DURHAM, N.H.– The timing couldn’t have been more precise.
The Wildcats hadn’t lost a regular season home conference game in almost exactly two years. They had a 27-game undefeated streak on the line, and the team that beat them two years ago, on January 24, was none other than the team they played Saturday night — the Boston University Terriers.
“As I told to coach [Dick] Umile at the end of the game, we needed these two points more than he did,” BU head coach Jack Parker said. “I still think we are the best team in Hockey East against UNH at the Whittemore Center and it’s nice to have that going for us.”
With that win, the Terriers also won the season series against UNH, 2-1.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats decided to look at the silver lining of the game. They played what they felt was a consistent 60-minute game against one of the best opponents in Hockey East. BU improved to 8-5-4 in Hockey East, while UNH (11-2-2) suffered only its second conference loss all season–both times at the hands of the Terriers.
“Number one they are a great hockey program and they always have been,” Umile said about the BU team. “They are a talented team and, we’ve had their number down there and they seem to have ours up here, so they won the rubber match this year. But they do a lot of things well.”
One of the biggest highlights for the Wildcats this game was a goal by sophomore Greg Burke, who found the back of the net for the first time this season. Burke was sidelined for the majority of the first half with a lingering shoulder injury, only to be followed quickly with mono. He spent the greater portion of winter break building up his endurance and making sure he would be able to play the second half of the season.
“It felt nice to get my first goal off my back, but it doesn’t take away the negative feelings you get from losing,” Burke said. “But it was nice to get some chemistry, be around the net and get some chances.”
Umile commented earlier in the week that Burke was making progress since his injuries, and he was hoping he would be back in full swing by this weekend. Burke responded by saying that this game was the best he’s felt since the injuries.
“Absolutely. Obviously the first half didn’t go for me as planned, but that’s no excuse for not producing,” Burke said. “But now, all the weight I lost, I gained back, and I’m starting to feel good out on the ice mentally and physically. I feel like I’m 100 percent.”
With the split from the weekend, UNH falls from the top spot in Hockey East into second, and will play a home-and-home series against Providence next weekend. With February coming up quick, Umile and his team realize how important every point is for every team from this point out–including tonight’s.
“Yeah [Parker] told me that after the game, but I disagreed with him,” Umile said. “I said, ‘No, we could use them too.’”