BOSTON — The University of New Hampshire hockey team hasn’t beaten Boston University since Valentine’s Day, 2015.
UNH is 0-7-2 in its last nine games against the Terriers after Friday night’s 5-2 loss at Agganis Arena. BU broke a 2-2 tie with three goals in the final 15 minutes, eight seconds.
“Clearly not enough,” UNH coach Mike Souza said. “It’s something we’ve talked about. The guys understand they’re in a playoff race. Every team in the league is in a playoff race.
“There are a couple of teams that have broken away from the pack but everyone else is in the thick of it. Our guys are aware of it and we weren’t there enough tonight.”
The Terriers (7-8-3, 6-5-2), who outshot UNH 12-5 in the first period, gave an early premonition of things to come when Kaspar Kotansalo forced Bedford’s Mike Robinson (23 saves) to make a difficult glove save on a wrist shot.
Robinson wasn’t as fortunate at 2:17 when Ryan Cloonan carried the puck deep into the left corner and centered it for freshman Jack DeBoer, who deflected it home for his first collegiate goal.
After the Wildcats (6-8-6, 2-5-3) killed off a BU penalty, the Terriers capitalized when Ty Amonte was sent to the box for holding.
Shane Bowers unloaded a slap shot from the right point and defenseman Dante Fabbro deflected it by Robinson for fourth goal at 7:39 and a 2-0 lead. Fabbro began the game as BU’s leading scorer.
UNH held the Terriers without a shot during an early second period power play but Joel Farabee came within inches of giving BU a 3-0 lead when his slap shot hit the right post.
Farabee was robbed again shortly thereafter when, after skating in on a partial breakaway, Robinson made a stick save on his wrist shot.
Then, with BU’s Matt Quercia penalized for hooking, the Wildcats finally beat Jake Oettinger (25 saves) at 10:08 on a power play.
Ara Nazarian unloaded a slap shot from the right point and Liam Blackburn buried the rebound for his fourth goal.
“Liam’s been a good player for us since he got here,” Souza said. “He has tremendous hockey sense. He’s deceptive and has a long stick. He knows how to find the puck and pull it out of the pile. He gets to the net and gets around the net.
“When you get around the net that’s knowing where to be.”
That the second period was more competitive from UNH’s standpoint was underscored by the fact UNH outshot BU, 11-4.
The Wildcats tied the game at 2-2 at 2:24 of the second when Angus Crookshank, who was positioned to the left of the cage, threw the puck in front and Blackburn scored his second goal on a one-timer.
Blackburn’s goals gave him at least one point in each of the Wildcats’ last 10 games (5-9-14 totals.). Crookshank’s assist gave him at least one point in each of his last seven games (4-6-10 totals).
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that tie was short-lived because Farabee scored his sixth goal on a wrist shot from the left circle.
Cam Crotty scored a dagger at 13:21. Amonte scaled the puck from left to right and Crotty deflected it by Robinson.
Bobo Carpenter then sent UNH a message – the message being it was time to crank up the bus.
Farabee centered the puck for Carpenter who flicked it by Robinson for a 5-2 lead at 14:14.
“It was disappointing,” Souza said. “I think we showed good character coming back and to give the game away as quickly as we did was unfortunate.
“I didn’t have to say anything (after UNH fell behind). The message came from the players. The guys recognized what makes us successful.”