NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — In their second matchup in three nights, Freddy Meyer’s goal at 11:41 of the third period gave Boston University a 3-2 win Friday over Merrimack.
Meyer lugged the puck over the blue line on what was essentially a three on three rush turned into a one on one with a Merrimack defenseman. He made a quick move and, while falling, fired a snapshot high glove side over the shoulder of Merrimack goaltender Joe Exter.
BU head coach Jack Parker described the game winning goal. “In a sixties term, it was a rink length rush. Freddy Meyer is a great player. I was yelling at him to dump it in and Freddy beats the guy and flips it in.”
Said Meyer of the fantastic individual effort, “I just kind of came down on the guy and I made a little curl and drag move on the guy. He was playing me pretty well but I just kind of got a step on him and shot it over the goalie’s glove. I saw his glove was a little low and luckily it hit the right spot. I was kind of falling back and I was lucky to get as much on it as I did.”
Merrimack associate head coach Mike Doneghey knows a lot about goaltending. A former Merrimack netminder himself, Doneghey thought that Exter should have made the save. “A questionable third goal. I thought he should have had it.”
The third goal turned out to be the deciding factor in what was a very competitive hockey game from start to finish. It was almost a tale of two games.
In the first period, Merrimack took a 2-0 lead and held BU to a measly three shots.
“It wasn’t a fluke that it was 2-0 after the first period. We played pretty hard in the first period. We held them to three shots and we got into our forecheck pretty well and we back checked hard.”
Merrimack’s first goal came when the Warriors were killing a penalty. They took advantage of a BU turnover, a common occurrence in the first period, in their own zone. Nick Parillo and Anthony Aquino worked to get the puck and it bounced in front. Aquino fended off a BU defenseman and managed to get a handle on the loose puck and tuck it home right along the ice for the 1-0 lead at 13:18 of the first.
The Warriors second goal was the result of hard work. Tim Reidy carried the puck over the blue and rifled a shot on goal. He regained possession in the corner and sent it out to Brad Mills in front. Mills’ shot was turned away by Sean Fields but Nick Torretti was there to put the rebound home and put the Warriors up by two.
Merrimack carried the momentum the rest of the period and managed to shut down BU until the second period.
BU’s first goal came after Joe Exter made two stack saves in a row. The second rebound came right out to Frantisek Skladany and he lofted it over Exter and into the cage to pull the Terriers within one. BU was 7-2 in one goal games heading into the contest so things were suddenly looking up for the Terriers as they began to steal the momentum back in the second largely through better puck movement.
“[In the first] we weren’t moving the puck at all. We were just lugging it and turning it over. I just told them let’s get back to passing the puck and carrying it over one line at a time,” said Parker. And it worked. Chris Dyment’s power-play goal, a knuckling one time slapshot from the point took a sudden dip and slipped through Exter’s five hole to tie the game 2-2 at 7:25 of the second period.
The aforementioned Meyer goal made it 3-2 at 11:41 of the third and that was all she wrote for Merrimack.
The third period saw BU continue to maintain possession more and move the puck well. They controlled the play for most of the period, even after Merrimack took a time out and pulled their goalie with 1:22 left on the clock. Merrimack was unable to create very many good scoring chances and BU escaped with the win.
BU defenseman Pat Aufiero skated off the ice during the second period and limped down the hallway into the trainer’s room. After the game, Parker said that Aufiero will be out three to six weeks with a deep laceration to a tendon in his left foot.
Despite the loss of Aufiero, it was a great win for BU as it moves them into a tie for second in Hockey East. Merrimack remains in eighth place. BU’s next stop is the Beanpot where they will take on arch-rival Boston College at 8pm on Monday night. Merrimack skates next at UMass-Lowell on Sunday at 2pm.