BOSTON -- This season has been a struggle for the Scarlet and White squad on Commonwealth Avenue, but the Boston University Terriers (8-13-2, 3-7-1 Hockey East) snapped out of their recent funk with two crucial points at Agganis Arena on Friday night.
An explosive three goals in the second period were all the hosts would need as they snapped a seven-game winless streak by knocking off the No. 17 Vermont Catamounts (12-9-3, 4-7-0), 4-2.
“That was a long time coming,” Terrier head coach David Quinn said after his team’s first positive final since a Nov. 30 win over Cornell at Madison Square Garden. “I just was proud of the way we competed, especially down the stretch. … We found a way to win tonight and I could not be prouder of our team. I liked our morale, they didn’t get down and we didn’t accept losing.”
Neither side found the back of the net in a very even first period with each side clanking posts on one of its ten shots on goal. Perhaps the best chance of the stanza came in the middle stages as BU sophomore Ahti Oksanen rung the post on a long shot from the point that just danced through the crease of UVM’s Brody Hoffman.
After quite a few close calls, it was the Terriers’ new top unit that cracked the board first. On a rush up ice, freshman Robbie Baillargeon (Enfield, Conn.) batted a pass out of mid-air, finding sophomore Danny O’Regan (Needham, Mass.) across the wing for the easy tap-in and a 1-0 Terrier lead at 5:27.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Hockey East Rookie of the Week - for the fourth time in six weeks - Mario Puskarich found Sean Maguire’s five-hole from a low angle at the 6:54 arker of the first.
BU put together a solid stretch of momentum through the latter portion of the period, scoring twice to take a 3-1 led into the second break. At 13:43, second-year New Yorker Matt Lane took advantage of a turnover at the UVM defensive blue line and coasted in for a clear look top-shelf on Hoffman for his first goal and point of 2014.
“We got ourselves into trouble with the second period,” UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “That’s not a goal Brody Hoffman gives up very often. It was kind of a lucky bounce over our defenseman’s stick. … That put us back on our heels.”
Freshman Nick Roberto (Wakefield, Mass.) dished out his second assist in a row less than two minutes later as he set up Oksanen for a wrister from just shy of the faceoff dot. The former Malden Catholic Lancer has now posted multi-point games three times in his last five outings, including an identical pair of helpers at Harvard on Jan. 4.
Vermont junior Colin Markison made a great individual effort to track down classmate Michael Paliotta’s (Westport, Conn.) initial effort at the 7:24 mark of the third period, potting his fifth goal of the season while falling to his knees in the low slot.
The Terriers, which were victim to ten penalty calls and allowed 16 shots on those opportunities in the contest, finally found a stroke of luck in the closing sequence as Roberto clinched his third point with an empty-netter with two seconds remaining, snapping an 0-5 month of January to this point.
“I thought we did a good job in the third with our power play creating chances to make it a game. We certainly had some chances down to the wire to try to get the goal to even it up,” Sneddon commented.
The Terriers will look to make it back-to-back for the first time since Nov. 17-22 in Saturday’s 4 p.m. finale with the Catamounts, which will be televised by NESN.
“This was a good weekend to start the season over and kind of get out of this rut that we’re in,” O’Regan said. “We knew it was a winnable game if we played our best and competed hard. We found a way.”
Providence 5, UMass Lowell 4
Three goals in the third period, including third-year Ross Mauermann’s goal at 15:14, lifted the No. 7 Friars (15-5-5, 7-4-1 Hockey East) to a dramatic win over the visiting River Hawks (15-7-2, 5-4-1) in a crucial conference battle at Schneider Arena. Sophomore A.J. White posted a goal and an assist for UML, but it was a Providence trio in just over 7:30 that gave the hosts a win for its third such comeback in ten games.
Northeastern 4, Notre Dame 0
The 11th-ranked Huskies (15-7-3, 8-4-1 Hockey East) certainly like playing at Compton Family Ice Arena. NU, which is 7-0-1 in its last eight league games, emerged a victor the fourth time in the South Bend building’s brief history, downing the No. 15 host Irish (14-9-1, 3-6-1) in the opener of a two-game weekend set. Junior Adam Reid scored twice and handed out an assist, while classmate Clay Witt stopped 30 shots in his blanking of the year.
New Hampshire 3, Maine 2
In front of a “White Out” crowd at Whittemore Center Arena, the Wildcats (14-12-1, 6-5-0 Hockey East) denied the archrival Black Bears (11-9-3, 5-4-2) their first road win of the season, bouncing back from last weekend’s sweep at the hands of Union. Jay Camper scored the winner for UNH, while rookie winger Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) notched two assists for the home-standing victors. Sophomore Will Merchant scored his first of the season for UMaine.
Massachusetts 5, Merrimack 2
The Minutemen (7-15-3, 3-7-2 Hockey East) put together their first regular-season win in over a month, coasting by the visiting Warriors (6-13-3, 1-7-2) at Mullins Center in Amherst. UMass, which received contributions from five different goal scorers, jumped out to a three-goal lead after one with senior defender Adam Phillips scoring the winner 19:58 into the contest.
Brown 3, Yale 1
When Bears (8-7-3, 5-5-1 ECAC Hockey) and Bulldogs (9-5-4, 4-4-3) meet on collegiate ice, it is most certainly historic. The opener of the weekend series at Providence’s Meehan Auditorium - 170th meeting of all-time between the sides - was no different. Senior Kenny Agostino scored his 50th goal as an Eli in the second period, but freshman Kyle Kramer scored the decisive tally for Brown 4:06 into the third. An outstanding 42-save effort from rookie Tyler Steel helped Bruno to victory in the match of famed Ivy foes.
Rensselaer 4, Dartmouth 2
The Big Green (3-14-3, 2-10-1 ECAC Hockey) were in the game from start to finish but the host Engineers (9-10-4, 4-5-3) scored twice in the third period to hold on at Houston Field House in Troy, N.Y. Geoff Ferguson and Grant Opperman scored for Dartmouth, while local junior Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) opened the scoring for RPI.
Union 4, Harvard 3
The Crimson (5-11-3, 2-9-3 ECAC Hockey) jumped ahead but could not pull off an upset as the third-ranked Dutchmen (16-4-3, 10-2-0) pulled out the one-goal win at Messa Rink. In his return from injury, rookie Mike Vecchione (Saugus, Mass.) scored Union’s first goal at 13:28 of the first period. Harvard’s Victor Newell dished out two assists in defeat.
Connecticut 3, American International 2
Junior Jacob Poe and freshman Brent Norris scored in the third period as the Huskies (12-7-4, 10-4-3 Atlantic Hockey) downed their border rival Yellow Jackets (6-17-1, 5-11-1) at Olympia Ice Center. In goal, freshman Robbie Nichols also made a season-best 33 saves for UConn en route to his first-career win in AHA play.