New Hampshire pushed No. 2 Boston College to overtime twice over the weekend, and the Eagles were able to escape with one win.
The World Junior medalists returned for the Eagles first game in just under a month Friday night at Conte Forum. Alex Newhook made his season debut, while the three Americans came back after missing only the UConn series. Defensemen Jack St. Ivany and Tim Lovell both made their BC debuts on the third pairing as well. St. Ivany transferred from Yale over winter break and Lovell was nursing a wrist injury during the first half of the season.
Despite being back in the States, Spencer Knight earned the evening off after his record-breaking performance in Edmonton. Henry Wilder got his third start of the season; the freshman went 1-1 against UConn in December.
Kohei Sato started the scoring for New Hampshire, but BC quickly evened the score with a nice tic-tac-toe power play goal from Boldy to Newhook to Colby Ambrosio. The teams traded blows throughout the game, and it was UNH who eventually forced overtime with a short-handed goal in the third.
In overtime, BC put some early chances on Mike Robinson before taking a too many men penalty late in the extra frame. The Wildcats capitalized off of the mental mistake, with Kalle Ericsson jamming home the game-winner with a second effort.
On Sunday, the teams met again, this time with Knight in net. BC, however, was short-handed in other respects. Logan Hutsko missed the game, as he did Friday, with a lower-body injury, and Newhook took a seat after appearing to re-aggravate a shoulder injury sustained at the World Juniors.
Due to the injuries, BC shuffled the lines, moving fourth-liner Casey Carreau up to the third line alongside Trevor Kuntar and Marc McLaughlin. The junior from Acushnet made an immediate impact in the increased role, scoring his second collegiate goal in the first period.
The story of the game really was the penalties, as BC was sent to the box eight times. The Eagles managed to kill off both a major penalty and a five-on-three opportunity, but UNH was able to convert on two of the eight man advantages, including one by Patrick Grasso in the final 10 to tie the game. Following the Grasso goal, BC tilted the ice towards Robinson, hammering the UNH net-minder with plenty of chances, but Robinson was tall to the task.
In the final seconds of regulation, BC attempted to spring Nikita Nesterenko for one last chance. Nesterenko attempted to split two UNH defenders but was knocked off the puck. His stick came down on the ice to retrieve the puck as Ryan Verrier blew a tire. Nesterenko was whistled for tripping. The BC bench was incensed, as replay clearly showed his stick never touched Verrier.
BC would have to start overtime with essentially two full minutes of a four-on-three for UNH. In reality, they only needed 24 short-handed seconds. On the Wildcats first attack, a pass was sent back to the defenseman. McLaughlin intercepted and tipped a self-pass off the boards to get behind the defense. In alone, the captain beat Robinson and sent BC home happy and relieved.
The Eagles improved to 6-2-0, and, with the win, Knight extended his personal unbeaten streak to 14 games, with his last loss in net coming 11 months ago against UMass Lowell.
BC is currently scheduled to take on UMass next weekend. The Eagles swept the Minutemen in November to begin their season.
Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com