Perhaps no teams have symbolized Hockey East this year more than Boston University and New Hampshire. The Terriers are littered with NHL draft picks but have many poor showings this year. UNH started hot and are helmed by a legendary coach, but they have struggled recently behind puzzling performances.
Both teams disappointed in their first games of 2018 and looked to correct their course on Friday night at the Whittemore Center. Both teams showed promise, but BU edged their rivals for the win.
The Terriers jumped on the scoreboard early in the first period. Michael McNicholas was called for a slashing penalty only 2:42 into the game. UNH killed most of the power play, but Shane Bowers put the puck near the net and while attempting to clear it to the end boards, Richard Boyd tallied an own goal to put UNH in the hole. Bowers was credited with the power play goal and BU kept up the attack.
Bobo Carpenter and Jordan Greenway both beat UNH goalie Adam Clark for goals, but both were waved off. Carpenter and Greenway kicked the pucks in with their skates. BU outshot UNH 16-7 in the first period and almost led 3-0, but only led 1-0 before UNH picked up their play. Jason Salvaggio threw the puck off the end boards. The puck bounced to Jake Oettinger’s doorstep, where Eric MacAdams tracked down the puck and fired a one-timer by Oettinger to tie the game.
UNH skated hard to open the second period and were rewarded with a goal and the lead. Eric MacAdams and Jason Salvaggio combined for a textbook two on one rush that ended with Salvaggio’s sixth goal of the season and a 2-1 Wildcat advantage. The Terriers answered with their youth. Hank Crone took the puck behind the net, fed it onto Ty Amonte’s stick in front of Clark, and Amonte whipped the puck by Clark to tie the game. BU’s top line of Brady Tkachuk, Jordan Greenway, and Drew Melanson controlled the rest of the period. Greenway played the puck from behind the net and almost scored, but Clark made a highlight-caliber save with his right leg. On the ensuing faceoff, Greenway wrapped the puck around the net and beat Clark for a 3-2 Terrier lead. Each of his wingmen on the line was awarded assists.
BU controlled the pace of play for most of the third period. They had their fourth power play only 54 seconds into the frame and killed UNH rushes. Clark made 11 of his 35 saves in the final stanza and kept UNH in striking distance.
The Wildcats got their only two power plays of the night in the final frame. Dante Fabbro served one for interference and Jordan Greenway served the other for tripping. UNH got some great looks, but Jake Oettinger made 10 of his 26 saves in the third period and three of the most difficult came on the power plays.
UNH pulled the goalie for one final push, but could not force overtime. BU pulled out a 3-2 victory over the Wildcats.
Wildcat coach Dick Umile was complimentary of his team’s effort but disappointed after the game.
“I told the team before the game, we’ve gotta look in the mirror and answer the question of how hard will we work. The effort was there tonight. They just pulled out more chances than we did tonight. We’re in a tough spot right now.” Sophomore Eric MacAdams echoed his coach’s sentiment. “It’s tough when the bounces don’t go your way. But we’ll stay with it and keep playing our game. We can turn it around.”
Senior Adam Clark started his first game of the season in net. Jason Salvaggio and Eric MacAdams both recorded multi-point games, their third and second respectively.
The Wildcats drop to 9-10-2 overall and 4-6-2 in Hockey East. They conclude their weekend with a Sunday Matinee against the Boston College Eagles. Puck drops at 1 pm at Conte Forum.
Terrier Head Coach David Quinn was elated after the win.
“Real proud of our team tonight. We played hard. The focus was there, the effort was there. And this has been a hard stretch to coach. This week was the first practice with the full team since December 7th. I had so much to cover, but I decided to cover none of it. I told the guys to just skate hard, play with energy, and attack. They did exactly that tonight.”
BU climbs to 9-11-1 overall and 7-7-1 in Hockey East. The Terriers wrap up their weekend with a Saturday tilt with the 11th ranked Providence College Friars. Puck drops at 5 pm at Agganis Arena.