Saturday, March 3, 2012

Game of Inches, Vinny's Revenge

Tonight, was a tough night to be a Terrier Hockey fan, as former BU standout, Vinny Saponari scored the game winning goal in overtime to propel Northeastern past BU 5-4and Boston College won the Hockey East Regular Season Crown.
Garrett Noonan hits the post with less than two minutes to
play in regulation. If the puck had gone in, it would have
likely won the game for the Terriers.
(photo by Matt Dresens)

Northeastern got on the board first, just 6:15 into the game. Brandon Pimm tipped Anthony Bitetto's shot from the point past Grant Rollhieser and into the back of the net, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead.

BU had been creating some good chances prior and after the NU goal, but Husky goalie Clay Witt was there to make a couple big saves. Also, Wade Megan drilled the post, cleanly beating Witt.

BU finally got one past Witt with less than two minutes to play in the first, during a four on four situation. Sean Escobedo's wrist shot from the top of the circle, found it's way past Witt's short side, tying the game at 1-1. The assists went to Matt Nieto and Chris Connolly.

35 seconds into the second frame, BU took a 2-1 lead. Adam Clendening and Chris Connolly teamed up for a highlight reel tic-tat-toe goal. Clendening saw Connolly streaking across the mid slot. From the point, Clendening hit Connolly's blade with a shot/pass that Connolly deflected past Witt, who had no chance. 

NU retied the game less than two minutes later. After a huge scrum in front of the BU net, Alex Tuckerman picked up a loose rebound and fired it past Rollhieser. The lone assist went to Pimm. 

Little over a minute later, Northeastern took a 3-2 lead on Drew Ellement's third goal of the season. Rollhieser stopped about 80% of Ellement's shot from a good distance out, but the puck snuck through his pads and crept it's way over the goal line and into the net. Nothing against Rollie -who likely played his last game as a Terrier tonight- but this is a stop that he has to make. 

Less than three minutes later, Garrett Noonan scored his first of two goals on the night. After a poorly set up power play was winding down, Noonan converted on a passing play that completely undressed Clay Witt. Alexx Privitera started the play, and Connolly found Noonan all alone on the far post. After getting the puck, Noonan snuck it in the goal, avoiding a diving Witt who was trying to make a recovery save. It was Noonan's 13 goal of the season.

At the 18:06 mark of the season, Garrett Vermeersch absolutely sniped top shelf on Rollhieser. The shot came from the top of the slot and clanked off the cross bar, before puffing the netting inside the goal. Drew Daniels and Adam Reid picked up the assists on this power play goal. 

3:14 into the third period, Garrett Noonan again, retied the game. Chris Connolly (who’s pass was actually intended to go to Alex Chiasson) got the puck to Noonan in the high slot. From there, Garrett beat Witt low glove side for his second of the night. 

The rest of the period was chalk full of penalties, and BU had a five on three with just 1:44 to go in the game. Noonan had a great chance, not only to get his hat trick, but to win the game for the Terriers. Following a great set up on the five on three, he was all alone on the far post, like on his first goal. This time though, he miss hit the puck hitting the post and not the white nylon netting. Look at the picture at the top of the article for a visual.

With Noonan not able to score, the game went to overtime. In the extra session, NU really controlled the play, and former Terrier Vinny Saponari was able to put home a rebound, giving the Huskies a "feel good" way to end their season. They had already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention following last night's lost to BU.

Speaking about playoffs, BU will take on New Hampshire next weekend in the Hockey East Quarterfinals at Agganis Arena. If BU had won tonight, they would have hosted Providence College, the seven seed, and BU would have been the two seed. Instead, BU is the three seed, playing sixth seeded UNH. 

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