LOWELL, Mass. — An offensive opening turned into a defensive battle as Boston University netminder Sean Fields and Massachusetts-Lowell goaltender Chris Davidson combined for 57 saves in a 3-3 tie before 2,762 at the Tsongas Arena.
Mass.-Lowell took three points from the No. 10 Terriers on the weekend following a 3-1 win in Boston the night before.
“It was a game that both teams played well in spurts, at times not executing as well as they should have,” said Mass.-Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald. “We were concentrating on playing hard, which we did. As the game went on, we felt more comfortable playing against such a strong team in BU. Overall, getting three out of four points has to be considered a successful weekend for us.”
The tone of the contest was set early on, as both teams battled from the opening face-off for control of the game. Boston University looked to have the best chance to open the scoring midway through the period when Frantisek Skladany and Brad Zancanaro broke into the UML zone on a two-on-one play, with Zancanaro streaking to the net. Although he was all alone at the left post with a wide open net in front of him, Zancanaro didn’t get enough of the puck to put it home, as it trickled just wide and kept the game scoreless.
The River Hawks looked primed to put a goal on the scoreboard late in the period, as the Terriers were assessed a major penalty. The Terriers didn’t seem to know that they were supposed to be killing a power play though, scoring the game’s first goal shorthanded. Gregg Johnson skated into the zone on a two-on-one with Matt Radoslovich trailing on his right. Johnson dished the puck off to Radoslovich, who then one-timed a shot from the right face-off dot that beat Davidson high at 15:01.
Mass.-Lowell responded before the end of the period to tie the game at 1-1. Ben Walter picked the puck off deep in the Terrier zone and wristed a shot past Fields from the right side low at 17:02.
The River Hawks took the lead early on in the second period as Mark Pandolfo scored his second goal in as many games at 2:21. Linemate Todd Fletcher passed the puck from behind the net to a wide-open Pandolfo in front, and Pandolfo used the opportunity wisely, putting UML up 2-1. For Pandolfo, it was his sixth career goal, three of which have come against BU.
“We came in with a good forecheck, and Todd Fletcher rolled off the defenseman and saw me out front,” said Pandolfo. “I was all alone, he got the puck to me, and I put it underneath Fields.”
BU turned the course of the game in its favor moments later, as Ryan Whitney buried a blast from the slot at 3:04 of the second. The Terriers then regained the lead at 13:19 when Dan Spang tallied his third goal of the season.
UML hung tough, tying the game at 3-3 with the final goal of the game at 15:59. Elias Godoy sent the puck from the right-side dasher inside the BU zone across the ice to Chris Fontas, who one-touched a feed out to Jerramie Domish at the left side face-off circle. Domish let fly a high shot that beat Fields stick-side.
The Terriers had the territorial advantage in the third period, outshooting the River Hawks 12-6. For as many opportunities as BU created, Davidson was equal to the task, and the game went to the extra frame. Overtime saw UML with a dominant advantage, posting a 4-0 shot advantage, but Fields stole the show, gloving the best chance for UML to win it out of the air with only minutes remaining.
Davidson made a total of 28 saves for Mass.-Lowell, the same amount he made the night before, while Fields stopped a total of 29 shots, including 12 in the first period. The power play saw some success for the Terriers, as they were 1-for-3, while the River Hawks were unable to convert on any of their four chances.
“It was a great hockey game. If we had played like that last night, we would be the ones coming away with three points instead of UMass Lowell,” said Boston University head coach Jack Parker.
“We wound up playing shorthanded in the game, after losing Brad Zancanaro (game misconduct) and David Van der Gulik (injury) early on; we were only rolling three lines. I thought our guys gave us a good effort, and that’s what we look for every night.”
On Tuesday, Mass.-Lowell (5-4-3, 3-3-1 HE) will travel to face No. 4 New Hampshire, while No. 10 BU (3-3-3, 2-3-2 HE) will play a Beanpot tune-up match at No. 13 Harvard. Both games are slated for a 7:00 p.m. start.