BOSTON, MA-Senior goalie Michael Ayers turned aside all 34 Boston University shots and four different Wildcats scored goals as the University of New Hampshire hockey team blanked the host Terriers, 4-0, in front of a sellout crowd of 3806 at Walter Brown Arena on Friday night.
For the nation's third-ranked Wildcats, it improved their overall record to 5-1-0, while they are 2-0-0 in Hockey East action. In the meantime, the Terriers, who entered the game ranked eighth in the nation, slipped to 2-2-1 overall and 1-2-0 in league play.
The big story was Ayers, a Second Team All-American last year who posted his second shutout of the season and 10th of his career.
More significantly, it was his fourth straight shutout against the Terriers, as he has now played 254 minutes and 24 seconds against B.U. without giving up a goal. The last Terrier to score a goal against Ayers was Frantisek Skladany, who accounted for the fifth and final goal in a 5-2 B.U. win last January 23rd.
Since then, Ayers has blanked the Terriers 3-0 at the Whittemore Center last January 25th, 1-0 in overtime in the Hockey East title game last March 15th, and 3-0 in the NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament last March 29th.
"This trend is getting worse," Terrier head coach Jack Parker said after the game. "He beats us 1-0 then 3-0 and now 4-0. Aside from not scoring any goals, I thought we played well tonight.
"Ayers hasn't done this (shut out the Terriers four straight games) by himself," continued Parker. "I don't think UNH gets enough credit for how well they play defensively. They play very well in front of him.
"He is great in getting his body in front of the puck," Parker said of Ayers. "He doesn't leave the puck out front so there aren't a lot of tips."
"It all comes down to the team," said Ayers. "They stop a lot of the quality shots before they even get to me. There were a couple of times when I did not see the shot. I just played the angle and went to where I thought the puck would go."
His most spectacular save came midway through the second period when he denied Terrier junior Matt Radoslovich on what appeared to be a Terrier goal. Radoslovich got the puck down low and was skating in on Ayers' right. However, the Wildcat goalie went sliding across the crease and stuck up his right pad up. At the last minute, his right skate redirected Radoslovich's shot over the goal.
"That save was spectacular," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "But, we have seen him do that before. That's why he is an All-American."
At the time of the save, the Wildcats held a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by Preston Callendar. The goal, on the UNH power play, came on a deflected shot by Brian Yandle, and, at 9:19 of the first period the Wildcats had the only goal they would need.
Steve Saviano upped the Wildcats' lead to 2-0 with just 53 seconds to play in the second period. He got the puck down low from Nathan Martz and came skating along the left faceoff circle to the right of Terrier goalie Sean Fields (22 saves). Saviano's shot found an opening and UNH had an insurance goal.
Tyler Scott made it 3-0 at 6:07 of the third period when he poked home the loose puck in front of Fields. Ed Caron, with an assist to Tyson Teplitsky, closed out the scoring at the 11:46 mark.
"I am thrilled with the way we responded tonight," said Umile. "This is a big challenge coming in here and playing B.U. in front of this crowd. I am excited with how we played.
"I was also very pleased with how we played on special teams," concluded Umile, as his team was 2-for-6 on its power play and killed off all nine chances by the Terriers.
"We were anemic on our power play," said Parker. "We have only two power play goals this season. We are moving the puck well, but it's just not getting by (the goalie)."
On Friday night, and actually for the last four games, the Terriers have not gotten anything by Ayers.