CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — On Sunday, at least one big storm in New England lived up to its billing.
A day where a predicted Nor’Easter in Boston turned into a whimper, an explosive offensive storm at Boston College’s Kelley Rink between the No. 4 Eagles and No. 5 New Hampshire delivered plenty of entertainment to the 6,649 in attendance.
In the end, 65 minutes wasn’t enough to settle things between the pair as BC and UNH skated to a 4-4 tie.
Each earning a point, Boston College (17-8-3, 12-7-2 Hockey East) remains a point behind Merrimack, which posted its own 2-2 tie against Providence on Sunday, for first place in Hockey East.
New Hampshire (16-8-4, 11-7-3 Hockey East), which entered the day in fourth but could have finished the day anywhere from first to fifth, leapfrogged to third place, two points behind the first-place Warriors
“Back-to-back OT games for us,” said BC coach Jerry York, whose club fell 2-1 in overtime to Merrimack on Friday. “It just shows how close this league is.”
The game featured end-to-end action for the matinee crowd with four lead changes to keep everyone on the edge of the seat.
Though goals were seemingly easy to come by for both teams, each team’s came in different varieties.
While many of BC’s goals were the result of perfect passing, UNH was the beneficiary of a good bit of puck luck, with two goals coming from behind the goal line, another tipped home by a BC defender and another goal of the 90-foot variety.
But for a UNH team that has been struggling to score goals of late, how the goal goes in hardly matters.
“It’s nice [to get the bounces], especially because the last couple of games it seemed like everything was going off us and into our own net,” said UNH sophomore forward Grayson Downing. “I guess you could say lucky bounces for us, but it’s nice to get that advantage for once in this game.”
On the other hand, BC said it was critical to not let those bad bounces impact the team any more negatively than necessary. Twice the Eagles fell behind, including in the third period, but both times were able to answer.
“It’s not in our DNA,” said York. “We compete very hard. If it’s a bad goal, we just keep coming back harder.”
“That’s not going to deter us from being successful,” said BC’s Pat Mullane about the lack of puck luck.
Boston College took a 1-0 lead on Steven Whitney’s team’s leading 19th goal of the season at 8:57 of the first. Whitney finished of a perfect passing play with linemates Bill Arnold and Destry Straight, roofing a shot past UNH goaltender Casey DeSmith (22 saves).
The Wildcats, though, grabbed their own lead with two quick – and fluky – goals at the end of the first and beginning of second periods.
With 58.8 seconds left in the first and UNH on the power play, defenseman Eric Knodel blasted a shot from center ice that handcuffed BC netminder Parker Milner (29 saves). The puck trickled under his arm and into the net to knot the game at one.
Just 34 seconds into the second, UNH’s Dan Correale centered a pass that BC defenseman Teddy Doherty attempted to deflect wide of the net, but instead one-timed into the goal for a 2-1 Wildcat lead.
But BC regained the lead before the end of the second thanks to two power-play tallies.
As a hitting from behind penalty was winding down to Correale, Mike Matheson jetted to the left post and redirected home a pass from Johnny Gaudreau to even the game at two.
Then with 4:17 left in the second, Mullane buried his 14th goal of the season, one-timing a blocked shot into a virtually empty net, giving the Eagles a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
BC finished the game two-for-five with the man-advantage, while UNH was one-for-seven.
UNH wasted little time tying things in the third as Downing banked a puck off Patrick Wey’s leg on an attempted wrap-around at 1:15.
The Wildcats and Eagles then traded goals seven seconds apart as Matt Willows scored for UNH on another wrap-around at 7:54 and Arnold tied things for the Eagles on a quick backhander from the slot at 8:01.
From there, both teams had chances.
BC peppered the UNH net late in regulation and drew a penalty with 1:44 left, but couldn’t convert. The Wildcats hemmed BC in its end in the final minute of overtime and they, too, couldn’t bury the winner.