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Goaltenders shine as BC downs UNH, 4-3

Goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Danny Tirone shined, but Boston College emerged with a 4-3 win over Hockey East rival New Hampshire on Friday night at Conte Forum.

BC junior Thatcher Demko made 35 saves against UNH on Friday night.
BC junior Thatcher Demko made 35 saves against UNH on Friday night.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- At Friday night's post-game press conference at Conte Forum, Boston College head coach Jerry York and New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile praised the work of respective goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Danny Tirone.

The Eagles emerged as 4-3 victors and improved to 19-4-4 on the season, but it was the men wearing masks that set the night's script in the longtime Hockey East rivals' second and final meeting this season.

Demko collected double-digit saves in all three periods and totaled 35 for the night as the fourth-ranked Eagles extended their unbeaten streak to nine games (6-0-3).

"I'd like to give full credit to the Wildcats; they played extremely well," BC head coach Jerry York said. "They exposed some of our weaknesses throughout the course of the game. Thatcher was just out of this world as far as I was concerned, and made some incredible saves."

The first period finished as a typical goaltender's duel with Demko and Tirone stopped a combined 19 shots. Tirone faced a two-man BC advantage for a full two minutes in the final five minutes of play in the first, but handled everything the Eagles threw at him.

The best save of the night at either end came early in the second period as Tirone lunged across his crease to rob BC junior defenseman Scott Savage's wrist shot from the left side.

Tirone's miraculous glove save preceded the second of two UNH penalties in the first three-plus minutes of the middle frame, which led to the game's first goal.

"(Tirone) played very well," York said. "Probably, Dick (Umile) was looking at some saves Thatcher made, and I was clearly looking at some of the saves (Tirone) made. He made some unbelievable saves."

The Wildcats' sophomore netminder finished the night with 34 saves, 18 of which came in the opening frame. He has now stopped at least 30 shots in three consecutive games and five times in the 2016 calendar year.

The Eagles finally broke through at the 3:54 marker as junior Austin Cangelosi redirected Savage's shot from the center point between Tirone's legs.

Zach Sanford doubled the BC lead at 4:21, taking a high to low feed from captain Teddy Doherty before stuffing home the puck at the top of the crease for his ninth goal of the season.

The Wildcats started their comeback with 3:17 left in the second as senior Kyle Smith jammed home a rebound in front of Demko with assistance from Matias Cleland.

UNH sophomore Andrew Poturalski squared the score at the 7:52 mark of the third period. The nation's second-leading scorer found the back of the net for the 20th time this season, cleaning a loose puck out of Demko's crease.

"I just told the team, just play like that the rest of the season and see where we go," UNH head coach Dick Umile said. "I really like the way we competed. We got off to maybe a slow start in the first ten minutes, but I thought we got stronger as the game went on, battled and had an opportunity."

BC's responses tend to be quick, and the Eagles turned yet another game around in quick fashion. Defenseman Michael Kim scored his first career goal at 9:33, unleashing a hard shot from the right point that tipped its way through Tirone.

Kim joined the Eagles at the semester break from the USPHL's Boston Junior Bruins and has played in every game on the blue line since his arrival.

"The kids gave him the puck at the end of the game," York said. "I thought he played strong over the course of the game. I like his play."

Junior Adam Gilmour cushioned the Eagles' lead once again only 51 seconds following Kim's goal, just past the halfway mark of the third. Freshman Christopher Brown fed the puck ahead to Gilmour, and the Hanover, Mass., native scored his eighth goal of the season on a great finish in transition.

Senior Dan Correale sliced BC's lead to one goal at 11:13, but that was as close as the visitors would come to posting their second consecutive victory. Correale took a feed from Poturalski and placed a strong backhand shot past Demko as he slid down to his knees in between the circles.

It was not all good news for the Eagles as freshman Colin White was unable to play for much of the third period. York called his injury "kind of a sprained wrist," although the severity and his status for Monday's Beanpot title game are unknown. Junior Chris Calnan and freshman Miles Wood were out of the lineup due to lower-body injuries.