BOSTON, MA-Left wing Sean Collins scored with just 57 seconds to play in regulation to highlight a University of New Hampshire late two-goal rally and earn the Wildcats a 4-4 overtime tie against host Boston University in Hockey East action on Thursday night, March 3.
With the tie, New Hampshire (22-8-5) maintained its spot atop the Hockey East standings with a league record of 15-4-4, while the Terriers, who began the night in third place, moved into a tie for second with idle Boston College. The Terriers (20-11-4 overall) are 14-5-4 in the league for 32 points, while the Eagles are 13-3-6 in Hockey East play to account for their 32 points.
Until the final 2:41 of play, it appeared the sellout crowd of 6224 would go home happy on a night that the hockey rink at the new state-of-the-art Agganis Arena was named after Terrier head coach Jack Parker.
But, trailing 4-2 at the 17:19 mark of the third period, the Wildcats cut the deficit to 4-3 on a power play goal by Matt Fornataro. The assists went to Robbie Barker and Daniel Winnik.
Then, with the less than a minute to play, the Wildcats pulled their goalie Kevin Regan (37 saves) for an extra skater. The moved paid off when Collins found himself alone on the right doorstep. Preston Callander moved the puck across the crease and it appeared it went off the blade of a Terrier defenseman. But, the puck found its way over to an unattended Collins, who slipped the puck past Terrier goalie John Curry (29 saves) for the equalizer. The secondary assist went to Brett Hemingway.
The first period belonged to the Terriers who outshot the Wildcats, 17-6, and outscored them, 3-2.
B.U. captain Brian McConnell opened the scoring with a power play goal at 3:49. The play started when Bryan Ewing got the puck from the left faceoff circle out to the blue line to Dan Spang. He took a shot on net that was tipped by McConnell past Regan just 3:49 into the game.
UNH countered with goals by Mike Radja and Tyson Teplitsky. Radja's goal, with assists to Josh Ciocco and Brad Flaishans, came at 11:47, while Teplitsky, who was assisted by Fornataro and Radja, scored his goal at 15:08.
Kevin Schaeffer brought the Terriers even at 2-2 when he converted on a pass by Brad Zancanaro at the 15:53 mark. David Van der Gulik also earned an assist.
Eric Thomassian gave the Terriers a 3-2 lead at 18:37 with his first goal of the season. He took advantage of a UNH turnover and drilled his shot past Regan at 18:37 of the first period to close out the scoring during the first 20 minutes.
B.U. scored the game's only goal in the second period when Ewing converted on the Terrier power play. Chris Bourque set up the when he carried the puck up ice, skated around a UNH defenseman and took a shot on the Wildcat goal. The puck came out to Ewing who knocked it home for what seemed to be a comfortable two-goal lead.
But, the Wildcats came back for their two-goal rally late in the third period to escape with the point for a tie.
"Coming away with a point when you are down by two goals in the third period is huge," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "This was a great game. B.U. came out excited in the first period after the ceremony (announcing the name of Parker Rink) and really outplayed us.
"Then, the second period was back and forth," continued the coach. "But, we came out in the third period and didn't quit. Hopefully, this will carry over to our game at New Hampshire on Saturday."
"I thought we played a terrific game for 54 minutes," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker. "Then, we were back on our heels and played too cautiously. They spent too much time in our zone and we were puck watching.
"We gave a point away and that hurts us psychologically," Parker went on. "We let it slip away after playing so well.
"I thought that Bourque and (Peter) MacArthur played well," said Parker. "In fact, I thought most of our forwards played well. It's just that we stopped doing in the final six minutes what we had been doing well for 54 minutes."