DURHAM, N.H.– In any other game, scoring two goals in eleven seconds to tie up a game would be cause enough for anyone to celebrate at the end of the night.
Anyone except the Wildcats.
With less than two and a half minutes to go in the game, and down 5-3, UNH found itself in a position they hadn’t seen themselves in for a long time–the potential to lose a game at home. Not only that, but against a team that everyone, perhaps besides the team, had marked as an easy kill. With fans one foot out the door, marking this game as a loss, junior Blake Kessel stayed their feet with a goal from the blueline that put UNH within one goal, with 1:53 remaining.
Eleven seconds later, Mike Borisenok netted the tying goal after Brown’s Dennis Robertson attempted to pass the puck out from behind his own net, but right to Borisenok who, just feet in front of the net, fired the shot past Brown goaltender Michael Clemente.
The crowd went nuts after that, the game went into overtime, the teams ended in a stalemate–but the Wildcats came out shaking their heads.
“I just told the team, the only positive thing we did tonight was find a way not to lose the game,” UNH head coach Dick Umile said. “Because we sure gave them the breakaways and didn’t put it away when we had the opportunity.”
Two of Brown’s goals came off breakaways from UNH mistakes. The first was when a UNH power play had barely expired, and UNH defenseman Matt Campanale tried to clear his zone. He misplayed the puck and Bobby Farnham took it in with just UNH netminder Matt DiGirolamo in the way to give Brown a 2-1 advantage.
53 seconds later, another UNH miscue had Harry Zolnierczyk crashing the net by himself, and another puck in the back of the net, advancing it to 3-1.
“It’s usually a team–all the guys on the ice,“ captain Mike Sislo said. “When a guy is holding onto the puck and has a turnover, most cases it’s that the guys around him aren’t getting open and not moving their feet. So I think it’s a little bit of everything. You can’t point your finger at one guy and it was usually everyone on the ice that contributed to [Brown’s] opportunities.”
One of the more frustrating aspects of the game for the Wildcats was that they couldn’t ever get an edge on the Bears. They would be down, come back to score, only to have Brown score again minutes later. UNH did manage to outshoot the Bears 41-27–as they have done so many times to opponents this season– while not earning a win. This has seemed like a trend in recent games, as they came out of the weekend against Boston University with a 92-50 shot advantage, but took only two of the four points from them.
“Yeah, we’re getting shots blocked, we’re missing the net, add those to the shot totals, we should have a lot more on net,” Umile said.
But, with the OT tie, the Wildcats take one point and move on to Saturday’s Hockey East matchup against Merrimack where they hope their efforts will improve. Faceoff is at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center.
Going into tonight’s game, UNH’s top line of Phil DeSimone, Paul Thompson and Mike Sislo has put up seven goals and 17 assists in the last four games. Thompson’s effort against Boston University this past weekend (3 goals, 2 assists) helped earn him Hockey East Athletic Republic co-Player of the Week first the first time in his collegiate career. Tuesday night against Brown, Thompson picked up another assist, DeSimone another three assists, and Sislo had two goals and two assists to his name.
UNH’s power play has scored a goal in nine of 11 games this season with Thompson leading the way with three of the extra-man goals. That streak continued against Brown as Sislo netted a power play goal early in the third period.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
The last time these two teams met before Tuesday night was back on Nov. 26, 2007. The only current member of the Wildcats that recorded a point was DeSimone who had two assists in that game. DeSimone has added to his points against the Bears by adding three assists on Tuesday.
Before Tuesday night, UNH owned the series against Brown. In fact, the Wildcats had won seven straight contests against them with the last loss coming on Dec. 1, 1987. That streak ended tonight after picking up a tie.
KOSTO WITH TWO
Sophomore Brett Kostolansky had never netted a collegiate goal before last weekend. However, in the past two games he has two goals, including one against Brown.