NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — The postgame shot charts showed Boston University with a multitude of attempts from just outside the crease. The scoreboard, however, still indicated that the Terriers had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Merrimack.
“Territorial advantage is what we want,” BU coach Jack Parker said, looking at the shot charts. “They got two grade-A [chances] and we got 15 or 20. So the problem is we’re just not getting it by the goaltenders.
“We were at the net all night against this club. We had a lot of opportunities right at the paint. But if [we're] not getting goals it’s hard to watch.”
For BU partisans, special teams were particularly hard to watch as the Terriers went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a full two-minute advantage in overtime. They had entered the contest with a woeful 7.7 percent conversion rate and have now failed on 21 consecutive advantages.
At the other end, Merrimack scored both of its goals on the power play, underlining BU’s difficulties. In the end, that proved sufficient to give the Warriors a much-needed tie. They had entered the game winless in their last five (0-4-1) and had scored a total of only 10 goals in six Hockey East games.
“We’ve been in every single game, but you can’t continually lose and keep your confidence level going,” Merrimack coach Chris Serino said. “No matter what kind of a team you are and how good you play, when you lose you keep finding ways to lose. That’s why it was important for us to get points tonight and not find a way to lose this game. It would have been devastating for us to lose the game. Hopefully, this is a little pick-me-up for us.”
Boston University (2-2-2, 1-2-1 HEA) and Merrimack (2-6-2, 1-4-2 HEA) will complete their home-and-home series on Saturday at Walter Brown Arena.
BU never trailed, but couldn’t pull more than a single goal ahead. As a result, Brent Gough’s fifth of the season, at 11:36 of the third period, deadlocked the game at 2-2. Despite furious pressure at times for both sides, neither was able to get the game-winner.
Merrimack’s best chances to get the two points came in the final minute of regulation, while BU’s power play in overtime — created by a partial breakaway by David Van der Gulik, a major force all night — created two golden opportunities all alone in front.
“I thought we deserved to win,” Parker said. “We played hard. I don’t think they deserved to lose. They played hard, too, but it wasn’t as if we played lousy or didn’t give an effort. You want to come in at the end of the game afterwards and be able to tell yourself that you deserved to win. We deserved a better fate than we got, but we didn’t get it tonight.”
BU got on the scoreboard first at 9:11 off a clever no-look drop pass by David Klema to Matt Radoslovich in the slot. Radoslovich put it away for his third goal of the season.
Merrimack evened the score at 14:29 on the man advantage. Moving the puck from left to right on an umbrella alignment with three men high, the Warriors got it to freshman Jeff Caron at the top of the right faceoff circle. Caron then beat goaltender Sean Fields high for his first collegiate goal.
The Terriers took the lead back at 3:21 of the second period, 33 seconds after an unsuccessful power play, but before Merrimack had a chance to reorganize. Gregg Johnson carried the puck down behind the Warrior net and circled out on the doorstep. He and Van der Gulik traded whacks at it until Van der Gulik knocked it in for the 2-1 lead.
Merrimack tied the game on the power play at 11:36 of the third period. Tony Johnson worked the puck high to Bryan Schmidt at the point and he found Gough on the left doorstep, where the sophomore lifted his shot over Fields and into the net.