BOSTON -- The Minutemen brought the blizzard east with them. On the night of the season's first serious storm, UMass looked to have buried the Terriers with three unanswered goals in the first period. But like a top-notch DPW crew, Boston University got to work after the first-period dumping, plowing ahead and managing to erase the UMass lead. The result was a crazy contest that befitted a New England northeaster, with the Terriers finally prevailing on Matt Nieto's power-play strike in overtime, 5-4, at Agganis Arena.
It was Nieto's eighth straight game with a goal, dating back to last season.
"Last year, I didn't have a great start, so I've worked hard," said the BU sophomore. "I've just been throwing it on net, and it's been going in for me."
The victory allowed the No. 12 Terriers (3-2-1; 2-1-1 Hockey East) to grab three of a possible four points against the Minutemen (1-3-2; 0-3-2 HE), following Friday night's 2-2 stalemate in Amherst. UMass, meanwhile, is still in search of its first league win, and coach Don "Toot" Cahoon said it won't come with 20-minute efforts.
"I'm incredibly disappointed with our inability to sustain a level of play that we worked so hard to produce," said Cahoon. "BU is a great team, with a lot of fine players, but we managed to beat ourselves tonight."
The match featured two fresh goaltenders, with BU senior Grant Rollheiser making his first start of the season and UMass sophomore Jeff Teglia getting the nod for the second time. Before the season, Cahoon said his sophomore goaltender "never makes the same save twice," and Teglia proved him right in the first 10 minutes, making at least four spectacular, if unconventional, stops in tight.
Rollheiser made the first mistake, making a hash of a soft shot in the crease and failing to corral the rebound. Minuteman freshman Steve Guzzo leapt on the loose puck and deposited it into the BU net for his first collegiate goal and a 1-0 UMass lead.
UMass sophomore Troy Power put the Minutemen up 2-0 with his first career goal, as Rollheiser was victimized by an unfortunate, and unlikely, bounce. BU defender Ryan Ruikka, facing his own goal line from the right face-off dot, tried to rim the puck behind the BU net, but it deflected off a stanchion and came to rest by the right post, with Rollheiser looking in the opposite direction. Power was Johnny-on-the-spot and tapped the biscuit between Rollheiser's legs for a 2-0 lead.
BU's play went from unlucky to sloppy. With only 30 ticks left in the opening stanza, UMass sophomore Conor Sheary pilfered the puck off the stick of BU's Charlie Coyle in the slot and ripped a quick wrist shot that beat Rollheiser high side and glanced off the post before settling in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.
"I give [Rollheiser] high marks for hanging in there after a couple of bad bounces, " said BU coach Jack Parker.
BU came out in the second with more purpose, but the Terriers' exuberance led to quick penalties. UMass was unable to capitalize on an extended 5-on-3 power play, but Teglia was keeping Parker's squad off the scoreboard at the other end, including a sweet double pad-stack save on a scramble in front. However, there was nothing the netminder could do to prevent BU's first strike.
At 14:19, BU's Corey Trivino sent a slick cross-crease pass to defender Garret Noonan, who absolutely roofed his one-timer past a diving Teglia. "When you're down 3-0, you've got to get that next goal. That goal was huge," said Parker. "That ignited us. We dominated the game after that."
"The turning point was the 3-on-5 penalty kill," he said. "We attempted 34 shots in that period, and they had 13, and they had a 5-on-3 power play."
The Terriers cut the lead to 3-2 less than a minute later, and this time Teglia was the culprit. BU's Nicastro floated a soft shot from the point, which Teglia bobbled. Terrier Sahir Gill didn't give the goalie a chance to recover, potting his third goal of the season. BU almost knotted the game at 18:35, but Noonan, in a set-up that mirrored his first goal, rung his shot off the post.
"Everything we did effectively in the first period went right out the window in the second," said Cahoon.
The Terriers completed the comeback from their 3-0 deficit at 9:51 of the third. Sophomore Coyle atoned for his first-period miscue, taking a terrific feed from Nieto on an odd-man rush and burying the puck past Teglia for a shorthanded tally. Just two minutes later, the Terriers took their first lead of the evening.
BU captain Chris Connelly, working low, swung behind the net and reversed, throwing a pass through the crease that found Trivino. The senior wasted no time, snapping a shot from his knees that beat a sprawling Teglia cleanly for a 4-3 lead.
After the game, Parker had high praise for his first line of Trivino, freshman Evan Rodrigues, and especially Connelly.
"It was almost like he was possessed this evening," said Parker. "He has that 'C' on his shoulder, and it was like he had to make something happen."
At 13:41, Coyle almost donned the goat horns again, getting called for boarding behind the UMass net. During the ensuing power play, UMass sophomore Michael Pereira (the young brother of former BU captain Joe Pereira) finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play, converting a feed from Danny Hobbs to knot the game, 4-4, at 14:55.
In the overtime, UMass was forced to play a man short after a borderline cross-checking call against Michael Marcou. At 3:17, Coyle sent the puck up top to Nieto, who fired it on net, through a screen, beating Teglia low glove side.
"It was a good, competitive night for us, coming back after 3-0," said Parker. "But we still have a long way to go before we're a good hockey team."
Likewise, the loss left Cahoon clearly frustrated. "The solution is the 20 guys on the ice," he said. "Why is it we can't put it together for 60 minutes on the ice? I don't have the answer to that."
Boston College 6, UMass-Lowell 3
There was another storm of goals in Boston on Saturday night, but in the Boston College-UMass-Lowell rematch it was the home side that led from the outset. The Eagles (7-1-0; 5-0-0 HE) equaled their goal output from Friday (a 4-2 victory at Lowell) in the first 20 minutes, racing out to a 4-1 lead on goals from four different players in the opening period. At 1:33, BC's Chris Kreider got his second goal of the night, and teammate Bill Arnold pushed the lead to 6-1 at 14:07 (despite the River Hawks outshooting BC 19-4 in the period). Lowell (2-3-0; 0-2-0 HE) showed some signs of life in the third, cutting the deficit to three on goals by Josh Holmstrom and Joseph Pendenza, but the River Hawks couldn't prevent the sweep by the nation's No. 1 squad. BC's Parker Milner, who ran his record to 7-1-0, had 37 saves for the Eagles.
New Hampshire 5, Northeastern 2
The Wildcats' first win of the season on Friday against Union proved to be a tonic for Dick Umile's squad, as UNH (2-4-1; 1-3-0 HE) notched it's first league win, 5-2, against Northeastern (1-4-1; 1-4-1 HE) on Saturday. The victory gave the Wildcats some measure of revenge, after the Huskies whitewashed UNH on Oct. 14, 4-0. Mike Borisenok got the Wildcats rolling with two first-period tallies, and UNH goaltender Matt DiGirolamo made the lead stand with 15 saves. NU sophomore goaltender Clay Witt, making his first start of the season, kept the Huskies close, stopping 33 Wildcat shots on the night.
Merrimack 4, Vermont 2
The undefeated No. 9 Warriors (6-0-0; 4-0-0 HE) completed a successful weekend road trip to Burlington, taking all four league points from the Catamounts (1-3-0; 0-2-0 HE) with a 4-2 win at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Saturday. Connor Brickly put Vermont up early with his third of the season, but Merrimack got the next three goals, including the eventual game-winner from Carter Madsen. Warrior Michael Collins sealed the win with an empty-net tally, and MC goalie Joe Cannata notched his fifth win of the season with 16 saves.
Maine 3, Providence 1
The Black Bears (3-2-1; 3-1-0 HE) sent the crowd at Alfond Arena home happy with a 3-1 win over the Friars, completing a weekend sweep over Providence (2-3-1; 2-2-0 HE). Damian Cross's power-play goal at 12:52 of the first knotted the game just two minutes after Adam Shemansky gave Maine a 1-0 lead. Maine's Matt Mangene got the eventual game-winner just 23 seconds into the second stanza, but the outcome was in doubt until teammate Klas Leidermark sealed the two points with an empty-netter with a second left.