March 6, 2010

MEN'S HOCKEY FALLS TO #5 BC 3-2; WILL FACE VERMONT IN HE QUARTERFINALS

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Senior netminder Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) stopped 39 shots with double-figure stops in all three thirds, but 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team dropped Saturday night’s regular-season finale, 3-2, to No. 5 Boston College at Conte Forum.

UNH, which captured its eighth Hockey East regular season title on Friday night by virtue of a 3-3 tie, concludes the regular season 16-11-7 overall with a 15-6-6. The top-seeded Wildcats will play host to eighth-seeded Vermont in a best of three quarterfinal series beginning Friday, March 12 (7 p.m.) at Whittemore Center. BC, second seed in the tourney, improves to 21-10-3, 16-8-3 HE and will host seventh-seed Massachusetts in the quarterfinals. Other quarterfinal matchups pit No. 3 Boston Univ. against No. 6 Merrimack and No. 4 Maine against No. 5 UMass-Lowell.

BC drew first blood as Joe Whitney scored on a nifty give-and-go move setup by Ben Smith and Cam Atkinson at 8:28 of the first period. The Wildcats potted the equalizer with just under a minute remaining in the opening frame as Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) gathered the puck after a Foster save, pushed the puck into neutral ice and made a cross-ice pass to Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), who did the rest carrying the puck in and beating BC netminder John Muse on his high glove side at 19:01 of the first. The goal was Butler’s league leading 25 of the season and evened the game at 1-1 heading into the break despite a 15-5 shot advantage in the period. The helper for Foster was his second career assist.

The Wildcats took its only lead of the night in a case of déjà vu scoring at 19:01 of the second period as Mike Beck (Long Beach, Calif.) scored his first career goal when Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) took a loose puck from in front of the UNH net and found Beck at the top of the blue line as he left the penalty box after his penalty had expire and carried it in beating Muse with a low one-timer. BC, which held a 14-4 shot advantage in the frame, finally broke through as Brian Dumoulin scored his first career goal with just under four seconds remaining in the second to tie the score at 2-2.

BC regained the lead as Paul Carey scored the eventual game-winner with assists from Patch Alber and Pat Mullane at 2:44 of the third period. Both teams would have chances late including the final 1:18 seconds in which UNH pulled the goalie in favor of an extra attacker, but both Foster and Muse were up to the challenge. Foster falls to 15-11-7, despite the 39-save effort, while Muse improves to 12-8-2.

Neither team converted on the power play as UNH was 0-2 on the power play, while the Eagles were 0-4 in their extra-skater opportunities. Overall, BC held a 42-18 shot advantage.

For the league-best 14th-straight season, UNH will host the Hockey East quarterfinals March 12-14 in a best-of-three series at Whittemore Center. The top-seeded Wildcats will play host to eighth-seeded Vermont (15-12-7, 9-11-7 HE). For up-to-date information on the Hockey East quarterfinal series including information about tickets, live stats, live audio, live video and more log on to www.UNHWildcats.com.

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