finally solves Fields, claims Hockey East title
Boston University 0 OT
| Boston, Mass.
Sean Fields, 71:43, 40 saves, 1 GA
Mike Ayers, 71:43, 24 saves, 0 GA
BU 3/6; NH 4/8
Plays: BU 0-3; NH 0-2
Sean Fields, BU (MVP)
D: Garrett Stafford, UNH
D: Thomas Pöck, UMass
F: Justin Maiser, BU
F: Steve Saviano, UNH
F: Stephen Werner, UMass
East semifinal coverage
BOSTON – In the end, the only player who
could get the puck by Boston University’s Sean Fields
was his teammate Ryan Whitney.
sophomore defenseman, standing in Fields’ crease,
accidentally tipped in Tyson Teplitsky’s backhander
at 11:43 of overtime to give the game and the Hockey East
Tournament championship to New Hampshire. The win is the
Wildcats' second consecutive Hockey East Tournament title
to go along with this year’s shared regular season
crown (with Boston College).
felt bad for the guys,” said BU coach Jack Parker,
“because we lost, not because we lacked heart or effort.”
Friday night's double-overtime affair, the Terriers were
noticeably tired and seemed to be a step behind UNH from
the midway point of the first period. As a result, Fields
was left alone to thwart the Wildcats, while BU could barely
manage a consistent offensive attack for most of the game.
liked the first period,” said Parker. “We had
legs and some jump. We slipped a bit in the second period.
It looked like we had two gears of slow tonight. We just
couldn’t generate much because of the lack of legs
and it turned the game into the ‘Sean Fields Show.’”
up where he left off in the final 45 minutes of the semifinals,
Fields, voted to the All-Tournament team and named Tournament
Most Valuable Player, was simply outstanding, making 40
saves and 86 combined in the two games this weekend.
rather be holding the Hockey East championship than the
MVP,” said a dejected Fields.
so, the recognition was worthy praise for the netminder
who was no better than an Honorable Mention selection in
the league’s All-Hockey East voting.
night, however, Fields was the best in the business. He
was especially spectacular in the second period, turning
aside quality scoring chances by UNH’s Sean Collins
– a shorthanded breakaway – and Steve Saviano
on a point-blank slapshot from the bottom of the faceoff
final minute of the third period, Fields was even better
as the Wildcats tested the netminder with four tremendous
Fields blocked Garrett Stafford’s point shot and stoned
Colin Hemingway on the rebound from the right circle. On
the ensuing faceoff, Fields stopped a quick one-timer and
repeated the performance on the next draw. Then, with 1.5
seconds left in the game, Fields got the edge of his stick
and skate on a turnaround wrister from Tim Horst.
Stephen Werner, UMass
rookie registered three points (2-1-3) in defeat, but
led the Minutemen all season and into the semifinals.
He’s an example of the classy and mature youngsters
that should put UMass in the top half of HEA standings
next season and for years to come.
Steve Saviano, UNH
scoreless in the finals (like all his teammates besides
Tyson Teplitsky). Notched a goal and an assist in the
win over UMass. Even more impressive was the way he
stood out over his higher-profile teammates Lanny Gare
and Colin Hemingway in the two games, notching one more
point that the duo combined. It’s clear the torch
was passed over the last two days. This will be Saviano’s
team next season.
Sean Fields, BU
put on the best tournament goaltending display since
Chris Terreri was between the pipes for Providence in
the 1980s. He carried BU to a double-overtime win in
the semifinals and strapped 20 skaters to his back in
the finals only to fall short on the fluke game-winner.
Capped off a successful year at the Fleet Center with
the Tournament MVP and the 2003 Beanpot MVP.
that weren’t enough, the highlight reel of stops continued
with a tremendous right pad save on Saviano, who, sitting
in the slot untouched, redirected a centering pass that
seemed destined to the back of the net. Just one minute
later, Fields denied Patrick Foley with a neat stick save
off the winger’s quick wrister from the right circle.
4:03 after the Foley save, Fields was unable to anticipate
or get in front of Whitney’s deflection.
had the puck on the wing,” explained Fields, “and
he just backhanded it toward the net. It took an unlucky
bounce of Whitney and went in.
it’s the playoffs and you’re in overtime, the
goals just seem the be scored that way.”
a tremendous two days of hockey that included some of the
best individual performances in years. With the rise of
the UMass program, the league continues to improve and gets
deeper in talent with each passing season. Hockey East staged
some of the best hockey seen in the Fleet Center this season,
especially in 2003.
playoff hockey. There’s nothing better than games
that hang on the outcome of each and every faceoff, power
play and corner scrum. Best of all, it’s just beginning,
with the rest of the conferences playing their championship
weekends six days from now and the NCAA Tournament soon
deserved a better fate than to lose the game on a deflection
off his own teammate. These things are part of the game,
true, but we just wish the hockey Gods could have given
us a cleaner ending. Where are the Hollywood producers when
you need them?
AND HEARD AT THE FLEET
71:43 of 0-0 hockey marked the longest scoreless play in
championship game history. It was also the first shutout
in finals history … The victory was UNH’s first
over BU in all-time Hockey East Tournament play (1-3-1)
… This was the first championship game pitting No.
1 and 5 seeds. The No. 5 seed had never advanced to the
finals … UNH goaltender Mike Ayers started his 24th
consecutive game and recorded his UNH-record sixth shutout
this season … UMass’ two goals in 10 seconds
in the semifinals tied the record for the fastest pair of
tallies by one team in a tournament game … Justin
Maiser’s hat trick for BU against BC was the fifth
in semifinal history. No player has ever scored four in
a semifinal or championship game … BU captain Freddy
Meyer, who led all Terriers with seven points in 11 career
games against UNH, missed both games with a separated left
shoulder … The two-day attendance of 34,328 was a
Hockey East Tournament record.
Hampshire gets Hockey East's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament,
making the Wildcats the first team to officially earn a
ticket to the dance. They aren't assured of a No. 1 seed
in the East or Northeast – the old rule that rewarded
teams for winning both their regular season and tournament
titles no longer applies – but they have certainly
made a good case for one.
University, meanwhile, will be in the tournament as well,
and as hosts, the Terriers are assured of playing in the
Northeast Regional in Worcester. If UNH got the No. 1 seed
in the Northeast and BU got placed at No. 2, we might see
this matchup again in a couple of weeks – with a trip
to the Frozen Four on the line.