It's amazing what 24 hours can do to a team.
Just one day prior, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats left Conte Forum with a "bad taste in their mouth" after being scourged in a 5-2 loss to Boston College. But the beauty of a home-and-home series, is that the time off the ice is so short, that it leaves no time to dwell on the bad, but leaves enough time to recall just how bad it was.
"We were angry," said UNH senior John Henrion. "I think we left it out there tonight. We were extremely disappointed with our performance last night. And there was a sour taste before tonight's [game], but obviously tonight's win turns it around."
And it was quite the turnaround.
Similar to Friday night's game, the Wildcats struck first blood. It took almost 40 minutes of play in this game, but sophomore Matt Willows netted his first collegiate goal to give UNH the 1-0 lead with just 47 seconds left to in the second.
Willows' goal came after an evenly matched, tight first period and slightly more aggressive second period. Minutes before UNH took the lead, things grew a little heated as BC's Michael Matheson was called for hitting from behind which earned him two minutes in the penalty box. As soon as the Eagles killed off the minor, Matheson found UNH's Kevin Goumas and knocked him to the ice which resulted in a 5-minute contact-to-the-head major penalty and a 10 minute game misconduct.
Though that could have been the prime opportunity for UNH to capitalize in a convincing and authoritative way, they were left with little more than a couple of scoring opportunities.
"It's a lot of urgency," Henrion said. "We knew it was a big chance, could have been a huge turning point as it was in the game. So we were really confident."
After those five minutes however, with a two-minute 5-on-3 opportunity in the middle, and nothing to show for it, UNH had to find someway to come out of it with momentum, and Willows was the one that provided that spark.
"It feels great," Willows said. "It feels great to get the first one after two years and get the weight off my shoulders."
The Wildcats left the second period with a 1-0 lead and a 21-3 shot advantage in that period alone.
But BC didn't go quietly.
7:57 into the final frame, a bad turnover by UNH's Dan Correale right in front of goaltender Casey DeSmith allowed Eagles forward Dyroff Brooks to take a quick shot and tie the game rather easily at one a piece.
UNH was able to recover, and after another Boston College penalty called on Kevin Hayes for tripping, the Wildcats managed to add a power play goal, courtesy of Henrion who shoved it past Parker Milner with 4:48 left in the third period to give his team the 2-1 lead.
It took until the very last second for the Wildcats to secure the two points, when with less than two minutes to go in the game, a barrage of shots left bodies flailing in the UNH crease and a hidden puck. While referees were ready to call a penalty shot for the infraction, they eventually reversed the call.
"[I was] scared," Henrion said. "I was right by the net and I had the puck and I made sure I told the linesman that. I had the puck and it wasn't covered with his hand. It was obviously a pretty scary feeling, but I think were confident that there would be no penalty shot."
UNH improved to 14-4-2 overall and 9-3-1 in Hockey East whereas Boston College dropped to 13-4-2 overall and 10-3-1 in conference.