Final, BC 4, UNH 4: The Eagles cannot be pleased with the way this one ended. After racing out to a 3-0 first-period lead and heading into the second intermission with a 4-1 lead, they surrendered three third-period goals to allow the Wildcats to power this one into overtime.
Luckily, goaltender John Muse's stunning extra period helped the Eagles gain a point in the standings. He made three unbelievable saves in the final 20 seconds of overtime to salvage the already disappointing end to this one.
The Eagles got all of their goals on the power play, while the Wildcats earned one power-play lamp-lighter and three at full strength in a valiant effort. New Hampshire remains the only unbeaten team in Hockey East.
Muse finished the night with 27 saves, while UNH goaltender Brian Foster rebounded astoundingly from a very rough first frame to finish with 33 saves on the night.
Overtime, 0:08.8, 4-4: LeBlanc gets a perfect scoring chance with just under a minute remaining in the extra frame but Muse catches a piece of it. Then, with 20 seconds left, Muse makes three highlight-reel saves — one after another — to keep BC in this thing.
Tom Caron just called him "the Martin Brodeur of Boston College."
Overtime, 1:09, 4-4: Timeout to regroup. Score's still knotted. Defenses are looking solid on both ends.
Overtime, 5:00, 4-4: This is the first overtime contest for the Eagles this season, and they better pray it goes well because UNH has every ounce of momentum right now.
Third period, 0:00, 4-4: UNH really showed up for the third period, outscoring the Eagles 3-0 to make a game of what was once a blowout. First, Mike Sislo scored on the power play, then the Wildcats' PK finally came through, and then the offense got the spark it needed to score two more times and send this thing into overtime.
What a defensive collapse by the Eagles in the third period. Jerry York is going to have fun with his blue-liners on the ride home from this one.
Third period, 0:51.5, 4-4: Wow. This one turned quickly. BC's defense completely collapses in the zone, and Bobby Butler finds himself wide open and ties the game at four.
Third period, 2:05, BC 4-3: UNH gets a golden opportunity when two BC players go down after colliding inside the blue line, but the shot goes wide.
Third period, 4:30, BC 4-3: BC finally seems to be fighting back for some offensive control as we zone in on the finish line here. The defense is holding strong, and UNH is starting to look a little frenetic offensively.
Third period, 6:48, BC 4-3: Blake Kessel intercepts a pass in the lane and fires one at the net, but once again, Muse makes a big stop.
Third period, 9:02, BC 4-3: Blake Kessel fires one at John Muse, but Muse sticks out his leg and saves the game.
UNH's offense is really laying it on right now. The Wildcats are maintaining control in the zone for the first time all night, and BC is fighting tooth and nail to limit their scoring chances.
Third period, 10:05, BC 4-3: The Wildcats definitely have all the momentum right now. Eight minutes ago, they were down by three, and it seems that one successful penalty kill was all they needed to right the ship. The crowd is back into it, the offense looks somewhat in sync for the first time tonight, and BC's defense looks shaky after giving up two quick goals. Let's see who seizes the momentum over the final 10 minutes of action.
Third period, 11:40, BC 4-3: Now this is getting interesting. It's a one-goal game after Paul Thompson powers through BC's blue-liners in front of the goal and pokes one in past John Muse.
Third period, 12:38, BC 4-2: Lots of congestion in front of the goal, and BC can't score despite four shots on goal. UNH gets the monkey off its back and finally kills off a penalty. The Wildcats are now 1-for-5.
Third period, 14:41, BC 4-2: Peter LeBlanc runs a pick at center ice and is whistled for interference. Uh-oh.
Third period, 16:05, BC 4-2: UNH gives BC a taste of its own medicine. The Wildcats get their second power-play opportunity when Patrick Wey is sent to the box. Shortly into the power play, Mike Sislo flips one up into the net past John Muse.
Sislo now has a goal and an assist, and UNH is back into this, momentum-wise. The crowd is finally back in it, too. Only two more goals to go.
Third period, 17:01, BC 4-1: If the Wildcats hadn't given BC four power-play chances, what would this game look like right now? UNH is outscoring BC 1-0 full strength, so you never know. … We could be looking at a 1-0 BC deficit if not for all of the penalties.
Third period, 19:43, 4-1 BC: And we're under way in the final period here. The Wildcats need to establish some kind of offensive prowess if they're going to put up any kind of a fight here.
Second intermission, BC 4-1: Just when the Wildcats looked to be back in this thing, they went and committed a penalty — and we all know what that means.
The BC power play improved to 4-for-4 with about seven minutes left in the second period. Ben Smith tapped in a deflection off Brian Foster for his team-best fourth goal of the season, completely demoralizing the Wildcats in the process. UNH's Peter LeBlanc narrowed the deficit to 3-1 early on in the period, but his goal was nullified when his PK failed yet again — and he's the one who was in the box for the hooking penalty.
After starting off this period strong and finally starting to control the puck in the zone, the Wildcats looked much more similar to the first-period version of themselves. They couldn't sustain any kind of offensive momentum.
UNH has one more period to score a whole lot of goals, but given the way the BC defense has performed at the intimidating Whittemore Center, it doesn't look likely. Especially if the Wildcats keep giving them chances on the man advantage.
Second period, 6:29, BC 4-1: Make that 4-for-4 for the BC power play. The Eagles get their third shot on the man advantage after Matt Price gets hooked by Peter LeBlanc. A minute in, BC gets into the zone, and when the puck crosses in front of the goal, Ben Smith taps one in right off Foster. That's his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
The assist goes to Brian Gibbons.
Just when UNH looked to be getting back into this one, the PK works right back out of it. Shame.
Second period, 9:29, BC 3-1: Bobby Butler goes high in a one-on-one with Muse.
UNH is doing a much better job this period getting the puck in its offensive zone and pressuring Muse and the BC defense.
Second period, 12:28, BC 3-1: BC's Cam Atkinson notches a short-handed shot — the first of the power play — but it's saved by Foster. The Eagles successfully kill off the penalty, then Sislo fires a full-strength shot, saved by Muse.
Nice job by BC's PK shutting down the passing lanes.
The Wildcats are outshooting the Eagles 4-3 in the second period, certainly a good sign as they try to climb out of this hole.
Second period, 14:40, BC 3-1: Just after getting its first goal of the night, UNH earns its first power-play opportunity of the night, when BC's Brian Gibbons is sent to the penalty box for boarding. Let's see if the Wildcats can capitalize on the man-advantage.
Second period, 15:37, BC 3-1: UNH gets this one started on the right foot with an early goal on a two-on-one. Peter LeBlanc notches his second goal of the season, assisted by Mike Sislo.
Second period, 16:02, BC 3-0: BC's Tommy Atkinson — younger brother of Cam — takes an absolutely beastly hit from UNH's Stevie Moses, then is whistled for offsides.
Second period, 18:42, BC 3-0: We're under way here in the second period. A couple of notes to be aware of:
–This is the first time all season BC has had a lead after the first period.
–In one period, the Eagles went from scoring on 9 percent of power plays to 19 percent.
First intermission, BC 3-0: Never have the Wildcats been happier to see a period end.
After getting a big break early on when a pretty conclusive BC goal was ruled a no-goal by the referees, the Wildcats aren't getting any breaks.
Question: Which looks worse, the Bruins' penalty kill or the Wildcats'? I'm going to go Wildcats on this one, purely because the Bruins have done everything wrong except let up three goals on the PK. Three goals.
The Eagles' power play has looked dominant as a result, scoring on all three of its chances. Hats off to defenseman Carl Sneep, who is one goal away from a hat trick after just 20 minutes.
The Wildcats are not executing in any way and find themselves in a seemingly insurmountable hole after a single period. Despite the home-ice advantage — which usually serves them very, very well — they have zero momentum heading into the second period. Luckily, there's still time to rebound.
First period, 0:00, BC 3-0: Defenseman Brian Dumoulin gets absolutely nailed against the glass — and he's 6-foot-3 and 200-plus pounds. He heads to the bench to collect himself.
First period, 3:06, BC 3-0: Foster makes his best save of the night on a one-on-one against towering forward Jimmy Hayes. Then, Cam Atkinson sends one just wide of the post while the crowd roars, begging for an interference call on Atkinson.
First period, 3:50, BC 3-0: The Wildcats ping one off the post that would've been a surefire goal if it had been one inch to the left.
First period, 5:00, BC 3-0: This is turning into a slaughter. BC came into the night 2-for-23 on the power play but is 3-for-3 in the game. Carl Sneep tallies his second goal of the evening off a deflection — this time off a UNH player. The redirect eludes Foster and renders the home crowd absolutely silent.
That's 17 shots against Foster this period. Ouch.
First period, 5:33, BC 2-0: Another penalty for the Wildcats, who are looking sloppier and sloppier. Bobby Butler is whistled this time for roughing Muse, who is very slow to get up for the second time, which is a bit disconcerting, given the goalie's offseason hip surgery.
Muse makes a trip to the BC bench for a new stick after the trainers take a good minute and a half to tend to his pads.
First period, 7:03, BC 2-0: UNH gets its first legitimate scoring chance of the evening but still can't capitalize, missing on a couple of shots. It's really the first time this game the Wildcats are controlling the puck in their offensive zone.
First period, 9:37, BC 2-0: Another exciting sequence, another power-play goal for BC.
John Muse gets nailed in front of the goal, but no harm despite the foul: UNH commits the turnover, and then the whistle is blown.
Mike Sislo heads to the penalty box for goaltender interference. That's the second early power play for the Eagles, and they respond quickly with a goal.
Carl Sneep scores off a deflection. That's the third goal by a defenseman for the Eagles this season and the second in about three minutes.
BC is outshooting UNH 13-5 and is really victimizing the Wildcats' penalty kill.
First period, 11:43, BC 1-0: Tommy Cross sends one through teammate Jimmy Hayes' legs and past Foster to give BC the early lead. Cam Atkinson gets the assist. It's Cross' first goal of the season and the second goal for a BC defenseman this season.
Maybe the Bruins should start watching what BC does on the power play. … Kidding. Kind of.
First period, 13:10, 0-0: Blake Kessel is whistled for interference. The Eagles have already done a good job creating traffic in front of Foster, so we'll see if they can capitalize with a man advantage.
First period, 15:04, 0-0: BC appears to be in control in the early going here, outshooting the Wildcats 6-2. It's only been five minutes, but both goaltenders have impressed early.
First period, 17:50, 0-0: UNH's Mike Borisenok sends a hard shot off the post, barely missing a goal.
First period, 19:00, 0-0: An exciting first couple of minutes. Foster starts things out with a couple of nice saves, but BC's Brian Gibbons appears to tip one past him. The original call is no goal, and after the review, the call stands — despite some pretty convincing video evidence.
7:06 p.m.: John Muse is back in net for the Eagles after sitting out last weekend for the first time since arriving at BC as a freshman (and leading them to that whole national championship thing). He hopes to even his 1-2 record.
Muse faces Brian Foster and his 2-3-1 record. Last weekend, he made a career-high 47 saves against the Badgers.
4:13 p.m.: New Hampshire and Boston College each face their biggest challenges yet when they face off in Friday night's Hockey East matchup at the Whittemore Center. The last time these two teams met was in the Hockey East quarterfinals last year, a best-of-three series the Eagles swept. The Wildcats are surely out for revenge and are ready to set the tone in this rivarly early on this season.
New Hampshire enters the matchup ranked 11th in the RPI. Boston College is No. 17. The Eagles boast a 2-2 record with wins over Notre Dame and Merrimack and losses to Vermont and Merrimack. The Wildcats are 2-4-1 after dropping a two-game series at Wisconsin last weekend.
Check back throughout the evening for news and updates.
Photo: Alex Trautwig, Boston College Heights