DURHAM — Angus Crookshank secured the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team a 1-0 overtime win over Boston College with 4,832 fans in attendance Friday night for the Wildcats’ home opener at the Whittemore Center.
The sophomore forward tipped a Max Gildon blast from the right point past Boston College freshman goaltender Spencer Knight 2:15 into the five-minute overtime period. Wildcats senior captain Anthony Wyse had the secondary assist.
“Gildon made a great shot,” Crookshank said. “He was about 16 inches off the ice, which is perfect for a guy that wants to tip it and I was just trying to find open space to get my stick free. Luckily, I got my stick on it, went the other way and in.”
UNH (3-2-1, 2-1 Hockey East) has now played in four overtime games. The Wildcats played in a program-record 14 overtime games last year.
No. 15 Boston College (2-4, 0-2) has lost four straight.
UNH junior goaltender Mike Robinson made 28 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and sixth of his career.
The Eagles nearly broke the scoreless deadlock 1:10 into the third period. Freshman Matt Boldy ripped a promising shot that hit Robinson’s glove and rolled across the latter’s back before he kicked it away from the crease. Robinson, a Bedford resident, also denied Connor Moore from the doorstep on a Boston College counter rush about seven minutes later in the frame.
“He was unbelievable,” Crookshank said of Robinson. “In my 20 years of playing hockey, I haven’t probably seen a performance like that before.”
UNH struggled to maintain possession and get into the offensive zone in the opening frame until Jackson Pierson recorded the team’s first shot on goal with 6:33 remaining before the first intermission. The Eagles pinned UNH in its own zone for long stretches in the period, finishing the frame with a 10-4 shots-on-goal advantage. The Wildcats turned the puck over 16 times in the first period.
After struggling in the opening 20 minutes and a 50-50 second period, the Wildcats played more on their toes in the third frame, UNH coach Mike Souza said.
“I thought we were on our heels in the first,” Souza said. “Our goalie bailed us out...I thought the second period was pretty even and I was really happy with our third period. Fortunately for us, we made a play in overtime.”
UNH, which entered the game No. 14 in the country in combined special teams percentage (.550), finished 0-for-3 on the man advantage and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Eagles have been shut out twice and scored six total goals over their current four-game skid. Boston College plays at Providence College tonight (7).
“We’re close to being a very good hockey team,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “We’ve just got to close the gap. By that I mean we’ve got to score some goals.”
UNH is now 47-34-10 all-time in home openers and 16-6-3 in home openers at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats host in-state rival Dartmouth for the programs’ only meeting this season tonight at 7.
“It’s a huge confidence booster,” Crookshank said of the win over the Eagles. “They’re crazy talented so if we kind of carry on the way we played the past 45 minutes from the second period onward into (tonight), hopefully we should come out with a good result.”