Greg Zanon scored a power play goal at 2:32 of overtime to lift the host University of Nebraska-Omaha hockey team to a 4-3 win over the Terriers on Friday night (December 21st) and a split of their weekend series. On Thursday night, seventh-ranked B.U. dominated play in a 4-1 win over the Mavericks.
The loss ended the Terriers' four-game winning streak, and they are now 11-4-1 overall. In the meantime, UNO had its three-game losing streak come to an end, as the Mavericks improved to 10-8-2.
Both the Thursday and Friday night games had a common thread, and it was special teams.
In Thursday night's game, three of the Terriers' four goals were on the power play as they converted on 3-of-8 power play chances. While UNO was whistled for 8 infractions for 16 minutes, the Terriers were called for just four minors for eight minutes.
It was a different story on Friday night in which the Terriers had 15 penalties, including a five-minute major for checking from behind. The penalties amounted to 41 minutes, including a 10-minute game misconduct. Not only did the Terriers have to kill off a five-minute major, but twice, during the game, they were faced with being down two men.
The first came in the second period, and they were faced with a 3-on-5 situation for 1:44. They managed to successfully kill off both penalties.
The second came in overtime, as they were down two men for 24 seconds. They were successful in killing off the first penalty, but they came up short on the second attempt. It was at that point, with the Terriers still having to kill off another 1:35 before both teams were at even strength, that Zanon scored the game-winner.
"We just couldn't stay out of the penalty box tonight," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker. "We wore ourselves out killing penalties." The loss took away from some last second heroics by B.U. freshman center Brian McConnell (Norfolk).
With the Terriers trailing, 3-2, and less than a minute to play in regulation, McConnell took a pass from sophomore Mark Mullen (Dorchester) and came skating down the left wing boards. He cut across the slot and slipped the puck past UNO goaltender Dan Ellis' glove for the equalizer with just 37 seconds to play in regulation. Junior Freddy Meyer (Sanbornville, NH) also earned an assist.
That set the stage for the overtime period and Zanon's game-winner.
Earlier in the game, senior Mike Pandolfo (Burlington), who entered the game with five goals in his last three games, staked the Terriers to a 1-0 lead at 8:27 of the second period. The goal, his team-leading 12th of the year, came on the power play. Senior Chris Dyment (Reading) took the shot from the UNO blue line, and Pandolfo deflected it past Ellis. Senior Pat Aufiero (Winchester) also earned an assist.
The Mavericks scored the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead after two periods. The first came on a Jeff Hoggan power play goal at 9:31, while the second was an even strength goal by Dan Hacker at the 16:13 mark.
Terrier junior Brian Collins (Shrewsbury) tied the game at 1:39 of the third period when he knocked home a rebound off a shot by junior John Sabo (Harding Township, NJ). Sabo came streaking down the slot and took the initial shot that Ellis saved. However, he left the puck right in front and Collins deposited it for his third goal in as many games.
The score remained tied until the 7:44 mark of the period when Zanon scored his first goal of the game. His shot from the blue line beat Terrier senior goalie Jason Tapp (Kelowna, BC), who might have been screened on the shot.
It appeared the Mavericks would not need another goal and would hold on to the lead until McConnell tied the game in the closing seconds of regulation.
"I thought we played pretty well tonight," said Parker. "I thought we had some guys play great not just tonight, but the entire weekend. And, I thought we got good goaltending from Tapp (21 saves) tonight.
"But, they (UNO) played harder and more intense tonight than they did last night," the coach went on. "They were much more physical tonight, and we couldn't stay out of the penalty box."