BOSTON, Mass. — Both teams got what they deserved tonight, with one point apiece, as the University of New Hampshire and Boston University battled to a 3-3 tie in front of 6,150 at Agganis Arena in an exciting game with many lead changes and plenty of chances for both teams to win it.
However, UNH went home happier, as the tie gave them three points on the weekend, while the home-and-home series left BU yet another game below .500 in the won-loss column.
New Hampshire native Paul Thompson led the way with two goals and an assist for the Wildcats, while Bobby Butler added a pair of helpers for the visitors Zach Cohen had two assists for the Terriers, who also received a solid effort in goal from sophomore Grant Rollheiser.
“As a spectator, it was probably a heck of a game to watch,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “There was pretty good action going back and forth, and both teams had a chance to win it. At this point of the weekend, I told my team that they competed hard, and we’ll take three points for the weekend and move on.”
“In general, I thought it was really an unbelievably exciting game to watch,” concurred Terriers’ coach Jack Parker. “The difference between last night’s game and tonight’s for both teams was like night and day. I thought both teams played really well tonight. I think we needed the win more than they did, so they’re probably really happy to get three points on the weekend. We only got one, so that really hurts us. That was the only negative thing about the game for me.”
UNH lost two leads on the night, while BU lost one. The Wildcats scored first when Thompson received credit for a goal at 5:22 of the opening period.
“The first one was kind of a fluke,” Thompson said. “I just threw it on net; I was trying to throw it to Bob [Butler], and it hit a stick, went off one of their guys and went over [Rollheiser's] blocker.”
Less than a minute later, Rollheiser prevented further damage by stopping Austin Block’s shot as well as Mike Borisenok’s rebound. Nick Bonino had a great chance to equalize the game on a wraparound at the 11-minute mark, but Wildcats’ senior goalie Brian Foster stopped the shot as well as the centerman’s second whack at the puck.
BU did knot the game up at 14:56. Bonino got the puck along the left-wing boards and passed to Alex Chiasson low in the faceoff circle on the same side. David Warsofsky — playing much of the game as the left wing on the top line — crashed into the slot, and Chiasson teed up Warsofsky’s 18-foot one-timer for the goal.
Terriers’ winger Joe Pereira electrified the crowd with a great short-handed steal for a breakaway at 16:40, but Foster stopped his diving shot.
“It was a great move, and it was a great save,” Umile said.
The second period featured some great plays as well as a few brutal turnovers by both teams. However, no one paid for their sins, and finally BU took their only lead of the night at 16:56, when Zach Cohen got the puck from the right point to Vinny Saponari in the left-wing face-off circle. Saponari pulled an impressive spin-o-rama, pulling the puck behind him on his backhand while working it down low. He left himself with a poor angle, but his backhand shot caromed off of Wildcats’ defenseman Damon Kipp and went into the net.
UNH tied it up on a power-play goal all of 20 seconds into the third period. Butler’s right-wing shot rebounded to Phil DeSimone on the opposite side of the net, and the junior centerman buried his first goal of the season.
“I think they’re the best initial-rush team in our league,” Parker said of the Wildcats. “They’re really good speed-wise coming through center ice; they really put a lot of pressure on you. They don’t dominate you down low like other teams can, but they can really get opportunities on the initial rush.”
The Wildcats took their second and last lead of the night at 6:05. Matt Campanale took a slap shot from the right point, and Thompson got his stick on it. The result was a deflection that slowly went up and over Rollheiser’s shoulder and into the net.
On a long overdue power play at 11:52, BU tied it. Captain Kevin Shattenkirk got the puck at the center point and looked ready to pull the trigger on a slapper but instead fed it to Corey Trivino low in the right-wing circle for the shot and score.
Shattenkirk fed it to Trivino again with a minute left in regulation, but lightning failed to strike twice. BU survived a UNH power play in overtime, thanks to Nick Bonino’s desperate swatting of the puck out of the crease with his arm. In turn, Trivino set up Andrew Glass for a terrific bid at 3:00 of overtime, but Foster got his glove on the backhander.
BU’s record is now 3-7-1 overall and 2-6-1 in Hockey East.
“You get what you deserve,” Parker said. “I think our record is indicative of who we are at this point. It wasn’t as if there were many nights when we dominated teams and couldn’t get a ‘W.’ We’ve played two 60-minute competitive games this year, and how many have we played overall? Eleven?”
“We’re trying to stay positive,” Warsofsky said. “We’re not getting blown out of games; there have been a lot of one-goal and two-goal losses where the puck hasn’t gone our way. Everyone knows in the locker room that we have the talent; we just have to put it altogether. I’m sure it’s going to come. Hopefully, this will give us a jump start for the rest of the season.”
BU will try to get back in the win column with non-conference games over the next week, playing at Harvard Tuesday before facing Cornell at Madison Square Garden next Saturday.
UNH (4-6-3, 4-2-2 Hockey East) plays at Merrimack next Saturday in its lone game of the week.