DURHAM, NH — After battling to a 1-1 deadlock through 43 minutes, New Hampshire and Boston University exploded with six goals in the third period before settling for a 4-4 tie. BU’s Kenny Roche completed a hat trick with the tying goal at 18:58 on a controversial power play.
“It was disappointing that we got the tie,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. Umile had been furious with referee Jeff Bunyon’s dubious hooking call at 18:27. “I thought the team played hard enough to win the game.
“We gave up a point. Who knows, maybe it will be an important point at the end of the year.”
When asked specifically about the hooking call, Umile was silent for about 10 seconds and then said, “The game was up for grabs and we competed hard. It was a tough, tough situation.”
New Hampshire (4-2-1, 2-1-1 HEA) also had to kill off one penalty and 39 seconds of another in overtime.
The game marked the fourth tie of the year for Boston University (2-1-4, 2-1-3 HEA), but was a welcome point considering its comeback nature on the road against a strong team. BU coach Jack Parker also saw a lot to like in his team’s play.
“I thought we played an extremely smart, solid game until the last three minutes of the second period,” Parker said. “We were leading, 1-0. We should have been able to get out of that period, 1-0.
“[But] some selfishness and some stupidness had crept in a little earlier than that. Sometimes my club gets up 1-0 and they act like it’s 6-0. We struggle with that.
“We gave up the goal at the end of the period to give them life and then it was just surreal in the last period. They get a goal, we get a goal, they get a goal, we get a goal, they get a goal, game’s over, we get a goal, it’s tied up again.”
The third period became “surreal” at 2:55. In the span of just 45 seconds, UNH scored, BU answered and then UNH retaliated again.
The offensive outburst began when Brett Hemingway fed Mike Radja in the slot and Radja buried his fifth goal of the season. Just 18 seconds later, Roche responded with a shot from inside the left faceoff circle. Thomas Fortney completed the flurry, taking a feed from Josh Ciocco and ripping a shot top shelf.
Five minutes later, Roche put in the rebound of a Sean Sullivan shot from the point to even the game back at 3-3.
Matt Fornataro then scored what UNH fans hoped would be the game-winner at 14:23, taking a pass from Bobby Butler, deking John Curry and roofing it.
On the power play that had Wildcat fans howling, however, Roche once again was in the right place at the right time, putting in the rebound of a low Sullivan shot through a screen.
UNH travels to undefeated Maine for a Sunday afternoon contest. BU plays at Vermont on Tuesday.
In a scoreless first period, BU finished with an 11-7 shot advantage.
Midway through the period, Trevor Smith had a good opportunity from the slot, but Curry made the stop. Seconds later, BU countered with Roche hitting the post.
Minutes later, at the tail end of UNH’s lone power play of the stanza, Jerry Pollastrone fed Smith on the right, but the sophomore who had scored at least one goal in every game, couldn’t pull the trigger quickly enough.
A minute later, Roche survived a dangerous play in front of his own net and then broke down the left wing and created a strong scoring chance.
The scoreless deadlock would not last long after the intermission. Chris Higgins needed only nine seconds to cut in from the left wing and score a proverbial goalscorer’s goal, sniping short side.
At the two-minute mark, Radja almost got UNH back to even, undressing a defender and breaking in on Curry, but the BU netminder gave him little to shoot at and made the save.
At 13:20, BU almost capitalized on a power play, outnumbering the defense down low three-to-one, but couldn’t get a centering pass through from the left side.
Just when it looked like the Terriers would take the 1-0 lead into the dressing room, UNH went on a power play and Ciocco converted with 9.5 seconds left. Seconds earlier, the senior captain had been unable to put away a pass as he stood on the left post, but Jacob Micflikier duplicated the previous setup and this time Ciocco stuffed it past Curry.