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BC vs. UNH hockey: UNH earns weekend split with thrilling 2-1 victory Saturday

The biggest series of the Hockey East season takes place this weekend, as third-ranked BC and fourth-ranked UNH face off in a home-and-home battle with the conference's top spot on the line.

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UNH earns split with 2-1 win over BC

Anger, frustration, fear, elation. That's how the past 24 hours went for John Henrion and the New Hampshire Wildcats.

Henrion netted a late power play goal to give UNH a 2-1 win over Boston College Saturday night at the Whittemore Center in Durham, NH. The win earned the Wildcats a split in the weekend series with the Eagles after UNH fell by a 5-2 score on Friday night at BC's Conte Forum.

The Wildcats, however, would rather not think about the loss.

"We were angry," said Henrion after the game. "This was a must-win for us tonight, there was a sour taste [after Friday night]".

Henrion's goal came on a juicy rebound off a Justin Agosta one-timer courtesy of Kevin Goumas just a handful of seconds into Kevin Hayes' tripping penalty. Goumas, who was the victim of a nasty high elbow from Boston College freshman defenseman Michael Matheson shortly after the game's halfway point, never left the bench despite taking minutes to get off the ice and favoring his neck and shoulder for some time after the hit.

Matheson's elbow earned him a game misconduct, his second ejection in the team's last three games, which came after he'd already been penalized for a delay of game early in the first and hitting from behind just minutes before hitting Goumas.

The Wildcats, however, were unable to capitalize on the five-minute major penalty, despite having a full two minutes of 5-on-3 action after Kevin Hayes was whistled for a cross-checking penalty. UNH did notch 21 shots on goal in the second stanza, and wound up outshooting the Eagles 40-17.

"We had a bunch of chances on the 5-on-3, a ton of shots on net," said Henrion, "but we just couldn't bury it."

On the shift following the kill, Matt Willows fed Dan Correale a puck on the right point, and Correale skated around Patrick Wey and Colin Sullivan before finding an open Willows on the doorstep. Correale's pass hit Willows on the tape, and the sophomore delayed for what must have felt like forever before beating Parker Milner high on the glove side for his first career goal.

"It feels great to get the weight off my shoulders after two years," Willows said.

But as hard as Correale worked to give UNH its lead, he gave it away just as easily, throwing a pass to no one in front of the UNH net almost eight minutes into the third period, which Brooks Dryoff picked up and lifted over Casey DeSmith's shoulder.

BC had a chance to grab the lead not much later when Henrion was penalized for elbowing Johnny Gaudreau, but UNH successfully killed the penalty, and it seemed as if the teams would take a point apiece before Hayes tripped up Austin Block on a partial breakaway coming off the right wing.

The game's final exclamation point came with inside two minutes to play in the final stanza, when BC was awarded a penalty shot when it was ruled that a UNH player had covered the puck in the crease. But the referees re-convened and agreed that the puck hadn't been covered, and play resumed.

"Scared," was Henrion's response when asked what he felt when the penalty shot was first whistled. "I had the puck, and I made sure I told the linesman that it wasn't covered by anyone's hand."

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UNH leads BC 1-0 after second period

Dan Correale did all the work, and Matt Willows reaped the benefit, scoring his first career goal after his linemate beat two Boston College defenders off the blueline and Willows beat Parker Milner high and long late in the second period to give UNH a 1-0 lead that they carried into the second intermission.

It could easily have been a three- or four-goal lead for the Wildcats, who had chances galore early: Dalton Speelman ripped one off the crossbar, and Trevor vanRiemsdyk and John Henrion ran into each other chasing a loose puck in front of the net seconds earlier; Austin Block hit the left post from the bottom of the circle and Willows had a partial breakaway that could have given UNH the lead earlier.

But it was the misanthropic elbow of Michael Matheson that gave UNH its best chance to extend the lead. Just after exiting the box after a hitting from behind penalty expired, Matheson hit Kevin Goumas with an elbow at center ice, dropping the UNH star forward to his knees for an extended period of time and earning the BC defender the gate, putting the Wildcats on a 5-minute major power play.

Not long after, Kevin Hayes went to the box for cross-checking Goumas, who left the ice but never left the bench, giving UNH two minutes of 5-on-3 time, but the Wildcats weren't able to find the back of the net.

UNH peppered Milner with 21 shots on the period, to BC's just three. In all, the Wildcats attempted 39 shots in the period to the Eagles' six.

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BC, UNH Scoreless After First Period

Parker Milner stopped nine UNH shots and Casey DeSmith kept all ten Boston College shots they saw out of the net in the first period of action at the Whittemore Center in Durham, and the Wildcats and Eagles finished the first frame scoreless.

The lack of scoring didn't represent a boring period, however - a majority of the period was played without a whistle, as play was stopped only four times in 20 minutes, twice in the last 55 seconds of the period. Michael Matheson took the period's only penalty, after trailing a 3-on-1 UNH rush by skating right through the Boston College net.

The Wildcats looked like a much more determined team, making deliberate passes and exerting themselves at the offensive blue line to keep pucks in the zone on multiple occasions, and Casey DeSmith has been sharp when his team has needed him to be.

The period's best shift definitely belonged to Boston College's top line, which managed to keep the puck in the UNH zone for almost two minutes. Johnny Gaudreau had a partial breakaway early in the period, and tried to beat DeSmith with the same forehand-backhand move he scored on last night, but DeSmith had it scouted and turned Gaudreau away.

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BC vs. UNH hockey: Eagles win key HE battle, 5-2

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- After allowing an early goal in the first period, the No. 3 Boston College Eagles pulled away and cruised to a 5-2 victory over the fourth-ranked New Hampshire Wildcats on Friday night at Kelley Rink to jump ahead in a crucial Hockey East home-and-home weekend series.

The Wildcats were fast out of the gates in the final period as junior Kevin Goumas cut the deficit to 5-2 just 37 seconds in, taking the pass out front from rookie Brett Pesce for his ninth strike of the season.

Despite holding a shots on goal advantage in all three periods, totaling 33-25 for the game, the Wildcats were only able to beat BC senior Parker Milner twice as he posted 31 saves en route to his 13th victory of the season.

UNH now stands at 13-4-2 and 8-3-1 in Hockey East, including just a 2-3-1 mark in its last six games. Sophomore Casey DeSmith stopped 12 of the 17 shots he faced in the first 40 minutes, while Reading, Mass. junior Jeff Wyer made just his fifth-ever appearance and stopped all but one of the nine shots in the final period.

With the victory, BC is now 3-1-2 in its last six games and stands four points ahead in the Hockey East standings as the series shifts to Whittemore Center on Saturday evening. In his return from the World Junior Championship, sophomore Johnny Gaudreau posted a goal and two assists to pace the offense.


Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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BC vs. UNH hockey update: Johnny Gaudreau is back!

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- For any of those that though the No. 3 Boston College Eagles were in trouble after an 8-1 loss to Minnesota and a tie with Yale last Friday, well, they can worry no more. Thanks to two more points from sophomore Johnny Gaudreau in the second period, the Maroon and Gold raced to a 5-1 lead after two periods.

After an 11-9 disadvantage in shots on goal in the first, the Eagles were down again after the second, by a slimmer 9-8 count.

With a World Junior Championship goal medal in hand, Gaudreau put the Eagles ahead by a two-goal mark just a tick over five minutes into the stanza. After taking the outlet feed from classmate Destry Straight, he went one-on-one into the offensive zone, beating Wildcat sophomore goaltender Casey DeSmith with the high backhander for his 12th of the season.

Gaudreau got back in on the act with his second assist of the contest with 4:17 left, feeding senior captain Pat Mullane to pound one just over the line on DeSmith's right post.

BC was not done, however, as junior Bill Arnold took a feed from Kevin Hayes in front, beating DeSmith on the one-time with 15 seconds remaining.

Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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BC vs. UNH hockey update: Eagles lead 2-1 after 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- After falling behind in the first nine minutes of the first period, the No. 3 Boston College Eagles scored twice in the second half of the stanza to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission of a crucial Hockey East showdown between the league's top squads.

The Wildcats were first to jump on the scoreboard as they took advantage of a lazy defensive play behind the net of BC senior netminder Parker Milner at 8:54. Sophomore Matt Willows picked up the puck and fed classmate Jay Camper in front of the net for his second goal and fifth point of the season, beating Milner high over the glove.

An equally impressive play knotted the score for the home team as junior Bill Arnold wrapped the puck around the net and onto the stick of Kevin Hayes for the top-shelf snipe from the middle of the slot at the 13:29 mark of the first stanza.

Sophomore Johnny Gaudreau made his presence felt in the line-up again at 17:42 as he dished a beautiful cross-ice pass to senior captain Pat Mullane to give BC a lead for the first time.

Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.

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BC, UNH battle for Hockey East supremacy

The biggest series of the Hockey East season takes place this weekend, as third-ranked BC and fourth-ranked UNH face off in a home-and-home battle with the conference's top spot on the line.

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