DURHAM, N.H. - The 10th-ranked Boston University men's hockey team jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held off seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire, 3-2, in Saturday night's Hockey East regular-season finale at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which entered the week atop the Hockey East standings, fell into a second-place tie with BU as both teams finished with a 15-5-4 league record. UNH (22-9-5 overall) will be the No. 3 seed in the Hockey East tournament and play host to sixth-seeded Northeastern University in a best-of-three quarterfinal series March 10-12. Boston University improved to 21-11-4 and will be the No. 2 seed in the league tourney.
BU built an early 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the opening seven minutes of the game. Kenny Roche opened the scoring at 4:01 when, standing alone at the right post, he redirected Bryan Ewing's pass from the left circle into the open right side of the net. Peter MacArthur extended the visitor's advantage to 2-0 at 6:44 when he stole the puck on the right wing, skated out from the right corner and fired a shot into the net from the low slot.
The Terriers skated with a 5x3 power-play advantage for 1:34 midway through the opening stanza and almost extended the lead to three goals. Ewing's shot slid across the crease wide of the right post and Roche's shot from the right circle caromed off the far post. UNH's Josh Ciocco (Atco, N.J.) also was denied by a post later in the first period when he swept the puck across the crease off the left pipe.
BU extended its advantage to 3-0 at 8:20 of the middle stanza when David Van der Gulik scored on a rebound in front. John Laliberte, who shot the puck in front from the right point, and Brad Zancanaro, who touched the puck across to Van der Gulik, were credited with assists.
New Hampshire stormed back to trim the deficit to 3-2 before the second intermission. Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) collected Sean Collins' (Reading, Mass.) centering pass from behind the net in the low slot and scored at 11:02. Justin Aikins (Surrey, B.C.) initiated the scoring sequence with a pass to Collins from the right corner. Aikins recorded his 100th career point when his screened shot from the left point sailed into the net at 18:40 to pull the 'Cats within 3-2. Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ontario), who won the faceoff in the left circle, and Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba) were credited with assists.
The Wildcats recorded a 13-6 third-period shot advantage as they pressed to tie the score. Brett Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.) was denied with 7:30 to play when his redirection caromed off the left post with the 'Cats on the power play. One minute later, Chris Murray's (Dover, Mass.) shot from the right point was initially mishandled by BU goaltender John Curry, but he covered the loose puck behind him. Curry then denied Callander off a rebound at the top of the crease. UNH called time out with 54.4 seconds to play and pulled goalie Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) in favor of an extra skater at that time. The 'Cats did not record a shot on goal the rest of the way, however.