Sunday, March 11, 2012

Millan Stops 68, Chiasson Scores in Double OT

In the longest and most exciting game in the building's history, 3, 020 fans at Agganis Arena witnessed BU come back from 4-1 down in the second, only to win 5-4 in double overtime. The marathon game was the second double overtime game of the weekend, with UNH winning Friday night 3-2 (2ot).

This afternoon's game got off to an interesting start. Grayson Downing looked to have put UNH up 1-0 early in the first. The goal went to review and it was determined that Downing played the puck to himself with a high stick prior to putting it in the goal. So, The goal was waved off and the score remained 0-0.

Not long after the none-goal for UNH, BU did get on the board. Matt Nieto hit Evan Rodrigues with a pass inside the UNH zone. Rodrigues made a great move to cut the front of the goal, before tucking the puck around goalie Casey DeSmith's (50 saves) left leg pad and into the goal. This was only Rodrigues' second goal of the season.

The lead would not last long, as the Terriers looked out of sync the entire first two periods. Passes were not crisp and the team could not establish and sort of offense. Breaking out of the zone was also a nightmare and that basically lead to the first New Hampshire goal.

About four minutes after the Rodrigues goal, Casey Thrush picked up a rebound strike to knot the game at 1-1. Thrush was not done, though and he put the Wildcats up 2-1 at 14:30 of the first, on a wrist shot that looked to have fooled Kieran Millan (68 saves). UNH out shot the Terriers 16-4 in the first period.

Things didn't get any better in the second period, or at least the start of it anyway. Adam Clendening was called for a questionable tripping penalty, under two minutes into the period. Clendening slid to break up a two on one pass and as he was sliding, a UNH player skated into him and fell, thus Clendening got called for tripping. UNH wasted no time on the resulting power play, as Greg Burke scored just 10 seconds into the man advantage. The shot looked to have beaten Millan glove side from where I was sitting.

Minutes later, BU had a power play of their own, looking to get back in the game… It backfired. Mike Borisenok was sent in alone on a break a way by a Kevin McCarey pass.  Borisenok beat Millan short side for the shorthanded goal, increasing the UNH lead to 4-1 with 16:36 to play in the second. 

BU gained some much-needed life in the closing minutes of the frame. Chris Connolly found Garrett Noonan creeping down from the point and hit him with a pass at the top of the dot. Noonan beat DeSmith blocker side to cut the UNH lead to 4-2. 

Before the period ended, Noonan and the Terriers would make it a one-goal game. There was a huge scrum in the UNH crease and all I saw where a bunch of players digging at it, then red light went on, and BU had made it 4-3 with 1:02 left in the second. The goal was originally credited to Justin Courtnall, but was given to Noonan instead. It was Noonas's 16th goal of the year from Alex Chiasson and Ryan Ruikka.

The Terriers wasted no time in tying the game in the third stanza. A broken play lead to Wade Megan picking up a loose puck in the high slot. Megan's "shoot first" mentality paid off here, as he ripped a wrister up stairs on DeSmith evening the score 4-4. The assists went to Noonan and Chiasson. It was Megan's team leading 19th goal.

The rest of the period was a pure battle. Both teams had their chances, Ross Gaudet having the best one for the Terriers. He and Chiasson had a partial two on one and Gaudet was the puck carrier. Ross elected to shoot and rang the far post, cleanly beating DeSmith to his glove side. UNH also hit a post in the final period.

With no one able to score in the remaining part of the third period, the game went to overtime. The first overtime played out exactly how it did Friday night; no team able to score a goal. Now that's not to say both teams didn't have great chances. Less than 30 seconds into the extra frame, Chiasson was set up for a one timer that DeSmith was in perfect position to stop, and he did. Not a minute later, UNH had a chance go right through the crease, but not into the goal. 

Millan was simply fantastic in both overtime periods. In the first ot, he made 14 saves to go along with eight in the second. 

All that set the stage for Alex Chiasson in the second overtime. Wade Megan made strong move to the net before tossing a shot low on DeSmith's pads. The rebound kicked out into the slot, where Chiasson was crashing the net. Chiasson got a stick on it, and beat a sprawling DeSmith to send BU to the Garden. Following the goal, the entire Terrier bench flooded the ice and celebrated in the near corner. 

 The goal came 6:42 into the second overtime, marking the longest game in Agganis Arena history (86 minutes 42 seconds). It beat the previous record of 82 minutes flat set Friday night. 

With the win, BU advances to the Hockey East Semifinals next Friday night, where they will take on Maine at 8:00pm at TD Garden. Maine defeated Merrimack 2-1 in Game Three up in Orono, tonight.

*I forgot my memory card for my camera tonight, so that's why there are no pictures. I guess I picked a bad night for that to happen.

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