Eagles Hold On To Beat UNH In Season Finale
Published: Monday, March 8, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
In the previous two meetings between Boston College and the University of New Hampshire, BC built up early leads, only to watch them slip away in the final period. On Senior Night at Conte Forum, however, captain Matt Price and the No. 5 Eagles (21-10-3, 16-8-3 Hockey East) did not allow a win to fall through their clutches a third time against the No. 10 Wildcats (16-11-7, 15-6-6 Hockey East).
The Eagles defeated the Wildcats, 3-2, one night after giving up three straight UNH goals in the third period of a game that ended in a 3-3 tie. With the tie on Friday, UNH clinched the Hockey East regular season championship, while BC took the No. 2 spot.
"All three games were close games right down to the wire," Price said. "They prepare you for what we're going to see down the stretch. We wanted to not take our foot off the gas pedal."
The Eagles' consistent attack, led by the line of Brian Gibbons, Joe Whitney, and Cam Atkinson, kept the Wildcats at bay throughout the game. UNH mustered just 18 total shots on BC goaltender John Muse, compared to the 42 total shots that BC attempted.
Paul Carey, the sophomore winger, scored the game-winning goal 2:44 into the third period on a one-timer from the center of the slot. UNH was unable to convert the equalizer in the final period due to the strong play of the BC defensemen behind its blue line.
"The winning goal was an outstanding effort by Paul," said BC head coach Jerry York. "The whole shift, he had the puck, he was skating, finishing checks. All of a sudden, he gets a shot and buried it.
"Our team was very strong start to finish, as opposed to [Friday] night when we just stopped skating for 10 to 12 minutes of the third period," York said.
UNH took its first lead of the game with 59 seconds remaining in the second period on a wrist shot by junior Mike Beck. The shot came on a breakaway by the UNH defenseman as his slashing penalty expired, catching the BC defense off guard.
With only 3.2 seconds remaining in the period, BC defenseman Brian Dumoulin made what York called the biggest play of the game when he scored his first career goal off a pass from senior Carl Sneep. Dumoulin, the league-leader in plus-minus in conference games, was plus-3 on the game to improve to plus-24 on the season in league play.
"They just out-skated us all night," said UNH head coach Dick Umile. "We never really got in the zone and generated much offense."
Whitney scored the game's first goal 8:28 into the first period. The goal, assisted by Ben Smith and Atkinson, was Whitney's 13th goal of the season. BC, which outshot UNH 15-5 in the first period and 14-4 in the second, was able to control the offensive flow for much of the game, resulting in several scoring chances in front of UNH goaltender Brian Foster. He made 39 saves on 42 shots in the game.
York said that the next step is hoisting the Lamoriello Trophy, which is presented to the winner of the Hockey East tournament each year.
"Now we're going to be tested," York said. "We can now prepare for UMass. The last one was a nail-biter."
BC has defeated UMass in all three meetings between the two teams this year, with the first two coming by a combined score of 10-2. In the most recent match-up on Feb. 26, however, it was a much closer contest. The game was decided in overtime, 2-1, on a goal by Chris Kreider.
The Eagles' senior class entered the game with 92 total victories, highlighted by two Hockey East tournament titles and two national title game appearances, culminating in the 2008 national championship.
York believes the team is not done.
"Our ultimate goal is to win the national title," he said.