AMHERST, Mass. — Rookie forward David Boehm scored his second career goal at 2:05 of overtime as Massachusetts escaped with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over New Hampshire on Friday evening.
Driving into the zone from center ice, Boehm effectively used a UNH defender to screen goaltender Brian Foster and was able to beat him with a shot low along the ice.
The Minutemen held a 2-0 lead after the first period of play, only to allow the Wildcats to score three straight goals before forcing the extra session with an extra attacker goal late and then winning in overtime.
Describing his game-winning goal afterward, Boehm credited the play of defenseman Doug Kublin:
It was a great play by Doug, he kept the play alive in the neutral zone and the puck squirted loose to me, Kublin said. On my way backchecking, I picked up the loose puck and saw there was an open lane and the defenseman gave me a lane to shoot. I just shot it as hard as I could and hoped that the defenseman screened the goalie, which he did.
It was a great feeling because it gave us two points in Hockey East. Theyre big points.
As much as Im happy with the two points, I recognize being on the other end of it where weve taken it to a team and not ended up getting it, said Massachusetts head coach Don Cahoon on the win. Sometimes its better to be lucky than good.
New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile expressed disappointment in the outcome given how well he felt his team played throughout the evening.
Obviously, a couple of bad coverage plays when they scored, but the fact is the guys stayed with it and we played a solid hockey game, Umile said. It is a disappointing loss because I thought in the second we came out and played a solid period and tied it, came back and played a real strong third and got the go-ahead goal.
This is a tough one to take. We played hard and we have nothing to show for it.
The Minutemen set the tone in the opening moments of the contest with an aggressive forecheck and strong puck pressure. The potent UMass power-play unit had two opportunities in the first 10 minutes against UNH, which has struggled as of late on the penalty kill, however the Minutemen could not cash in as multiple shots sailed just wide of the net.
Play balanced out as the period wore on. Mike Sislo had a prime opportunity to give his New Hampshire squad a 1-0 lead when he took a pass at the UMass blue line and skated in all alone from the right. His shot from close range was stonewalled by Paul Dainton at 15:58.
Massachusetts opened the scoring exactly 30 seconds later.
Attempting to evade a Wildcat defender while driving to the net, Will Ortiz got off a shot that bounced off of Foster and right to Michael Lecomte as he entered the slot. Lecomte rifled a shot past Foster before he could recover at 16:28.
Justin Braun made it 2-0 Minutemen at 18:39, as he skated in and unleashed a shot that rang off the back post.
The Wildcats had the advantage in the second stanza, outworking the Minutemen in every facet of the game. The hard work eventually paid off in the latter half of the period when New Hampshire scored two goals to tie the contest.
Steve Moses cut the deficit in half at 10:27. All alone in front of the net with the puck, Moses got Dainton to commit low before lifting his shot into the net.
New Hampshire got the game-tying goal off the stick of Peter Leblanc at 17:52. Leblanc collected the rebound from Brett Kostolanskys shot from the point and buried it the upper part of the cage. The two teams went into the locker room tied at two, as the Wildcats outshot the Minutemen 18-7 in the period.
I think we were too high on the way we played after the first, said Boehm on his teams performance in the second. Going into the second we were a little lackadaisical. [New Hampshire] got on pucks, they were winning loose pucks, they were winning battles, and we just got away from our game.
Once UNH got one, they knew the momentum had swung their way, said Cahoon. We started making bad decisions with the puck, we start mishandling the puck, they start not getting pucks behind them and they turn that into transition offense, and theyre very good with that.
Were lucky we didnt give a whole bunch of goals up in the second period.
Bobby Butler put New Hampshire in the lead for the first time in the game during the early moments of the third period on another rebound opportunity. Alone on the right side low, Butler collected the puck from in front and beat Dainton at 1:19 for his team-leading seventh goal of the season, a tally which stood up after review.
It was his sixth career goal against UMass, as he entered the contest with a team-high nine points in 12 previous appearances versus the Minutemen.
The Wildcats appeared to have the game in hand with time ticking down until Casey Wellman made things interesting with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation. With Dainton pulled, UMass swarmed in the offensive zone looking for the equalizer. Danny Hobbs was able to find Wellman wide open at the back door, and Wellman made the chance count.
We just wanted to get the puck to the net as much as possible without making any blind plays, commented Wellman on his game-tying goal. The puck got shot at the net and Hobbs made a great play on it, he saw me back door and threw a pass. Luckily I was all by myself.
A bounce of the puck at the end, quipped Umile. We had two guys that probably should have cleared it.
New Hampshire pinned Massachusetts in its own zone for a majority of the overtime period until Boehm sent the crowd home happy. Only three penalties were called in the contest and neither team was able to score on their power-play opportunities. Dainton broke his previous record of 39 saves with a career-best 42 in the win, including three in overtime, while Foster made 27 stops in the tough-luck loss.
We didnt walk away from that game thinking we earned those two points in a big way, noted Cahoon. We walked away from that game knowing we played a really good, solid first period, and had the game in control, and then allowed a team thats very proud and plenty skilled to take it back from us. Theres a lot to be learned from this, and hopefully well do a lot of learning before tomorrow night.
The two teams will meet again Saturday evening at the Mullins Center. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.