UNH hockey: Victory over Boston College keeps Wildcats trending upward.
The tide is turning for the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team.
After a slow start to the season, the Wildcats are 5-1-1 in their last seven games and looked like a giant killer on Saturday in a come-from-behind 6-4 win over Boston College.
The game saw the Wildcats come back from deficits of 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3. The Wildcats outshot Boston College 36-25, including a dominant 17-8 second period in which they outscored the Eagles 4-2.
“Not the way you draw it up, that’s for sure,” UNH first-year head coach Mike Souza said Saturday. “You don’t want to (give) the top team in your conference a two-goal lead at home. I think we had outchanced them in each period. The same theme on the bench again: stay with it, trust the process. It’s just a matter of the guys executing on it.”
The win came over a BC team tied for first in Hockey East for a program that has been trying for the last several years to return to the glory of the early years of the 21st century. In front of the biggest Whittemore Center crowd this season, the Wildcats delivered emphatically.
“They’re a good team,” Souza said. “We’ve been close all year. We’ve played pretty consistent hockey through all our games. We’re just fortunate to make a few more plays tonight than (BC).”
The engine that has been propelling the Wildcats has been offensive distribution. Five players scored for the Wildcats against BC and 12 players registered at least a point.
Liam Blackburn’s goal in the second period extended his point streak to 11 games as the junior has been consistently improving on the ice throughout the season.
“I challenged him a few weeks back and he’s responded big time,” Souza said of Blackburn. “He’s a really smart hockey player. He’s not the fastest guy, but he makes up for it with his high-end intelligence. He has an uncanny ability to strip pucks and keep plays alive. He’s been outstanding killing penalties for us.”
Patrick Grasso had a pair against the Eagles as he has been able to find his scoring touch. That was the story for the Wildcats as players up and down the lineup found the twine. Ara Nazarian scored his 10th of the season while Chris Miller, of Windham, scored his first.
“We’ve had scoring up and down our lineup the last few weeks and it’s huge every time you can get scoring from your primary and your secondary (options),” Grasso said.
During this hot streak the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 25-16. Saturday’s win was made all the more impressive after the Cats were beaten by Boston University 5-2 on Friday night.
“It (the puck) just has gone in for more guys,” Souza said. “Early in the year we weren’t getting a lot of scoring. Now the scoring has started to spread out a bit. We’ve found some combinations that are working for us.”
The next challenge now for the Wildcats is taking the success on the road. New Hampshire plays its next three away from home, starting Friday night at Merrimack College.