DURHAM — The power play has been a work in progress in the early going for the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team.
The Wildcats scored once with the man advantage Saturday night but they also surrendered a short-handed goal with less than two minutes left in overtime in a 3-2 loss to Boston University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH fell to 1-5-2 overall and 1-2-1 in Hockey East with its fourth one-goal loss of the season. BU’s Shane Bowers broke in alone, cut in front and beat UNH goalie Ty Taylor high to the glove side for the game-winner for his second goal of the game.
The Terriers (2-4-1, 2-2-1 HE) outshot the Wildcats, 26-19, and Taylor made 23 saves in his first career start at the Whitt. The loss came 24 hours after UNH allowed two extra-skater goals in the final 2:13 of regulation in a 2-2 draw Friday night at UMass Lowell.
“Obviously that one stings a lot,” said UNH coach Mike Souza. “I thought our kids competed as hard as they had all year.”
Special teams factored in four of the five goals Saturday night.
Trailing 2-1 late in the second period, the Wildcats tied the game for the second time on a pretty odd-man rush by Charlie Kelleher and Jackson Pierson, who redirected a pass from Kelleher past BU goalie Jake Oettinger (17 saves) with 5:55 left in the second for his third goal of the season.
“I got a really good pass from Charlie,” Pierson said. “Anthony (Wyse) made a good play in the D-zone to get it to us. It was a hockey play.”
The game was deadlocked at 2 after two periods and at the end of regulation.
“Jackson and Charlie have been playing well,” Souza said. “That line has been buzzing for us since we put it together.”
The first period was all about special teams as the clubs combined for three power-play goals, including two by the Terriers, who led 2-1 after one. Ara Nazarian scored for UNH while Chad Krys and Bowers tallied for BU, which went 2 for 6 on the power play.
“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” Souza said. “We’re in the box a lot. Boston University is going to force you to reach and want to grab because they’re so skilled and fast.”
“We’ve got to capitalize more on our power plays,” Pierson said. “We’ve got to be a little more disciplined with how many penalties we’re taking. We’re taking way too many.”
Krys gave the Terrriers a 1-0 lead at the 5:55 mark on a shot from the top of the left circle with Max Gildon off for slashing. Taylor appeared to be screened on the play.
“I thought UNH’s penalty kill was pretty good,” said BU coach Albie O’Connell. “We just got a couple bounces and that’s hockey sometimes.”
The Wildcats pulled even at 8:47 of the first on Nazarian’s third goal of the season when he banged home the rebound of a shot by Gildon. Charlie Kelleher also assisted.
BU regained the lead on a goal by Bowers, who was camped in front and cleaned up a loose puck at 10:35 of the first after the Wildcats were penalized for too many men on the ice. The Terriers outshot UNH in the first period, 12-7, but had only 14 shots the rest of the way.
The Wildcats had 30 shots on goal in the two games combined over the weekend.
“We’ve got to put 60 minutes together,” Pierson said. “We haven’t done that yet. We’re streaky. I think once we do that we’ll have better results.”