set up McConnell on the opposite of the net for a quick stuff to make it 3-1 at 7:21.
But the Terriers’ momentum was short-lived. Nice hustle by Ed Caron paved the way for the next Wildcat goal, as the big freshman got a loose puck in the BU end and shoveled it out to Mick Mounsey at the right point. The defenseman’s slapshot was redirected in by David Busch to give UNH a three-goal lead once again.
Only a flashy glove save by Fields kept Hemingway from notching his first career hat trick at 13:10. It was a nice moment in a game that otherwise was a far cry from Fields’ 45-save effort against the Wildcats back on November 4.
For the second period in a row, BU committed the sin of surrendering a last-minute goal, as Steve Saviano flipped one over the fallen goalie — a rather soft goal as the shot seemed very close to his glove — with 42.5 ticks left.
The only suspense that remained for the third period was whether Hemingway could get a hat trick and if Haydar — the nation’s leading scorer — could get a point.
Jason Tapp replaced Fields in net for the third period, but he couldn’t keep Haydar off the board. Another defensive turnover — this time by Ryan Whitney — made possible Haydar’s unassisted goal at 6:35.
“I told my guys they made about ten fabulous passes tonight,” Parker said. “Unfortunately they were all to the white guys. Sunday we’ll have the white shirts on, so maybe we’ll pass it to our guys.”
Haydar’s goal ties him with Jason Krog for third all-time UNH, while the point also ties him with Mark Mowers for fourth all-time at UNH.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday night at Boston University. Fields will return in net.
Notes; A few lineup changes were in store for the Terriers, as erstwhile defenseman Bryan Miller played right wing and joined Mike Pandolfo and Brian McConnell on the first line… Meanwhile, Justin Maiser played left wing on a line with Gregg Johnson and Frantisek Skladany. It marked the first time this season that Kenny Magowan was not on the same line with his fellow sophomores, as he was moved down to the fourth line… The 6-1 game matched the margin of UNH’s last win at home against BU — a 5-0 victory back on November 14, 1997. The Terriers came into the game as the only visiting team enjoying a winning record at the Whittemore Center — the teams are now 4-4-2 at the arena.