By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff
DURHAM, N.H. – After falling into an early 2-1 hole, the No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team appeared to turn a major corner late in the first period and into the early parts of the second Friday night.
“[UNH] looked like men playing with boys tonight,” BU coach Jack Parker said.
BU struggled mightily early in the first period, and the Wildcats took the lead backed by a 9-1 shot advantage to start the contest.
The Terriers recovered and began turning the tide midway through the frame. Then sophomore defenseman Sean Escobedo earned –– emphasis on earned –– a five-minute major and a game misconduct with BU already serving a penalty, putting the Terriers down two men for 1:44.
Junior goaltender Kieran Millan stood on his head during the 5-on-3, turning away five shots from in tight to blank the Wildcats.
“If it wasn’t for Kieran Millan, that game would’ve been 12-to-2,” Parker said. “The only reason they went 1-for-7 on the power play was because Kieran Millan was so good.”
When freshman Garrett Noonan emerged from the box at the end of the initial minor, the BU defense returned the favor to Millan by giving him over three minutes to rest. The Terriers allowed just one shot on goal for the final 3:16 of the kill, which carried over into the second period.
Following the momentum-laden script sports like hockey often follow, the kill should have deflated the Wildcats and at least given the Terriers shotgun rights for the ride that was the rest of the game.
That, as the 5-2 final suggests, is not what happened.
UNH senior Paul Thompson netted his second goal of the night 5:05 into the second period. Freshman Nick Sorkin followed with his first collegiate tally.
After junior David Warsofsky netted his second goal of the game –– a rare power-play tally –– UNH senior Phil DeSimone netted a backbreaker with under two minutes left in the second.
The Wildcats outshot BU 19-8 in the second frame. They attempted twice as many shots –– 32 vs. 16 –– than the Terriers, and pelted Millan with 12 grade-A chances to BU’s three.
The score read 5-2 UNH at the end of the second, and the exasperated and exhausted looks on the Terriers’ faces aligned nicely with the score.
“There was a time in the second period where we were playing pretty well,” Parker said. “We got back into it a little bit the first 10 minutes of the second period, but just, in general, the team didn’t seem like they were ready to play.
“That shows up in faceoffs. That shows up in pucks bouncing off your stick. That shows up in not being able to get away from anybody in the corners. That shows up in, you know, staying with somebody in the defensive end in the corners. That shows up in a whole bunch of areas where it looks like we just came up here and thought, ‘Wonder what this is going to be?’”