BOSTON — For Northeastern, it was a night of missed opportunities. Even strength and on the power play. Ultimately, on the scoreboard and in the standings.
The Huskies dominated the territorial play, outshooting New Hampshire, 41-19, but couldn’t manage more than a tie, 1-1.
“It’s a missed opportunity for our hockey club,” NU coach Jim Madigan said. “We can look at the shots on goal and walk away thinking that we were good, and certainly their goaltender played well and they played a smart defensive game. But at the end of the day, we didn’t find a way to win.
“We had eight-to-ten guys going and the other ten guys are on milk crates right now. They’re missing. If we’re going to have a run at this, we need to get more guys going.”
With their rivals at the top of the Hockey East standings struggling on the out-of-town scoreboard, Northeastern also missed out on an opportunity to move into a tie for first place. Boston College, which started the day in first, two points ahead of Northeastern, lost to Connecticut. Providence, in third place a point behind Northeastern, had to rally to tie what had been last place Vermont.
“For me, it’s about our hockey club, [not the standings],” Madigan said. “We talked going into the game about good execution and good details, and we worked on them this week in practice, and yet we still had some guys who are sophomores and juniors who didn’t have the details to the game that we need to win. Not everyone brought it.”
UNH goaltender Danny Tirone stood on his head with remarkable saves, survived many goalmouth scrambles, and got lucky late in the third when Adam Gaudette snapped his stick when shooting into a wide open net during a back door opportunity.
“I’ll let Danny do all the talking because he did most of the work tonight,” UNH coach Dick Umile said in the postgame press conference. “We held on and he kept us in the game.”
Tirone said, “They probably have the best offense we’ve seen all year, so I tried to come out and challenge them. We killed off some big penalties.”
UNH killed off all five penalties against the top-ranked Northeastern power play, including one called in the final minute of regulation that extended into overtime.
Umile, who will be retiring at the close of the season, was honored before the game.
“Thanks to Jimmy [Madigan] and the Northeastern fans for that recognition,” Umile said. “I grew up playing in this area. It’s my favorite arena, I love coming here.”