Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Eagles Tie UNH 3-3 in Regular- Season Finale

Heading into its final regular-season game of the year, Boston College men’s hockey was on a high. Boasting the second-longest winning streak in college hockey behind No. 1 Cornell, the Eagles entered Saturday’s game following a win on Senior Night and looking to close out the season on a high note. 

Prior to Saturday, the Eagles had allowed only just four goals in as many games. But after an explosive second period from New Hampshire, paired with the absence of captain David Cotton due to illness, the Eagles ended their final regular-season game in a 3-3 tie. 

The No. 4 Eagles (24-8-2, 17-6-1 Hockey East) secured an early lead against UNH (15-15-4, 9-12-3) Friday night, and Saturday was no different. Shooting through traffic, Mike Hardman poked a shot past UNH goaltender Mike Robinson, nabbing the first goal of the game for the Eagles just a few minutes in. Liam Blackburn tried to respond, but Spencer Knight easily read his play and denied him the opportunity.

Despite the early goal, the Eagles were immediately on the defensive after Logan Hutsko was called for roughing. Despite facing a flurry of shots from UNH, the Eagles killed off the penalty. 

BC wasted no time, however, after Hutsko came out of the box. Julius Mattila saw Hutsko in front of Robinson and sent the puck his way. Hutsko slipped the puck past the goaltender while he was falling to the ground, extending BC’s lead in a fashion that mirrored Friday’s matchup.

Halfway through the period, Michael Karow and Eric MacAdams engaged in some extracurricular activity behind Knight, resulting in matching penalties. But after 16 seconds, Anthony Wyse joined MacAdams in the box after a hit from behind on Matt Boldy, giving BC a 4-on-3 opportunity. But UNH killed it off, and the Eagles stayed ahead by just two.

In the closing minutes of the period, the Wildcats increased their offensive intensity, but they couldn’t solve the Eagles’ defense. With 41 seconds left in the period, Graham McPhee was called for elbowing, giving UNH an advantage to open the second frame. 

The Wildcats wasted no time in the opening seconds. With a burst of speed by Angus Crookshank, it took just eight seconds to get behind Knight, cutting BC’s lead in half. UNH built on the momentum, putting more pressure on Knight and the Eagles’ defense throughout the period. 

Ben Finkelstein was called for hooking in BC’s zone, adding an extra challenge for the Eagles as they fought to keep their lead. They killed off the penalty, denying every shot by the Wildcats.

That didn’t faze UNH, however, as it continued to pepper Knight with shots. With a backhanded flick off the rebound, Justin Fregona snuck in a shot, securing both his first goal of his senior year and a 2-2- tie. The Eagles had taken the first period, but it was clear that UNH was controlling the second. Halfway through, the Wildcats were leading 18 shots to BC’s three in their bid to split the weekend series. 

UNH opened the final frame trying to emulate the same energy from the second. This time, however, Knight was ready to deny every attempt. Liam Blackburn, however, was itching for a chance. The senior picked up a rebound and faked out Knight, securing the Wildcats’ third unanswered goal, as well as their first lead of the night. 

The Eagles attempted to respond, but they couldn’t crack the Wildcats’ defense. The action was looking eerily similar to Friday night, where the Eagles were kept to scoring in just the first period. But with five minutes left, BC’s drought was over. After setting up shop in front of Robinson, their intensity proved too much for the netminder. Through traffic, Aapeli Räsänen took his chance, and it paid off—the score was tied once again at three apiece. 

The intensity grew in the final minute, with the Wildcats desperate to escape with a win, but Knight denied every opportunity, and the game went into overtime. 

Two minutes into overtime, UNH was called for having too many men on the ice. The Eagles couldn’t connect, however, and the penalty expired without a goal. They continued to crowd UNH in its zone, trying to secure a goal in sudden death. 

But with just 21 seconds left, MacAdams broke away from his defenders to close in on Knight. He poked the puck home to give UNH a 4-3 lead that, at the time, looked final. The Eagles called for a review, however, claiming there was interference with Knight before the puck found twine. After review, the goal was called off, and the game ended in a tie. 

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor

March 7, 2020