Hockey East Semifinals
Benched last week, Hamilton came up big for
1, Boston University 0
Sean Fields, 58:58, 31 saves, 1 GA
Jim Howard, 60:00, 21 saves, 0 GA
BU 6/12; ME 5/10
Plays: BU 0-4; ME 0-5
Tim Whitehead has high expectations for Mike Hamilton, going so
far as to compare the freshman to former Black Bear Lucas Lawson,
who led Hockey East in goals last year.
– or is it because of it? – Whitehead benched the
rookie for last Saturday's first-round Hockey East Tournament
game against Merrimack. Hamilton, who has sat 15 times this year,
took the slight in stride, worked his way back in the lineup and
scored the only goal of Friday evening's semifinal win over Boston
want to be playing every game, but at the same time I realize
that there are 28 guys on the roster," said the left wing
from Victoria, B.C. "When
I get taken out of the lineup I definitely want to work as hard
as I can and try to get back in the lineup and contribute any
way I can."
that Whitehead and the Black Bear coaches know when to light a
fire under him. Friday marked the fifth straight time that he
had sat at least one game, then returned and recorded a point.
came in a big situation, too. Friday night, with Jim Howard and
Sean Fields manning the nets, there was a sense that it would
take a superhuman effort to score.
Hamilton, owner of four goals on the year. Jon Jankus, center
on Maine's highly effective third line, took over the puck behind
the BU net. Hamilton, streaking into the slot and hollering for
the puck, one-timed it to Fields' far side before the Terrier
goalie could react.
he does so well is he can skate, and he can shoot the puck as
you saw tonight," Whitehead said. "He's a strong kid,
he's got big legs. I don't think he realizes how strong he is
that strength in a key moment Friday night, and gave Whitehead
a good reason to keep him in the lineup for Saturday's championship
game. After all, without him, Maine might not even be there.
New Hampshire 2
Regan, K. Jarman
Werner, K. Jarman
Lang, T. Vitek
Mike Ayers, 59:16, 28 saves, 4 GA
Tim Warner, 60:00, 27 saves, 2 GA
NH 5/10; MA 7/14
Plays: NH 0-6; MA 0-4
forgot to tell UMass that they're supposed to be new to this whole
"playoff poise" thing.
In the nightcap,
the Minutemen bounced back from a 2-0 deficit and scored four
times in the third period. It was the stuff of 1980s-era Oilers,
not a team making just its second appearance at the Fleet.
we had control of this game going into the third period,"
senior Mike Warner said, despite trailing 2-1 at the time. "We
had a lot left, and I didn't think they did."
Warner, Nick Kuiper and Thomas Pöck, his three seniors, for
instilling that confidence in the team. But the players are quick
to credit the whole team as a group.
it's everyone," said junior Greg Mauldin, who started the
scoring for UMass with a deflection past Mike Ayers. "Usually
it's the first two lines that lead a team. But here the third
and fourth lines go out, work hard, and everybody else wants to
go out there and have a good shift, too. Everyone feeds off each
Both the team's
confidence and its energy could be seen when Peter Trovato scored
the tying goal. It touched off a wild celebration, like the entire
team had been waiting, knowing it would come.
electric," Mauldin said. "We were buzzing so much, everyone
knew that one of them was going to go."
INCH's Three Stars of the Night
Mike Hamilton, Maine
a goal-scorer's touch with his one-timer that beat Fields.
Tim Vitek, Massachusetts
The junior center makes things happen, both offensively
and defensively, for the Minutemen.
Steve Saviano, New Hampshire
The speedy, skilled Saviano was the best player
on the ice at the Fleet, even in a losing cause.
AND HEARD AT THE FLEET
1-0 first semifinal was the lowest scoring semifinal game in tournament
history (and don't look for that mark to be broken). There had
been 1-0 tournament games before, however, as recently as last
year's title game. It was the fifth 1-0 game Maine has played
this year (2-3-0), and the Black Bears have also had a scoreless
second game featured two video reviews of goals, both of which
counted (one for each team). On the first, Steve Saviano's shot
got hit Tim Warner's glove, but trickled over the line. The second
came on Peter Trovato's tying goal for UMass. Officials checked
for a hand pass, but Trovato had gloved the puck forward himself
before collecting it and shooting it past Mike Ayers.
best of Tim Warner's 27 saves may have been a stick side stop
on a Sean Collins partial breakaway in the third period that would
have given the lead back to UNH. Warner had some advance scouting
on Collins, but it turned out not to help.
Sean just as well as I know [Warner's brother] Mike," Tim
said. "We grew up playing together. I didn't think he was
going to shoot there, I thought he was going to deke."
Bruins head coach and BU alumnus Mike Sullivan was in the crowd,
attending the game with his family. Sullivan's club has a key
Eastern Conference game Saturday afternoon against Tampa Bay at
the Fleet, making for a big day of hockey in the Hub.
Hampshire and Massachusetts are both accustomed to Olympic ice
sheets, but they looked at home on the NHL size. In fact, there
appeared to be much more open ice in the second game than in the
first, when both BU and Maine played a tight-checking, clog-the-neutral-zone
this for a promotion? No NHL team had the rights to former Maine
goaltender Matt Yeats two days ago, and he had spent much of the
year looking for a place to play. Today, he's Olie Kolzig's backup
on the Washington Capitals. Yeats was signed due to injuries to
two Capitals goaltending prospects. A third had spent some time
in Washington this year but remained with the Caps' AHL team,
the Portland Pirates, to help their playoff hopes. Yeats had played
seven games for the Pirates this season.
anonymous UMass players' voice, in the locker room after the game
as Don Cahoon was looking for the notebook that never leaves his
hands while he's behind the bench: "I think Tim Whitehead
goaltender Jim Howard did a good job of keeping his cool, especially
early. In the first period alone, he was run three times and slashed
Hampshire's game plan against Massachusetts' Thomas Pöck
worked to perfection – and the Hobey Baker finalist still
scored a goal. One reason given for Pöck's success as a defenseman,
as opposed to a forward, is the added time he has to see the ice.
The Wildcats took away that time by skating at Pöck when
he had the puck, rather than assuming a defensive posture. Pöck
ended up scoring UMass' fourth goal off a clean faceoff win in
the UNH zone.
the first game, both Boston University and Maine seemed to struggle
on defensive zone faceoffs. It could have cost Maine late, as
they took several icing calls and Howard froze the puck at every
opportunity, but they hung on.
and Maine provided the big story of last year's Hockey East Tournament,
when the Minutemen went to Orono and upset the Black Bears, so
perhaps it's fitting that they play for the title this year. Maine
is already guaranteed a spot in the tournament as a No. 1 seed,
but UMass would need a win to sneak in. Don Cahoon has done it
before, at Princeton in 1998.
ready to dance, and the Wildcats could be dangerous. They host
the Northeast Regional at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.
Boston University returns home with a better memory of the season
than the Terriers could have had, thanks to the last few weeks.
"We had a heck of a run," head coach Jack Parker said,
"but it wasn't the type of year we're used to. We want to
make sure we start next year the way we finished this one."