March 16, 2007
Hockey East Semifinals
A Wobbly Winner
It wasn't picture perfect, but UNH got the goal it needed to set up Saturday's showdown with BC for the title

By Jeff Howe

New Hampshire 3,
Massachusetts 2 (2ot)
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-NH Greg Collins (4) EV
3:29 B. Butler, T. Fortney
1-MA Alex Berry (7) EV
18:00 D. Leaderer

Second Period

2-MA Chris Capraro (10) EV
0:16 C. Quirk, M. Burto
2-NH Dan Rossman (1) EV
13:57 S. Vinz
Third Period
No scoring
First Overtime
No scoring
Second Overtime
3-NH Bobby Butler (8) EV
1:30 G. Collins
MA: Jon Quick, 81:30, 38 saves, 3 GA
NH: Kevin Regan, 81:30, 44 saves, 2 GA
Penalties: MA 2/4; NH 2/4
Power Plays: MA 0-1; NH 0-1

BOSTON – There were two great breakaways, a handful of quality rebound chances and a number of near-perfectly executed tipped shots. But, in a double-overtime that featured a countless number of game-winning bids, it wound up being Bobby Butler’s knucklepuck that was good enough to get past Jon Quick.

With UMass trying to clear the puck from its zone, Greg Collins poked it free to Butler, who was waiting in the slot. Butler wound up and took a healthy hack at the puck, but he didn’t make full contact, causing the puck to wobble high past Quick’s glove hand and giving New Hampshire a 3-2 win 1:30 into the second overtime.

“Collins poked the puck free,” Butler said. “A kid had my stick, but I just pulled my stick away from him. I couldn’t get full wood on it so I just chipped it.”

“In a game like this, when there are breakaways and great chances, and all of a sudden you pressure the puck to get a turnover,” said UNH coach Richard Umile, who will be trying to win his 400th career game Saturday along with his third Hockey East championship. “Bobby didn’t quite get the stick on it, but he threw it to the net. It was a great play by him.”

Having grown up in nearby Marlborough, Mass., the goal capped off an exciting homecoming for the third-line right winger, who had an entire contingent of family, friends and old teammates from Marlborough High School in attendance.

“It feels awesome,” Butler said. “I’m sure there are a lot of people watching on TV. I know my dad (Marlborough High School coach John Butler) has a bunch of people with him. It’s great. I’m excited.”

Butler also assisted on Collins’ goal earlier in the game, which gave UNH a 1-0 lead. Butler’s only other two-point game came during a 4-4 tie with Boston University on Nov. 10, when he registered two assists.

“He’s unbelievable,” UNH goalie Kevin Regan said. “I was just so excited. He is such a good kid and such a good player. For him to get that goal was awesome.”

Regan was equally impressive, stopping 44 shots, including 13 in the first overtime and one in the second extra session. He turned aside Will Ortiz on a breakaway attempt 11:20 into the first overtime, and also made a pair of great saves on Matt Anderson and Chris Capraro during bonus hockey.

“He’s always huge,” Umile said of his goalie. “He has been special for us. He has been great. He has been the backbone of our team.”

“It feels good,” Regan said. “That’s when you want to play your best in a game like this.”

Now, UNH has to face the task of coming back to earth after such a dramatic win. While the double-overtime win is nice, the Wildcats have a chance to be the ninth team to win the regular-season championship outright and then go on to win the postseason championship.

“We’re going to enjoy it for about an hour, get some rest and focus on tomorrow,” Regan said. “Hopefully, we get a win.”

Boston College 6,
Boston University 2
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-BC Brock Bradford (16) PP
7:46 B. Ferriero, B. Motherwell
2-BC Benn Ferriero (21) EV
15:00 B. Boyle, J. Rooney

Second Period

3-BC Ben Smith (8) EV
14:05 J. Rooney, D. Bertram
4-BC Brock Bradford (17) EV
19:15 B. Smith, B. Boyle
Third Period
1-BU Brandon Yip (5) PP
1:25 M. Gilroy, P. MacArthur
5-BC Joe Rooney (13) EV
9:33 B. Smith
2-BU Bryan Ewing (9) EV
14:35 K. Roche, E. Gryba
6-BC Nathan Gerbe (22) PP
16:18 B. Boyle, B. Bradford
BU: John Curry, 39:54, 17 saves, 4 GA; Karson Gillespie, 20:00, 9 saves, 2 GA
BC: Cory Schneider, 60:00, 30 saves, 2 GA
Penalties: BU 4/8; BC 7/14
Power Plays: BU 1-6; BC 2-3
Attendance: 15,828


Boston College’s 6-2 win over Boston University in the second semifinal game served a couple meaningful purposes.

First, it pushed BC’s winning streak to a national-best nine games. Perhaps a bit more important, it marked the Eagles’ first win over the Terriers at the Boston Garden since the 2004 Beanpot championship game. BU had won four straight over its rival in the building – last year’s Hockey East championship, the last two Beanpot title tilts and the 2005 Beanpot semifinal.

“We just talked about it,” captain Brian Boyle said. “We hadn’t won since my freshman year in the Beanpot. It’s always huge to beat BU, especially in this tournament. We came out hard. Tonight, we really had their number. That’s the way it works sometimes. Either way, it’s two really good teams going head to head.”

“There was definitely a lot of talk about that after the game,” said Brock Bradford, who had two goals and an assist. “It’s nice to break that. Our class was 0-3 against them. It’s definitely in the back of your mind, but we knew we had the ability to win. It was a hard battle against BU, so it’s nice to come out with the win.”


• Overheard a few times while walking into the Garden were some fans – from Maine and other schools – talking about how the Black Bears “blew it” and “went in the tank” over the last couple weeks.

• A group of five young kids sat in the first row by the left point in the UNH zone (first and third period) and stood up, yelling and waving every time play was over in their area.

• Referee Tim Benedetto stopped play prematurely at 8:46 in the first period of game one when there was a loose puck in front of Kevin Regan. Benedetto, at the right point when the puck was still loose at the bottom of the left circle, made the wrong call and stopped a UMass scoring chance.

• UNH's Craig Switzer took a two-minute boarding penalty at 7:32 of the second period, marking the first penalty of what had been a very clean game.


• During a scrum in front of the net with 7:15 remaining in the second period, Josh Ciocco put his stick to work – half trying to knock home a loose puck and half trying to make sure Jon Quick would never have children.

• New Hampshire's Danny Rossman beat Quick with a wrister from the high slot at 13:57 of the second period to score his first career goal. The freshman entered the night having notched three assists in 17 games.

• During the second intermission of game one, NESN studio analyst Bob Beers said something to the effect of, “It’s always nice when you have a good dump.” We believe he was talking about UMass dumping the puck into the zone to set up the Chris Capraro goal in the second period.

• Before the first game, there were copies of a photo handed out in the media room with Don Cahoon and Richard Umile standing together in front of the Berlin Wall in 1968.

• While a win for the Minutemen would have firmly secured them their first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, the loss keeps them on the bubble. They still appear to be in good shape, but Cahoon weighed in on their chances following the game.

“I don’t know since there’s always the unexpected,” Cahoon said. “Quinnipiac won their game tonight, and if they win their tournament, if Wisconsin wins their tournament, it obviously reduces the odds. But, if more of the seeded teams win out, I think we’re in pretty good shape.”

• Former Hockey East director of public relations Noah Smith was on hand to host the press conferences. He was roasted pretty badly during the first one.

• Kevin Regan on what went through his head when he saw Will Ortiz heading in on the breakaway in overtime: “You don’t really think too much. You just try to look at what way he is going to shoot, where he’s holding the puck, is he coming fast, is he coming slow. It comes in so quick that you don’t really think about it.”

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Brock Bradford, Boston College
Scored a pair of goals and added an assist in the easy win for the Eagles.

2. Kevin Regan, New Hampshire
Stood on his ear in overtime with 13 saves in first session and one in the second.

1. Bobby Butler, New Hampshire
Two points and a game-winning goal. ‘Nuff said.

• The second game didn’t get underway until 9:17 p.m. due to the double-overtime marathon in game one. While the Eagles waited, they watched a different double-overtime game. The BC women’s team was in the Frozen Four, but fell 4-3 to Minnesota Duluth.

• The Providence Friar scored the only two goals of the Hockey East mascot game during the first intermission of the second semifinal. If you’re counting at home, that means the Friar scored exactly two more goals than all of the Friars combined during last weekend’s sweep by UNH.

• There was a possible goal under review with 5:33 remaining in the second period of game two. BU rushed the net, but Cory Schneider kept it out. The play stood with no goal.

• The arena was never close to being full at any point in the night, most likely because of the storm that blanketed New England. When BC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second game, though, the place really looked bare.

• John Curry got yanked before the start of the third period. The Hobey Baker candidate made 17 saves but allowed three goals. Karson Gillespie stopped nine shots and allowed three more in the third period.

• Though it’s not in any record books, we believe we witnessed the first time in history that BU fans had nothing to say. Late in the second period with the score 3-0, the BC fans chanted “We can’t hear you!” across the way to the Terrier faithful. Literally, not a sound.

• The BU students woke up a bit in the third period. With 16:37 remaining during a timeout on the ice, they chanted “Kill the midget!” They were either talking about a St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun or Nathan Gerbe.

• Brian Boyle picked up three assists while playing solid on the blue line for BC.

• There were 15,828 tickets sold for the semifinal games, but only 12,150 came through the gate.

• Mike Brennan made a solid defensive play in the second period to keep BU from scoring. Jerry York knows why. “He’s Irish, and it’s coming close to St. Patrick’s Day. I think he got a little lucky there.”


Though the atmosphere as a whole was subpar throughout the night, especially late in the second game, it got entertaining in the third period when the student sections from BU and BC continually went back and forth with one another.

The snowstorm that rocked New England Friday afternoon caused huge traffic delays all over the region, which really hurt the attendance for the beginning of the first game. It looked more like a Beanpot consolation game than a Hockey East semifinal. Oh, and temperatures reached the 70s around Boston on Wednesday. Gotta love New England.

Feel like buying some sweet new Hockey East swag? You might not want to find somewhere other than the Garden to do so. The tee shirt selection is weak – only one has all four teams on it with the Hockey East logo.


UNH will play in its seventh Hockey East championship and has a 2-4 record all-time. Its last trip was in 2005, when Boston College won, 3-1. Its last win came in 2003, a 1-0 overtime victory over Boston University.

BC took two of three games from UNH this year, including a home-and-home sweep two weekends ago.

This is BC's 12th appearance in the Hockey East championship game (third straight), tying Maine's record. BC is 6-5 in the league championship. Last year, BC dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to BU last year. BC's last win came in 2005, when the Eagles topped UNH, 3-1. BC and UNH have met seven times in the Hockey East tourney, with BC holding a 4-3 edge. The Eagles are 2-0 against UNH in the championship.

This will be the ninth time the top two seeds will play for the Hockey East championship. The No. 1 seed has a 5-3 edge. All three times the second seed has won this matchup were in the first five years of the conference's history.