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BU 3, UNH 1

Terriers show dogged determination

By Barbara Matson
Globe Staff / January 25, 2009
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DURHAM, N.H. - All the University of New Hampshire needed was one more goal.

After being thumped by Boston University, 5-0, Friday night, the Wildcats hosted second-ranked BU last night and went right after the Terriers, outshooting them by a 2-1 margin and pushing hard to get the lead. The No. 11 Wildcats launched shot after shot at goaltender Kieran Millan, testing the freshman from near, far, and in between, but in the end, it was BU taking a 3-1 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 6,501 at the Whittemore Center.

At 13:22 of the third period, BU's Chris Connolly tipped a shot past UNH goalie Brian Foster just 25 seconds after UNH had tied the game at 1. Chris Higgins's empty-netter finished it off at 19:45.

UNH jumped on the Terriers from the start, outshooting them, 10-8, in the first period, and pushing hard in both zones. Yet it was BU (18-5-1, 11-5-1) that came out on top, 1-0, after Kevin Shattenkirk's power-play score at 19:13.

UNH came back harder in the second period, and came up empty again. For the game, UNH outshot BU, 30-18.

"Nobody has done to us what they did as far as keeping shots down," said BU coach Jack Parker, whose team is 11-1-1 in its last 13 games.

"No. 1 is our goaltender - he was fabulous. No. 2 was our penalty killers - they did the job. Those are the two reasons why we're walking out of here with 2 points."

UNH (11-8-4, 7-6-3), which had a seven-game unbeaten streak going until BU snapped it Friday night, skated toe to toe with its Hockey East rival.

"That was just a very disappointing loss," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "I was very pleased with the effort from our team tonight. We played as well as we have all season. Obviously, BU's a very good team.

"They might be the best team in the country and we went head to head with them."

UNH got the equalizer it worked so hard for at 12:57 of the second period, when Mike Sislo deposited a pass from James van Riemsdyk. It was the first even-strength goal scored against Millan in 315 minutes 16 seconds.

Less than a half-minute later, BU was back in front. Defenseman Damon Kipp's stick snapped when he was clearing a puck, and the Terriers came barreling into the UNH zone. Forward Bobby Butler handed off his stick to Kipp, and went out to face the point shot. But BU quickly saw the opening and sent the puck down low, where Connolly slipped in a wrist shot.

The first period was all about posts and penalty killing. The Terriers spent their time killing off three consecutive penalties, while UNH nicked the goal post twice. First, Jerry Pollastrone rang a shot off the right post from the right circle during UNH's second power play, and later, with the Wildcats shorthanded, Butler fired a slapper from the top of the right circle that ticked Millan's blocker and then the left post.

BU closed the period with a pair of power plays, making good on the second with 47 seconds left when Shattenkirk took David Warsofsky's short pass low on the left side and fired a shot between Foster's pads.

The Terriers did not return to the ice with the same energy, sitting back on their blades as UNH set the pace, firing the first five shots. But BU's freshman netminder turned them all back, and six more in the period.

At the other end, Foster made only four saves, but rescued his team with a poke check on Corey Trivino, who was bearing down on him undefended.

"I thought the second period was all UNH," said Parker. "I was about to call a timeout when there was a TV timeout. I told my boys, 'We're just waiting to get beat. We're just waiting for something bad to happen.' "

Barbara Matson can be reached at matson@globe.com.

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