Headlines: A Day Late and a Point Short

3/5/2010 - Boston College 3, New Hampshire 3 (OT) - 20-10-3, 15-8-3 Hockey East
3/6/2010 - Boston College 3, New Hampshire 2 - 21-10-3, 16-8-3 Hockey East

With a chance to win the Hockey East regular season title, the Eagles fell flat on Friday night. BC took a 3-0 lead into the third period only to let New Hampshire score 3 unanswered goals to force a 3-3 tie, ending any hope that the Eagles had of winning their first Hockey East regular season title since 2004-2005.

In the game on Friday, the Eagles got in the scoring column in the first period after a great play from Jimmy Hayes, Ben Smith and Chris Kreider in transition. It was Kreider's 12 goal of the season and his 9th in his last 12 games. Matt Lombardi made it 2-0 after he blasted a puck past UNH goaltender Brian Foster on a 3-on-2 odd man break. Tommy Cross widened the lead to 3-0 at 5:50 of the second period when Smith fed Cross for a one-time wrist shot. 

New Hampshire responded early in the third period when John Henrion wristed a shot past Milner after UNH won the faceoff in the Eagles zone. It was only Henrion's third goal of the season. Then, at 8:35 of the third, Kevin McCarey knocked home a bad rebound off Milner to make it 3-2.

Then, at 14:38 of the third, Joe Whitney was sent off for a very questionable tripping call on UNH's Peter LeBlanc. LeBlanc almost seemed to be flop down on the ice without much provocation from Whitney. UNH capitalized though, as the Wildcats scored what proved to be the game-tying goal with just :33 left on the man-advantage. 

For his part, Parker Milner played well, including making two outstanding saves in overtime to preserve the tie. Milner finished with 26 saves and moved to 9-2-1 on the year.

The announcers railed on York for his decision not to pull Milner with a little over 30 seconds left in the overtime period and play for the win, saying that BC lacked a sense of "awareness of the situation." Given Maine loss on Friday night, they argued that BC didn't have anything to lose since they were locked into the 2 seed. The argument was that when you are talking about playing for a championship, you go for it. 

I completely disagree. A tie against UNH goes much further towards building BC's tournament resume than a loss, and the Eagles are fighting for the final #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The decision not to pull Milner was absolutely the right decision on the part of York.  

Even though the game ended in a tie, it certainly felt more like a loss, considering that a Hockey East regular season title was on the line and New Hampshire battled back from a 3-0 deficit. The third period has been a house of horrors for the Eagles against UNH, as the Wildcats have scored 3 unanswered in the third period twice against BC.

As an aside, what is up with the UNH fans throwing a fish on the ice? Is that really necessary? The Wildcat crowd member almost hit Parker Milner with a fish after Henrion's first goal of the game. I mean, a fish thrown on the ice for the first goal of every game? This isn't Detroit. UNH hockey certainly doesn't have the same postseason track record as the Red Wings, and even they don't even throw an octopus on the ice for every game.    

In a game that had little meaning other than jockeying for NCAA Tournament position, on the following night, the Eagles won 3-2 on senior night. Paul Carey notched the game winner at 2:44 of the third period. Muse had 16 saves in the win, improving to 12-8-2 on the year. 

Next up for the Eagles is the Hockey East quarterfinals against Massachusetts. BC won the regular season series vs. the Minutemen 3-0-0.

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