The final game of Frozen Fenway 2017 was as entertaining as anyone could have hoped for. For 105 minutes the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern dueled under the lights of Fenway Park. They hit, shot, and skated to a dead heat that not even sudden death overtime could break. The teams played well, but no one could net a goal after the second period to break the tie.
The first period saw Northeastern jump out ahead with a power play goal by Adam Gaudette. He said after the game that Huskies coach Jim Madigan has been stressing to have players at the back door on the power play, and that’s what Gaudette did. He got to where a rebound could be, and put one home. Not long after that, New Hampshire evened up the game. Halfway through the period, Ara Nazarian got a backhander by Ryan Ruck mere seconds after a Wildcat penalty expired. From that point on, New Hampshire controlled the puck and shot total, outshooting the Huskies 16-10 for the period. They didn’t hit twine again for the rest of the period, though.
The teams started the second period sluggishly, only getting four shots between them in the first 6 minutes of the period. New Hampshire picked up the pace and took the lead near the halfway mark. Shane Eiserman lit the light on a smooth shot, and UNH led 2-1. It looked as though that lead would hold with Danny Tirone playing well in net for the Wildcats. Unfortunately, he got screened in the last minute of the period, and Jeremy Davies ripped a shot from the top of the left circle to even the game. Coach Madigan praised his team’s effort to tie the game late.
The third period was tense and exciting, but it looked more like a survival game than a Hockey East game. UNH had only 9 shots in the period, while Northeastern had only 7. Overtime was even worse. Only one shot was fired, and it came from New Hampshire. The players were exhausted after a ton of hockey already played and being hit so many times, but the ice conditions did not help. The sheet at Fenway was excellent for an outside rink, but far from perfect. The moorings for both goals came out many times on seemingly innocuous hits, the ice got progressively messier, and pucks bounced in ways they wouldn’t indoors. The players and coaches praised the grounds crew for their work on the ice, and they should be commended for a difficult few weeks of maintaining an outdoor rink. But there wasn’t much they could do to prevent the messy conditions. Each team got a point with the tie, and both teams enjoyed the experience of playing at Fenway Park.
Northeastern returns to nearby Matthews Arena for their home end of a weekend matchup with Merrimack College on Friday the 20th. Puck drops at 7. New Hampshire travels to South Bend, Indiana, to play Notre Dame next weekend. The first game starts at 7:35 on Friday night.