DURHAM, N.H. - Brock Bradford scored two goals and John Muse stopped 35 shots to lead the 18th-ranked Boston College men's ice hockey team to Friday night's 5-3 victory against ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire in Game 1 of a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, the tourney's third seed by virtue of a 15-8-4 league record, is now 19-11-5 overall. BC, seeded sixth with its 11-11-5 league record, is now 17-13-5 overall. The Eagles built a 4-0 lead midway through the game on the strength of a power-play goal, shorthanded goal and 4x4 goal.
UNH goaltender Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) finished with 24 saves. James van Riesmdyk (Middletown, N.J.) netted two goals and Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) tallied two assists to lead the 'Cat attack, which went 0-for-6 on the power play but scored two shorthanded goals.
For BC, Joe Whitney and Cam Atkinson both tallied two assists. Muse made 14 of his 39 saves in the third period.
The Eagles skated to a 2-0 lead in the first period. In the second minute of the game, UNH generated a 2-on-2 rush in which Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), from the inside of the right circle, snapped a one-timer towards the near post, but Muse slid across the crease to make the stop with his left leg pad.
Midway through the opening stanza, the Wildcats produced a 3-on-3 rush in which Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) carried the puck on the right wing and centered a pass to Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario). He settled the puck and shot a low wrister that Muse blocked aside.
BC took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 12:45 when Bradford's shot from the left circle caromed off a UNH defenseman in the low slot and trickled between Foster and the right post.
The Eagles extended their advantage to 2-0 at 15:38. From behind the net, Whitney passed the puck down low to the left side, where Andrew Orpik one-timed a slapshot inside the near post.
UNH went on its first power play of the night at 16:31 and generated an offensive flurry in the 18th minute in which Butler was denied from the left circle and LeBlanc, stationed at the right post, lifted a shot off the rebound high. The puck circled around to Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) in the slot, but Muse blocked aside that low shot. Less than a minute later, Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) slipped behind the defense in the slot but lifted a close-range shot into Muse's torso.
In the opening minutes of the second period, BC generated a shorthanded breakaway. Matt Price carried the puck down the slot and was stopped by Foster, corralled the rebound and fired another shot high of the cage.
The Eagles pushed the lead to 3-0 with a shorthanded goal at 5:06. Atkinson skated with the puck down the right wing and began to curl behind the net when he threw the puck in front and a charging Jimmy Hayes jammed the puck into the open net.
BC's lead grew to 4-0 at 10:48 with a 4x4 goal when Tim Kunes one-timed Ben Smith's crossing pass from the right circle into the upper-left corner of the net.
The Wildcats called time out at that point and netted a shorthanded goal at 11:48 to pull within 4-1. van Riemsdyk collected a pass from Sislo to break into the offensive zone alone, and deep on the left side he snapped a shot into the upper-left corner of the net.
Boston College answered with Bradford's second strike of the game at 14:42. Price, with the pass in front to Bradford, and Brian Gibbons set up the tally.
UNH scored its second shorthanded goal of the game at 16:41 to trim the deficit to 5-2. Nick Krates (Palos Park, Ill.) initiated the breakout with a pass from the defensive zone to Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.), who in turn advanced the puck to Butler for the breakaway down the slot.
New Hampshire pulled within 5-3 at 2:52 when van Riemsdyk scored off a rebound in front of the net. Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.), whose initial shot from the point was stopped by Muse, and Sislo were credited with assists.
UNH pulled Foster in favor of an extra skater with 1:47 remaining in the game, but the Eagles effectively kept the 'Cats on the perimeter and called a timeout with 56 seconds to play. Immediately off that faceoff, Kapstad blasted a shot from the high slot that sailed through traffic, but was snared by Muse. The BC goalie also denied van Riemsdyk from the front doorstep with 40 seconds to play.
UNH entered the game with a nine-game winning streak in Hockey East quarterfinal action.
The teams face off for Game 2 of the series March 14 (7 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center. If necessary, the teams will face off for a decisive third game March 15 (7 p.m.) on UNH's home ice. Tickets for that game will go on sale immediately following the conclusion of Saturday night's game.