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BU 2, UNH 1

Millan, BU deny Wildcats

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / January 23, 2011

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DURHAM, N.H. — Boston University has been a thorn in the side of New Hampshire on many occasions.

Heading into last night, the seventh-ranked Wildcats had just one Hockey East loss on the season. The only team to have beaten them? BU at Agganis Arena on Nov. 20.

The rivals squared off again in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,501 at the Whittemore Center, where UNH had been unbeatable.

In its previous 27 games here, UNH was 20-0-7, with its last defeat coming Jan. 24, 2009, against — you guessed it — BU.

And the 15th-ranked Terriers were more than happy to spoil the Wildcats’ party with a 2-1 victory. BU junior Kieran Millan (38 saves) was immense.

UNH dropped to 13-5-4, 11-2-2 in league play, while BU improved to 11-7-6, 8-5-4.

“I thought we played a pretty solid game,’’ said BU coach Jack Parker. “You start with Kieran Millan, he had a great night. He made some big saves but really kept things cool, calm, and collected when there were a lot of bouncing pucks in front of the net. He didn’t get rattled and seemed to do a real good job. I think it’s what we’ve come to expect from him.’’

Both teams had good opportunities in a scoreless first period. BU’s best came during a power play at 7:33 when freshman center Sahir Gill thought he had a goal when he batted the puck out of midair and into the net from just outside the right post. The play started when freshman defenseman Adam Clendening relayed the puck toward the net from high between the circles.

Alex Chiasson got a stick on it and the puck popped into the air. Wade Megan also got a whack at it and Gill finished the play by bunting it into the cage. But it was ruled to have been played with a high stick and the goal was nullified.

The Wildcats’ prime chance came while they were shorthanded. Stevie Moses ripped a shot from the right circle but Millan was there.

With two minutes left, Chiasson found Gill with a backhanded pass, but Gill couldn’t find daylight from the right post.

UNH took the lead at the five-minute mark of the second during a power play. Mike Borisenok centered the puck to Greg Burke, who scored his first goal of the season. Despite being outshot, 16-5, in the period, the next two goals belonged to BU. The Terriers pulled even at 8:24 during a power play. Clendening delivered the puck from just inside the blue line and it pinballed in front. Freshman center Charlie Coyle rapped it in past Matt DiGirolamo (22 saves) from just outside the right post.

The Wildcats thought they had a second tally at 11:25 when Paul Thompson sent the puck at the net from the right side of the goal line. It appeared to beat Millan to the glove side, but was ruled no goal.

When the play was reviewed, which took several minutes, officials said there was no conclusive evidence the puck completely crossed the line.

That momentum swing helped BU, which took a 2-1 lead at 12:43 when sophomore left wing Ross Gaudet took advantage of a turnover and beat DiGirolamo from the slot.

The Wildcats pulled out all the stops in the final period, but couldn’t solve Millan.

“It’s disappointing losing the game because I think it’s the best we’ve played since we’ve been back in the second half,’’ said UNH coach Dick Umile. “It was a back-and-forth game and we had our chances. It was a tough turnover on our part on the winning goal. They played tough in front of the net and Millan made some key saves.’’

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.