BOSTON, Mass. — Many in hockey will tell you that defense wins games. Friday night, though, it was a defense-man that won the game for the Terriers.
Terrier blueliner Chris Dyment broke a 3-3 tie early in the third period by scoring a highlight-reel goal, as Boston University remained undefeated (4-0-0, 2-0-0 Hockey East) knocking off crosstown rival Northeastern, 4-3, in front of a sellout crowd of 3,806 at Walter Brown Arena.
Skating shorthanded, Dyment broke out of the defensive zone on a 2-on-1 with Kenny Magowan. As the Northeastern defender fell to the ice attempting to block the pass, Magowan flipped a saucer pass over the fallen Husky that Dyment one-timed out of the air, off the near post and into the net.
“I saw Kenny going one-on-one, so I just started skating up to the side of the net,” said Dyment, the reigning Hockey East Player of the Week who registered two goals for the second consecutive game. “Kenny just made a perfect pass. It was a perfect saucer pass. I just had to put it in the net.”
The play began when Northeastern turned over the puck skating into the offensive zone — something Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder warned his young club about.
“We’ve been telling these young guys, ‘Don’t try to beat guys on the power play,” said Crowder, whose Huskies (2-3-2, 1-1-1 Hockey East) snapped a four-game unbeaten streak. “That’s why they call it a power play. It’s not a one-on-one play. The next thing you know there’s a turnover in the neutral zone and they transition.”
The goal spoiled a top performance by two members of the Northeastern defensive corps. Jim Fahey figured into all three goals, scoring one and adding two assists, and goaltender Jason Braun made 40 saves on the night, a career high.
Offense was the theme early on as both clubs filled the ice with grade-A scoring chances. The Terrier offense came out like a buzzsaw, storming the Northeastern net but not finding much puck luck. And as so often happens, it was Northeastern that came back and struck first blood.
Fahey made a nifty move to hold the puck skating towards the right post. He caught BU netminder Sean Fields (27 saves) out of position and centered to a wide-open Ryan Dudgeon. The goal at 5:29 gave Northeastern a 1-0 lead and put the Terriers behind for the first time this season.
Less than three minutes later, the Huskies would strike again, this time on the power play. Fahey again was the playmaker, firing a shot-pass to Eric Ortlip camped out at the right post. He one-timed the pass over the shoulder of Fields and just under the crossbar.
From there, though, things changed dramatically for the Husky offense. They would not register a shot again until the closing seconds of the period, going nearly 12 minutes without.
And unsurprisingly, the Terriers took over the offensive landscape. The Terriers struck twice in the final half of the period to even the game at two through one.
BU coach Jack Parker knew that his team needed the next goal when trailing by two.
“At the time [Northeastern] got the first goal, the shots were about 9-3 [in our favor]. And by the time they got the second, the shots were way off-center,” said Parker. “So it’s not as if we were getting run over out there.
“There’s no question, though, that the next goal was a big goal. From there, we absolutely dominated the first period.”
Senior co-captain Mike Pandolfo notched his third goal of the season, finishing off a breakaway with a shot inside the near post at 10:45 to pull the Terriers within one.
Then, Frantisek Skladany evened the game at 15:12, one-timing a Magowan pass through the legs of Braun to even the game. Its Skladany’s third goal in four games this year after scoring only four goals in 30 games last year.
BU took its first lead of the game early in the second, scoring on the power play. Dyment unleashed a blast that beat Braun cleanly, giving the senior netminder no chance at the save.
But Northeastern answered 69 seconds later with a power-play goal of its own. Fahey notched his third point of the night, blasting a shot from the left point inside the far post to tie the game at three at 2:43.
The rest of the period featured plenty of opportunities for both teams, but finally the goaltenders had their chance to shine. The Terriers still outshot Northeastern 17-11, for a lopsided 37-17 edge through two periods.
Once Dyment gave the Terriers the lead, Northeastern threw out its best offense, forcing Fields to stand strong. Scott Selig had the best chance, missing an open net on the backhand with 4:20 to play.
The win give the Terriers their first 4-0 start since the 1997-98 season. BU won the Hockey East regular-season title that year.