Durham, NH.- On a night where New Hampshire was able to keep up with the Eagles, Barry Almeida scored a crucial powerplay goal three and a half minutes into overtime to give Boston College the weekend sweep over a reeling UNH team. The goal was his 16th of the season and it left the sold out Whittemore Center crowd of 6501 stunned after another good effort by their local team and freshman goaltender, Casey Desmith.
The second and third periods were practically a stalemate with the only blemish on either goalie, a UNH tying goal with 1:12 left in the second period, off the stick of Mike Borisenok, to deadlock the game at two that stood throughout the third period. It seemed as though UNH might be able to pull out the win, after a good second period performance by freshman goaltender Casey Desmith, where he stood on his head and made 19 saves in the period but it was not to be on the night and Boston College, as they usually do this time of year, found a way to win it.
The loss was the third straight for the Wildcats and it was the second consecutive Saturday in which they lost in overtime. They fall to 9-14-2 on the season and also fall back into ninth place, one point out of a playoff spot behind both Northeastern and UMass. The win was a the second consecutive for the Eagles and the weekend as a whole was a huge bounce-back weekend after last weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Black Bears up in Orono. Boston College improves to 16-10-1 and 11-7-1 in the conference. With the win they moved into a tie for first place with rival Boston University with 25 points one point clear of third place Maine.
What I Saw
-Early on, as was the case on Friday night, it seemed as though Boston College would run away with the game. The Eagles scored 3:24 into the game and they carried the play for the first six minutes of the first period but UNH came on. Over the latter 14 minutes of the period UNH carried the play and got a powerplay goal off the stick of Brett Kostolansky to tie it one, until BC again took the lead late in the first period.
-Casey Desmith had another rock solid effort in the UNH net as he sent aside 34 Boston College shots, including 19 of them in the second period alone. He was the sole reason UNH was able to tie it late in the second period and he again gave UNH the opportunity to win but they could not bury their opportunities late, as has become chronic in recent weeks losing three one goal games in two weeks.
-Parker Milner had another great game in the Boston College net as he stopped 31 out 33 shots in the game. For a guy who before Friday night sat five games in a row, Milner seemingly proved this weekend he is the guy to get them victories.
What I thought
-UNH is heading in the right direction as of late defensively and tonight was proof again how far this team has come has a group especially on that sid of the puck. The problem again tonight for them was burying the puck when they had the opportunities to do so. UNH had plenty of opportunities late in the third to get the win but it just didn’t happen and they lost their third straight one goal game.
-Boston College received timely scoring both nights of the series with UNH and it comes down to the old adage that good teams find ways to win. Barry Almeida’s puck sense on the night was phenomenal and he was able to score two out of the three Boston College goals, including the overtime winner. Almeida and Chris Kreider, who scored the late first period goal, are tied for the lead in goals on the team with 16. Both of them looked impressive on the weekend.
What they said
BC coach Jerry York said, “This is much different UNH team than when we played them in October. We feel as a club getting on the bus that we got some puck bounces and were fortunate to take two from them as they were much improved.”
BC forward Barry Almeida said, “Obviously last weekend was disappointing but we learned from it and our team responded really well this weekend. UNH is a really good team and we are fortunate to get four points from them.”
UNH coach Dick Umile said, “This was a tough weekend, we went head to head with them and could have won both games but lost both of them. We have had a tough four game stretch.”
UNH forward Mike Borisenok said, “On paper there is nothing to show for but I thought we played well and worked hard, collectively.”
What they didn’t say
I’m sure New Hampshire is happy to see these last two weekends pass, as they played four tough games against arguably two of the top four teams in the league. Last weekend they were able to take two points from Merrimack but this weekend they took nothing. Looking ahead, every game has to be the playoffs for them and losses will probably not be acceptable for them. Boston College on the other hand took advantage of a reeling and will look ahead to next week.
What else you should know
Boston College has an off weekend next weekend and their next game is the Beanpot first round where they will take on conference foe, Northeastern. The game does not count in the standings but is still an important game in terms of momentum going forward in the season.
New Hampshire will begin a crucial home and home series with Providence College next weekend out of a playoff spot. Providence sits four points ahead of them in sixth and sweep of them will put them right back into the battle for sixth, seventh and eighth place. The importance of every game is paramount going forward for them if they wish to make the playoffs.